Superman: Man of Tomorrow has been the stand out title from DC Comics Digital First releases. Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier have set the standard high for what to expect from these titles. Their take on Superman has come across as a fresh take while also keeping a lot of classic elements that have made the character and his supporting cast so iconic. This is the first time I’m really all-in on a Superman series for more than one or two story arcs. With the expectations set so high can Venditti and Pelitier keep things up? Let’s find out with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3.
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: At Schott Toys Shop two employees complain about how the quality of Schott Toys has gone down since LexCorp bought the company.
After the employees leave for the night the toys inside the shop suddenly turn on. Then there is a sudden explosion that destroys the toy store and surrounding area.
Toyman is shown to be responsible as he promises to make LexCorp regret what they did to his toys.
Two weeks later Lex Luthor is shown to be pissed off after reading the latest threat Toyman has made in a letter to him. Mercy Graves tells Lex that Clark Kent is there for an interview and won’t leave until he gets it.
Clark is brought in and Lex comments on his dislike for Lois Lane and him for their annoying persistence. Clark says he is there to ask about the malfunctioning toys that he is writing a story about and was hoping to get a quote from Lex. Lex tells Clark that if the Daily Planet publishes the story on the toys he will sue them for libel and even if he loses the case he will make sure the Daily Planet goes bankrupt.
Clark shifts the question to be about if Winslow Schott has made threats to LexCorp. Lex says that Winslow Schott is a psychopath who is mad about how LexCorp has revitalized the toy brand they bought from him.
Clark mentions that it is reported Winslow Schott turned to crime to save his company but when he was caught and LexCorp purchased his company Lex’s first move was to move production overseas. Lex fires back by mentioning how Clark is just lecturing him on manufacturing toys in China. Clark says Lex didn’t answer his question and asks it again. Lex agrees he didn’t answer the question and leaves it at that.
As Clark is about to leave Lex snarkingly comments on how Lois is a better report than him.
Later, at Town Diner, Clark speaks with Lois about his recent experience with Luthor. As they talk Perry White storms into the diner to yell at Clark for not telling him about going to Lex for questioning and now he is talking to LexCorp’s chief counsel. Perry tells Clark to back off for now and to warn him next time he plans to ambush Lex again.
Suddenly a bunch of toy spaceships start attacking the streets near the diner. Perry sees this and says that it looks like Clark has an angle for the story he is writing. When Perry turns to Clark he is shocked that Clark is already gone and yells for Jimmy Olsen to get pictures of this.
In an alleyway Clark changes into his Superman costume and quickly flies to deal with the toy spaceships attacking the city.
Winslow Schott sees Superman from inside a building and puts on his Toyman costume while proclaiming he won’t allow Lex Luthor to run his family’s company.
Throughout Metropolis the citizens run away from the attacking toy spaceships. A mother accidentally drops her daughter when an explosion causes her to trip. Superman appears and quickly saves the young girl. Superman then uses his heat vision to destroy a number of attacking toy spaceships in quick succession.
All the toy spaceships converge on Superman and continuously blast him. Superman quickly spins around and shoots heat vision blasts to destroy all of the attacking.
After making sure everyone is okay Superman notices the plate on one of the toys says “Schott, A LexCorp Company.”
Sometime later Perry celebrates Clark’s article about LexCorp has proving the attacking toys aren’t theirs but he believes they are producing dangerous imitations of Schott Toys. Perry questions if the toys are dangerous why would Lex keep the toy division open. Clark’s not sure but guesses its his ego.
Before they can finish their conversation Toyman appears and demands to talk to Clark. Clark appears in front of Toyman asking that he doesn’t hurt anyone. Toyman says he wants to make an official statement that if Lex Luthor doesn’t cease production of Schott Toys his attacks will continue.
Lois suddenly appears and knocks Toyman’s head off, showing that he was just a robot. Toyman still speaks through the robot head to say he is bringing his biggest toy to life.
Suddenly a giant version of the Schott Toys mascot rampages in Metropolis.
Lex sees that the robot is coming to LexCorp and comments that Winslow Schott finally showed him something he can use.
Superman quickly flies in and stops the robot from reaching LexCorp headquarters. The giant robot is able to knock Superman back long enough to attack part of LexCorp. Superman recovers and blasts an opening to the back of the giant robot. Superman enters the robot and goes about dismantling it from the inside until it stops its attack.
Lex, with a smile on his face, comments to himself that it took Superman long enough to take down the robot. Lex then calls his PR team that Schott Toys is being shut down permanently and all their products are being destroyed.
