Man of Tomorrow #9 debuts two all-new tales featuring the Man of Steel written by Jeff Parker with art provided by Sam Lotfi and Mike Mckone. Unlike previous efforts, these two tales share connective tissue and ultimately shine a light on a singular foe. None other than Brainiac.
But first up, let’s take a look at the cover by Sam Lofti, with colours by John Rauch. I love this cover, it has a real adventure vibe to it, which I love. There are elements to it that remind me of Bruce Timm’s artwork, and that is mostly the design of Lois Lane in the background. The colour palette is beautiful, and really adds a vintage feel to it, which I adore. I personally am a huge fan of when cover art is featured in the issue itself, so seeing the full context of this cover was a real payoff for me.
The first story chronicled in this issue entitled ‘What Lives Inside’ sees Lois and Superman answer a call for help regarding a secluded mine which appears to have a majority of their miners missing. We then later find that they weren’t missing at all, having fallen prey to a number of aggressive Alien organisms named symbiotes.
Straight off the bat, this story reminded me of an old school ‘creature feature’. Think ‘The Thing from Another World’ from 1951, that is exactly the vibe that I get from this story, and this is mostly due to the atmospheric artwork provided by Sam Lotfi and colourist John Rauch. The organisms featured in this tale are truly horrifying in their look and approach. The texture of these beings, constantly squirming and pulsating make for truly uncomfortable reading.
Due to Sam Lotfi’s art style, Superman looks very classic during this portion of the issue, and I love that. It takes me right back to the golden age. The Man of Steel utilizes a plethora of quintessential poses as well as powers to stave off these seemingly unstoppable entities. This really ties in with the overall ‘classic’ feel of the story. The blue and purple hues making up the cave and entities dwelling within, combined with heavy shading really build towards a feeling of unease and dread. I’m certain the creative team desire to invoke those emotions and have executed it perfectly.
Writer Jeff Parker has crafted a horrifying tale with a superb twist that truly raises the stakes and forces The Man Of Steel to re-evaluate his approach. This is a very immersive tale that utilizes science fiction/horror elements that in turn create an unfamiliar challenge for Superman to overcome. It is very much appreciated to see Superman operate in a unique and different setting such as this.
The second story featured in this issue is once again written by Jeff Parker with art provided by Mike Mckone. This story entitled ‘Invasive Species’ sees Superman come into conflict with a giant Alien creature that looks to tear its way through the world.
This tale instantly reminded me of the Japanese genre of Kaiju movies. Seeing Superman go up against a being that is only going on instinct and not motivated by malicious intent is very intriguing to see. Superman is reluctant to inflict any kind of damage on his unwitting adversary from the get go. This is totally on brand for me and I really appreciated it being highlighted by the creative team.
Mike Mckone’s artwork in this story is sensational. Scale in this kind of story is so important considering the large proportions involved. Mike Mckone uses Superman perfectly to illustrate just how big the creature known as Kaigora is. The artwork combined with colours by Romula Fajardo Jr really brings the story to life, especially when it comes to locations and atmospheric changes.
This is a fantastic issue that links together the events that took place in the prior story, which in turn ultimately shines a light on Brainiac. Writer Jeff Parker has placed Superman in two very unique situations that test the Man of Steel’s compassion and benevolence. Once again I find myself saying that I want to see MORE of Parker’s Superman, just like the rest of the teams that have been involved in this ongoing series.