DC Comics incoming "Rebirth" launch is mostly meant to realign and reestablish its classic superhero universe. But one of the rare new faces garnering buzz ahead of the June rollout is Kenan Kong – the all-new Chinese hero at the heart of Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic's aptly-titled "New Super-Man" series.
But the publisher isn't saving all of Kong's introduction for his first full issue as DC dropped a stealthy secret origin into the current "Final Days of Superman" arc meant to bridge the gap between the New 52 and Rebirth. In this week's "Batman/Superman" #32, Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke give fans their first look at Kenan Kong and reveal the raw essentials of where he comes from.
In recent weeks, the ongoing Superman story has revolved around the Man of Steel's hunt for his solar flare doppelgänger. Starting in Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr.'s "Superman" run and continuing in Yang's own work on that series, Superman found himself with a brand new power enabling him to create massive waves of energy by expelling the solar charge of his Kryptonian cells all at once. Somehow, that energy has coalesced into a sentient and dangerous being – one that DC's core trinity are tracking down as "Batman/Superman" #32 opens.
Yes, that is Tomasi sneaking a "Super Friends" gag into the proceedings, but the fun and fancy-free tone of the heroes doesn't last long. After tracking the residual solar energy (and supposedly their prey) into Chinese air space, the trio run afoul of the People's Republic's most prominent super team: the Great Ten! The ensuing battle is a use of the classic "They misunderstand/the fight/they team up" trope, and soon both the American and Chinese heroes are en route to a secret lab that radiates with the power of Superman's solar flares.
The lab belongs to the ominous-sounding new character Dr. Omen – a Chinese scientist who's none too happy to have American heroes looking over her shoulder. It appears that rather than housing the flare doppelgänger, Omen has been working on a creation of her own by channeling some of the flare energy with "my own unique singular vision." Before we can learn more, the doctor sets her creation free...
While the sequence explains a bit of the origin behind the New Super-Man, the exact story of who Kenan Kong is remains shrouded in mystery. Answers will likely be found in June's "New Super-Man" #1, but whether the Great Ten (who hunt after the escaped character by issue's end) will appear elsewhere before that happens has yet to be seen.
"Batman/Superman" #32 is in stores now.