By Kyle King
Training Day: Part Two is about imposters, both real and imagined. Feng Rongpei denounces Wang Baixi’s claim to the Bat-Man’s cowl. An anti-establishment graffiti artist hides behind the mask of Alpaca to challenge China’s status quo. A would-be Super-Man questions Kong Kenan’s worthiness to wear the “S” on his chest… and Kenan entertains those same doubts about himself. Will the true progenitor of superheroes in Zhonggou finally stand revealed?
New Super-Man #8 Synopsis:
Baixi struggles to overcome Rongpei at the Academy of the Bat, where the Gotham Arena conspires against the incumbent Bat-Man. When Peng Deilan discovers Alpaca’s interference with the combat conditions in the server room, Wonder-Woman unmasks the anarchist and learns the culprit is Baixi’s younger sister, Wang Jiali. The level playing field in the Arena is restored, allowing Bat-Man to triumph. Feng foolishly threatens the life of the schoolmaster if Wang does not surrender the cowl. Although Bat-Man outsmarts his arrogant adversary, he is unable to take his wily sibling into custody.
Master I-Ching continues to toy with the blindfolded Kenan, scoring strikes against his prospective student at will. Gradually, the teacher coaches his would-be apprentice to listen. This unlocks the teen’s super-hearing, which nearly overwhelms him until he picks out sounds of impending danger and rushes to the rescue. Kenan concludes he is unfit to serve as Super-Man until I-Ching shows him the path that is hidden in plain view. At the Crab Shell, the incarcerated “Super-Man Zero” — last seen in the final days prior to Rebirth — receives an unexpected visit from Ching Lung, without whom “there would be no superheroes at all.”
Credit: DC Comics
New Super-Man #8 Analysis:
Every appealing aspect of this story arc’s initial issue is carried over into Training Day: Part Two. Tan’s pencils and Haining’s inks, while stylistically different from the work of cover artist Viktor Bogdanovic, combine to exhibit a subtle expressive refinement that still effectively portrays the additional action appearing in New Super-Man #8. The sequence showing Kenan’s swift transition from pained to protective is particularly strong. Colorist Gadson’s shifting shades imbue the scenes with mood like the lighting in a stage play, while Yang’s pacing and plotting continue to be as impressive as ever. The writer likewise retains his ear for dialogue, offering such great lines as: “You flew into the sky like a bird. Like a plane.”
That sort of consistent excellence has been a hallmark of this series from the beginning, of course. What sets the most recent issue apart are Master I-Ching’s revelation to Kenan and New Super-Man #8‘s cliffhanger conclusion, which recreates the cover image from March 1937’s Detective Comics #1. This closing callback is both sublime and shocking. In one sense, it is perfect, as considerable credence is given to Ching Lung’s claim that “I am the very beginning” by the fact that he antedates the earliest caped superheroes, appeared in the debut issue of the publication that gave DC Comics its name, and was created by …read more
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