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Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (1997) - TPB
"Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"
DC Comics

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Alan Moore - 'Curt Vile / Jill Deray / The Original Writer'

George Pérez
Curt Douglas Swan

Kurt Schaffenberger

Tom J. McCraw

Bob Kahan
Julius Schwartz

Cover Artist(s):
Murphy Anderson
Alex Jay
Tom J. McCraw
Curt Douglas Swan

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Cover Date: 1997
Cover Price: US $ 5.95

Issue Tagline:
SEE the rampage of BIZARRO!
WITNESS the killing of CLARK KENT!
SURVIVE the Daily Planet's LAST STAND!
ATTEND the Legion of Super-Heroes' LAST SALU

Format: Color; Trade Paperback; 64 pages

Story Arc(s):    Add/remove story arcs to this issue
Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Alan Moore takes a turn at writing a few tales starring the Man of Steel. Includes stories which feature a rampaging Bizarro, the death of Clark Kent, an evil alliance between Lex Luthor and Brainiac, a salute to the Legion of Super-heroes, and the Daily Planet's last stand. Using his trademark writing style, Moore creates amazing realism in a world of fantasy that is always both entertaining and thought provoking.

The framing device of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? is the tale of a Daily Planet reporter, Tim Crane, in the then-future year of 1997, paying a visit to former Planet reporter Lois Lane-Elliot, hoping that she, as the last person to have seen Superman alive, can shed some light on the mystery of the Man of Steel's disappearance ten years previous. The majority of the story is told in flashback, as Lois recounts for Crane the tale of Superman's final days.

Ten years before, Superman's secret identity was revealed when villains decided to simply start assassinating everyone associated with the Man of Steel. Two famous, if minor, past nuisances of Superman's, the Toyman and the Prankster, learn of Superman's secret identity from Pete Ross, whom they have tortured and killed, and during a live TV newscast, the "fearsome funsters" launch an attack that exposes Clark Kent's secret to the world. This darkening of intent is furthered when Bizarro, historically a harmless dunce who says the opposite of what he means, changes his modus operandi to become a "perfect imperfect duplicate" of Superman, by first going on a killing spree (since Superman never kills anyone), deliberately destroying the Bizarro World and coming to Earth as an adult (since Superman's home planet of Krypton was destroyed in an accident and he was sent to Earth as a baby) and then—taking the "opposite" theme to its logical conclusion—committing suicide, via exposure to blue kryptonite (since Superman was, in fact, alive, Bizarro's twisted logic translated this into his having to be dead to be the perfect imperfect duplicate). His last words were, "Hello, Superman, hello".

While this is going on, Lex Luthor is searching an unidentified Arctic wasteland for the remains of Brainiac, who presumably died here when his organic spaceship crashed (see Action Comics #545). Finding the android's seemingly inert head, Luthor claims it with the intent of disassembling it to learn its technology. However, he inadvertently re-activates the head, which quickly moves to take over Luthor's own body and motor functions. With the intent of avenging his own defeat at Superman's hands, Brainiac, now in full control over Luthor, moves to build a new ship and take the fight to Superman personally. Along the way, he stops to pick up the Kryptonite Man, who has also been compelled to seek out and destroy Superman.

After saving the Daily Planet staff from an assault by an army of Metallos, Superman takes his closest friends (including Lois, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, and Perry White and his wife) to his Fortress of Solitude for safety. Krypto even joins them here, having returned from unspecified adventures in deep space especially for the occasion. At this moment, the Legion of Super-Heroes, including the recently-deceased Supergirl (who was visiting the Legion in the future at the time they took this trip), pay a visit from the 30th century, to bestow upon Superman a gift—a trophy of him holding the Phantom Zone projector inscribed "HIS SUPREME HOUR"—in what is clearly, though Brainiac 5 pointedly denies it, a token of farewell.

True to Superman's fears, by the morning Brainiac and the time-travelling Legion of Super-Villains have begun a siege on the Fortress, with Brainiac erecting a forcefield around it to prevent other Earth-based heroes (including Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and others) from interfering. In the ensuing battle, Jimmy and Lana find inside the Fortress trophies of their own past dalliances with superpowers (a sample of Jimmy's old "Elastic Lad" serum and the costume Lana wore when she was briefly the "Insect Queen"), and decide to use these artifacts to aid Superman in this standoff. Lana is able to subdue the Kryptonite Man, while Jimmy successfully shuts down Brainiac's force-field. During this skirmish, Luthor is able to wrest back enough control of his body to beg Lana to kill him, hoping to take Brainiac with him when he dies— she reluctantly complies, snapping his neck.

Unfortunately, the Legion of Super-Villains is able to determine how these two ordinary humans were able to gain superpowers, and using that knowledge, they kill Lana. Jimmy is murdered by Brainiac, who is able to assume temporary control of Luthor's corpse. He then notes that his forcefield is still keeping the other heroes away, despite the destruction of the device generating it. A nuclear bomb, launched by Brainiac, finally breaches the walls of the Fortress. The Kryptonite Man rushes in, almost insane in his desire to see Superman "turn green and die" at his hands; Krypto, sensing the threat to his master, attacks and kills the Kryptonite Man, but succumbs to a fatal dose of Kryptonite radiation in the process.

