Illustrated by Gurihiru
Set in 1946, the Lee family moves into a nice neighborhood of Metropolis from the city’s Chinatown. The son, Tommy, quickly joins the neighborhood baseball team. The presence of the Lees and Tommy's baseball spot sparks involvement from a local chapter of the Klan of the Fiery Cross. The Klan first demonstrates on the lawn of their home, then proceeds to target the Lee children, Tommy and Roberta (their Americanized names). Superman ends up saving the the children several times over. Roberta first notices that Superman may be holding back, and has other powers he's not using. Superman has to come to terms with himself as an immigrant and embrace some of the abilities he has suppressed his whole life in fear of social ostracization.
This story is based on a radio program from the 1940s where the Superman brand was used to fight a fledging Ku Klux Klan. The story was well-executed, especially the way Superman's journey mirrors that of the Lees. This title deals with racism in a faithful way that still is appropriate for younger kids. The art is simple and clean, and very reminiscent of 90s DC cartoon shows. There is also a three-pronged afterward: Gene provides a background on the Yang family, including the different experience he and his father had with racism growing up; there is a narrative about the radio program as it was originally conceived; and, there is a detailed historical perspective on how Chinese immigrants have been treated in American since the 1800s up until their involvement in World War II. This afterward provides some needed context for a story that may draw some criticism for the topic of this Superman adventure. This is a great stand alone, but younger readers might need a reminder of how early in Superman's timeline this story takes place.
DC's age rating for this title is for grades 7 and up. This is a great middle-grade title, not best suited for elementary only because they might not have the historical context for the Klan or World War II.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley. This graphic novel will be on sale May 12, 2020.
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Superheroes
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