[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Gene Leun Yang
Artists: Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, & Hi-Fi
What do you fight for? What should you fight for? The Justice League fights for a variety of reasons — typically justice, truth, peace, and the safety of all peoples. But what if the Justice League is wrong? What if the people or government they fight to protect is wrong, are the Justice League then wrong?
The Justice League of China, created by the Ministry of Self-Reliance, fights to protect the people and government of China. In this way, they act as the Justice League acts. At the same time, The Freedom Fighters of China fight for truth, justice, and democracy, is that not the correct stand to take?
New Super-Man #5 is full of political ideologies and struggles that are far more complex that those faced by Superman. Kong Kenan may not be fighting a city destroying, cosmos eating, time altering monster from the Nth Dimension, but he’s found himself caught up in a much harder struggle. The struggle for what is right in a complex world where there may be no correct side.
Along with intense ideological meanings, this issue is packed with twists and a look at Kenan’s powers and how they relate to Superman’s own. Not to mention a great one-liner that references Batman’s explanation for how he defies logic and explanation at times.
The writing in this issue is fantastic, Gene Leun Yang has seriously crafted a story that will have readers struggling with their morals. To appreciate the complexity of the arguments being presented already in this issue and series, you really have to think about it. Kong Kenan is perfect for this story because he is young, rash, and sees the world in a simple way, right and wrong. Further, the villains never distract from the political message while still being entertaining.
One of the villains in this issue appears out of nowhere and within the context of everyone we have met, it is unexpected and almost out of place. There was no foreshadowing of his emergence as a villain, or maybe antagonist is a better word in light of the moral conflict of the story. I would have liked to see some foreshadowing to ease in the transition in order to make it flow instead of feeling sudden, like stubbing a toe in a dark room.
This issue is excellent. It combines good characters, a perfect story, and beautiful art to keep its readers entertained and more importantly, thinking.