Lex spots Superman flying off and promises the Man of Steel to see him soon.
Days later Lex gives Clark an interview to talk about how he shut down Schott Toys carefully. Clark questions why Lex took so long to do so. Lex reminds Clark that jobs were on the line and he did not like taking those away with his decision. Clark still questions Lex’s motives given how he has heard he is using Toyman’s tech to profit with military applications. Lex says that all of Winslow Schott’s designs were useless and nothing more than childish games.
Over at a secure LexCorp research and development facility Lex’s engineers are analyzing Toyman’s tech. End of issue.
The Good: Much like his work with Parasite, Robert Venditti showed a clear understanding of Superman’s rogues gallery with his writing of Toyman. The villain comes across as having multiple layers while still maintaining the aspects that keep him on the antagonist side. All that characterization allowed Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3 to continue the excellence of this series.
The opening sends a clear message to the reader that you will be learning what makes Toyman tick as a villain. The things he does in an effort to get revenge on Lex Luthor for taking his family’s company, Schott Toys, away from him make you understand his motives. There is no agreeing with the way Winslow Schott goes about doing that by destroying Metropolis and putting people’s lives in danger. But you do understand where he is coming from and that is credit to Venditti’s writing.
Going with this direction with Toyman as the lead antagonist of Superman: Man of Tomorrow made the bigger story around Lex Luthor that Venditti is building more intriguing. It’s clear that Venditti is going with a slow burn when it comes to the big clash between Superman and Lex Luthor. That is after all the money feud that should have the trigger pulled on right away. Both the Superman and Lex Luthor side of the conflict need time to be build up to make their big clash be epic.
Also going with this one-shot story style for Toyman benefits the villain a lot. Toyman isn’t a character that most would consider to be Superman’s biggest adversary. But in condensing a whole story in one issue Venditti is able to focus on what makes him so dangerous. That is what we see throughout Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3 as Venditti showcases how Toyman’s tech puts Metropolis in constant danger.
The other benefit in having Toyman’s story told in one issue is that you get a sense of urgency from all sides of the conflict in the story. With Toyman you get a sense that he is done with letting Lex Luthor own his family’s company. He is not going to let another day go by with that being the reality of the world. It all provides proper motivation for his villainous actions.
Because of this it forces Superman to take Toyman’s actions even more seriously as the villain is putting all of Metropolis citizens in danger. Superman doesn’t have much time to plan out his strategy. We see how he constantly has to make the choice of how to end things quickly against Toyman’s actions.
In doing so, Venditti once again shows the reader the hope and positivity that Superman presences brings to people. The little girl Superman saves from Toyman’s first attack is a great example of that. The girl and her mother go from fear of their life to feeling like everything will be okay. That is the presence that Superman has when he shows up.
Venditti also does a great job keeping the Clark Kent side of Superman: Man of Steel an important part of this series. We see how Clark does place a great value in the work he can do as a reporter through the article he was working on about LexCorp owning Schott Toys. Clark sees reporting on this story as just as important as his actions as Superman. Providing that balancing act is a good way to show the reader that both the Clark Kent and Superman sides are equal parts of the character’s overall success.
It also allows Venditti time to continue to develop the relationships Clark has with his supporting cast. With Lois we get to see the fun back-and-forth they have as they continue their relationship as Daily Planet reporters and a couple. The balancing act between how Clark and Lois shift between those levels in the relationship is fun to watch. There is a natural chemistry between them that is shown in their dialogue.
Perry White also continues to be a fun character to watch Clark interact with. Venditti is walking a tightrope with relative ease when it comes to Perry’s portrayal. You get the tough boss who is also supportive. Perry understands that Clark’s work as a reporter is important but as Editor-In-Chief he also has to be concerned about keeping the Daily Planet profitable. This helps make the dynamic Clark shares with Perry different from Lois or Jimmy.
Once again, Paul Pelletier provides Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3 with fantastic artwork. Pelletier artwork is right at home with Superman’s world. He captures how as Superman the character is someone that bring hope to any situation he is in. Similarly, during the Clark Kent scenes Pelletier makes enough changes to the character’s look to show how serious he is about his work as a reporter. Pelletier also does a great job giving a fast-paced energy to the action sequences to make great use of Superman’s powers.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3 was another excellent issue in what has become the standout series in DC Comics Digital First line of comic books. Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier do a great job making Toyman be a credible threat while continuing to build the greater story between Superman and Lex Luthor. I highly recommend all DC Comics’ fans read this series out as soon as possible.
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