New Super-Man #5

by Ian B on November 09, 2016

Writer:Gene Luen Yang

Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic

Colourist: Hi-Fi

Publisher: DC Comics



In the previous issue, the Justice League of China faces off against the Freedom Fighters of China, eventually managing to capture several members and saving the life of the man they had been meaning to protect. They dropped the freedom fighters off at their underwater prison and proceeded back to headquarters, unaware that they had accidentally helped smuggle Folding Paper Man in, allowing them to not only break out, but also to help break out several other villains. Back at headquarters, Kenan begins to worry about his father, requesting to go and check on him. Going into the house alone, Kenan is shocked to discover his father is actually the leader of the Freedom Fighters, telling Kenan that they have much to discuss.



This issue begins with a much needed discussion between father and son where we learn how Kenan's father became Flying Dragon General. Taking inspiration from the western heroes, Kenan's mother had realized that to have a free China, they would have to embody the ideals that they wished to promote, turning herself into China's first Superhero. Months later, however, she was killed, Kenan's father investigating the apparent plane crash and realizing that she was actually murdered by the Ministry of Self Reliance, eventually taking his place as the leader of the Freedom Fighters. I had hoped that this discussion would last longer and have real character growth for Kenan, unfortunately instead of having any kind of philosophical debate or questioning of his morals, Kenan simply flies off to join the Freedom Fighters without a second thought, Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman following. Eventually they meet up with the rampaging Freedom Fighters who, using a genetically modified Starro, take control of Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman's minds. Taking issue with this, Kenan tells them to stop an is hurled into a nearby river. Kenan's father rescues him and takes him back to the Ministry to heal, where they realize the fluctuations in his powers are caused by his emotional state. He recovers and, along with his father, rushes off to prevent the Freedom Fighters from crashing a plane into the centre of government, thereby killing hundreds of innocent people.



The artwork remains mostly good, some of the body postures and shapes seeming a little off from time to time, but with no major criticisms. The colouring in particular continues to be delightfully bright and varied, making the pages vivid and interesting to look at. The costume that Kenan's mom dons, in particular,m being an interesting piece, with glowing blue eyes in a fully metal face mask.



Ultimately, this issue was a bit of a disappointment because of the amount of potential that it had and did basically nothing with. Finally we have Kenan and his dad sitting down and having a real conversation, revealing what happened to Kenan's mother and why his father had made the choices that he had, but as far as character development for Kenan goes, it's completely glossed over. We are presented with a great moment for him to look into himself and be serious for a moment, questioning what he has been told and what he believes in with a man that he should have some serious questions for, and instead he simply switches allegiances without a second thought or any debate, being willing to fight his friends in the process, but switching back when they may die. If there were ever a better moment for a character to look within themselves and finally grow from an immature child into a more heroic person, I can't think of it, but unfortunately this hugely squandered opportunity not only spoiled the issue for me, but made me question if Kenan will ever grow as a character at all.

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