After building up the storyline since the launch of the series Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier are tackling the iconic rivalry between Superman and Lex Luthor. Things quickly escalated in Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #5 with Lex Luthor’s new anti-super-villain security system taking over Superman’s role as Metropolis resident superhero. With his being Lex Luthor it is tough to believe that he does not have his own evil intentions with this new technology. Will we see those intentions come to the forefront in Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #6? Let’s find out.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Clayton Cowles
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A guy who dined and dashed from a diner is stunned by LexCorp’s anti-super-villain security system has knocked out Clark Kent. The laser then points at the guy. The guy is terrified and immediately throws cash at the waitress of the diner to pay for his food and runs away.
The waitress notices that Clark is passed out on the ground and worried he was killed. A nursing school student sees the waitress freaking out and goes to help. When they go to Clark they are both stunned that he is gone.
Elsewhere Clark has recovered and changes into his Superman suit.
Superman flies back to the diner and tells everyone he has flown Clark to the hospital to get medical treatment. LexCorp’s anti-super-villain security system begin to target Superman, labeling him a criminal. Superman immediately takes out the laser gun with his heat vision. Superman then promises everyone that he will keep them all safe.
Over at LexCorp Global Headquarters Lex gets a notification that Superman destroyed one of his anti-super-villain security system’s laser guns. Lex then promises to show Superman whose city Metropolis is.
Somewhere in the city the security system begins attacking Superman and overwhelms him with how many laser guns there are.
Over at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Perry White are discussing the LexCorp story when Jimmy Olsen gets their attention to Superman being attacked by LexCorp’s anti-super-villain security system.
Back on the streets, people are terrified by how the laser guns look like they are killing Superman. Perry, Lois and Jimmy show up ready to help Superman. They rally everyone in the area to help Superman.
Everyone works together to destroy the laser guns attacking Superman much to Lex’s displeasure. Superman thanks everyone for risking their lives to save his.
Lex suddenly transforms the giant globe logo on top of the Daily Planet into a massive laser gun, much to Perry’s anger. Lois is concerned that the gun on top of the Daily Planet was created to kill Superman. Superman understands this but is willing to risk his life to save everyone.
Superman flies up and is immediately hit by a powerful shot from the laser gun. Seeing the struggle Lex believes he is about to kill Superman. Superman is eventually able to power through and destroys the massive laser gun.
Lex is pissed by this. Superman immediately shows up at LexCorp headquarters that the people that live in Metropolis is what makes the city great, not the real estate. Lex, seething with anger, tells Superman he will prove him wrong.
The next day Lex is bailed out of prison and tells the gathered press that he did nothing illegal as he has a contract with Metropolis’ government for his security system. He then rushes off in his car.
Lois wonders if Lex has enough money to bail him out of this situation. Clark bets that in the end the people Metropolis will win. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #6 provides the conclusion for the ongoing narrative these first six issues of the series have been building towards. On one end Robert Venditti can provide a satisfying conclusion that continued the thread of Superman being the people’s champion. But on the other, it was disappointing to see Lex Luthor go from zero to one hundred with showing his full villainous persona in this issue.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, one of the aspects that I have enjoyed about Venditti’s run is how he has gone back to basics with what Superman represents. Superman is character that when you see him on screen brings hope and inspires others to be good to one another to. His mere presence changes everyone’s outlook on the situation.
We see that once again in Superman: Man of Tomorrow #6 in the way that people of Metropolis are quickly motivated to save their hero. Even though it looked like Superman was about to be killed rather than running away the people of Metropolis were all willing to help their hero. That visual of everyone destroying LexCorp’s security system was a great way to put over how Superman is the people’s champion no matter how much Lex Luthor wants to deny it.
While the way Lex was portrayed did not play as well as intended it will be interesting to see how Venditti plays this latest development in the future. Especially with Lex making it clear that he has a contract with Metropolis’ government there is plenty room for that to be developed more. And considering how much bad publicity LexCorp got Lex will not be quiet long in trying to turn things around to benefit him.
Paul Pelletier continues to be the consistent force of delivering high quality artwork throughout this series. Once again with his work on Superman: Man of Tomorrow #6 Pelletier shows off how he knows how to draw the best versions of all these characters. He brings in a lot of elements from classic versions of each character. He does an especially great job putting over how powerful LexCorp’s anti-super-villain security system was with how it overwhelmed Superman. This worked well with how this version of Superman isn’t as powerful as other versions. Superman has been shown to be damaged by other things than just Kryptonite, which opens things up for more story possibilities.
The Bad: Where Superman: Man of Tomorrow #6 faltered hard was with Lex Luthor’s portrayal. As mentioned before, Lex went from zero to complete villain immediately in this issue. Gone was the calculated character we have come to know. Instead we saw a Lex Luthor who was so obsessed with killing Superman he did not care about anything or anyone else. That does not help the character at all as he no longer can hide his villainous intentions like has been.
This is such a shame with how much opportunity there was with Lex continuing his villainous actions without the public knowing about them. Clark Kent and Lois Lane trying to prove this was one of the most intriguing parts of this series. It would have been a better payoff for this sub-plot if Clark and Lois as investigative journalist proved Lex was the villain all along to the public.
This could have been easily accomplished by having Lex play off his anti-villain security system as being corrupted by Toyman or one of his competitors. Even if not everyone believed this excuse there was ways to conclude this story without blowing off Lex as a villain six issues in. There was so much potential to continue to explore the early days of Superman and Lex’s rivalry, something modern day audiences may not have seen since its been in a state of fully developed for so long.
With how it all developed so fast it does make you question the logic behind when LexCorp and the government were able to install all the laser guns. Especially with the giant one installed on top of the Daily Planet. There is no way that this would have been able to be done without it being known. It kills the reality of this world that Venditti and Pelletier have worked hard to establish.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #6 was a disappointing conclusion to a story arc that had a lot of positive momentum coming into it. While the story of Superman being the people’s champion was well handled the same can’t be said about Lex Luthor’s development. The ball was dropped hard with Lex’s development in this issue. Future issues can recover from this but it just did not work as intended in this issue.
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