4 Star Reads, Book Review

Superman Smashes the Klan – Gene Luen Yang

Superman Smashes The Klan by Gene Luen Yang

Superman Smashes The Klan by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One reason that I like Gene Luen Yang so much as a writer is that he is both entertaining and informative. It is clear in his writing that he loves history and he can bring it to life in his graphic novels. Another nice touch is how he talks about history at the end of his graphic novels, giving the reader background and context to the story. He even provides some of his references, so you can read and learn more if you wish. It adds a deeper element to his works and helped to make this story about Superman even more interesting.

Superman Smashes the Klan is actually inspired by the early radio show “The Adventures of Superman” and in 1946 saw Superman take on the Klan of the Fiery Cross (a group heavily inspired by the KKK) and the story helped to destabilize them. In the original, Superman works with a Chinese-American family to thwart the Klan of the Fiery Cross’ plans and to promote tolerance and acceptance. This story follows the same broad outline but brings welcome depth to the characters and dimension to the story.

Despite the fact that this is a Superman story, I felt that Roberta was the main character. I was intrigued by her life, struggles, and tenacity. Superman (and Clark Kent) felt more like a side character to Roberta when she was sticking up for herself or trying to stop the bad guys with Jimmy Olsen or her brother, Tommy. I loved getting a look into her life and her family, as everyone struggled and coped with moving from Chinatown to the main part of Metropolis in their own way. It felt authentic and really helped you to connect with the characters.

Overall, I thought this was a great superhero story that would appeal to people with an interest in history or books with strong characters, even if they don’t usually gravitate to graphic novels about superpowered people.

The digital version of this graphic novel was provided to me by DC Ink, but that does not affect my review in any way.

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