This was good and I liked it, but I didn’t expect it to be so young-skewing. It’s definitely a middle grade book. Older teenagers and adults can read and enjoy it, but it’s not really an all-ages read. Aside from that, it was really well done.
I went into this with no background, and it was a fun read that way, but I wish I would have read the historical context/afterword from Yang at the back of the book first. Better yet, I wish they would have included that up front as a foreword instead. I was expecting a Superman comic here, with Superman and Lois as the focus, but the main characters are actually Roberta and Tommy Lee, whose family moves to central Metropolis after living in Chinatown for years when their father gets a job with the health department. It takes place in 1946, just after the war. It’s also essentially a comics retelling of a sixteen episode radio broadcast that aired in 1946, and which had an actual demonstrable negative effect on the membership of the Klan. Sometimes there is such a thing as bad publicity. You can listen to all sixteen episodes of “Clan of the Fiery Cross” on YouTube.
My favorite part about this comic is that it does well what all great Superman comics do well, which is use his alien nature in an interesting way. Superman is the ultimate immigrant, and Yang plays it smart by having him go on a bit of an emotional journey throughout the comic. At the start, he doesn’t yet have all his full Superman powers, and hasn’t accepted his identity as someone from another planet. He’s haunted by visions of his dead Kryptonian parents until he accepts his identity. It juuust borders on the edge of obvious, which is why I say this is a kid’s book more than anything, but it still works well because the emotions feel earned and personal to Superman/Clark.
Worth noting, I loved the art by Gurihiru. They also did Yang’s Avatar: The Last Airbender comics, and their aesthetic as artists worked really well for Superman.