Title: New Super-Man, Volume 1: Made in China
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: DC Comics
Lenght: 144 pages
The New Super-man is a very solid book with some issues.
After an act of heroism, Kenan Kong gets chosen to take a part in an experiment to create a government- funded Justice League of China, led by the mysterious and shadowy government agency. The story is interesting and keeps you hooked with its twists and turns, especially those involving Kenan’s father. Although, to be fair, I wasn’t a huge fan of the implications that freedom-fighters fighting for democracy are as bad as their oppressors.
The problem with a book like this is that it needs a strong protagonist to truly succeed, and it doesn’t. Konan is, simply put, a bully. He’s a fatshaming bully. The book opens with him being a bully and he continues his behavior through the book, without it ever being challenged.
(“The way he’s cowering… Luo Lixin used to look like that right before I beat him up. This is gonna be so much fun!”)
He bullies his classmate, calls his team-mate “tubby”, flirts with every female character to the point of unpleasantness, acts like an immature asshole and is overall jerk without principles. His character development come too late in the book to redeem him and doesn’t even touch upon the main problems.
Surprisingly, the team dynamics are very well done. Despite starting off on wrong foot and then constantly bickering, Kenan, Baixi and Deilan have a realistically developing friendship that was wonderful to watch.
I wish I could’ve liked the book more, but Kenan made it almost impossible.