Review: Superman Smashes the Klan #3
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Letters: Janice Chiang
SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN #3: The Daily Planet is under attack! When the Klan invades the newspaper’s office, they kidnap Lois Lane, Perry White, and Inspector Henderson. The Klan’s attacks have separated our heroes, forcing Roberta and Jimmy Olsen to step up and help save the Daily Planet staff. But the Klan has one more surprise to reveal. In order to save his friends and stop the Klan once and for all, Superman must face his own identity to unleash his full potential and ultimately accept who he really is.
Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, The Terrifics, New Super-Man) concludes his personal retelling of the adventures of the Lee family as they team up with Superman to smash the Klan.
Every now and then a book comes out that serves as a sort of reset for readers’ expectations. Superman might be having massive brawls across space with dangerous aliens who’ve seemingly shown up out of nowhere after decades of established lore. Or he might be teaming up with whatever super pals he has to take on an even greater threat. But at the end of the day, Superman fans need stories like this to remind us why we love the hero in the first place.
Now that it’s completed, Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru’s periodical joins the collection of quintessential Superman stories. Wrapping things up Yang ties everything together, from the Klan of the Fiery Kross’s attack on Metropolis, to the Lee family finding peace, to Superman gaining the confidence to fly. By leaving the flight to the final issue we as readers get to reconnect with our Superman and feel his triumph with him as he shows off his ‘new’ skill.
Beyond just ranting about how good this story is, one of the standout aspects is how the Klan are treated. While they have cartoonish features to fit the tone of the book, Yang has given them a matureness that can really teach readers a thing or two about hatred. Without delving into spoilers, this issue explores why the Klan are the way they are and how there are layers to their exploitation of hatred.
Add to this Gurihiru’s wonderful artwork and you have a truly fantastic book. The cartoony style lends itself perfectly to this coming of age story. Even better it fosters a sense of innocence which makes the scenes depicting racism stand out as even more abhorrent.
There’s honestly nothing to criticise here. Perhaps if one went through the issue with a comical magnifying glass, they could find the odd issue to nit-pick. But as it stands this is a near perfect issue.
This is one to read. If you’re a Superman fan then great, but if not you should definitely still read it. Yang and Gurihiru have created a new classic that deal with hate, identity, acceptance and community. The book reminds us why Superman was our favourite hero and makes us feel like the Lee children as we rediscover the wonder of Superman.