With the comic book industry trying to figure out what the best thing to do during this tough period in history for the world, DC Comics has started a new wave of Digital First comic books. For at least these first wave of new Digital First comic books will be re-purposed stories from the DC Giant comics that the company published and released for Walmart stores. Given how tough it was to find the DC Giant issues in Walmart stores using that content to release “new” comics for .99 cents is a great move by DC Comics. One big reason is that this allows DC Comics to further test the digital market and see what works in that space. As someone who reads his comics digitally I applaud DC Comics for this new Digital First initiative. To that point I am going to be reviewing this new format of comics to see how they turn out. First up is Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Let’s check out what story this comic book has in store for the Man of Steel.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Down in Metropolis people watch a news report on Superman saving people when a tunnel collapsed. One of the kids watching the report is in awe of Superman’s heroics. His girlfriend snaps him out of it reminding him they got movie tickets.
Nearby someone is shown sucking the power from one of the giant TVs.
Over at the Daily Planet Clark Kent is growing impatient with how late Lois Lane is working. Realizing that Lois is still in first draft mode for a new story she is writing, Clark goes to get the back-up snack machine smorgasbord.
Suddenly purple electricity hits the Daily Planet and causes a blackout.
Clark rushes to the Daily Planet’s rooftop with Lois right behind him. Clark quickly changes into his Superman gear to find out what happened.
As Superman flies away Perry White asks Lois what she is doing on the roof. Lois quickly changes subjects by convincing Perry to let her write a story about the blackout with Jimmy Olson’s help. Perry agrees as long as it’s a page one worthy story.
Over at the Metropolis Power and Light, Parasite is quickly draining all the power in the facility. Superman arrives and immediately stops Parasite from continuing to drain the power. Superman tries to reason with the Rudy Jones part of Parasite. Parasite does not listen as all he can pay attention to is his immense hunger.
Superman and Parasite clash. Parasite quickly gaining the advantage by draining Superman’s energy. Just as Parasite is about to kill Superman an explosion happens in the facility that causes Parasite to flee as his power is leaving him.
In Downtown Metropolis Lois tries to drive through heavy traffic much to Jimmy’s horror. Superman shows up to find out why Jimmy was screaming. Lois immediately asks what caused the blackout. Superman reveals it was Parasite. Lois tells Superman that people need help in the midst of this blackout.
Realizing he can’t help everyone Superman tells everyone in the area that while he stops Parasite he needs everyone to help each other out by sharing food and checking on their neighbors. Everyone quickly rallies around Superman’s words and help those that most need it.
Superman then talks to Lois about where Parasite may have gone. Lois mentions Lex gLuthor got a lot of publicity from the Planet when he donated generators so Parasite will go to that place.
Over at the Metropolis General Hospital as doctors are conducting surgery the power in the building suddenly starts going wild.
Parasite is shown to be draining the power from the hospital’s generators. Superman quickly tackles and flies Parasite beyond Earth’s atmosphere and into the dark side of the Moon.
Parasite and Superman start fighting all over the Moon. Parasite grows more and more pissed during the fight as his hunger only increases. Superman reveals that there hasn’t been a ray of sunshine in almost two weeks and it is extremely cold where they are so energy is scarce.
Parasite collapses due to lack of energy. Superman says Parasite can continue to try to drain Superman’s energy but he won’t be able to get off the Moon if he does that. Parasite begs Superman to make his hunger stop. Superman promises to find a way to return Parasite back to the man he was.
The next day Perry is pissed that instead of going with a story about Parasite and Superman’s fight that Lois choose to write about the people who helped each other during the blackout. Perry says this headline will not sell newspapers and kicks Lois and Jimmy out of his office.
Clark sees Lois and Jimmy and gets that Perry didn’t like their story. Lois comments that Perry just wishes she wrote the easy story. Clark tells Lois to go easy on hugging him because he is still a little sore. Lois says that they should go see what news the world has for them today.
