Superman: Man of Tomorrow #5
Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 18, 2020
Cover date: May 2020
“What Makes a City?” – Part One
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
Superman battles Titano in the streets of Metropolis. His dialogue during the fight is fun and reminiscent of classic Silver Age comics. He is quickly defeated by the giant ape prompting Lex Luthor, who is watching the conflict from his office, to initiate his Metropolis Anti-Supervillain security system. Titano is quickly dispatched by the Luthor guns that have transformed from the cities cameras.
The next day Perry White chews out Clark and Lois for having no clue that Lex Luthor was installing a security system at the behest of the Metropolis Police Department. Clark and Lois grapple with being able to trust Lex’s intentions with the Luthor guns. Days go by and super villain actions in Metropolis have been reduced to zero. Clark and Lois grapple with how this makes them feel, knowing Lex is protecting the city better than Superman could. Clark heads to the local diner to grab supper while Lois completes her latest article. On his way a man is caught skipping his bill at the diner by one of the Luthor guns. Clark stands between the gun and the man, prompting the gun to issue a punishment for impeding an arrest. Clark takes the full brunt of the blast in his chest.
Story – 4: This review was tough for me to write. The first time I read this issue, it felt really flat and bland. It didn’t make sense to have Titano able to defeat Superman so easily and then himself be defeated so quickly by the Luthor guns. The power levels of both characters seemed altered for the benefit of the plot. It is my biggest pet peeve in stories with Superman where the write alters Superman’s power levels for the purpose of the plot. I don’t mind stories where he has lost his powers, but when his powers or skills fluctuate without an in story explanation, it pulls me out of the story. Nowhere is this more egregious than when he faces Batman, and sorry to all the Batman fans out there, but can we finally get passed the obsession DC has with pitting Batman and Superman against each other, or at least write the battle from Superman’s perspective where he defeats Batman as easily as we know he could? Sorry, my rant is over.
The second time I read this issue I enjoyed it much better. The problems I had with it still existed, but I saw the positives a lot more clearly. Clark pouring his heart to Lois works, his work to uncover how Lex Luthor built the guns also works. Venditti kills it on the interactions between Clark and Lois, and their jobs as reporters. I would love to have seen the battles that the newspapers were reporting against the Royal Flush Gang, and Atomic Skull. The end of the story, where Clark is shot for “impeding an arrest” is sadly far to relevant to the issues of police brutality against black people, that North American society is currently grappling with today.
Art – 5: Pelletier consistently knocks it out of the park. A few panels had wonky Superman faces, but as a whole the art works. Titano looked fearsome, and the design for the Luthor guns has a cool futuristic look to them befitting the City of Tomorrow.
Cover Art – 4: This cover is good. It’s much like the issue, no glaring problems, but also nothing that really sets it apart as great.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.