DC Comics has quietly been continuing their Digital First series and all have been delivering solid adventures with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Out of all these series Superman: Man of Tomorrow has definitely stuck out as the best among them. Robert Venditti did a great job kicking the series off with a solid string of story arcs. Now the series has moved into a position to give new writers a chance to write their own Superman stories. For Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #17 DC Comics has tapped Stephanie Phillips to write a story. Thus far Phillips has work on a few one-shot anthology comics for DC. She will also be the writer of the upcoming Future State: Harley Quinn mini-series. Let’s see what story Phillips delivers with Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #17.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: V Ken Marion
Colorist: Emilio Lopez
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Metropolis Police Department struggle trying to get inside Metropolis General Hospital as an energy field covers the building. One of the MPD helicopters is hit and starts falling to the ground.
Clark Kent quickly changes into his Superman costume and catches the MPD helicopter before it hits the ground.
Superman learns from Maggie Sawyer that an escaped prisoner named Dax is holding people hostage inside the hospital. Superman uses his X-Ray vision to take a look inside as he knows Dax has psychic abilities because he is the one who took Dax to Stryker’s after he committed a crime.
As Superman questions why Dax would come to the hospital the energy field around the building gets an opening at the entrance. Superman knows this is an invitation from Dax to come inside.
When Superman enters the hospital he finds all the doctors under Dax’s control. Superman is led by the staff to Dax’s location.
When Superman gets to Dax’s location Dax, who is by his mom’s bed, reveals that his mom is terminally ill and nothing the doctors have done has been able to save her. Dax pleads with Superman to save his mom. Superman apologizes because he can’t do anything but can try to talk to a doctor he knows to help.
Dax freaks out over how Superman can’t save his mom even though he is able to save everyone else. Superman blocks all of Dax’s attacks while talking about how he understand the anger, pain, and feeling o helplessness Dax is feeling because he lost his parents too. Superman reaches Dax and tells him that he does not have to deal with this alone.
Dax breaks down wondering why it couldn’t have been him. Superman embraces Dax and says that while he doesn’t have the answers he’ll make sure Dax isn’t alone.
After Dax frees the hospital staff and the shield around the building he wonders what they should do next. Superman says they wait.
As they sit by Dax’s mom’s hospital bed Superman asks Dax about who she is. Dax talks about how great his mom is and how she was always there for him even when he was behind bars. He goes on to mention that she would visit him every week and play cards with him during her visit.
Sometime later Superman visits Dax in prison and they start playing a card game together. End of issue,
The Good: Sometimes the simplest story is the best story to tell. Superman: Man of Tomorrow #17 is a fantastic example of that as Stephanie Phillips tells a straight forward story that spotlights why Superman is considered the greatest superhero.
One of the great things about Superman is that while he is the strongest heroes around with so many amazing abilities it is his roots as a kid raised in Smallville that stands out. At his core Superman is someone who was raised to have strong values and look at everyone equally thanks to how his parent raised him. We see that once again with how Superman ends up dealing with the crisis at the Metropolis General Hospital.
Phillips does a great job setting up expectations that there would be a giant conflict with how much power we saw Dax use to create the hostage situation. Creating this type of situation plays into the idea of how Superman is seen as being able to solve everything with his incredible powers. But as the story developed we saw how things weren’t that simple. Superman being able to take that into account as soon as he stepped into the hospital showed his sense of awareness that what was going on is a great way to showcase his foresight.
This all made the fact that from the moment Superman met Dax to the very end he did not try to start a fight. Even when Dax went into a rage induced attack Superman was doing all he could to reach him on a personal level. Superman understood that Dax was not trying to commit some sort of crime. Dax was simply reaching out for help as he felt helpless as his mom was terminally ill.
Superman showing this understanding is a great example of how he is able to connect with others. Using his own experience of losing his parents made the story even more emotionally touching. It reminded you that Superman is able to inspire others through his words and actions equally. Which is what makes him be viewed as the standard all superheroes are measured to. The ending with Superman embracing Dax and later visiting him to have a card game was all an effective way to end this story on.
V Ken Marion artwork was a great compliment for the emotional story that was in Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #17. Marion got over how Superman did his best to connect with Dax. Which was well balanced out with how Dax was well drawn as someone who felt like he was doing all he could to save the person he loves. The rage Dax went into came across as emotional rather than one of someone who wanted to hurt someone else. That made how things got resolved look stronger when we got to the final few pages.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Superman: Man Of Tomorrow is a fantastic example of how to tell an emotionally driven story that showcases the greatness of a superhero without having to have a world ending crisis. How Superman was able to connect with someone who felt like they had nowhere else to turn to was touching. Stephanie Phillips and V Ken Marion deserve all the praise they get for telling story this powerful that resonates so much as another example why Superman is the standard for all superheroes.
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