New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #24 – Gene Luen Yang, Writer; Brent Peeples, Penciller; Matt Santorelli, Scott Hanna, Inkers; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: So Sad This Series Is Ending
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: All good things must come to an end, and that includes New Super-Man, the most original and inventive book in the DC Rebirth roster. Never selling well in single issues, this title got a brief reprieve for an arc and reinvented itself as an Asian Justice League title.
New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #24, the final issue, pulls back from the global threats earlier in the series and puts the focus squarely on Kenan and his team. After inducting Dragonborn into their roster, they’re enjoying some time off. After a humiliating loss in video games, Kenan goes to meditate, hoping to find a way to liberate his mentor I-Ching from the spirit realm. Despite I-Ching’s warning, he pushes further in his exploration of his other side – and winds up accidentally sucking himself and his teammates into a dark mirror world where they’re confronted by twisted versions of their future selves. Deilan and Dragonborn have let go of their humanity entirely, Baixi has turned into a darker version of Alpaca, and Avery has lost control of her powers.
Kenan, meanwhile, finds his twisted future self ruling over this realm, having completely given himself over to the darker side of the yin-yang equation. We’ve seen quite a few battles involving heroes and their evil alternate selves, but this one feels different because it’s genuinely rooted in the choices Kenan has made over the course of the series. What exactly is going on with Kenan’s powers has been a little hard to follow over the course of the series, but this issue did a great job of bringing the story arc to a close and tying it in with the larger issues Kenan has been battling over his series By the time it’s over, Kenan’s let go of a lot of his demons and started looking towards the future. Sadly, this series will end after this issue, but I’m hoping that doesn’t mean the end for either Kenan or Gene Luen Yang at DC. I’d love to see him continue to write these characters, maybe in a team book. It’s been one of DC’s hidden gems and I hope it finds a second life in collections.
Corrina: Kenan started off as a bully, a bold move for a superhero origin, which mainly feature people with troubles who are out of their depth but still try to do the right thing.
What became clear early in New Super-Man was that Kenan was also struggling with problems far out of his emotional depth but that he choose the wrong coping method: taking it out on others. His entire series has been one long exploration of moving from being a bully tormented by inner doubt and wanting to take it out on the world, to a hero who is worthy of his chosen family.
Kenan’s blood family is always going to be a mess. But he realized what many people stuck in this real-life situation do: that there are all kinds of families, and Kenan’s found his in the Justice League of China. It’s a beautiful emotional wrap-up to this series. Yet I can’t help think there are many more stories to be told with these characters, such as delving deeper into Delian’s background and people. Maybe someday.
The fun of this book is evident in this last issue as well, with Dragonson summoning creatures to bring him food or drink and with the video game battles at the beginning.
Find this book in collected form and read it. And read it with your kids too. You’ll both have a great time.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.