Review: New Super-Man #12
By Andy Frisk
June 16, 2017 - 23:23
Publisher(s): DC Comics
Writer(s): Gene Luen Yang
Penciller(s): Billy Tan
Letterer(s): Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist(s): Phillip Tan/Elmer Santos
A battle between mythological beings reveals The Wonder Woman of China's true origins, which are steeped in Chinese mythology. Superman Zero, the first Super-Man of China is unleashed to help The Justice League of China defeat Wonder Woman's nemesis, but will he end up a friend or foe?
Making use of the Legend of The White Snake, an ancient Chinese equivalent of what a Westerner would call a "fairy tale," writer Gene Luen-Yang reveals The Wonder Woman of China's origins and her background motivations. He also makes extensive use of the Buddhist idea of the Six Realms and continues to develop the idea of New Super-Man/Kong Kenan's superpowers being tied to his mastery of his Qi. By adding Super-Man Zero to the mix, he creates even further tension since this Super-Man is a unique being that might just spell the downfall of all the new Chinese heroes. I really love the Chinese cultural/religious ideas that Yang is using to develop his characters. It's as wonderful an insight into Chinese culture as it is a great plot device that makes New Super-Man's stories unique.
Billy Tan's art is as good as it's ever been. It's hard to believe that he's been in the comic book industry for twenty years already. It seems like just yesterday when he was a hot new artist on the sequential art scene. His metaphysical panels, like where he visually describes the Six Realms, and his everyday superhero fight scenes are brilliant.
I'm really enjoying how Gene Luen Yang is deepening the metaphysical elements of the characters while tying them into Chinese mythology, much like most western superheroes are tied to a western mythology (think Wonder Woman/Princess Diana and the ancient Greek gods). New Super-Man remains a great read, and somehow gets even better each month.
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