SUPERMAN: THE MEN OF TOMORROW
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorists: Laura Martin, HI-FI, Ulises Arreola, Dan Brown, Wil Quintana
Letterers: Sal Cipriano & Travis Lanham
Rating: 8/10 Food Vouchers
What if we took the general theme of Superman, the last son of Krypton and just cut out the middle man and had that just take place on Earth? What would that mean for the Superman they already have? Geoff Johns gives Earth their very own Superman from Earth in Superman: The Men of Tomorrow. Spoiler Warning.
Around 25 years ago (New 52 time), some scientists in an underground bunker in Omaha, Nebraska, accidentally bring about the end of the world while playing with dimensional portals. With the Earth seemingly doomed, a couple of scientists who apparently brought their small baby in a duffle bag, decide to pull a Jor-El and rocket their child off-world into another dimension to save him. Thankfully the scientists were able to stop the dimensional spillage that was destroying everything around them AFTER they sent their baby off to the 4th dimension never to be seen again. Oops.
Flash forward those 25 years to Metropolis where Superman is saving the day from a giant robot Gorilla and we soon encounter that young baby all grown up and super. Named after the program his parents were a part of, Ulysses is as super as the man of steel himself and the two team up as Clark tries to track down both Ulysses’ past, as well as the Machinist, the villain throwing robots at the heroes throughout this series. Unfortunately, things don’t go so well as Ulyssesus goes from learning that the world isn’t a great place and offering to bring millions back to his adopted planet, to pulling a psych and revealing that was his plan all along so he can sacrifice people to keep his planet spinning. With that, Superman finally pushes himself to the limits which have maybe only really been seen with Darkseid and Doomsday, as he must stop Ulysses.
Overall I thought this story was a solid read. The concept of having Ulysses was neat to see as he both mirrored Superman in so many ways, but showed that where you are raised can truly shape you. Before the twist reveal of Ulysses being aware of sacrificing lives for his adopted planet, I though the parts of the story that featured the Machinist were very interesting. The villain definitely showed themselves as a real threat to Superman and has me looking forward to where they might pop up next. They also set it up as a great nail in the coffin for Ulysses in this portion of the story as he was struggling to find the Earth to be able to achieve true peace. The panels featuring Oz, mysteriously watching from afar had me completely surprised I didn’t remember that Johns’ had him being set up all the way back in New 52 has me tempted to binge read this entire series to see more. More than anything though, while the story was an enjoyable read, Johns wraps this story up in the best way that reflects what Superman means to others as he inspires an incredible act of generosity from Jimmy Olsen, and even risks getting shot (he lost his powers temporarily at the end) to talk a man out of holding someone hostage.
Of the New 52 Superman books I have, this one is for sure one of my favorites. A cool story that puts Superman at odd with something that pushes him physically against a character that plays with the Superman origin, and a constant reminder of the things that make Superman inspiring and great. If you are ever looking to go back and look at the New 52 for some reads, The Men of Tomorrow is one of those to consider.