REVIEW: ‘Superman Smashes The Klan,’ Part Two

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Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two (of three) is published by DC Comics, written by Gene Luen Yang, with art by Gurihiru, and letters by Janice Chiang. The story is inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “Clan of the Fiery Cross.” Previously, we were introduced to a post-WWII Metropolis of 1946 where Superman took to the skies fighting Nazis while Clark Kent worked with the famous Lois Lane at the Daily Planet. However, not everything is as idyllic as it would seem.

Following their move from Chinatown, Roberta and Tommy Lee must adjust to their new lives in a new neighborhood. After joining a baseball team, Tommy does well to make friends but Roberta still struggles to understand where she fits as an immigrant and an American. However, the family soon learns not everyone is as welcoming as they would hope when their home is attacked by the Klan and Tommy is kidnapped not long after. Desperate to find her brother, Roberta asks for the help of none other than the Man of Steel himself.

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two picks up immediately where the previous issue ended as Superman carries both Roberta and the young boy, Chuck, who was present during the Klan attack on the Lee’s house and on Tommy’s baseball team. Roberta recognized Chuck from his signature red shoes and brought Superman directly to him. With Chuck’s guidance, Superman hopes to be able to find Tommy and the Klan’s meeting grounds in hopes of saving him from a terrible fate.

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two continues not only to focus on the Lee’s story, as told brilliantly by Yang, but also Superman coming into his own. At this point, Superman is not fully aware of his powers, he is learning as he goes and is forced to push his own limits in order to save Tommy. The comic also shows more of Clark’s past and some of the oppression and bullying he faced during his own upbringing. His feelings of being an outsider and a literal alien parallel Roberta’s feelings as a Chinese American in Metropolis.

The issue also sheds light on Chuck, a character that was shown a lot in the previous issue but never given depth, until now. Chuck is raised by a Klan member and expected to hold the same values. He is also a child and his morals are clearly conflicted. Racism is not genetic, it is taught, and Chuck is a clear example of that. His character is impossible to hate despite his involvement in the Klan’s actions because he is a child. Additionally, Chuck’s love of Superman mirrors a lot of people’s love for heroes whose ideals don’t reflect their own. But here, Chuck at least understands the contradiction and also begins to understand that just because an adult taught him something doesn’t make the adult right.

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two is able to delve further into the themes set up in the first issue. Gurihiru’s art continues to be breathtaking and an absolute delight to look at. The anime-inspired style works well for the story. I loved the previous issue but somehow, this issue blows it out of the water. With the amount of set-up and exposition in issue one, Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two is able to focus on the characters and the greater emotional moments of the story. This is a fantastic series and one of the most important ones currently on shelves.

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two is available now wherever comic books are sold and online.

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two
5

TL;DR

Superman Smashes The Klan Part Two is able to delve further into the themes set up in the first issue. Gurihiru’s art continues to be breathtaking and an absolute delight to look at.