Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3
Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 4, 2020
Cover date: May 2020
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
Schott Toys has recently been purchased by Lex Luthor and the toys are malfunctioning. They have become dangerous enough that Clark Kent is interrogating Luthor about them. Schott’s toys attack the city, and Superman destroys them. Afterwards Clark is visited at the Daily Planet by the Toyman who issues a warning to Lex Luthor that if a Schott can’t run Schott’s toys, no one will. Giant robots converge on Luthor Tower, but Superman defeats them. Afterwards Clark accuses Luthor of inciting this attack so that he could gain access to Schott’s more dangerous technology. The last image shows Luthor’s scientists analyzing the tech, presumably for a nefarious purpose.
Story – 5: I am going to be upfront here, I enjoyed both the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. But one thing I missed was an emphasis on Clark Kent as a reporter. The BVS Extended Cut provided a bit of an arc for Clark, but it gets lost in the overall conflict and the machinations of Luthor. I also missed reporter Clark in Tomasi and Gleeson’s run, but still loved the story they told. Venditti emphasizes Clark’s reporter skills in this issue and that makes me extremely excited. DC, please give Venditti more opportunities to write Superman! Clark’s reporting skills are on full display in his interactions with Luthor. I like that Venditti writes a confident yet humble Clark. He stands up to one of the wealthiest and smartest men in the world and boldly asks very sensitive questions. In doing so he doesn’t come across as cocky or brash. This Clark is more Byrne than Reeves.
Luthor is well written here, he comes across as an arrogant powerful businessman. He radiates power as he confronts Clark about what he is implying. It really provides a great change from the usual confrontations between Superman and Lex. Lex gets to deliver quite a strong jab at Clark when he challenges his masculinity by implying that Lois is better at her job than Clark is. It’s the kind of comment that is dripping with vitriol. Upon further reflection on Luthor’s relationships with Clark and Lois, I saw this comment as a reflection of the jealousy that Luthor feels towards Clark because Lois rejected him and chose to marry Clark. For a man like Luthor, with all his power and wealth, losing Lois to “mild-mannered” Clark must feel like one of his major failures. Clark’s response to Luthor is great because it is true to Clark’s character and upbringing.
I liked Toyman in this issue, I haven’t ever read a Toyman story arc that I really liked, (if any readers have suggestions please add them to the comments), but I liked him in this. It provided a great look at Luthor as an unscrupulous businessman, with a façade that is carefully maintained to keep public support. The idea that Toyman was caught in the crossfire of Luthor’s greed makes for an interesting addition to this story. As a side note, I think if we get another solo Superman movie with Henry Cavill, the villain should be a villain from earth that is not Luthor. Toyman would be an interesting choice to fill that role. I wish that there had been more of the Toyman in this issue, while he is the primary villain, he is barely in it.
Art – 5: The weird faces that I complained about last issue aren’t as egregious here. Page two has a great three-quarter page spread of Toyman walking away from an explosion. He is covered in shadows to add a hint of mystery for new readers about his identity, but it is clearly Toyman. I’m also a sucker for scenes where Clark changes into Superman while running. The sequence of Toyman’s little toy UFOs attacking the streets is beautifully drawn and coloured. And Superman’s response is a great example of the running shirt removal. It also has a great scene where Superman saves a little girl at the last moment from the toy UFOs. Toyman as a villain lends himself to a very cartoony style of art. The giant toys, the doll robots, all of it looks better in bright colours that belie the actual danger they pose.
Cover Art – 5: This is my favourite cover of the series. Superman being trapped in an action figure box with a sinister figure behind him looks great. Posing Superman as a doll is a clever nod to the Toyman, that I enjoyed. The design of Toyman in the background is a lot different than the interiors. The cover is a lot more sinister, while the interior is much cartoonier.
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