New Super-Man #6

by Kalem Lalonde on December 14, 2016

Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic

Gene Luen Yang’s New Super-Man is the most overlooked comic of DC’s Rebirth. Not only is the quality of this book on par with the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman; it has also created DC’s first version of Kamala Khan. New Super-Man #6 closes out the inaugural arc very well by pushing the emotional core of the book to the forefront while maintaining the fun that has made this book such a great read.

To begin, I would like to address the idea that Kong Kenan is DC’s version of Kamala Khan. Unfortunately, Kong hasn’t become the phenomenon that Kamala has and I think that is one of the most disappointing things this year in the realm of comics. The genius of New Super-Man is that it has successfully implemented Chinese culture and politics into a fantastic coming of age superhero story. Kong is not a nice kid. This entire arc has been about humbling Kong and turning him into some form of hero. Issue #6 wraps up his origin with the common superhero tragedy but Gene Luen Yang’s emotional writing makes this moment feel incredibly earned.

A strong aspect of Kong’s characterization since the first issue has been his overinflated sense of self. It first made you hate him then it made you feel bad for him. His father’s neglection felt like it could have been the grounds for a supervillain origin story but, Yang developed this story to motivate Kong to fight for good. Issue #6 uses this narrative to make Kong’s origin heartfelt and tragic. The real success of this issue is closing out Kong’s origin by centralizing the character’s appeal in his emotional journey. After 6 issues, Kong’s overinflated sense of self, and its cause has made me sympathize and love the character.

Individually, this issue mixes the balance between heavy and light very well. Most of the issue is dedicated to Kong fighting Starro’s on a plane and trying to activate his powers as best as he can. What ensues is the regular humor and enjoyment that this series offers. Kong is an inherently funny character and when he is put in situations that are somewhat ridiculous, he doesn’t take it seriously and consequently we don’t either. Thankfully, this never gets in the way of the emotional conclusion of the issue. Yang was wise enough to separate the fun from the powerful and never compromises intense moments with levity.

Viktor Bogdanovic returns to finish his arc. I must say that it is great to have consistency on a Rebirth book. The artist swaps have generally been handled well but it is always better to have one artist work on a series. Visual consistency is very important for story consistency and New Super-Man is a great example of that. Bogdanovic’s figures are vivid and filled with emotion, while his action is clear and dynamic. Issue #6 proves again that Bogdanovic works very well with Yang’s story and should stay on this book as long as it lives.

New Super-Man #6 closes out Kong Kenan’s great origin story with excitement, tragedy, and promise for the future of the series. If you are a fan of Kamala Khan, you will likely enjoy this book. It implements culture and political intrigue into a coming-of-age story about a phenomenal lead character who promises to become even more compelling as the story unfolds. New Super-Man is a winner for DC and a winner for comics.  


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