In the end, with Brainiac finally deactivated when Luthor's body went into rigor mortis and the Legion of Super-Villains having fled back to the future due to Superman's apparent murderous rage at the death of Lana (screaming, "You hurt LANA?!"), Superman realizes that not all of his old foes have yet been accounted for—and that the one missing name, Mxyzptlk, must be the villain behind all of this, as only he could have caused such bizarre events to occur. Sure enough, the extradimensional imp appears, with a decidedly darker color scheme and grimmer, more serious smile on his face, and claims credit for orchestrating the attacks, saying he has grown bored with simply being "mischievous" and now wants to see what it would be like to be "evil" instead. He then reveals his true form ("Did you honestly believe that a 5th Dimensional sorcerer would resemble a funny little man in a derby hat?"), a giant purple, truly five-dimensional (As Lois puts it, “I can’t describe what Mxyzptlk then became. He had height, width, depth, and a couple of other things, too.”), vaguely humanoid shape, and begins stalking Superman through the ruins of his Fortress.

With Lois's help, Superman suddenly realizes the significance of the trophy given to him by the Legion of Super-Heroes, and threatens Mxyzptlk with the Phantom Zone projector. Upon seeing this, Mxyzptlk panics and says his own name backward, which sends him back to his own dimension—at the same instant, Superman activates the projector, sending Mxyzptlk into the Phantom Zone. Torn in two between dimensions, Mxyzptlk dies with a horrific scream. Since he has broken his own code to never kill, Superman, in penance, voluntarily enters a chamber containing a sample of Gold Kryptonite (which would permanently drain him of his powers), and disappears into the Arctic wasteland. When the other heroes enter the remains of the Fortress, they find only Perry White, his wife, and Lois still alive. Superman's body is never found, and it is assumed by all parties that he wandered into the Arctic wasteland, powerless, to die.

After the interview is over and Crane leaves the Elliot residence, it is indirectly revealed that Jordan Elliot, Lois's husband, is in fact Superman himself—now without powers and living the life of a typical middle-class suburbanite with Lois—meaning he did not in fact die in the Arctic, although exactly how he did survive is never revealed. They have a child, Jonathan, that has apparently inherited Superman's strength (he is seen crushing a lump of coal into a diamond), and possibly his other powers. The final image is of Jordan delivering a classic "Superman" wink to the reader, as he and Lois prepare to "just live happily ever after."

Action Comics (1938) #583
Superman (1939) #423

This is an almost complete reprinting of the two issues listed. The trade is missing a minor amount of "framing information" available in the original comics.

Introduction, "The Time Has Come!", by Paul Kupperberg. Alex Jay did the cover lettering, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Characters:    Add/remove characters to this issue
An image for Batman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Batman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Bizarro (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Superman) exists Bizarro (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Superman)
An image for Brainiac (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Brainiac (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Brainiac 5 (DC)(Earth-0) exists Brainiac 5 (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Captain Marvel (DC)(Earth-S - Fawcett) exists Captain Marvel (DC)(Earth-S - Fawcett)
An image for Cosmic Boy (DC)(Earth-0) exists Cosmic Boy (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Cosmic King (DC)(Earth-0) exists Cosmic King (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Josh Coyle exists Josh Coyle
Tim Crane
Elastic Lad
An image for General Zod (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists General Zod (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Green Arrow (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Green Arrow (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Hawkman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Katar Hol) exists Hawkman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(02 - Katar Hol)
An image for Invisible Kid (DC)(01 - Lyle Norg) exists Invisible Kid (DC)(01 - Lyle Norg)
An image for Jimmy Olsen (DC)(Earth-1) exists Jimmy Olsen (DC)(Earth-1)
An image for Krypto (01 - Earth-1) exists Krypto (01 - Earth-1)
Kryptonite Man (DC)(Earth-1)(01 - Kryptonite Kid)
An image for Lois Lane (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Lois Lane (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Lana Lang (DC)(Earth-1) exists Lana Lang (DC)(Earth-1)
  An image for Lightning Lad (DC)(Earth-0) exists Lightning Lad (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Lightning Lord (DC)(Earth-0) exists Lightning Lord (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Lex Luthor (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Lex Luthor (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Martian Manhunter (DC) exists Martian Manhunter (DC)
An image for Metallo (DC)(Post-Crisis)(02 - Roger Corben) exists Metallo (DC)(Post-Crisis)(02 - Roger Corben)
An image for Mr. Mxyzptlk (02 - Earth-1) exists Mr. Mxyzptlk (02 - Earth-1)
An image for Pete Ross (DC)(Earth-1 Pre Crisis) exists Pete Ross (DC)(Earth-1 Pre Crisis)
An image for Prankster (DC) (01 - Pre-Crisis) exists Prankster (DC) (01 - Pre-Crisis)
An image for Robin (01 - Dick Grayson, E-1 & Post-Crisis) exists Robin (01 - Dick Grayson, E-1 & Post-Crisis)
An image for Saturn Girl (DC)(Earth-0) exists Saturn Girl (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Saturn Queen (DC)(Earth-0) exists Saturn Queen (DC)(Earth-0)
An image for Supergirl (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(Linda Lee) exists Supergirl (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(Linda Lee)
An image for Superman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Superman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Superwoman (DC)(03 - Kristen Wells) exists Superwoman (DC)(03 - Kristen Wells)
An image for Toyman (Earth-1 - Pre-Crisis)(01 - Winslow Schott) exists Toyman (Earth-1 - Pre-Crisis)(01 - Winslow Schott)
An image for Vartox (DC)(Pre Crisis)(Earth-1) exists Vartox (DC)(Pre Crisis)(Earth-1)
An image for Perry White (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis) exists Perry White (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
An image for Alice White (Earth-1) exists Alice White (Earth-1)
An image for Wonder Woman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(01- Diana) exists Wonder Woman (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)(01- Diana)

Groups:    Add/remove groups to this issue
Daily Planet (DC)(Earth-1 - Pre Crisis)
Legion of Super-Heroes (DC)(Earth-0)
  Legion of Super-Villains (DC)(Earth-0)

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