Superman’s legend is constantly being re-invented for a new generation and it’s always retrofitted for a new sensibility and new crowd of potential comic book buffs. Thankfully while DC has rebooted Superman a few times in their animated universe they’ve managed to stick to what makes the man and the myth so exciting and awe inspiring. Even in the rare misfires, Superman is almost always Superman and it’s great to see him return yet again in this re-invention of the character’s lore.
Clark Kent, sent to Earth as an infant from the dying planet Krypton, arrived with as many questions as the number of light-years he traveled. Now a young man, he makes his living in Metropolis as an intern at the Daily Planet – alongside reporter Lois Lane – while secretly wielding his alien powers of flight, super-strength and x-ray vision in the battle for good. Follow the fledgling hero as he engages in bloody battles with intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo before fighting for his life with the alien Parasite.
Veering away from the anime flavored style that became so prominent within their library for years, “Man of Tomorrow” takes a different approach. This time the animation is simpler, but sleeker and allows for a much lighter energy than what became such common ground over the last ten years. The new cast does a bang up job especially with Darren Criss lending an admirable sense of humility to the Man of Steel that’s been sorely missing for a while. There are also fun turns by Alexandria Daddario, Zachary Quinto, and Ryan Hurst, the latter of whom is almost too perfect a fit for Lobo.
“Man of Tomorrow” pits Superman against impossible odds as always, centering on him taking on Parasite, and the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo. Along the way he meets Martian Manhunter, a mysterious being that indicates a wider universe for Superman who spends a lot of “Man of Tomorrow” trying to comprehend his own immense abilities and use it as a means of helping people in the process. This becomes so increasingly difficult to conquer, especially in a world that just met the Man of Steel and isn’t quite sure what to make of him yet. That said, like most of the Animated movies, “Man of Tomorrow” could stand fifteen more minutes or so, but while it does race to the finish line, it offers a new tonal direction in the Superman origin story.
Altogether, while it’s not at all perfect, it still comes out on the other end as a breezy and exciting take on the character filled with some great action, and rather top notch voice work.
The Blu-Ray Disc includes the ten minutes Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos which features Screenwriter Tim Sheridan, artists Jon Bogdanove and Bernard Chang, DC Daily host Hector Navarro, voice actor Ryan Hurst, and others. They talk about the character’s early years, 1990s reinvention and surge of popularity, favorite moments, different artists’ takes on the character (as well as a few stray TV appearances), and of course the version seen in Man of Tomorrow. The nine minutes Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found includes Tim Sheridan, Jon Bogdanove, Hector Navarro, and others, all of whom offer a like-minded overview of the film’s other supporting character, a few interesting comparisons and contrasts to Superman himself, and his depiction in a variety of media during the past few decades.
There’s an eleven minutes Sneak Peek at Batman: Soul of the Dragon, a 1970’s-infused adventure also featuring Richard Dragon, Ben Turner, Lady Shiva, O-Sensei. A few cast and crew members (including director Sam Liu) offer their thoughts, while glimpses of the upcoming film are seen as finished clips, storyboards, and rough animatics. Finally, there’s the classic From the DC Vault that includes Two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. There’s “The Main Man”, parts 1 and 2 which features the first DCAU appearance of Lobo, as he tangles with Superman, once again.
Still waiting for that Deluxe Complete Series Blu-Ray, Warner.