Superman Smashes The Klan: Book 2 Review - A Smashing Success
• DC Comics (Publisher)
I mentioned in my review of the first issue that it felt like Superman was placed into the story as an afterthought. The book could have been easily released without the hero and the book could have still worked.
The issue immediately rectifies that concern and places a heavy emphasis on Superman and his alien heritage.
Clark keeps getting visions of his parents and they question why he only uses abilities that humanity could identify with, namely speed and strength. This story beat potentially layers in a retcon because it explains why he could only run fast, leap tall buildings, and be super strong in the original stories. In this scenario, Superman's otherworldly abilities are held back so that he can fit in with humanity.
This is a really interesting take on the character and further ties him to our lead characters, the Lee family. The Lee's are forced into a situation where they seemingly have to sacrifice their heritage in order to assimilate into the middle class.
The Klan is part of the story but their influence is dialed back a lot in this installment. Their threat carries through the issue but it's always in the background before roaring back to the forefront in the ending cliffhanger.
I'm not sure how close this adaptation is to the original radio play but the story is portrayed in simple terms that are easy to understand for children or adults. It covers the plight of the immigrant as they integrating into another culture. I can also see the book being featured as required reading for elementary or middle school children. If it shows up on HBO MAX one day I wouldn't be surprised.
The art direction is great and works a lot better with this issue. I believe it's because the book's subject matter isn't quite as dark as the first issue. The last issue felt off because the anime style didn't seem to mesh with the story especially when shit gets real with the Klan. This issue has dark moments but it's nowhere near as heavy as the last issue. There is a lot of variety and Gurihiru gets so show off a real range as an artist. I love his take on Superman. It's the classic version with a Manga bent.
Overall the series continues to impress and the conclusion should be just as good. The creative team has earned my trust and I can't wait to review the closeout issue.