New Super-Man has been a lot of fun because it captures the fact that truth, justice, and democracy are things other countries want. Kong Kenan is the Super-Man of China, and with the help of his father, aims to save the day even though his powers are going wonky. We check out the conclusive chapter of the first story arc, but is it good?
New Super-Man #6 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“MADE IN CHINA” conclusion! Kong Kenan is in the fight of his life against the insane Human Firecracker and his Starro bomb! New Super-Man must confront his darkest demons as he tries to save the Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman of China! Alliances will be tested, heroes will be forged-and the shocking fate of Kenan’s family is revealed!
Why does this book matter?
Writer Gene Luen Yang has created a fun Chinese=centric Superman story by cleverly including all the parts that make the character great while simultaneously introducing Chinese versions of the Justice League. The character is young and new to being a superhero, but he’s quickly learning what that responsibility entails. There’s also a cool concept weaving his powers to a deeply philosophical place called Qi that may connect to the now departed Superman’s life force. It’s a unique element that sets this version of Superman apart.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Yap yap yap.
This issue is nearly all climax with Kenan attempting to get a handle of his powers with little time to spare. These two elements combine to make for some high stakes action sequences with some rather fun villains to tackle too. Yang has come up with a Chinese themed villain named the Human Firecracker and a Starro bomb concept that is very clever. Mix in Kenan’s powers failing him, but coming back with intense focus, and this issue has a good back and forth of who is on top.
The summary promises reveals in regards to Kenan’s family and you get those more or less; Kenan is left with even more drive to get justice for his parents, but a clever twist he’s unaware of adds to his dilemma. There’s an effective and touching scene near the end of the book that helps amplify Kenan’s drive.
The art by Viktor Bogdanovic has a cartoony feel that can handle multiple characters and complex choreography in a single panel. Considering how much dialogue is in some of these scenes, Bogdanovic manages to pack a lot in some tight panels.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue is too jam-packed at times, which doesn’t properly allow the action to breath or the more poignant moments near the end to land. The choreography on the plane is a bit of a problem too as Kong is completely surrounded in one page, then somehow free of any direct threat the next. A lot of the action seems to ebb and flow based on the needs of the plot and captions, which makes the action suffer. When dialogue starts to pile up the pace slows to a crawl too which makes the story feel more like info dumps with action scattered through than anything else.
Father and son as one!
Is It Good?
New Super-Man offers a great change of pace for the character as his location is fresh and his powers come with intriguing caveats. I’m excited to see where Yang takes this character from here, though the pacing needs some work.