I rather liked the first volume of New Super-Man, the DC Rebirth title about a Chinese youth given the powers of Superman in order to join a new Justice League of China, full of what look like knock-offs of American superheroes. But the characters are, generally, more than that, so let’s see how Kenan responds to his powers not working quite right.
The latest volume, subtitled Coming to America, has Kenan learn more about himself and his teammates.
There’s been a bit of mystery surrounding Kenan’s powers. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. As such, League liaison Mingming knows a teacher who can maybe help Kenan: I-Ching, Wonder Woman’s mentor back in the 60s during her powerless period, and here’s where writer Gene Luen Yang really starts to make this series more “Chinese” as I-Ching relates Kenan’s powers not to the comic book science that gave him Superman’s powers, but to Chinese philosophy and mythology.
Indeed, a good deal of what happens in this volume connects to Chinese mythology. The Chinese version of Wonder-Woman gets her origin story told, tying it into Chinese folklore instead of Greek myth. I-Ching gives Kenan a “path” to activating the powers of his that aren’t working, and there’s a connection to the Chinese afterlife to explain how Kenan got the powers in the first place.
And, just to be a bit more interesting, Kenan travels to Metropolis with Lex Luthor, has an adventure with the original Superman, and even encounters a young Asian-American woman to be the new Flash for the Justice League of China.
As it is, there’s a lot happening here, but the one downside is there isn’t a single plot through-line covering the entire book. Ending on a cliffhanger, I’m mostly digging this one, even if this collection didn’t seem overly focused. 8 out of 10 Robinbots.