Main What Ever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow Discussion

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07:37:18 PM Apr 17th 2010
I saw this listed on the "needs a better description" page and thought I could help cut it down. However, I have zero familiarity with the source material, so I thought I'd post the original synopsis/entry here in case it gets lost in edit history or something, and more knowledgable people can pick through it and recover anything important I missed.

  • Superman really hit his stride in the Silver Age, which introduced things like multi-colored Kryptonite, Supergirl, Bizarro, and the Fortress of Solitude. Even today, everything the average person knows about Supes (not counting his death) comes from that period.

Then came the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a mega-event that reset the continuity of every DC title. Thus began the modern, John Byrne era of Superman which strove to be more "realistic."

Editor Julius Schwartz realized that Silver Age Superman deserved a grand finale. Alan Moore jumped at the chance to write the "last" Superman story. Superman ur-artist Curt Swan was hired to draw it. They made it an "imaginary story," which made no sense because either way, it was the last Silver Age tale. Perhaps this was in deference to Steve Gerber, who was given the task of writing the final in-continuity Silver Age Superman tale over in DC Comics Presents.

Daily Planet reporter Tim Crane comes to interview Lois Elliot (nee Lane) on the anniversary of the death of Superman.

Lois tells the story in a Whole Episode Flashback. Superman's life has settled into an easy groove. All the villains are lying low, so he spends his time helping NASA with experiments.

Then the villains go beserk, attacking Metropolis in increasingly grisly ways: Bizarro goes on a murderous rampage before committing suicide, Toyman and the Prankster murder Pete Ross and expose Superman's secret identity. Metallo launches an all out assault on the Daily Planet.

Superman takes his friends (Perry, Perry's estranged wife, Lois, Jimmy, Lana) to the Fortress of Solitude. He's pursued by the Kryptonite Man, the Legion of Supervillains, and creepiest of all, the remains of Lex Luthor, which have been mind-raped and taken over by the remains of Brainiac.

Superman makes his last stand, and survives by the skin of his teeth. In the battle, Krypto the Superdog, Jimmy and Lana all die fighting the villains. Superman defeats Brainiac, but realizes there's one last villain: Mxyzptlk.

It turns out that Myxtyplk was bored of a millennia of being mischievous, so he's turned pure evil. Superman is no match for Mxyzptlk's godlike power, but thanks to a warning from the Legion Of Superheroes, he's able to kill Mxyzptlk using the Phantom Zone projector to scare Mxyzptlk into retreating to his home dimension, then using the projector in tandem with the retreat to rip Mxyzptlk in half between the dimensions.

Appalled that he's violated his code against killing, Superman exposes himself to gold kryptonite (permanently robbing himself of all powers) and apparently commits suicide by exposure.

Back at the Framing Device, Tim Crane thanks Lois for her story, leaves, passing Lois's husband Jordan Elliot. It's revealed that Jordan Elliot is actually Superman (Jor-El, get it?) and that he's in his retirement, happy to enjoy an ordinary life for once. Jordan, crazy in love with Lois, winks at the audience, enjoys a happy ending... and misses the fact that his infant son is exhibiting Super Strength.

That's the tale. As time went on, the fans rejected the modern era Superman, and the classic Silver Age trappings came back. There's a great continuity nod in Superman/Batman where the World's Finest pair change the grim-and-gritty, dystopian Kingdom Come future into the idyllic Man Of Tomorrow-verse, essentially choosing that alternate future as the "correct" one for DC. If you loved the Silver Age and were irritated by Kingdom Come, it was pretty awesome.

Just as this story was Silver Age Superman's "epilogue" following Crisis on Infinite Earths, a similar story has come in the wake of Final Crisis, Batman's "Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?" The two stories are similar in presence, but while "Tomorrow" was an tribute to the Silver Age Superman (whose tenure is debated to last all the way to the Bronze Age; the Golden Age Superman, Kal-L would later return in Infinite Crisis), "Caped Crusader", which followed in the death of Bruce Wayne in Final Crisis, is a tribute/epilogue to all versions of the Bruce Wayne Batman, as told by the various versions of his allies and enemies. Both storylines however, maintain a theme of renewal, "Tomorrow" sees the future of Superman passed onto the next generation, and "Caped Crusader" sees Batman reborn to continue his crusade against injustice.
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