Superman is gone… Now, a new Super-Man rises to take his place. Your Major Spoilers review of New Super-Man #1 awaits!
Previously in New Super-Man: Superman has fallen in battle, destroyed by the forces that power him thanks to a number of traumatic super-powered experiences. But thanks to a mysterious laboratory, there’s a brash young contender for the name in town…
Y’know, this sounds kind of familiar.
Hey, if Mongul shows up and nukes Coast City, I’m out, okay?
MADE IN CHINA
The first words in this issue immediately endear the main character to me, explaining that only three people in the history of China are more important than him… Four if you count Confucius. It’s a pitch-perfect bit of narration that makes is clear what Kenan Kong is all about, leading us into a more difficult part of the story, watching him bully one of his classmates. Worse still, he chases the kid right into the arms of Blue Condor, Shanghai’s newest (in fact, one of their first) super-villains. Kenan reacts almost by instinct, driving the bad guy off with a soda to the face, and making himself a viral sensation, thanks to intrepid reporter Laney Lan, who records the whole thing. Things quickly spiral out of control from there: Kenan’s father is unhappy with him because he knows about the bullying, Laney’s not interested in his teenage come-ons… Oh, and a mysterious woman arrives, claiming to represent the secretive Bureau Of Self-Reliance.
A SPIRITED YOUNG CHARACTER
There’s a lot of heavy lifting in a first-issue, first-appearance AND origin, especially in a setting so far removed from the Gothams and Metropolises of DC’s usual books. Still, the creative team is up to the task, delivering a lot of information effectively, thanks to Yang’s dialogue and Bogdanovic’s strong linework. The art is really lovely (including New Super-Man’s costume design), with clean storytelling and touches that remind me of Jim Lee and Scott Kolins at different points, and best of all, very expressive faces throughout the issue. The last page-reveal of China’s own Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman is a moment that’s both funny in-context and full of potential, making me wonder what’s in store for our new young hero.
THE BOTTOM LINE: LIKEABLE AND WELL-DONE
The idea behind this comic is a simple one, but one that makes for an interesting parallel to the New 52 a few years ago. This is a more hopeful story than we got from 2011 DCU (but then, the majority of Rebirth has been, to my utter delight) but one that sets itself apart in tone and location, feeling very much like some of the youthful heroes of recent Marvel comics, in all the right ways. New Super-Man #1 may be a bit confusingly titled, but launches our new hero well, making me hope that we get more than 12 issues out of Kenan’s adventures, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Now I’m wondering about how they’re gonna hyphenate The Flash…