Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Super-Man #7 Review and **SPOILERS**

New Year, New Me

Writer: Gene Luen Yang 
Pencils: Billy Tan 
Inks: Yanqiu Li 
Colors: Yangfeng Guo 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Viktor Bogdanovic and Mike Spicer 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: January 11, 2017


I’m so happy to see this issue pop up in pull list every week, it’s just a pure pleasure to read and always puts me in a good mood. I was a little tentative going into this issue, however, because it begins a new story arc and for much of Rebirth, the second story arcs have been worse than the first. Except on Aquaman, where the second was better. And on the Flash. And Action Comics. Point is that it’s a flawed formula, but there’s always the possibility that Gene Luen Yang had only enough gas in the tank for six issues, and now it’s going to coast into oblivion or irrelevance. So what’s the prognosis, doc? Hm? No doctors reading this right now? Only miscreants and malcontents? Fine, I guess I’ll give my opinion on New Super-Man #7, right now!

Explain It! 

It’s the Lunar New Year, and celebrations are well underway in the middle of day at the Chenshan Botanical Garden in Shanghai. It’s really because Lex Luthor is there (and clearly not imprisoned by his sister Lena as he recently was in the pages of Superwoman), to declare Wonder-Woman, Bat-Man and New Super-Man Heroes of the City for their daring rescue of a commercial airliner last issue. Why Luthor is giving out medals for a city in which he does not live I have no idea, but he does take the time to gab it up with Kenan in English, despite Kenan’s inability to understand him. Laney Lan makes another offer for a private interview—and by the way she is looking foine in a snug silk dress—and Kenan accepts…but first he must attend to his Super-Man training with I-Ching.
Kenan tries to get Baixi and Deilan to spend the holidays as a group, but they blow him off and decided to head off to Bat-Man’s parents’ crib. On the way, Biaxi stops at the Academy of the Bat, where he was trained to be the official Bat-Man of China. It looks like a derelict warehouse, but of course a state-of-the-art training ground is obscured by a hologram or something. So this place is awesome, it looks like Batman High School and I am now prepared to read the adventures of a group of school chums endeavoring to be Bat-Man and getting into wacky hijinks. Baixi bumps into some old friends, including his little sister Jiali. They also bump into Rongpei, Bat-Man’s old bully who is jealous that he doesn’t have Baixi’s gig. Of course, there’s a challenge for the cowl, which you might have guessed would happen if you ever saw a 1980s skiing-based comedy film.
Over at I-Ching’s studio, Kenan finds the man himself giving a group Tai Chi class, which he insists Kenan take before their private session. Kenan tries to flex his New Super-Man status, only to have a woman in the class show of her Superman shirt and declare them “shirt twins.” I-Ching is blind, and he agrees to allow Kenan to go straight to his private tutoring if he will allow himself to be blinded and can hit I-Ching once before I-Ching hits him eight times. I think we all know how that will end. Back at the Academy of the Bat, Baixi and Rongpei face off, with Rongpei getting the upper hand early on. Deilan suspects trickery when the hard light constructs that are the arena seem faulty, so she investigates the server room to find…creepy weirdo in a bunny suit!
I am pleased to say that this issue is excellent and maintains the same fun and enthusiasm as it did in the opening arc. I loved learning more about Baixi and Deilan, absolutely oozed over the Academy of the Bat, and appreciated seeing that Kenan’s road to maturity is not yet complete. Because I love that goofy knucklehead. I was happy to see Wonder Woman's old pal, I-Ching in the mix, because that folds this series more into the DC Universe that Eric Shea loves and protects. The art team has changed, and while it looks different, it looks no worse than it did before and the storytelling is very clear. Fans of New Super-Man, you can continue wading in, the water’s fine! People looking to jump on the series, uh, sure. This is a fine jumping-on point. Just grab an issue and keep reading, you’ll catch up quickly.

Bits and Pieces: 

Kenan begins the long and painful journey to mastery of his super powers, and it includes humiliation. And pain. Humiliating pain. We also learn more about Bat-Man's background, as well as some quiet time with Wonder-Woman that couldn't be afforded in previous issues. Plus, I-Ching is in this issue! If you can't appreciate the re-emergence of this racist caricature, then appreciate the appropriation of said caricature by an all-Asian create team. Can you dig it?


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