Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Super-man #6

This kind of collateral damage is why people hate the Justice League. She owes Kenan a new bubble tea.

New Super-man is aptly named. He is the update Superman needed. People may have been able to relate to Superman in the forties and fifties but even by the sixties, he was already outdated in his social mores and attitudes. It's why people call him a Boy Scout and why DC Comics is constantly trying to fix him by making him punch things harder. It's not that Superman is too soft or that he doesn't grimly punish those who deserved to be punished, like people in Gotham so desperately poor and in such hopeless circumstances that they think a job as The Joker's henchman is a solid life choice. It's that he's stiff! He's a dud! He's got a super stick up his super butt. People can't relate to him because nobody acts that noble¹. But Kenan Kong? Holy shit, yeah. This is a great start on a modern Superman. A New Super-man. This guy has flaws up the yin-yang²! Kenan is an Everyman with a decent heart and that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read. He's what the kids today would label "gross" or "problematic" and then destroy him even though he's one of the good guys.

This issue begins with The Great Ten telling the CEO of the airline hijacked by The People's Book Club of Ultimate Freedom that they're going to destroy the plane containing the Starros which also, incidentally, contains his son. He's all, "Oh, sure! National security and all that. Patriotism. Sacrifices must be made for the greater good." August General In Iron and the other nine great Chinese heroes whose names nobody can remember fly off to murder a bunch of civilians. I suppose one of them could save Lixin while the others destroyed the people with stars on their faces. But there are only ten of them. One probably can't be spared for that. Also, it's probably too fiddly a job to remove the Starros from the faces of the innocent victims. Time is probably of the essence or some other cliché. Better to just blow up the plane, I suppose.

Kenan figures out how to control his super-qi so that his powers come back. He's going to need his freeze breath to snap the Starros from the hostages' faces. Hopefully he'll get help from Lixin and Lixin will say, "Always bet on fat," and then become Kenan's sidekick.

Speaking of Passenger 57 (sort of), I really need to rewatch that movie. I've claimed for most of my life that it's the worst movie I've ever seen and I don't think I continue saying that if I can't completely remember all of the reasons why it's so bad. I remember one my main problems with it (and this is a real narrative problem and not a problem with how the plane takes off and then lands at a fair so they can fight on a Ferris wheel and then the plane takes off again (which I think is something that happened but, as I said, it's been decades since I've seen the movie) was how Blade quit the police force because he tried to fight back against criminals and his wife was killed as a result. So he decides he'll never do that shit again. But then he's on this plane that gets taken hostage and what is the first thing he does? He interferes! And what happens? Somebody immediately dies! How does that not fucking ruin him right there? Oh yeah! Because the new person to die wasn't his wife, I guess.

I don't have anything snarky to say, I just love this panel. I love Viktor's art.

It's not that I'm not eloquent enough to describe why I love this comic book so much³, it's just that I'm too lazy to figure it all out. I know it has something to do with how Kenan's character is being fleshed out and how his Daddy Issues aren't just the thing that drives him but they have affected who he's become and how he approaches life. I like that the bad guys have a reason for existing and that they're not totally bad guys. And how the good guys have a reason for existing and they're not totally good guys. I like how Kenan and Baixi and Deilan are caught up in a vague political struggle which they've never really considered; they're just young and excited about being superheroes. I like how this is a real world with real characters. I love the fucking art. And Gene Luen Yang is writing an entertaining, humorous, joyful story. I wish that this would be the example for future generations of comic book writers. This should be the standard.

Kenan slaps some Starros on the People's Book Club of Ultimate Freedom members, thinking he's solved the problem. But instead, he's just made them even more loyal to Uncle Human Firecracker. Flying Dragon Father chases Uncle Human Firecracker to the cockpit while Kenan tries to get his freeze breath to work. He can't quite get it and just blows in Wonder-Woman's face, so she flings him against the wall where he discovers his future sidekick hiding.

What a great team!

Super-man manages to freeze the Starro off of Bat-man's face because Bat-man is easier to manhandle than Wonder-Woman. It's probably a good thing because Bat-man comes up with a plan to drop the temperature in the cabin to freezing which kills all of the Starros. Of course, that means the People's Book Club of Ultimate Freedom Members are once again free to act like assholes. Except that's when The Great Ten arrive and the Book Club decides working with the Justice League of China to stop The Great Ten from killing everybody is probably the more responsible revolutionary choice.

While the fight rages outside, Super-man and Flying Dragon Father confront Uncle Human Firecracker. The fight ends about how you'd expect a comic book fight in which the superhero's father is a participant. Flying Dragon Father is gravely injured when he shields Kenan (who has, once again, lost his powers due to being overly emotional) from Uncle Human Firecracker's final fireworks display⁴. Now that the day is basically saved, Kenan turns his attention to flying the airplane to a hospital.

You can't really go wrong with an origin story that takes bits and pieces from Superman's, Batman's, and Spider-man's origins.

Super-man decides he's going to find who at the Ministry of Self-Reliance ordered the death of his mother, Leather Liberty Goddess, and make them pay. Bat-man and Wonder-Woman agree to help him. They've seen enough bullshit at the Ministry that they're ready to continue with the project but carefully and full of suspicion.

The epilogue reveals that Dr. Omen has the body of Flying Dragon Father in a Bacta tank because he's only dead and not dead dead. Plus she calls him "My love" so it's not looking good for her as not the prime suspect in Kenan's mother's death. Kenan's dad might also have some 'splaining to do.

What Did We Learn?
It's easy to care about people we know and love. It's heroic to care what happens to everybody.

The Ranking!
+1! So good!

¹I don't mean to suggest that a character like Superman isn't necessary. The DC Universe needs somebody filling that noble role. But too often, he's brought down from that place to try to make him more popular and I think that's the wrong move. Superman should be above pettiness and politics. He should be as close to non-violent as possible. Go ahead and make him so strong that the Fangenders lose their mind over how boring he is because nothing can defeat him. Those aren't the stories Superman should be involved in! Sure, he can stop some monster threatening the universe easily but that shouldn't be the main thrust of the story because, yes, that would be a boring story. Make the main thrust of the story how Superman needs to defeat this creature while also making it to Lois's parents' house for dinner on time because he's trying to make a good impression and they already think he's not good enough for Lois. See how that story works? Two people think he's not good enough for their daughter even though he's saving everything. But he can't tell them that so he has to prove himself as Clark in Clark ways without Superman fucking it all up for him.

²Holy shit! Where in my dark mental recesses did that phrase come from? I almost changed it to "out the wazoo" after my brain suggested "up the yin-yang" because I didn't want to expose the racial insensitivity of my subconscious. But how relevant is this blog, really, if I begin censoring my id? Not that I could since it murdered my superego long ago.

³I'm pretty fucking eloquent, bitches.

⁴Meaning he blew himself up.

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