Kong Kenan has lousy luck. He’s only been China’s new Super-Man for a few minutes and he’s already being attacked by other heroes. Not to mention that his new powers are on the fritz, so he’s at a distinct disadvantage against China’s Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman. Maybe his luck is so bad because he’s a shitty person, but that’s also why he’s an intriguing lead character. Writer Gene Luen Yang distinguishes China’s Super-Man from the American original by making him a lecherous bully, someone who has no problem telling women how well they fill out their clothes and putting down others for their weight.
Kenan is a jerk, but the first issue of New Super-Man revealed that there’s a hero buried underneath that rude, obnoxious exterior, waiting for the right opportunity to break free. Giving Yang the chance to develop his own little pocket of DC mythology in China is a wise decision from DC editorial, and New Super-Man is one of the few Rebirth titles trying something new. Artist Viktor Bogdanovic has a sleek, dynamic art style heavily reminiscent of former Batman artist Greg Capullo, and these preview pages of next week’s New Super-Man #2 showcase his action skills, particularly his talent for giving a fight intense speed. That quickness is amplified by Hi-Fi’s vibrant palette, using bright neon to add extra energy to key moments in the fight.
Wonder-Woman’s use of her lasso is especially impressive: Yang pulls from his work on the Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels for movement and gestures that evoke Avatar’s waterbending, and the art team depicts that smooth, rapid motion with strong poses, lots of speed lines, and bold pinks and purples. Kenan has a long way to go before he embodies what a hero should be, but this creative team is making that journey a compelling and exciting one.