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Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (The Last Son of Krypton)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

 

Episode: “The Last Son of Krypton (Part s 1-3)”

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Since this is the first time I’m doing one of these and since this was meant to be watched all at once, I’m just going to watch all 3 episodes that comprise the pilot.

What happens: Krypton blows up, obviously. Young Kal-El of Krypton is sent to Earth where he Look you know the score here. All you need to know is Superman establishes himself in Metropolis and stops a gang of terrorists from stealing a high-tech Lexcorp mech suit in a plan orchestrated by…Lex Luthor!

FOREGROUND

Thoughts:

  • This is a pretty cool Superman origin! It’s a good combination of the different takes on it (Mostly the Donner movie, I guess) but it adds enough to make it stand on its own. The thing that really stands out to me is that Kal-El is much older than in most Superman origins. He’s walking around, practically!
  • I like the weird little touches like the trademark spitcurl coming from Lara’s side of the family. Jor-El being an ACTION! scientist (fighting an ice monster, shooting at Brainiac, stealing that hoverbike etc).
  • The Kryptonian high council’s outfits are GOOFY.

How do they walk through doors?!

  • It’s pretty crazy that this CHILDREN’S CARTOON opens with like full-on planetary genocide.
  • Reimaging Brainiac as a smarmy asshole Kryptonian computer program responsible for destroying Krypton makes his origin less confusing and creates a ton of storytelling potential that’s explored later on.
  • Christopher McDonald is a weird choice for Jor-El considering how notable he is for playing 90’s bad guys but he makes it work.
  • The scenes with teenage Clark in Smallville ARE MORE ENTERTAINING AND BETTER EXECUTED THAN ANYTHING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED ON THE SHOW “SMALLVILLE” COME ONNN.
  • The Dana Delany’s Lois Lane and Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor are up there with Conroy’s Batman for me, as far as definitive takes on a character go.
  • Have we gotten a Superman origin in the last 30 years that DOESN’T involve him saving people in a falling flying vehicle? (Helicopter, space shuttle, plane?). Superman: Earth One, maybe?

plane

  • This version, like all good Superman origins, has him granting Lois the first Superman interview instead of having him fabricate one or whatever.
  • The reference to Lois and Lex having dated in the past isn’t without precedent (Bryne’s origin has it) but I didn’t remember it being in this one before.
  • Pre-Metallo John Corbin essentially being Hans Gruber only from Kasnia instead of Germany  is rather inspired. Really, this show’s Superman foe revamps are welcome changes.
  • Animated Bibbo Bibowski = fat Popeye?
  • The billion-dollar battle suit having a remote controlled car alarm is hilarious.
  • I have to wonder if Corbin using the battle suit to fight Superman was intentional foreshadowing on the whole Metallo thing. Seems like it.
  • I think we can all agree the whole scene where Luthor and Superman meet face to face for the first time is pitch perfect.
  • The Brainiac teaser at the end kicks off a fine tradition of Brainiac being gross and creepy later evidenced on this show and Justice League.

Overall?

Superman origins are a dime a dozen but this is possibly the best one yet? Giving a whole episode to Krypton blowing up is a brave choice but it gives way more weight to the whole thing. I don’t remember especially liking this episode as a kid but it moves very quickly for a 90 minute pilot and it does a great job of introducing the cast and setting the tone of the show.

Next Episode: FUN AND GAMES

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About Max Robinson

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6 responses to “Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (The Last Son of Krypton)

  1. Patrick

    Max, you make me happy. I’ve been trying to convince Courtney to watch these with me. (She just wants to wrap up Batman first.)

    • I aim to please! I considered starting off with Batman: TAS but I’ve seen all of those episodes abunch, whereas there’s much of the Superman stuff I’ve seen maybe once or twice.

  2. Siskoid

    Patrick: Look for the blog Roar of Comics. All it’s doing right now is going through each episode of Batman TAS.

    Max: I think the Superman TAS is the most underrated thing ever. My crush on Dana Delaney not withstanding, it has the best Brainiac ever.

    Donnerish? I dunno. It felt Byrnish to me (spaceplane, business Lex, the character dynamics). Maybe because it was a “reboot” just like Man of Steel was.

    I think I’m gonna revisit the series with you, one episode a week. You’ve given me the bug and I haven’t seen it in a while.

    • That’s a good point. I guess I’d say the Metropolis segments are Bryne-ish, but the Krypton parts are overwhelmingly Donner-inspired, considering how close it is to the movie origin, no?

  3. Siskoid

    I guess. Equal parts Silver Age (Jor-El as a star, the colors) + a strong Kirby element (across the entire show), an obvious inspiration to Bruce Timm.

  4. Pingback: Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Way Of All Flesh”) « A More Wretched Hive of Scum & Villainy!

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