Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #17

New Super-Man #17 came out last week and continues to push the All-Yang battle to a near conclusion. This feels like it should be the penultimate issue of the series. I have wondered if the axe was nearing for this book which continues to sell less than 20K. But we haven't got a Final Issue solicit yet so I am happy.

Writer Gene Luen Yang continues to weave a nice new continuity of DC heroes over in China. I love the infusion of all the mythology both of China and the DC Universe.  I love the humor which is slyly inserted into the book. And I love the steady maturation of Kenan Kong as he leaves his bully/bratty persona behind as he embraces the mantle of Super-Man. Plus, this issue has the JLC meet the JLA and it is a great introduction.

The art is by Joe Lalich, someone who I have never seen before. The turnstile of artists, sometimes newcomers, also has made me wonder if this book was nearing the end. The art is something of house style, with few stylish flourishes. But it kicks it up a bit when it needs to.

On to the book.

The issue starts with the Batbot short-circuiting and inadvertently attacking the JLA.

I suppose this is supposed to play up the old trope of heroes fighting each other before becoming friends.

But there is also a complete ease with which the JLA stops this mecha that tells volumes about their status. Also, the panic in the voices of the JLC also says how new in this heroing business they are.

This leads to a meeting of the analogs. I like Batman as the stern father who tells Baixi to test and retest his equipment as well as rebuffing his autograph request. I love that Aquaman wonders where his analog is (when we readers know Dr. Omen didn't make one because she couldn't see a use for one). And I love the Wonder Women meeting and that Diana is aware of the mythology of Green Snake/White Snake.

Kenan tells Superman that they are in America to get the Red Jade Dragon. Kenan needs it to power up, talk to All-Yang. and rescue I Ching. Remember, All Yang presented his case by showing the prejudice comics/people had against Asians.

I like how Kenan talks to Superman about what 'you folks' have done and Superman being oblivious. Sometimes prejudice is forgotten or presumed forgiven.

Superman does warn Super-Man that it doesn't sound like a good idea to follow the desires of the villain but Kenan is hell-bent on saving his master. Even when it is discovered that the Red Jade Dragon is in Lex Luthor's private collection, Kenan won't take no for an answer. He defies Superman who says legal channels need to be utilized to get the artifact back.

Perhaps because of All Yang showing prior people looting China of its wealth, Kenan decides to defy his mentor Superman and grab the Dragon.  I do like how Superman is trying to inspire Super-Man to do what's right.

But it doesn't matter. Super-Man breaks into Luthor's place, grabs the Red Jade Dragon, and is flooded with power. His whole array of powers is unlocked.

Boy, this mysticism is definitely a bit far away from the 'genetic experiment done by Dr. Omen' original origin. I wonder if Yang knew from the beginning the story was going to bend this way or not.

I do like the tri-grams representing different powers. Fascinating.

Once at full strength, All Yang shows up. He wants Kenan to embrace the idea of being the New Emperor. Yang thinks the flood of power will make Super-Man want to rule.

But Kenan just wants I Ching to be back. But attacks are useless. You can't fight All-Yang with an all yang attack. It backfires.

And Yang adds that Ching isn't even around to be rescued. Ching was obliterated by Yang.

What I like is that Kenan has learned. I Ching has flung reverse-wisdom at Kenan since they met. But here it works. He won't double down and attack Yang more. He says has learned that being weak sometimes is being strong.

Without an Emperor to mentor, Yang instead decides that he will destroy the world instead. He utilizes the power of the Dragon to release an ultimate threat.

I'm pretty happy with this issue. I definitely like the way this storyline has unfolded. And it seems to be coming to some climax next issue. But once this arc is over, once Kenan is truly fully Superman with the threat of All-Yang behind him, where will this book go? I wouldn't mind seeing some straight up adventures with a new Super-Man.  At the very least, we got to see Yang tell the tale he wanted to in the timing he wanted to tell it over.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The JLC meeting the JLA was definitely entertaining. and I notice as most of Leaguers tank or deflect the attacks, Batman is hiding behind Superman.

Poor Awauaman. He nevers gets any respect. And not even the fishes talk to him!

"I like how Kenan talks to Superman about what 'you folks' have done and Superman being oblivious. Sometimes prejudice is forgotten or presumed forgiven."

Or rather a "You fols have done" statement is incredibly generic.

"Why would I need diplomacy to take back something that rightfully belongs to China?"

Ah, the old art thievery and misappropiation debate.

I have the feeling Yang is channeling a bit of Golde Age Superman here. I can imagine Kal-L thinking "Why should a fat cat be allowed to keep something which doesn't belong to him?" before taking it giving it back unceremoniously.

The next issue will be a wild ride. Kenan can't attack Yang directly but he can't allow him to destroy the world. How will Kenan stop him? Is Ching truly dead? And what after? What will hapen once Yang is done?