DC’s Rebirth line has seen a renewed fascination in its Superman line. While the Man of Steel has always been a DC Comics icon, his run in the New 52 did leave some fans unhappy. The Rebirth boom has given Superman’s stories a breath of fresh air. Whether dealing with issues within the Kent family or facing universe-wide catastrophe, this Superman has remained grounded. In this exclusive preview to NEW SUPER-MAN #18, we continue to see why Superman is DC’s most iconic character.

The most interesting addition to the Superman lineup thus far comes in the form of Kenan Kong, a young Chinese man given Superman’s powers. Kong started his run as a bully, never fully representing the Man of Steel, but as his story has progressed, the reader has seen a brilliant character arc play out before their eyes.

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DC meant to end NEW SUPER-MAN after issue #16, but the vast popularity of this series so far gave them an impetus to keep it rolling. In the previous issue, Kenan Kong and the rest of the Justice League of China met and did battle with their American counterparts. After this predictable misunderstanding, Superman also agrees to help Kenan in his current mission.

You see, Kenan’s powers stem from a mystic connection to Superman’s life force through the eight trigrams of Taoism. Trust me, though, it makes sense if you read it. This connection isn’t fully complete, though, and Kenan has to find a specific dragon artifact to gain a new power. After some investigation, the two Supermen discover that Lex Luthor has recovered this artifact, but he refuses to hand it over.

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NEW SUPER-MAN #18 opens just after these events. After confronting Luthor, a series of Taoist demigods called Asura appeared and began assaulting the trio. Immediately, Luthor and Superman are trapped behind a force-field, while Kenan faces the Asura alongside the combined Justice Leagues of America and China.

After some cutting words between Luthor and Superman, the pair manages to break free and join Kenan in the battle. While Green Lantern Jessica Cruz carts Luthor away in a green bubble (much to his chagrin), the Supermen join forces. Superman comes up short, though, when the Asuras’ magic overwhelms him. Now, Kenan Kong, immune to the Asuras’ magic, must step up against veritable gods to save the day.

Final Thoughts: NEW SUPER-MAN #18

What grips me about these preview images is the sudden action. By page 2, Superman, Kenan Kong, and the rest of the Justice Leagues must face a great force. However, the focus on character never falls away. In fact, the constant bickering between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor gave me a better sense of their hatred than most of their other stories.

Also, the fact that Kenan bears all of Supe’s powers but none of his vulnerabilities feels compelling. The Asura wish to make Kenan some form of king in this preview, and with his power set, he could easily rule the world. As such, Kenan’s morality is his own choice. Superman is a beacon of goodness in the world. However, Kenan wasn’t raised by Kansas farmers. He starts out as a rich bully, meaning his decisions have to always be considered. Overall, NEW SUPER-MAN #18 has me excited for what is to come for this unique comic book. I only hope that we keep getting more issues.

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