Story by Gene Luen Yang
Art by Gurihiru
Letters by Janice Chiang
Superman Smashes the Klan is the latest in DC’s fantastic young adults line, written by New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang and artists Gurihiru. The book collects the action-packed 3-issue mini series released in 2019, inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “Clan of the Fiery Cross”.
Teenagers Roberta and Tommy Lee’s lives are turned upside down following their families’ move from Chinatown to the centre of Metropolis, as their attempts to make friends and fit in to their new community culminates in a dangerous encounter with the Klan of the Fiery Kloss. Can they team up with Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Superman to help bring down the Klan?
Superman Smashes the Klan is a wonderfully powerful tale of kindness overcoming hate and racal prejudice, chronicling both Roberta and Superman’s journey of self discovery and acceptance. The timely story is a fantastic adaption of the radio serial, with Yang adding some intriguing twists to Supes’ origins, whilst exploring his powers and mythology.
I really did adore the parallel between Clark and Roberta’s stories as I’ve always found it difficult to relate to the hero as he always came across as so perfect. Exploring his insecurities as he grapples with his alien origins was a great way to humanise the character, proving a nice connection to the the young Chinese-American as she tried to overcome her own shyness.
Proving a decently sized collection with fantastic pacing and heartfelt messages, I genuinely couldn’t put the book down! The characters and relationships were fantastically brought to life, with Roberta proving the real heart of the book. Her interactions with Lois Lane were particularly wonderful and inspiring for young women alike, and the way she encouraged Superman to fully embrace his powers was genuinely lovely.
The anime style art by the team at Gurihiru proved a nice twist on the usual representation of Supes, bringing to life a colourful and easy to access portrayal. The book was packed full of dynamic action shots with some wonderfully heroic splash pages, particularly as Superman brings down the Atom Man and makes a particularly spectacular entrance. The final full page is possibly my favourite, feeling very classic in the style and optimisim.
Superman Smashes the Klan is an inspiring collection and possibly one of the greatest Superman stories I’ve read – what a perfect introduction to the iconic character for the younger audience.