Over at Lexcorp Global Headquarters Lex Luthor is pissed that the Daily Planet failed to mention all the equipment and engineers he donated to get Metropolis back up and running. Looking at the story Lex reflects how people view Superman and he promises to show who the most powerful man in the city really is. End of issue.
The Good: Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a strong tone setter for this series. Robert Venditti gets you right into the world he has crafted for this series. Venditti waste no time getting right into this Superman story with a new origin or flashbacks to establish this timeline. He simply trusts the reader knows who Superman is and gets right into the thick of things with a classic adventure.
The respect Venditti shows the reader is one of the biggest takeaways from Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Venditti knows that Superman is one of the most well-known superheroes in the world. There is no reason to get into all the little continuity things with this universe. There have been enough stories to understand Lois and Clark’s relationship, Clark’s job at the Daily Planet and Superman’s rogues gallery.
Taking that into consideration Venditti uses the basic knowledge one would have coming into Superman: Man of Tomorrow to let the story unfold in a way that gets you into this world. As you go through this story that turns out to be one extended fight between Superman and Parasite you learn a lot about this world. In particular the symbol of hope that Superman represents to the people of Metropolis. That symbol of hope is established early on and Venditti gives us the payoff to those first few pages later on.
The speech that Superman gives to people as a blackout hits all of Metropolis is really what stood out most in this issue. In this one page speech Venditti shows exactly why Superman is the greatest superhero and people turn to for leadership. Sure he has all these amazing powers but even he can’t save everyone, especially when he is busy fighting a villain like Parasite. Understanding this Superman uses the fact that he does symbolize hope in people to rally them to help each other out in a time of a major crisis. Being able to inspire that within the people of Metropolis.
This scene works even better when you compare it to the final page where Lex Luthor is pissed he is not being praised for his donations that helped in this blackout crisis. It shows you what makes Superman and Lex such different people. Superman does not seek praise with his actions. He is doing what he believes will help people feel safe and protected. Meanwhile, you have Lex who does charitable things not simply to help others but to assert his power. He wants the great press that comes with donations he makes and despises Superman for taking attention away from that.
All of this is done in a simple two pages but it all sets up the start of the rivalry between Superman and Lex Luthor that is so iconic. It also helps to establish how the universe in Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a fresh new one. You can come into this series and get new stories without worrying about continuity. Its classic Superman stories for those looking for that in a modern day setting.
Venditti also does a good job in finding a way to resolve the fight between Superman and Parasite that further speaks to the former’s character. While Superman was doing all he could to stop Parasite we saw that he also understood the problem the villain was having. Superman knew that Parasite was not necessarily doing things because of some bigger plot to take over the world. Parasite was simply overcome with the hunger that keeps him alive. This made Parasite a much more sympathetic person and makes you hope that he gets the help he needs. That is not something that I can say I’ve ever thought of as Parasite.
The supporting cast of Lois Lane, Perry White and Jimmy Olson are also well established. Venditti highlights why they are so integral parts of Superman’s cast. The relationship with Lois in particular shines. Venditti knows people are well aware of Clark and Lois long history with each other. Starting out with them already together and no Superman secret between them allowed for their chemistry to come across as natural. The joke about Clark spending a big part of their budget on suits because he loses or tears them was a nice bit of comedy for this issue to have.
Paul Pelletier delivered strong artwork that captures what you picture Superman’s world to look like. Pelletier delivered on the impact you expect the punches and test of strength that Superman and Parasite trade throughout their fight would have. Both characters came across as extremely powerful. Parasite’s powers were also shown well that convinced you why he is such a big threat when it comes to Superman opponents.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Superman: Man of Tomorrow is exactly the comic book I expect to get when I pick up a Superman comic. Robert Venditti keeps all the classic aspects of Superman and treats us to a story that feels like you are getting a fresh start with the franchise. This is an easy to pick up comic book for those looking to read a fun Superman story. For $0.99 you easily get more than you money’s worth in this full 24-page comic book.
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