Superman: Man of Tomorrow has been a breath of fresh air for the franchise. As part of DC Comics’ Digital-First initiative we’ve gotten a lot of fun stories that have balanced out the Clark Kent and Superman parts of the character. Robert Venditti’s issues of Superman: Man of Tomorrow in particular have stood out. He has been able to deliver good one-shot style stories while developing the world that Superman: Man of Tomorrow works in. Now after a few issues away Venditti is back to write Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11. Let’s see how things go in the latest issue.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Gleb Melnikov
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in Metropolis Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are left stunned as it looks as though Grikus the Undefeated has defeated Superman in a fight.
A little earlier Lois, Clark and Jimmy are bored at their desks as the news is slow with no breaking news story to report on.
Suddenly Perry White hears something and looks out the window. When the entire Daily Planet staff looks to see what the noise is they spot a spaceship flying nearby. Clark causes Jimmy to spill his drink on him so that he can have an excuse to leave to check out who is on the spaceship.
Clark changes into his Superman costume and meets the pilot of the spaceship: Grikus the Undefeated. Grikus says he is there to challenge Superman to a fight as no one on his planet wants to fight him because he has long been undefeated. Grikus goes on to say he wants to retire from fighting with a victory against a Kryptonian. He goes on to admit if he can’t beat Superman he won’t deserve to be remembered as one of the best fighters in history.
Superman agrees but says they will have to take the fight elsewhere. Superman goes on to say he wants a photographer and reporter there to witness the fight.
In the present, as Grikus starts his victory speech Superman recovers and hits Grikus with his heat vision. Grikus recovers and throws his sword at Superman with immense force. Superman catches the sword with one hand.
The fight between Superman and Grikus goes on all day and night, well into the next morning, with Jimmy taking pictures of the entire thing and Lois there as another witness. Eventually Grikus is able to counter one of Superman’s attack. Grikus then uses this opening to nail Superman with a powerful blow that sends a shockwave throughout the area.
As the dust settles Grikus is able to claim victory much to Lois and Jimmy’s shock. Satisfied with his final victory Grikus tells Jimmy and Lois he is going to leave his blade there as proof of being the champion. Grikus then takes off in his spaceship as Lois checks on Superman.
Once Grikus has left Earth Superman wakes up and reveals that he let Grikus win at the end of their fight. Jimmy wonders why Superman threw the fight. Superman states that he has friends and family that he loves while for Grinkus he only had fighting so this fight meant more to Grikus. Superman does admit that Grinkus was a powerful foe and is in pain after the fight.
Outside of Metropolis in a top secret military base General Lane and several scientist complete Sergeant Corben’s transformation into becoming Metallo. Metallo says he is ready to see some action. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 was exactly what it needed to be. It is a fun, disposable adventure that highlights what makes Superman a great character. Everything about this issue worked to spotlight this version of the DC Universe that Robert Venditti and other writers have been working with.
Right from the opening page Venditti sets up a strong hook to bring in the readers as we see Grikus the Undefeated standing over a fallen Superman. This opening page set the tone for what Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 would be about. That was important point to set up as Grikus is a new character that the reader needs to believe can match up against Superman. This opening page does just that.
Credit to Venditti’s talent as a writer that he was able provide us with Grikus backstory and what his motivation for appearing on Earth is in a span of two pages. As a new character Venditti knew he needed to give some insight into who Grikus is. At the same time Venditti showed an understand how valuable each page was so he made sure only to tell us the important details about Grikus is. In getting Grikus backstory out of the way so quickly Venditti is able to focus in on what makes the character a compelling opponent for Superman to go up against.
Getting Grikus backstory opened the opportunity for Venditti to showcase how one of Superman’s greatest strength is his understanding of others. Learning about Grikus history and why he searched for a final fight made Superman understand what he needed to do in this instance. He knew that he had to give Grikus a battle that would be worthy of a warrior’s final fight. So he couldn’t just throw the fight from the beginning. Superman needed to put in effort into how the entire fight for Grikus to believe that when he won it added to the pride Grikus felt as a warrior who could retire satisfied.
The aftermath of the fight appropriately put over what Superman did. Because while Superman did end up throwing the fight at the end after an extended battle it was clear that Grikus was a powerful foe. While Superman could have came out victorious the fight wouldn’t have been easy even if he didn’t hold back. And given how powerful we know Superman to be seeing the Man of Steel walk off with some injuries put over Grikus in his debut.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 also did a good job furthering how fun it is to see Clark Kent interact with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and others at the Daily Planet. There was an enjoyable vibe to the scene in the Daily Planet as we see what happens when no one has a breaking news story to cover. Venditti highlighted the chemistry with everyone. Which nicely set up the second to final page with how Superman revealed everything he did during the fight to Lois and Jimmy. It all spotlights how important Superman’s supporting cast on the Clark Kent side of the character are such important parts to the franchise’s success.
The final page with the creation of Metallo was an interesting way for Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 to end. With the conflict Superman had with Lex Luthor over for now there needs to be a new big bad set up for this series to now face. Having General Lane and Metallo put in that spot is appropriate. These characters have a well-known connection to not only Superman but Lois Lane as well. Introducing these characters into the world of Superman: Man of Tomorrow in this way immediately makes the reader identify it as an important moment in this series.
Gleb Melnikov delivered great artwork throughout Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11. This is the first time I’ve see Melnikov’s artwork and it was the right fit with Superman’s world. There was an old school feel to the way Melnikov drew Superman and other characters while sticking with the characters modern design. Melnikov artwork was at its best with the fight between Superman and Grikus. The power of both fighters was put over well and Venditti allowing Melnikov’s artwork to tell the story at points made the overall story better.
Jordie Bellaire’s coloring of Melnikov added to how well executed the artwork is. The coloring gave a grounded feel to the story as Superman and Grikus fight felt more like a boxing match. Bellaire’s coloring enhanced all the action that Malnikov drew.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11 was a fun, action packed comic book. Robert Venditti once again shows how well he understands Superman’s character. His writing abilities were further on display with how he was able to create a fully realized new character in the form of Grikus the Undefeated. Add in stellar artwork from Gleb Melnikov and Jordie Bellaire and you have an issue that Superman fans should all read.
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