Review: New Super-Man #12

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
June 16th, 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 #12
Comics
0
Price:
Intricate

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 16, 2017
Last modified:June 16, 2017

Summary:

Despite one particularly gruesome image, this issue combined sophisticated storytelling, imaginative artwork, and satisfying surprises in a well crafted tale.

Price:
Intricate

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On June 16, 2017
Last modified:June 16, 2017

Summary:

Despite one particularly gruesome image, this issue combined sophisticated storytelling, imaginative artwork, and satisfying surprises in a well crafted tale.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

New Super-Man #12 furthered the series’ Zero Ultimatum storyline in an installment scripted by Gene Luen Yang and pencilled by Billy Tan. Kong Kenan, Peng Deilan, and the Justice League of China confront Super-Man Zero and Sorcerer Monk Fahai in another jam-packed issue, which ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King is here to review.

New Super-Man #12 Review:

The central characters undergo a series of identity crises in The Zero Ultimatum — Part Two. Kenan’s superhero status is threatened by the surprise appearance of his predecessor, and he is later shaken by still greater revelations. Wonder-Woman’s true nature is exposed, causing Bat-Man to meditate on the nature of truth, while Super-Man Zero’s virtually nonexistent sense of self makes him a useful tool for sinister forces.

(Warning: Some spoilers follow!)

New Super-Man #12 Synopsis:

Super-Man Zero flies into the fight with Fahai, hurling the Sorcerer Monk toward Shanghai. The Justice League attempts to lead the giant mutated turtle away from the city while Kong confronts the “knock-off” hero. Strengthened by Super-Man Zero’s attack, Fahai delivers an ostensibly fatal slashing wound to Peng that reveals her genuine identity as Green Snake.

Super-Man Zero uses his solar flare power, and the resulting explosion leaves Deilan and Fahai wounded, weakened, and in their respective reptilian forms. Dr. Omen commands the Justice League to apprehend Super-Man Zero, but Kenan sympathetically allows him to escape. Bat-Man, stunned by the realization that what he had thought was a fairy tale was real, reveals to the New Super-Man the discovery of his father in the secret laboratory. Kong demands answers from Dr. Omen, who tells him the truth as Super-Man Zero attacks the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Story continues below

New Super-Man #12 Analysis:

Even if this series runs for 20 years, I will always consider Viktor Bogdanovic the title’s definitive artist, as fully as I associate Spider-Man with Steve Ditko or the X-Men with John Byrne. Nevertheless, Tan brings his own distinctive and appealing style to The Zero Ultimatum — Part Two. Haining’s inks and Gadson’s colors give the imagery of New Super-Man #12 a curious quality that is at once shadowy and luminescent. The depictions of the Buddhist realms, Bat-Man’s reaction to the vicious attack on Wonder-Woman, the explosiveness of the solar flare, and the legendary story underlying the issue all make great use of layouts, perspective, and panel borders in this visually innovative issue.

Yang once again manages masterfully to weave together seamlessly the seemingly disparate strands of Chinese mythology and philosophy with superhero comics history. The opening explanation of the six Buddhist realms — populated by gods, demigods, humans, animals, ghosts, and the damned — establishes the motifs that explain the suffering endured by the characters in The Zero Ultimatum — Part Two, but that apparent narrative exposition later recurs as an actual exchange between the players in the tale’s pages, giving literal significance to abstract concepts. The revelation of the reality of the legend of the Sorcerer and the White Snake is similarly impressive, especially in light of its effect on the rational and analytical Bat-Man.

Into the midst of this, the author interjects callbacks to the wider DC Universe that flow naturally and effortlessly from the events of the adventure. The increasingly insightful Avery Ho is especially delightful as she casually points out Kenan’s deficiencies and correctly critiques the actions of Dr. Omen’s first attempt to create an ersatz Kryptonian as “so not a ‘Superman’ thing to do!” For his part, Kong makes up for his inability to fly by making good use of his power to “leap tall buildings in a single bound”, but the highlight of New Super-Man #12 as a storytelling achievement had to be the fluid use of the Doomsday virus, overloaded by a solar flare outburst, to reduce a giant turtle man to the original form he occupied in Asian mythology. That’s a tough needle to thread, but Yang carries it off with aplomb. (He had me at giant turtle man.)

Deilan’s transformation back into the Green Snake was a bit more grisly. While Bat-Man technically was correct that “she’s not even human”, the gratuitous gore of showing Wonder-Woman being sliced in half, with nothing left to the imagination, was a regrettable choice, particularly in an era of legitimate concern over fridging and coming so soon after the dismemberment of Lois Lane in another of DC’s Superbooks. The page-turn reveal at the end of The Zero Ultimatum — Part Two was not exactly a shocker, having been hinted at strongly several issues ago, but the confirmation was presented in a dramatic manner that heightened its impact. New Super-Man #12 was not flawless, but it still was solidly executed and well worth the read.

Now that the truth is out, are you looking forward to what promises to be the mother of all follow-up issues? Bound into the comments and ComiConverse with us about The Zero Ultimatum!

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

New Super-Man #12

  • 4

Intricate

Despite one particularly gruesome image, this issue combined sophisticated storytelling, imaginative artwork, and satisfying surprises in a well crafted tale.

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