Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a book that I’ve been surprised about how much I enjoy. I’m not normally a Superman comic book reader but Man of Tomorrow is a series that has just click with me. Robert Venditti and the other writers of this series have done a good job capturing what makes Superman such a great character. And the fact that Superman: Man of Tomorrow is not tied to any specific continuity has made this series a breath of fresh air. Venditti and other writers have been able to focus on telling compelling Superman tales without being bogged down with when the story is taking place. Let’s see if that trend continues with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Scott Hapburn
Colorist: Ian Herring
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the Daily Planet offices Perry White isn’t sure about the latest front-page story as he thinks it’ll only invite trouble. Lois believes in running the story. Perry relents and tells Lois to roll the presses with the front-page story of “Superman’s Day Off.”
Elsewhere Superman gives Atlas a chance to take a break by holding up the world. Atlas tells Superman about how when Zeus punished him to shoulder the burden of carrying the world he saw it as a challenge but eventually lost. Superman wonders how heavy the world is. Atlas says it is whatever Superman can bear with even more added on.
Atlas then hands Superman the world and takes off.
Over Metropolis Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are riding on a helicopter to cover everything that happens on Superman’s “day off.” As they do Lois silently tells Clark she believes in him.
While Superman holds up the world we see people doing good deeds, such as a kid rescuing a cat from a tree for an old lady.
As the day goes on Supergirl saves a bunch of people from a burning building, Black Canary stops Silver Banshee from destroying a museum, Firestorm defeat Chemo, and Flash stops Intergang from robbing a bank.
At around 11:30 pm Lois and Jimmy finish up all the stories about those who stepped up to save the day during Superman’s absence. Perry wonders what Lois’ incentive for these stories were. Lois says that people stepped up as Superman’s influence helped make every good thing that happened take place.
Perry angrily wonders if Lois will get an interview with Superman when the Man of Steel returns. Perry then goes back to his office.
As Superman continues to hold up the world Atlas returns and thanks Superman for giving him the chance to walk his daughter, Calypso, down the aisle for her wedding. Atlas mentions that even Zeus was shocked that someone would volunteer to help Atlas out with his task of holding up the world. He then tells Superman he will cherish the memory for eternity.
Atlas then takes over holding the world up again. He then says that Superman is probably the only person other than himself that knows what it means to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Superman passes out before he can say anything other than he needs to rest.
Outside of Metropolis, at a secret military base, Metallo is pissed that he wasn’t allowed to go save people in Superman’s absence. General Lane reminds Metallo that he will only act when Superman breaks bad and to be ready for that day. General Lane then dismisses Metallo. Metallo walks away pissed off.
The next morning a kid reads the Daily Planet story about Superman’s day off and wishes he could be a hero. Clark shows up and tells the kid that everyone can be a hero by helping others. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 delivered a unique look into what makes Superman a great character. The story is simple with Superman giving the Titan Atlas a day off by taking over holding up the Earth for a day. But in such a simple concept Robert Venditti is able to dive into why Superman is so highly regarded by everyone.
Superman is someone that brings hope wherever he shows up. No matter how bad things have gotten when Superman is on the scene there is a sense that things will turn out okay. That saving the day is still a possibility because the “S” shield is there to protect others. That is something that Venditti has been exploring a lot during his issues of Superman: Man of Tomorrow. We’ve seen how Superman has inspired others through his words and actions.
That inspiration and sense of hope that Superman brings are on display with this issue. Even when he is not around other heroes are willing to step up to help protect Metropolis in Superman’s absence. Each one of them is inspired by Superman in some way to continue fighting bad guys. Supergirl, Black Canary, Flash, and Firestorm that showed up in this issue all exemplified this with what they said during their respective rescues.
At the same time, it wasn’t just these regular superhero saves the day scenes that showed the symbol of hope that Superman is. As we saw early on in Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 even a little kid stepping up to save an old lady’s cat can be seen as heroic. There is a hero in everyone, even in actions that are as simple as helping others out. This was yet another example of regular people stepping up that Venditti has highlighted in various issues of Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Which made the ending of Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 very effective as Clark Kent reminded the kid that he can step up to be a hero if he wants.
All of these scenes worked extremely well in getting over the idea that there are only a few people that can truly understand the weight Superman carries on his shoulders. Because Superman obviously can be everywhere at once or save everyone that is in trouble around the world. But what he can be is someone that can represent the best in people to do their best to help others when they are in need. By providing the world hope Superman is able to inspire other heroes like Supergirl and Flash to follow his example with their own heroic actions.
Having Atlas talk about this was more meaningful. Atlas is one of the people that can relate to Superman’s feeling of having the weight of the world on his shoulder. That connection made it easy to understand why it is the small moments like Atlas being able to attend his daughter’s wedding are so meaningful. Superman’s own life as Clark Kent with Lois Lane is what helps keep him from crumbling under that weight.
Continuing the thread of Metallo being in the background of what is currently going on was interesting to see. General Lane keeping Metallo from actively going out to fight Superman or even try to be a hero is an intriguing turn. This looks to be adding fire to Metallo’s desire to destroy Superman. Which is the added motivation for Metallo to take the villainous turn that General Lane and others likely aren’t intending him to do. This also makes General Lane’s involvement in Metallo’s arc even stronger when all is revealed about what the US government is doing the shadows.
Scott Hapburn’s artwork was solid throughout Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12. Hapburn got over how heavy of a weight Superman was taking over in Atlas spot by carrying the Earth on his shoulders. It was clearly a burden that is to great for someone to carry but with a strong drive, Superman and Atlas can shoulder it. It got across the main theme of what it means to be Superman and Atlas as they are the rare few who know what it means to carry such a weight.
The Bad: The one part of Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 that did not work as intended was how Perry White continues to be portrayed as a jerk. It is one thing to be a tough boss but thus far the Superman: Man of Tomorrow version of Perry White has been unlikable. That is done to Perry being portrayed as someone who does not trust Lois Lane or Clark Kent’s journalistic instincts. This is weird because by this point Perry has had Lois and Clark working for him for a long time. But even then, he doesn’t seem to trust the direction they are looking to take with stories. Hopefully, we get a future issue that focuses on Perry White’s character and his job as editor-in-chief because it is certainly needed to make his character someone the reader understands.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 does a fantastic job showcasing the weight that Clark Kent carries as Superman. This issue gets the reader to understand the important symbol that Superman is to the world. The burden that being such a symbol while heavy is something Clark Kent accepts as he does have the balance in his life with Lois Lane and others in his life to ground him. All of that and more is why Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12 is a comic that Superman fans should read as soon as they can.
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