[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artists: Billy Tan, Yanqiu Li & Yanfeng Guo
Lunar New Year is a time of celebration in Chinese culture, to let go of past negativity and allow new luck and fortune to come in. It also happens to be 18 days away. Another tradition of this celebration is the worshiping of deities. And it’s also the perfect time for Shanghai to award the New Super-Man the Hero of the City award.
This procession is being MC’d by none other than Lex Luthor, and believe me he doesn’t let more than a few words out before he lets everyone know he paid for it. It makes me curious about who else has an eye on Kong and his partners. Throughout the whole procession Kong Kenan is distracted and pondering about his parents and the Ministry of Self-Reliance. This issue also reveals to us Baixi’s past a little and his family. There is also a teaser at a relationship that fans of Justice League Unlimited the television series will be glad to see here.
Along with the revelation that Luthor is sticking his head where it doesn’t really belong, we get the cute tidbit that our hero, Kong Kenan, can’t speak English!
With this issue there is a new artist working on the series, Billy Tan, and his style is great. Billy’s way of drawing reminds me a lot of manga and yet in certain panels, Frank Quitely. I also greatly enjoy the general tone of this issue. It has a very active art style that tightens and becomes more complex as scenes tense up and the lower in detail as the mood relaxes.
When it comes to Kong getting training, Gene Luen Yang is using more stereotypes and traditional tropes. Given the interesting take on Superman’s powers and other fairly unique story elements so far, it is a little stale.
Overall this is a fun issue. We learn even more about the new Bat-Man and his family. About how the Chinese Trinity really feel about the Ministry of Self-Reliance. Plus, who doesn’t like shirt twins! (you’ll have to read the issue to get that one!)