In 2016, DC announced a new installment in the Superman Family books: New Super-Man. Written by Gene Luen Yang, the story followed a boy, Kenan (pronounced Ken Ann) Kong, who is given powers of the Man of Steel to protect his home of Shanghai. During his journey, he gains allies in the form of the Justice League of China. Chinese heroes such as Baixi the Bat-man, Deilan the Wonder Woman, and Avery Ho the Flash soon joined Kenan on his adventures. Their adventures came to a head when they challenged the villain All-Yang and teamed up with the American Justice League to save China. Now the series has been renamed to atone for its shift from the New Super-Man to the rest of the League. What adventures will they go on next?
**Some Spoilers Below**
After the victory against All-Yang, The Justice League of China have been training for the next big attack. Kenan has worked on bringing inner balance to himself with Avery while Baixi and Deilan have begun a relationship. During one of their dates, however, the couple come across the Apokoliptian menace, Sleez, absorbing the energy of civilians. This leads to the JLC jumping into action and save the day. While all this is going on, a student in North Korea is taken into custody after water-based powers begin to manifest. These powers, along with him summoning sea creatures to aid him, point towards him becoming a new version of Aquaman.
Despite it being numbered 20, this does feel like the first issue of a new series. It gives you just enough of the characters to make them relatable and give enough incentive to make you want to look back at the rest of the run. The action is fun, especially now that they’re working as a team. Before the retitling, the New Super-Man would usually run in and try to fight the villain himself. This action of working with the team shows that he has grown as a character.
This kind of character development really brings the world to life and pulls you in. You want to see what will happen to these characters as they feel more alive. Even the North Korean student, Kwang-Jo, feels realistic and you want to see how he’ll get out of trouble. This world feels alive and when you pick it up you won’t want to put it down.
While the story is written extremely well, the art waivers in terms of quality. Brent Peeples pencilwork doesn’t feel right for this story’s characters. When they’re far in the background, the details blur together to become unrecognizable. When they’re too close, they look 30 years older than the young adults they are. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between for these two styles and it doesn’t do the book justice. That being said, Peeples designs of the monsters Kwang-Jo summons is quite creepy and imaginative. Hi-Fi’s colors also try to help out the illustrations, but in the end, the art just falls short.
I had a ton of fun coming back to DC’s version of China. The Justice League of China are still interesting as they grow, the action is exciting, and the plot leaves you hungry for more. The art, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired, but the story does most of the heavy lifting. If you haven’t had a chance to read this series yet, this is the perfect jumping-on point. I highly recommend this if you want a new series to read.