Review: New Super-Man #11

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
May 14th, 2017

T. Kyle King is a lawyer, a former sports blogger, a panelist on the "Twin Peaks"-centric "Wrapped in Podcast", and a Superman guy.

Review: New Super-Man #11
Comics
0
Price:
Outstanding

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 14, 2017
Last modified:May 14, 2017

Summary:

What's not to love about a superhero comic book that combines a Chinese legend with the Doomsday Virus to produce a 21st-century giant turtle man?

Price:
Outstanding

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On May 14, 2017
Last modified:May 14, 2017

Summary:

What's not to love about a superhero comic book that combines a Chinese legend with the Doomsday Virus to produce a 21st-century giant turtle man?

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

New Super-Man #11 was one of several Superbooks that began new story arcs last Wednesday. Writer Gene Luen Yang was joined by penciller Billy Tan for the opening chapter of The Zero Ultimatum. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King, who covers every DC Comics hero whose chest is emblazoned with an “S”, brings you this review.

New Super-Man #11 Review:

Old friends, fresh developments, and unexpected enemies all make appearances in The Zero Ultimatum — Part One. When Kong Kenan experiences a breakthrough in the development of his metahuman abilities, will the New Super-Man’s new power be enough to enable the Justice League of China to defeat its greatest threat yet?

(Warning: Some spoilers follow!)

New Super-Man #11 Synopsis:

In the waters off the coast of Shanghai, Zheng Shiqiang makes a great discovery, but his celebration is cut short when the China White Triad slays the professor and his team so they can steal the apparent artifact he has found. Studying stillness under the tutelage of Master I-Ching, Kenan unlocks his super-speed, affording Avery Ho the opportunity to escape the boredom of being tested by Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman so the Flash can race her impulsive Justice League teammate.

When Dr. Omen makes Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman aware of Professor Zheng’s death, Peng Deilan recognizes his discovery as Sorcerer Monk Fahai, the turtle spirit who imprisoned her atop a mountain. Snakepit injects the Doomsday Virus into the seeming statue, awakening and empowering him. The creature thus created emerges from the ocean to attack Shanghai, requiring the Justice League to unite to combat him. Elsewhere, Amanda Waller (accompanied by Harley Quinn) confronts Lex Luthor about Kong’s recent visit to Metropolis, while Luo Longde — acting at the instigation of a hidden manipulator — forces Dr. Omen to unleash an unstable secret weapon.

Story continues below

New Super-Man #11 Analysis:

Because regular artist Viktor Bogdanovic’s distinctive stylistic signature is very nearly as strongly associated with this series as Yang’s unique writing, the graphics of The Zero Ultimatum — Part One initially appear somewhat jarring. Once the audience becomes accustomed to the unexpected imagery, though, there is much to like about the visuals of New Super-Man #11. Tan’s pencils, Tako Zhang’s inks, and Ying Zhan’s colors together effectively convey both motion and emotion in an issue that includes ample instances of each. There is a significant degree of fluidity to the portrayal of the race between Avery and Kenan, while the mutated Monk Fahai is rendered with a strong sense of menace and scale.

The sorcerer at the center of The Zero Ultimatum — Part One may represent the best blending of elements yet in Yang’s consistently inventive series. Fahai, who addresses Deilan as “Green Snake”, is a familiar figure from the White Snake legend who was given greater prominence by being portrayed on film by Jet Li. Yang proceeds to pump the Chinese legend up with superheroic steroids by infecting the monk with the Doomsday Virus from Superman: Doomed, and the result is a tremendously intimidating and intriguing twist on one of the iconic images of the Silver Age: Jimmy Olsen as the giant turtle man. Add to that a distinctly Chinese take on the commonplace Flash/Superman race, along with a Suicide Squad aside that carried the promise of paying future dividends, and New Super-Man #11 deftly mixed a multitude of disparate ingredients into a clever concoction.

Among the numerous pieces creatively stitched together were several originating in the series itself. Kenan and his coevals have charted a course laden with nuance, so much so that nuggets previously coming across as momentary explanations for motivations or throwaway bits of character backstory now are winding their way around to hitherto unsuspected relevance. Clues like Deilan’s earlier incarceration went overlooked until such details were illuminated by their placement in a greater context; Zheng’s and Luo’s prior passing presence has now acquired newfound noteworthiness. Like the snaking path of Kong’s qi, the road Yang has mapped includes many bends, but New Super-Man #11 doubled back to give us a fresh perspective on past subtleties we may have missed.

The dialogue of The Zero Ultimatum — Part One is as lively and engaging as ever, economically and insightfully providing glimpses into what makes these characters tick. This series has introduced the audience to a host of clearly defined individuals while letting the reader get to know them slowly. As a comfort born of familiarity has settled over the title’s loyal fans, extrinsic elements have been folded in convincingly and gracefully, creating novel combinations like Avery’s interactions with Kenan. All this works wonderfully well, both as character study and as heroic adventure, and Yang is exceptionally adept at fusing the ancient and modern mythologies of the Middle Kingdom and the DC Universe into forms truly suited to both realms. New Super-Man #11 is but the latest example of this gifted storyteller’s capable craftsmanship, which invariably is a treat to read.

Did you have zero complaints about the latest chapter in the saga of Kong Kenan? Let us know your thoughts on the latest issue in the comments below!

T. Kyle King is an Expert Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

New Super-Man #11

  • 5

Outstanding

What's not to love about a superhero comic book that combines a Chinese legend with the Doomsday Virus to produce a 21st-century giant turtle man?

(Visited 102 times, 1 visits today)

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No