Superman Smashes the Klan Part Two Review

by Olivier Roth on December 18, 2019

Written by: Gene Luen Yang

Art by: Gurihiru

Lettering by: Janice Chiang

Published by: DC 


Superman Smashes the Klan has been one of the best comics that DC has published in the last few years, bar none. What Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru are creating is nothing short of the perfect story that encapsulates all the hate associated with racism and how it can be invisible and out in the open but also how it can be fought against. This is all seen through the eyes of an immigrant family like the Lees, and namely their daughter Roberta, but it is also seen through the eyes of Clark Kent/Superman, one of the most visible immigrants in the DC Universe. 


How do Luen Yang and Gurihiru accomplish this? With grace and aplomb. In the last issue, Roberta’s brother Tommy runs afoul of the Klan of the Fiery Cross and it is through the dedication of Roberta and an assist from local bully Chuck. After the save, and Superman discovering a little more of his powers, the issue continues on with both the current timeline as well as flashbacks to Clark’s past. 


Clark’s past here is to showcase the difficulties he had growing up in Smallville as a kid who was not only different, but also with burgeoning powers that were not understood by the local children. It’s a great allegory to the plight that so many people face day to day: being shunned simply for ones differences. And this is where Luen Yang really shines. By showcasing this part of Clark, you can see that he isn’t as comfortable with his Kryptonian heritage as he is in most other comics/entertainment. By wanting to be “normal”, he is blocking off a big part of who he is. I can only imagine how this may resonate with a large swath of the population that has immigrated anywhere in their lives. 


The flashbacks are a good companion to the main story that sees Roberta, Tommy and Chuck, deal with what happened to Tommy in different ways. Roberta comes out of her shell somewhat (her mother sewing Superman’s cape into an awesome jacket kinda helps), but she still feels the sting of her “otherness” not only with the new kids in Metropolis she is hanging out with - she corrects them on more than one occasion that Chinese people can be more than a stereotype - but also has to deal with being shunned by her former friends from Chinatown. 


Tommy, on the other hand, showcases a need to fit in at almost any cost. That cost being lying about what happened to him the night he crossed paths with the Klan and how he truly broke his arm. He’s also quick to forgive Chuck, even though he was the reason for the Klan going after him in the first place. 


Luen Yang also makes sure to show that there are nuances to characters as well in the form of Chuck. His family very much showcase various levels of racism: his uncle being the grand wizard of the Klan for one, and his mom showing some obvious signs of prejudice. However for Chuck, he’s just a boy who is mad that he lost his spot on the baseball team and seems to want to do good, but is unable to find the courage to do so. 


On the art front, as I said in my last review, Gurihiru was almost the perfect choice to draw this series as his style is one that is easily accessible by a wide range of ages - in my opinion. Because of this, and the nature of this story, you can easily hand this to anyone and have them enjoy the art as well as the message that Leun Yang is conveying. 

Our Score:


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