Superman: Man of Tomorrow Misses Audience of Today

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Superman Man of Tomorrow Review

With JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: APOKOLIPS WAR, the interconnected DC Animated Universe was brought to a close -- or a new beginning, depending on your perspective.

SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW may be that new beginning, as it gives viewers a Superman who as not yet even put on the cape. 

Clark Kent (Darren Criss) is an intern for the Daily Planet, yet to have his own byline. Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario) has only just broken into the ranks of the press, having been responsible for the downfall of corrupt magnate Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto). The world is only just getting introduced to the idea of superheroes, what with the rare glimpses of Superman's exploits as the "flying man" wearing the aviator helmet and goggles, and the even rarer shots of the Bat Man of Gotham City.

That's all going to come to an abrupt change, though, when the existence of alien life on Earth is confirmed. Lobo (Ryan Hurst) has come to call, having accepted a bounty to bring in the last Kryptonian. The ensuing battle brings another alien out of hiding -- the Martian Manhunter (Ike Amadi), who empathizes with Superman's orphan status. The fight also brings about the rise of the monstrous Parasite when one of Lobo's weapons hits a S.T.A.R. Labs janitor, Rudy Jones, infecting him and turning him into the purple-skinned energy vampire, who proceeds to leave a trail of bodies behind him as he feeds.

The monstrous appearance of the Parasite -- at one point, grown to kaiju-like stature -- is intentional. The design is to visually connect the character to the concept of 'alien' when the true alien is Superman himself, the Parasite actually being one of them. And for all the punches thrown and collateral damage, in the end it is Superman's appeal to the man inside the monster that ends up saving the day.

MAN OF TOMORROW has it's share of good points and bad. The voice casting is excellent, and there's a fair amount of action throughout. The animation style has already been discussed in detail through online forums, specifically how the thicker outlines give the entire show an appearance similar to ARCHER. It's noticable but not distracting once you get accustomed to it.

The plot, unfortunately, falls apart upon scrutiny. No reason is given for Clark Kent wearing glasses before ever appearing in public as Superman. We never learn who put out the hit on Superman in the first place -- whether it was Brainiac or The Collector (as was the case in the Bruce Timm SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES episodes where Lobo came for the same reasons -- episodes which are included on this release as bonus features). And the final scene has Superman, Martian Manhunter, and Lobo all standing side-by-side, each the last of their kind, and Lobo's just taking off with everyone glad to be rid of him. That, perhaps, is the most unsatisfying part of this. The destruction and verified death were all Lobo's fault, and yet because he's an antihero with a fan base, he can't be brought to face any justice. It's not as though the encounter was just a slobberknocker between him and Superman -- people died as the direct result of Lobo's actions, and there are no consequences even attempted.

This Blu-ray release includes, in addition to the aforementiond bonus episodes, featurettes on both Lobo and Martian Manhunter, as well as a peek at the next DC Animated release, BATMAN: SOUL OF THE DRAGON.

3.5 / 5.0