Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Super-Man #1 Review and *SPOILERS*


Written By: Gene Luen Yang
Art By: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, Hi-Fi
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 13, 2016

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom* 

With the death of the New 52 Superman, we'll start to see new Super-people pop up as we get further and further into Rebirth. So far the Pre-Flashpoint Superman has taken the place of the recently deceased in the Justice League, his son Jonathan follows him on missions in a Superboy suit, Lex Luthor dons a Superman themed power-armor to protect Metropolis, and Supergirl returns later in the year. One of these new Super-People is Kong Kenan, a boy in China who is gifted the powers of the Man of Steel by Dr. Omen, one of the major players during The Final Days of Superman story arc.

When I first read the announcement of this New Super-Man, I was intrigued, to say the least. Not only do I love a good origin story, but to have a Superman that doesn't just start out working with the Superfamily feels like a contradiction... Can this work? Let's dive in and find out... 

We open to young Kenan bullying a fat kid... Wait, don't click off the review! I swear this kid is going to be Superman! While I don't condone bullying, there is an actual reason that Kenan is lashing out at this boy, Luo Lixin, but we'll get there in a bit. As Kenan chases down Lixin, the boy gets grabbed by The Blue Condor, a super villain new to Shanghai. In a quick turn of events, Kenan instinctively throws a soda can at the villain to release Lixin.  See I told you he would be Superman! The Condor... runs away after that... Yeah, no retaliation. Just flees... Guess they don't have good supervillains in China. 

After Condor flies off, clearly pissed at the boy who rebelled, a reporter named Laney Lan goes up to him for an interview, which surprises him so much he turns into Beeker from the Muppets. I won't lie when I say that this made me laugh hard. As much as I love Viktor Bogdanovic's art, there are times that the point of view of the panel works against it. As you can see due to us looking at Kenan head on his neck and chin look like they combined to make a singular tube of a person. It happens a few other times in the book as well, but the good art far outweighs the silly. 
While Laney streams her interview on the web, Dr. Omen sees the video and realizes that this boy is the one she's been searching for to conduct her experiment. Laney then asks Kenan if she could interview his family as well, which he agrees to and heads off to tell his father.

When Kenan goes to tell his father the good news, his father could see right through the video taken at the Condor encounter. He knows that Kenan has been bullying Lixin, and refuses to be interviewed, rather going to his conspiracy writing group. Kenan's father tells him that he has to stop bullying the boy, as it wasn't his fault, and he is now getting calls from Lixin's father threatening to sue. What is Kenan taking out on Lixin? It turns out Lixin's father is the CEO of a Chinese airline that had a tragic plane crash two years earlier… Keenan's mother was on the plane. As I said I don't condone bullying, but this builds more of a character for Kenan. He is still a teenager who just lost his mother, so obviously, he would try to lash out at the one thing that he can actually lash out on; the son of the Airline CEO.

Disappointed that his father would choose a writing club over the interview, Kenan goes to his mother's grave. Dr. Omen finds him and offers him the powers to back up his personality to become a superhero. Still a bit sour at his dad, Kenan agrees and we cut right to him entering the Origin Chamber. Omen uses the chamber to infuse him with the powers of Clark Kent, causing him to have visions of his mother's plane crashing. Kenan flies out of the chamber, thinking he's going to save his mom...  Only to find himself able to fly and fire heat vision... Which he's friggin ecstatic about!

We end the issue with Dr. Omen ordering him to stand down, but when he makes a snarky reply, she unleashes her other experiments on him... Way to go, Kenan!

Bits and Pieces:
While there's nothing groundbreaking here, this issue does a pretty good job introducing us to our protagonist and the rest of the cast. Kenan is definitely not your ideal candidate to be the Superman of China but shows a little hope at growing into the man he needs to be. The art is pretty friggin awesome, especially in the designs for the Superheroes and villains, but there are a few hiccups. Overall it's a promising start, and I hope the team keeps it up.



  1. Man, I would have given this like a 9. I really liked the pace of it and the dialogue felt great and refreshing coming from DC as of late. Sure it wasn't groundbreaking but I feel like this has been the most full and complete issue of a comic in all of Rebirth while introducing a new character that happens to be a bully as the new Superman. This book was fantastic, can't wait for more.

  2. I don't know what I like about it exactly. I just had a smile while reading this. I guess it does have that Justice League 3000 feel.