Don’t Trust Authority in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 22

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ahn Kwang-Jo, aka the Aqua-Man of North Korea, aka Dragonson, is so conditioned by his life under the authoritarian regime of North Korea to accept the word of authority figures as truth that when the old sea dragon bones responsible for his powers commands him to generate a flood large enough to kill millions of his countrymen, Kwang-Jo feels compelled to obey. He’s briefly conflicted, but his resistance is met with anger by his “true father”, and Kwang-Jo quickly acquiesces.

Is Munmu the Dragon King to be trusted? Probably not.

Throughout New Super-Man, writer Gene Luen Yang has shown little love for characters in positions of power — they lie and manipulate, almost without exception. Munmu does not exactly scream “trustworthy” when his first order of business after finding a new surrogate is mass murder. Red lettering is used in the issue to denote characters speaking in Korean, and letterer Dave Sharpe uses this to terrific effect, making Munmu’s screams drip with menace.

The New Super-Man series has been consistent in its portrayal of characters’ greatest strength coming from within. Right now, Ahn Kwang-Jo is letting himself be ordered around while neglecting his own moral compass, leaving readers waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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