Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic (Pencils), Richard Friend (Inks), Hi-Fi (Colours)
Release Date: 10th August, 2016
Picture a world where Superman didn’t fall from the heavens, where Batman wasn’t driven by the thirst to avenge his parents murder and where Wonder Woman didn’t rescue a marooned Steve Trevor and return with him to fight the Nazis. Instead, imagine a world where these heroes were created in a lab, born out of fear of being left behind in the superhero arms race. This is the premise of New Super-Man, the latest title in DC’s ongoing Rebirth.
Set in a modern day China, the story revolves around a mild mannered teenage bully who is plucked from a his everyday life and endowed with powers similar to those of the Man of Steel. He is joined by two other fabricated heroos called The Bat-Man and The Wonder Woman of China. The story is a curious amalgam of the origins of Captain America, Iron Man and Suicide Squad. In fact there is even a panel lifted directly from the first Iron Man movie; and therein lies the problem I have with this comic.
I simply cannot get past the similarities to what can best be called a ‘homage’ to the MCU. The stories that have been so successful for Marvel are being dissected and Frankensteined to make some kind of alternative DC monster using the prime cuts of the MCU. The very essence of what drives these heroes as we know them has been removed, leaving the reader with a sanitised version of the Justice League.
That said, ignoring the flaws in the basic premise itself, the writing and the artwork are both incredibly solid. Gene Luen Yung, in writing a very ambitious story, embellishes the characters with a sense of East-meets -West personality and appeal. Bogdanovic’s artwork continues the fine run of form which showed in the Batman Arkham Knight prequel comic, giving the environments a bright and vibrant feel you would expect from a modern Metropolis in China.
Unfortunately, in spite of the evident talent of the comic’s creators, I cannot help but feel that this story is leap too far and would have been far better suited being based on all new characters and not standing on the shoulders of DC’s existing giants.
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The writer of this piece was: John Patterson
John Tweets from @jpeg37