Superman and New Super-Man, Kenan Kong, join forces to battle a group called the China White Triad. Along the way, a portal is opened and demons burst through paving the way for an action packed issue.
I enjoyed a great deal about this book. A good portion of the plot is how Kenan looks at I-Ching and Superman as mentors and the importance of mentorship. This is handled well with a lot of internal monologue from Kenan. Kenan is a respectful fanboy around Superman and it’s fun to see. He looks to Superman for his wisdom and guidance throughout the issue. Their relationship is well written and was one of the highlights of the issue for me. I genuinely laughed out loud at the scene where Kenan and Clark are reflecting on the events of the story and Kenan mentions how Trigram 3 (X-Ray vision) is rooted in the thighs with a penetrating characteristic (it is mentioned that each Trigram is rooted not just in a body part, but also a characteristic). He expects Superman to pick up on how dirty it sounds, but, of course, he doesn’t. The moral of our story is that Kenan can’t take shortcuts if he wants to unlock his powers to their full potential. It’s a nice message and a very “Superman” message. I feel like Clark growing up would have had the same message about life and work ethic from his parents. During their recap, Superman asks Kenan to train as hard as he can because an extremely powerful threat is coming and he will need his help. This adds tension and further builds that something very big is planned in the Super-books this year.
The art is good overall. It has a severe lack of detail in the backgrounds. In many panels, the background art is simply a dense fog. However, I did like the expressive character art and energetic action pieces. The demons looked great and were drawn to be large, menacing creatures. I liked the cover. It shows off Avery and the Supermen in a dynamic way, bursting at the reader. I actually prefer the comedic, alternate cover with Kenan eating pizza, but I can understand why it was not chosen. It’s not really representative of what happens in the story and doesn’t convey the amount of action in the issue.
I give this issue a 3.5 out of 5 rating. I did have a problem with how the story ended so abruptly. It felt a bit jarring. I also felt Lex’s character seemed off and he didn’t really add to the story. However, this is a fun, fast-paced read. New Super-Man is an underrated title and having Superman appear in this issue may help get new readers to jump on. The story in this issue also does a good job of setting up future issues. We learn of Avery’s plans and we also have an interesting thread involving the Guardians of the Afterlife and Kenan’s parents.
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Viktor Bogdanovic and Jonathan Glapion
Published by DC Comics