World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

30th June 2022

New Super-Man #1 (review)

New Super-Man #1 (review)
DC Comics, September 2016
Writer: Gene Luen Yang

American publisher DC Comics are presently undertaking one of its periodic hedge-trimming exercises, where its character properties are revamped or reconstituted so as to remove complexity caused by years of convoluted plots. This time around the exercise is called “Rebirth”.

In this “Rebirth”-branded title, DC Comics have made the editorial decision to create a Chinese version of its premier property, Superman. This is achieved in the form of a new, Shanghainese character called Kong Kenan. Kong is not a typical altruistic hero. The characters is in fact a conceited bully who picks on Lixin, the overweight son of a media mogul, stealing his lunch and money. In a moment of bravado, as a supervillain called Blue Condor is about to kidnap Lixin, Kong throws a can at the Blue Condor’s head. Lixin is saved – but not from Kong, who continues to extort Lixin for cash. Kong’s moment of courage is captured in social media and he quickly becomes a minor TV celebrity.

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The Rise and Fall of Axiom (Review)

The Rise and Fall of Axiom (Review)
Legendary Comics, August 2016
Writer: Mark Waid

DC Comics’ iconic superhero character “Superman” has long been the subject of exploration by way of character doppelganger. Legendary Comics’ title “The Rise and Fall of Axiom” may seem like yet another addition to the increasingly long line of “Superman” deconstruction stories, but it contains enough variations on the formula to entertain. Superman arrives on Earth as an extraterrestrial infant: American writer Mark Waid has written many notable stories involving Superman for DC Comics and knows the character mythos as well as anyone. In “The Rise and Fall of Axiom”, Mr Waid instead considers a pair of adult extraterrestrials with inhuman powers, the male Axiom and the female Thena. The two aliens arrive on Earth and cure cancer as a gesture of goodwill to humanity. They then proceed to become the planet’s de facto protectors by fighting crime, averting natural disasters, and intervening in unjust wars.

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Dark Knight Returns III #5 (review)

Dark Knight Returns III #5 (review)
(DC Comics, June 2016)
Writers: Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller

This is the fifth book in the third volume of Frank Miller’s seminal Batman title, “Dark Knight Returns”. We have previously reviewed earlier books in this third series. It is written by two veteran and acclaimed comic book writers, Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller.

The tense psychology of Batman, with his joyous release of fury and raw intimidation, the depth of the supporting characters, including DC Comics’ other paramount character, Superman, and the snappy comedic dialogue which juxtaposed with the grim monologues, was enough to propel the story in 1986. But this story, like “Dark Knight Returns II”, instead, sadly, draws heavily upon the panoply of characters owned by DC Comics – Superman, Wonder Woman, the Atom, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Flash. In particular, as we have previously discussed, the storyline picks up on an oddity of the Superman mythos dating back to Action Comics #242, published in 1958: that there is a city of beings from Superman’s home planet, Krypton, who were shrunk to microscopic size by one of Superman’s enemies. The city survived the destruction of Krypton by virtue of being kept as a trophy. Mr Azzarello and Mr Miller have written a story by which some of these Kryptonians, led by a fanatic with delusions of being God, are expanded to full size and terrorise the planet with their alien superpowers. Batman and his colleagues oppose these would-be dominators of Earth.

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Justice League #1 Rebirth (review)

Justice League #1 Rebirth (review)
(DC Comics, September 2016)
Writer: Bryan Hitch

Writer Bryan Hitch has a better reputation as an artist than a writer. As a consequence of his efforts on a number of titles, Mr Hitch has developed notoriety as a “widescreen” artist, someone who draws blockbuster movie style action in comics.

“Justice League #1 Rebirth” features American comic book publisher DC Comics’ ensemble of most of its top tier superhero character properties. In this issue Mr Hitch has the superheroes gather to fend off a an immensely giant monster, which straddles Manhattan like a fly on a speck of blood. The creature is called a Reaper and it uses parasites to take control of and bring into its body the citizens of New York City. Some of the superheroes penetrate the body of the creature in an effort to stop it. One of them, Superman, uses his powers to cauterise some of the Reaper’s brain. The monster flies off into space. The comic evokes the kaiju genre of Japanese manga, of which we have spoken recently.

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