Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic
Publisher: DC Comics
After a solid but flawed opening issue, New Super-Man begins to flex its muscles in an issue that not only improves upon the first, but also promises even more potential for future issues to come. New characters and story elements are wonderfully woven into the script leading to an issue that is both more fun and has more meat to chew on.
This issue largely focuses on introducing the Bat-Man and Wonder Women of China and how they get on with our very own New Super-Man. Kenan’s arrogant and explosive personality certainly brings a lot of fun to the interactions, as the first two heroes of the Justice League of China seem just of cock sure of themselves and unwilling to bend under Kenan’s power. Yang hits the perfect balance in giving his cast fiery and stand offish personalities without making them too unlikable or obnoxious. It makes their constant headbutting a joy to read, containing hilarious put downs and some nice karmatic moments for Kenan after his bullying last issue. There’s some more depth afforded to Kenan here too, including some more subtle instances of him being a jerk which still make his character super fun and unpredictable. It ties in super well with the ending, which completely flips the book on its head, and has ensured I’ll definitely be back for issue 3.
The script also takes time to address some of the concerns I had last issue, such as the Chinese governments willingness to imbue a random overnight celebrity with superpowers alongside seemingly no counter measures. While the satisfaction of the explanations will vary, it’s at least nice to see Yang slow down after the fast pace of the first issue and address some of the questionable plot choices. The pacing in this issue too is much improved, it feels like the plot moves forward in very significant ways, but at a rate that made total sense. It’s probably due to the mix of solidly fun character interactions and not having to set up so much stuff, instead being able to set up some sub plots while expanding and developing the main cast. The books monthly schedule also helps I think, a lot of DC’s fortnightly books have moved at an insane pace that having something monthly feels rather refreshing. This does mean though that the awesome cliffhanger that flips the book on its head will now take longer to play out, but thems the breaks with monthly comics.
What’s really contributing a lot to the refreshing feeling of the book is in Bogdanovic’s art. There’s a really fun, traditional superhero style to it while still feeling so bright and new. The colors in particular feel so vibrant and keep a big and joyous sense of fun to the script. There’s still some odd things about the character models I don’t quite understand, like Kenan constantly calling the Bat-Man fat but the art makes him look buff as hell while Kenan has a weirdly doughy face. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a character thing, like Kenan projecting weight issues onto other people, but it’s something I’d like to see more consistency in. Other than that, I absolutely adore the character designs for the Justice League of China so far. There’s a lot of cool twists on the original heroes (including the B.U.V., just read the book as I don’t want to spoil the joke) while still feeling unique as their own creations.
Overall, New Super-Man #2 is a strong step up from the previous issue while simultaneously promising that the best is yet to come. Yang is proving that, given the space, he can build something great, and both he and Bogdanovic are truly doing some cool things on this book. If the series can continue this upward trend of quality then New Super-Man can really be a highlight of the Superman line.