Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New Super-Man, Volume 1: Made in China Review (Gene Luen Yang, Viktor Bogdanovic)

This Chinese Superman book was one of the few Rebirth titles that genuinely intrigued me, not least because it featured the only original new character in the entire line - I know that’s deliberate though, that Rebirth is about bringing back classic characters/timelines, etc. So it’s disappointing that New Super-Man follows the Rebirth trend of being unreadable drek. 

Kong Kenan is a bully who throws a drinks can at the first of many shitty Chinese villains he happens across. This one incident somehow singles him out to be the perfect test subject to become the Chinese Super-Man who is made in a Captain America-esque machine. That might be the worst origin story I’ve ever heard. 

The story? Well, what are all shit superhero comics about? A baddie wants to drink everyone’s milkshakes so the goodie sets out to stop them. Yeah, it’s that archetypical and unimaginative. And speaking of unimaginative, there’s a Chinese Bat-Man (who’s fat for no reason) and a Chinese Wonder-Woman who make up the Justice League of China, as well as a Chinese Lois Lane, a Chinese Starro, and a Chinese Amanda Waller. 

Aside from it being set in China and featuring Chinese people this is your run-of-the-mill superhero comic - Gene Luen Yang is doing nothing original nor making a convincing case for why there should be Chinese superhero comics. It’s certainly not entertaining to read! 

But the non-blatantly derivative characters are even worse. The villain of the book is called Human Firecracker with a henchman called Folding Paper Man. At least I think they were on the same side - there are way too many groups rolling around this wreck! I get that the Justice League of China are the heroes, but how about the Ministry of Self-Reliance or the Great Ten or the Freedom Fighters of China? I think the first two are “good” even though they fight the JLC - that’s superhero comics for you - but I’m not sure. Gene Luen Yang overstuffs the book with far too many characters to make a coherent story. 

Yang’s other Superman books have been mediocre at best but I hoped, given how his other Chinese-centric comics are so good, that his Chinese Super-Man would be good too - and it really wasn’t. Chinese knockoffs are usually inferior to the original but it’s about the same quality as the rest of the current Superman line these days: utter dogshit. Awful, boring stuff - don’t do it!

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