DC Comics Digital First initiative hits its second week starting with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2. Returning with Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier we are likely to see them continue to building off the world of Superman that they started in the previous issue. As we see the relationships with Superman and his supporting cast are all in familiar places with some changes in characters. Especially with Lex Luthor having his eyes set on the Man of Steel there is no telling what else is going to happen in Metropolis now. Let’s find that out with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olson are outside Metropolis City Hall to cover the protest going on against a casino that the city council is voting to allow to be built in the city.
When the city council meeting begins Clark asks Council President Andrew Davidson about everyone in the community being against the casino being built for many reasons, including it attracting more organized crime. Seeing that Clark is part of the press Council President Davidson says that the casino will provide many jobs and increase in tax revenue.
As other people in the community ask questions Lois mentions that Council President Davidson has never given her a good quote before and thought Clark could because he is a softy. Clark sarcastically thanks Lois.
Clark suddenly hears a crime in progress and rushes out of city hall, leaving Lois to look more into the casino issue.
Over at Kaine’s Jewelry Store Superman finds two guys trying to rob the place. Superman uses his X-ray vision to figure out the guys forgot to load their guns. He quickly captures the two robbers.
Nearby Steven Sharpe (aka the Gambler) tells his men that Superman is always a safe bet.
Over at the Daily Planet Clark tries to convince Perry White to let him look into the recent unusual number of first-time criminals with money trouble, like the ones Superman just caught. Perry doesn’t think that story will sell papers and tells Clark to instead continue to work on helping Lois cover the casino story.
Seeing that Clark is frustrated Lois says Perry is just doing his job and she could use some help with background on the casino proposal. Lois then asks Clark if he changed his suit. Clark mentions that when he got back to where he left his other suit after rescuing people as Superman that a homeless man was wearing it so he let the guy keep it and gave him his last twenty bucks. Lois mentions that if Clark keeps this up they’ll be the ones robbing jewelry stores next.
Elsewhere the Gambler and his crew watch all of the recent crimes Superman has stopped. They talk about how they’ve been rigging a gambling ring so they always win by beating on where Superman normally is. The Gambler goes on to reveal he will be using the cash he is winning to open the casino in Metropolis.
In Midtown Metropolis a person is trapped inside a Luthor Properties building that is burning down. One of the old woman watching the scene from across the street freaks out because she thought the building was empty.
Superman shows up and immediately goes into the burning building to find the woman trapped inside. Superman is able to hold up the building as it starts to collapse long enough to find the woman and get her to the paramedics.
Superman notices the old woman crying on the sidewalk. He asks her what’s wrong. The woman says that she can’t say because she did what she did to help her kids. Superman says he knows someone who can keep her secret.
Later that night at Town Diner Clark meets up with the woman, mentioning Superman sent him.
Later at Lois and Clark’s apartment Lois arrives to find Clark with his shirt open showing his Superman costume underneath and drinking soda. Knowing he had a rough day she asks what is wrong. Clark reveals that he found out the heist story is about him because the Gambler has been betting on where Superman would be showing up next. Lois tells Clark that he has done nothing wrong as he is helping people.
Lois reminds him that one person can’t change the world. Clark says he can’t help but feel that he can change two people that will trickle down to making the world better.
While getting brinner ready Lois mentions that a source inside the district attorney’s office mentioned that the guys Superman caught stealing the jewelry store mentioned the Old Port warehouse. This causes Clark to realize something and fly off as Superman.
Over at Old Port, Superman storms into the Gambler’s gambling ring warehouse. Gambler’s men immediately shoot at Superman but all their bullets bounce off him. Superman easily takes care of Gambler’s gang, including his two bodyguards.
The Gambler states he is the victim and when the district attorney’s office hears what he knows about what laws were broken so he could open a casino in Metropolis he will get a deal. Superman asks where this mysterious criminal is. The Gambler states he hangs out at City Hall.
Sometime later the police arrest Council President Davidson. Lois gives Davidson a copy of the Daily Planet with the story on his crimes as he is put into a cop car.
As they walk to grab a bite to eat Clark mentions having a story to write about the people who were having debt issues mysteriously finding all the money they lost. Lois asks who his source is. Clark says he can’t say. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2 does exactly what you want to get from these Digital First comics. It is a quick one-shot story that builds on the DC Universe that Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier established in the first issue of this series. Once again the core of what makes Superman a character that continues to be iconic now.
Setting up a storyline about people being against the government of Metropolis trying to pass the building of a casino especially hits home right now. Venditti did a good job tapping into the unrest that a community would feel when something like a casino is suddenly brought in without their approval. The protests both outside and inside city hall captured that energy.
That all helped set up why the casino plotline had multiple angles that Venditti could tackle the story from. It’s especially helpful in giving Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White and Jimmy Olson all something to do that is part of this story. Some may see it as convenient but Venditti plays it well in how the corruption of Council President Andrew Davidson is the focal point of why this is happening.
Going with this government vs community angle also allowed Venditti to explore the impact Superman has to not just Metropolis but the world. As we see with Clark’s discussion with Lois midway through Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2 this be questioned. Superman more than any hero has impacted the DC Universe. He is viewed as the benchmark for who a superhero should aspire to be. With that comes a great weight on Clark’s shoulders as Superman that he does feel he can change not only Metropolis but the world by doing good.
Lois understanding the weight that Clark is carrying shows how well they understand each other. It makes the choice of having the whole Superman secret behind them a key choice in making this series special. Venditti is able to give us these small moments where we do see how much they see each other as equals that balance the other out.
This also opens the opportunity to explore how Clark’s upbringing in Smallville is what carries him as Superman. As his parents taught him, Clark believes whether he is Superman the Man of Steel or Clark Kent Daily Planet Reporter he can help people. How both sides help each other out to make a complete character was fascinating to see Clark talk with the woman who set fire to the Luthor Properties building. It was a quick scene that accomplished a lot in getting over the importance of both Clark Kent and Superman to the success of the overall Superman franchise.
All these character beats around Superman’s impact made the fact that the bad guys of Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2 being regular gangsters is not a big deal. Venditti never tried to trick the reader in thinking the Gambler and his crew could take on Superman. Instead, Venditti focused on the journey from Clark discovering something more going on with these first-time heists to Superman stopping the Gambler’s gambling ring. How we got from that starting point to the way Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2 ends came across as a satisfying conclusion.
Paul Pelletier once again delivers artwork that is spot on to what you would expect a comic book starring Superman to look like. I’m especially impressed with the little things to make Clark Kent and Superman come across as different people through the changes in facial expression. The in-between when Clark is in his apartment with his dress shirt open showing his Superman costume shows there are those differences.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2 takes the momentum of the first issue and carries it over to continue to build a fun comic book. Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier show a clear understanding of what makes Superman and his supporting cast such great characters. That shines with how Venditti has the Clark Kent and Superman side of the character compliment one another in this story. If you are looking to read a DC Comics fan comic I recommend checking out Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2.
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