I’ve been surprised with how much I’ve come to enjoy Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier have put together one of the most enjoyable Superman series I have read. That comes down to how they have been able to establish a one-shot style of storytelling that builds on the DC Universe continuity they have crafted for this Superman world. Each issue has done a good job build on top of one another while staying self-contained at the same time. Will this streak of great issues continue for Superman: Man of Tomorrow? Let’s find out with Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In an unknown location Superman appears knocked out with a giant monster preparing to eat him.
Clark Kent suddenly wakes up from his nightmare. Lois Lane wakes up as well wondering what could cause Superman a nightmare. Clark mentions that it was the creature he has fought several times recently that he can’t figure out what it wants. Clark goes on to say that the creature has attacked all undeveloped property that all track back to land owned by Albemarle Bryce, the only person that is possibly as rich as Lex Luthor in Metropolis.
Lois, getting back in bed, tells Clark to get some sleep so he can be well rested for the morning. Lois turns to look at Clark and finds that he is already gone without saying goodbye.
Outside Metropolis Clark gets one of Albemarle Bryce’s landscaper to let him look over the land. As Clark steps in he loses another suit jacket on the barbwire.
Clark looks through the land with his X-Ray vision and finds hazardous chemical waste underground.
Suddenly the creature, who only screams “MMOOOORRRRE,” from Clark’s dream appears and attacks him. As Clark is about to use his heat vision the creature causes a tornado that blows Clark away and destroys his suit to reveal his Superman costume underneath.
Once he recovers Superman realizes the creature is gone so he decides to do some more investigating.
Later while driving Lois talks with Clark, who has found hazardous waste in all the four pieces of land that Albemarle Bryce owns he has investigated. Lois mentions an old Daily Planet story about Bryce buying land back in the 1980s that got buried upon publishing. She goes on to reveal that the reporter, Wendell Moore, was killed a few days after the story was published.
Superman, nearing Bryce’s house, realizes that what the creature has been screaming is the name of “Moore.”
Inside Albemarle Bryce house he is attacked by the creature. Superman arrives and holds back the creature, who he reveals to Bryce is a mutated Wendell Moore. The mutated Wendell Moore is able to hold back Superman. During the struggle Superman says that Bryce is responsible for Wendell Moore’s mutation.
Seeing no way-out Bryce angrily admits he murdered Wendell Moore. Bryce goes on to say he will not apologize for running a business that paid him to bury anything others wanted buried since no one can prove him doing so.
Lois suddenly appears and reveals that she was able to record Bryce’s confession while hiding in the shadows. Bryce gets pissed off at this Lois and Superman say they will make sure the truth is revealed to the public. While Bryce threatens to bury the story, Superman stands over him and asks how he’ll do that. With no answer Bryce admits defeat.
The next morning Lois congratulates Clark on his front-page story about Bryce’s arrest. Lois credits Clark for helping Wendell being to have a legacy that will not just go unwritten anymore. Clark says Lois deserves as much credit for the story and that they all owe Wendell. Clark and Lois kiss to conclude the story.
The Good: Following the trend of previous issues Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4 focus in on the reporter Clark Kent with Superman playing more of a supporting role in this story. That change of pace from traditional superhero storytelling gave way for a story that feels both refreshing and welcomed for the characters world.
With a bigger focus on Clark’s career as a Daily Planet reporter Robert Venditti was able to provide a reason why both sides of the character are so important. As a hero Superman does a lot of amazing things when saving the day. For Clark he goes into his life as a reporter knowing he can do just as much good working for the Daily Planet.
You see that with how Clark goes into his work on the Albemarle Bryce story with full conviction that this is serious stuff. Being an investigative reporter is something that Clark really likes doing. It’s a different detective hat that Clark is wearing compared to Bruce Wayne. But as he goes forward with the investigation Clark’s focus on getting the truth told about Albemarle Bryce’s story gets more intense.
Adding in the murder of fellow Daily Planet reporter Wendell Moore decades earlier that cover this Albemarle Bryce story made things even more personal. You can see that there was a switch that was flipped in Lois and Clark when the former revealed the background on this 1980s story. Even though Wendell Moore’s work was way before their time learning how he was mysteriously murdered made them understand that this was their responsibility to tell the story a fellow Daily Planet reporter died trying to tell.
Having all this background on the story elevated Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4 to be more than a typical monster-of-the-week tale. Adding all these details also made the story have a different type of sense of urgency when we saw Superman in action. Because while Superman could clearly get Albemarle Bryce to admit his wrongdoings it was Clark Kent the reporter that would be able to get the rich guy to be arrested and convicted of his crimes.
Through all that Venditti does a great job showing the chemistry between Lois and Clark. Venditti can seamlessly switch between Lois and Clark as a couple and as fellow Daily Planet reporters. The way they talk showed the different levels of their relationship. This makes the little bits like Clark losing another suit jacket and gets pissed off at himself because he knows what Lois will say a great lighthearted moment that builds on the in-jokes Superman: Man of Tomorrow has established.
With the monster story that Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4 told Paul Pelletier stepped up to tap into that style of story. He made the creature Wendell Moore transformed into look truly terrifying. Just based on the appearance you could see how Superman would struggle against the mutant creature. Pelletier also does a great job adding little touches to help shift the different types of interactions Lois and Clark have throughout this issue.
The Bad: For those that are not into monster stories Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4 may not be for you. The story going all in with this direction could turn some fans off because it doesn’t change the game in this type of storytelling. You could easily skip this issue and move into the next without missing a beat since the greater Lex Luthor story Venditti and Pelletier have been developing was not part of this story.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #4 continued to carry the great momentum this series has had since the start with a story that focused on Clark Kent, the Daily Planet reporter. Through this story Venditti provides’ fans a strong example of why both the Clark Kent and Superman side of the character are important to the franchises iconic longevity. This issue also gave another great look into what makes Lois and Clark’s relationship so great.
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