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Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Tools Of The Trade”)

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: “Tools Of The Trade”

Metropolis police officers look alarmingly fascist

What Happens: Intergang! Specifically, Superman goes up against crime boss Bruno Manheim’s crime syndicate, who are being armed with super-weapons by a Mysterious Benefactor.


  • First appearance of Animated Captain Sawyer and Dan Turpin (loved that they modeled him off of Jack Kirby, by the way)

Police. Cops. Police cops.

  • The Superman vs Ultra-Tank or whatever fight’s a nice way to open the episode.
  • Superman unwittingly undermining the legitimacy of the city police is a rather clever idea that I hadn’t really thought about. It also gives Turpin a kind of valid reason to dislike Superman.
  • Kanto! Our first official New God appearance? I love that he’s dressed like a normal dude except for the Kirby-tastic trident thing

Gotta respect Kanto's luscious head of hair.

  • Totally forgot that Michael York voiced Kanto. And then much later on Ares on Justice League. What a sweet voice that man has.
  • They threw in some cool Kirby weaponry. The giant energy hands gauntlet is neat:


  • I’m really glad there’s some build-up to Darkseid/The New Gods conflict over time, it sells the enormity of the threat very well.
  • Someone should count just how MANY trains Superman has saved in the various media. Is it even trackable?
  • Superman pushing apart the energy hand construct things so hard that he BREAKS THE DUDE’S ACTUAL HANDS is awesome.
  • You know, “Superman with angry heat vision eyes” has  become a cliche by now, but this is just used perfectly.

Welp. That's that.

  • LOVE how Kanto, evil demi-god from space, flat out just runs away. Kanto doesn’t need this. Kanto can’t deal with this right now.
  • Animators totally outdo themselves on the brief glimpse of Apokolips we get.
  • Michael Ironside’s 10 seconds of Darkseid dialogue = possibly the best part of the whole episode.


It’s mostly “Superman vs. crooks”, so I think the episode’s not quite as exciting in terms of action, but all of the Jack Kirby Fourth World concepts that get used are used very very well. The episode’s basically just a trailer for the AMAZING Darkseid two parter we get alittle later on. But a good episode on its own, for sure.

Next Episode: TWO’S A CROWD


About Max Robinson


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