Review: New Super-Man #13

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
July 22nd, 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 #13
Comics
0
Price:
Good

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On July 22, 2017
Last modified:July 22, 2017

Summary:

While perhaps not on a par with this series' best installments, this issue nevertheless moved swiftly, advanced established storylines, and developed the central character.

Price:
Good

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On July 22, 2017
Last modified:July 22, 2017

Summary:

While perhaps not on a par with this series' best installments, this issue nevertheless moved swiftly, advanced established storylines, and developed the central character.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

New Super-Man #13, despite picking up where the previous issue left off, served as the start of a new story arc. Writer Gene Luen Yang and penciller Billy Tan joined forces for the team-up tale of Shanghai Under Siege — Part One, and ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King has some thoughts to offer on the most recent issue.

New Super-Man #13 Review:

Dr. Omen has just offered a shocking revelation to Kong Kenan, but should the Shanghai Super-Man trust her to speak the truth… and does he have time to mull over the implications of her startling claim while faced with a new danger?

(Warning: Major spoilers follow!)

New Super-Man #13 Synopsis:

As she falls from the toppling Oriental Pearl Tower, Dr. Omen cries out to Kenan that she is his mother. Super-Man doubts her declaration, but he leaps to save her, nevertheless. Before Kong can reach Dr. Omen, though, Project Zero — now calling himself “Emperor Super-Man” — flies by and captures her. The Flash and Master I-Ching arrive to aid the confused Kenan, who impulsively rushes off to the now-empty secret laboratory on the Loess Plateau.

Master I-Ching helps Kong to calm himself and see the proper path forward. While Super-Man undertakes to reassemble the Justice League of China, the Emperor and the sinister shadow of the Master attempt to intimidate the kidnapped Dr. Omen. They threaten to boil Flying Dragon General — her husband — alive, thereby forcing her to free the imprisoned supervillains (including Feng Rongpei) from the Crab Shell. With Shanghai under siege, Super-Man tracks down Bat-Man, then they and the Flash take off in search of Wonder-Woman.

New Super-Man

Credit: DC Comics

New Super-Man #13 Analysis:

The quality of this series has been so consistently high that a merely solid issue may seem somewhat pedestrian by comparison, but Shanghai Under Siege — Part One, while workmanlike, nevertheless was well constructed, evenly paced, and entertaining. For instance, Tan’s pencils, Haining’s inks, and Gadson’s colors generally give the visuals of New Super-Man #13 an unembellished forthrightness unencumbered by undue adornment, but the artwork’s clarity should not be mistaken for plainness. Fine lines, subtle shadows, and distinct hues give texture both to Emperor Super-Man’s headgear and to the ice in which he encases Kenan through the use of freeze breath.

Story continues below

Such touches appear throughout Shanghai Under Siege — Part One, from close-ups on the distressed faces of Kong Zhongdan and Dr. Omen to Feng Rongpei’s ill-fated attempt to re-create Bane’s infamous breaking of Batman’s back. Stylistically, Tan’s figures are blockier and less fluid than those of the title’s original artist, Viktor Bogdanovic, but the penciller of New Super-Man #13 lends impressive nuance to the characters’ facial features using remarkably few lines. The combination of crisp definition contributed by Haining and soft luminescence provided by Gadson gives a moving moodiness to such a physically active issue.

Similarly, Shanghai Under Siege — Part One appears at first to possess less depth than most issues in this series, yet this largely is a function of rapid story advancements initially masking the richness underlying those developments (much as the recent plot-driven Part Nine and Part Ten of Twin Peaks:  The Return may not have seemed as profound as the more abstract and impressionistic Part Eight). The usual allusions to Chinese culture and history are significantly more subdued in New Super-Man #13 — where they are confined primarily to a jumble of Chinese characters and a brief mention of Xiang Yu having Zhou Ke boiled alive — but, with a dozen prior issues having previously been published, this title now has its own mythology upon which to build. Yang takes full advantage of that fact.

The Ministry of Self-Reliance’s secret laboratory in Shangxi Province has been a foreboding presence since the last days of the New 52. The audience has long known that Flying Dragon General survived in a state of stasis, and readers have suspected for quite a while that Dr. Omen actually was Kenan’s mother. Our hero may not yet have learned that Master I-Ching has a nefarious double, but we have been aware of that fact for some time. The revelation in New Super-Man #13 that Project Zero is really Kenan’s older brother is a tad too Racer X for my tastes, yet Yang’s masterful weaving of this title’s unique lore — coupled with the hero’s growth from superficial youth to emerging leader — makes this a forgivable trope that scarcely diminishes Shanghai Under Siege — Part One as a strong, if not superb, story.

Follow your qi into the comments and ComiConverse with us about New Super-Man #13!

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

New Super-Man #13

  • 4

Good

While perhaps not on a par with this series' best installments, this issue nevertheless moved swiftly, advanced established storylines, and developed the central character.

(Visited 63 times, 1 visits today)

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No