New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 20: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: There’s a common belief that kids raised in sheltered, restrictive environments will go absolutely wild at their very first taste of freedom. I don’t know if the truth is that extreme — I was about as sheltered as they came as a child, and all my rebellions have been rather tame — but there is a lot of truth to the idea that needless restrictions and censorship just hurt people, regressing emotions and hindering growth and in many cases leading to actual physical punishment for meaningless offenses. New Super-Man and the Justice League of China 20 taps into the latter when it introduces its new “Aquaman,” Ahn Kwang-Jo. Continue reading

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An Overdue Spotlight Turns on Laney Lan in New Super-Man 19

by Mark Mitchell

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

When New Super-Man premiered, Laney Lan, the book’s Lois Lane equivalent (whose name my iPad always wants to autocorrect like she’s a local area network), was primed to play a prominent role in the series — Kenan Kong had goo-goo eyes for her, and her plucky reporting skills promised to help Kenan unravel the mysteries of his family. But somewhere along the way, series creator Gene Luen Yang seemingly lost interest in repeating the ideas of Superman beat for beat, or perhaps just couldn’t find room for Laney as the book began to sprawl. But as Yang prepares to relaunch New Super-Man as New Super-Man and the Justice League of China, Mariko Tamaki and Richard Friend’s one-off New Super-Man 19 circles back to turn a spotlight on Laney — maybe as a taste of a larger role in the story going forward, or maybe as a last hurrah for a character who never quite had a place.

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A Satisfying “Ending” in New Super-Man 18

by Mark Mitchell

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

New Super-Man has always been a messy book, and so it’s fitting that its “conclusion” should be messy as well. Clearly intended at one point to be the final issue of the series, New Super-Man 18 is Gene Luen Yang’s usual mix of strange pacing salvaged by strong character moments.

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Joy and Frustration in New Super-Man 17

by Mark Mitchell

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

There’s a lot of joy in the opening pages of Gene Luen Yang and Joe Lalich’s New Super-Man 17 as Kenan Kong and his Justice League of China friends get to meet their older, more experienced OG idols. Super-Man and Superman already met a few issues back, and Avery and the Flash are already buds, but this is the first time Bat-Man gets to meet Batman, and Wonder-Woman gets to meet Wonder Woman, and it doesn’t disappoint.

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New Super-Man 16 Drags Historic Racism into the Present

by Mark Mitchell

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

Recently on my morning commute, I’ve been catching up on the Washington Post‘s new(ish) podcast, Constitutional. The podcast’s third episode, “Nationality,” traces the story of Wong Kim Ark, a man born in San Francisco to Chinese parents whose Supreme Court case determined that being born in America made you an American citizen. And while that brief summary makes it sound like his story is a victory for the foundational ideals of America, the details paint a much less satisfying picture. It’s no secret that America is historically a deeply racist country, and that efforts to make forward progress are continually contested making victories hard-won. New Super-Man 16 reminds us how casually pervasive racism used to be, but also provides a measure for some of the progress that has been made. Continue reading

The Art Fails the Cast of New Super-Man 15

by Mark Mitchell

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

Gene Luen Yang hasn’t shown much interest in subtlety throughout the run of New Super-Man, but even by those standards New Super-Man 15 is remarkably direct. Multiple times during the action, characters directly address the differences between the West and China. These differences — language, cultural, and especially political — come into literal conflict when the Justice League of China brawls with the Suicide Squad. It’s not subtle, but it is exciting. All of the action, plus the Kong family’s domestic drama continuing to build, makes for the most thrilling issue of New Super-Man to date. Continue reading

Chinese Folklore Makes Revelations Fresh in New Super-Man 12

by Mark Mitchell

New Super-Man 12

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

I’m a big theme park nerd, so the 2010 announcement of Shanghai Disneyland was big news. For anyone who followed the development and construction of Disney’s first resort in mainland China, the guiding design principle you heard over and over from those involved in the project was “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese” — melding the spirit of Chinese culture with the best of Disney. New Super-Man was launched by Gene Luen Yang 12 issues ago with a similar promise, to pair the best elements of superhero stories with Chinese folklore to create something entirely new. New Super-Man 12 is the first issue to really deliver the full potential of that promise. Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 5/10/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Gotham Academy Second Semester 9, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 20, New Super-Man 11, Shade, the Changing Girl 8 and Wonder Woman 22. Also, we will be discussing All-Star Batman 10 on Monday and Bug: The Adventures of Forager 1 on Wednesday, so check back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 4/12/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing The Flash 20, New Super-Man 10 and Wonder Woman 20. Also, we discussed Gotham Academy Second Semester 8 yesterday and will be discussing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 18 on Tuesday. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/22/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Flash 19, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 17, and Wonder Woman 19. Also, we’ll be discussing Batgirl 9 on Friday, so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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