Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Livewire”)

Bampa-dah.

Bampa-dah Bampa-dah?

BAMPA-DAH. BAMPA-DAH B-B-BAMPA-DAH?!?!!?

BUM BUM BAH! BUM BUM BUM BAH! BUM BUM BUM BAH! BUM BUM BUM BUM BAH!

S!

We’re back in bizzness, kids.

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: “Livewire″

D-D-D-DANGAH ZOOOONE

What Happens: Local “shock jock” Lori Petty Leslie Willis (Lori Petty) gains ironically appropriate electricity powers, has beef with Our Man Supes, and gets mean mad.

Right?

Thoughts: 

  • Evan “Milk and Cheese” Dorkin co-wrote this episode!
  • Even without the bit where she calls herself “The Queen of All Media”, this episode is “Superman Vs. Lady Howard Stern”
  • Lex’s little smile when Leslie is ripping on Superman is priceless. Lex has gotten the best little moments on this show.
  • Right off the bat, Petty’s really fun here. Her whole morning show spiel is funny and sets the tone for the rest of the episode.
  • I love that EVERYONE IN TOWN is listening to this radio show.
  • The alternating cuts of “Leslie ripping on Superman/Superman saving the day” is a really cool sequence.
  • In keeping with the whole Stern analogue deal, Leslie’s got her own collection of weirdos to exploit?

Baba Booey?

  • Alright, so Leslie gets hit by lightning and gets electricity powers? That’s it? Or is it because the lightning goes through Superman first? Vague.
  • Media doesn’t come off well in this episode, huh?
  • Metropolis has a Times Square too, I guess.
  • Livewire really is a cool Superman villain. Nice gimmick, great character design. Totally makes sense that she made it into the comics, though she’s been criminally underused outside of this show.

A Very Specific Fetish

  • Trying to lasso a woman who can turn into pure energy was a dumb move on your part, Supes.
  • OF COURSE Lex Luthor pays for Livewire’s hospital care.
Overall? 
This episode is good mainly for Lori Petty, I think it’d have been fairly forgettable if they’d gotten a lesser voice talent. But then, that’s one of the real strengths of the DC Animated shows under Dini and Timm, right?

NEXT EPISODE: Speed Demons! It’s got The Flash! I LOVE THE FLASH.

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Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Blasts From The Past – Part 2”)

Hey! After almost a year of operation, HIVE OF SCUM actually has a header logo that, you know, says its name. Special thanks to my pal Danny Keenan for the gorgeous design work and for knowing what I meant by  “Dr.Doom green”.

But fancy new look or no, we got ourselves a Superman episode to talk about!

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: “Blasts From The Past – Part 2″

Cool Vest Club

What Happens: PREVIOUSLY: Superman freed Kryptonian criminal revolutionary Mala from the Phantom Zone, partly out of guilt, partly because she thought she could help the world like he has. Superman is a total rube! His plan falls apart and Mala frees a man previously defeated by Superman’s father, would-be despot Jax-Ur.

Thoughts: 

  • Superman’s space zoo gets so much screen time on this show. Really shows how Superman:TAS  is where the DC Animated Universe writers REALLY started paying attention to their own internal continuity. There’s some of that with Batman: TAS (mostly Harvey Dent/Two-Face) but its very apparent here.
  • Looks like Prof. Hamilton coined the phrase “Fortress of Solitude” in the DCAU. Didn’t know that.

This is just a great accidental screen cap.

  • I do like that Superman and Professor Hamilton do the logical thing in this situation and just ask the Brainiac orb how to build a new PZ projector instead of directly going after Mala and Jax-Ur.
  • Ooo and a reference to Rao (Kryptonian God, basically). Is that the first time this show’s done that? I dunno.
  • I think the audience is supposed to get enjoyment out of Mala heat visioning that bicyclist’s tire. Guys on bikes are sometimes just The Worst.

Hahaha

  • I love how Jax-Ur is almost a good foot shorter than Mala. Deliberate Napoleon shout-out? U-Decide! Jax-Ur’s animated model in this episode bugs me, it seems too..soft? I’m not sure whats up there.
  • Alright, Superman taking this long to confront Mala is …weird. Weak script spot there.
  • It takes alittle while to really get started but the Superman/Mala/Jax-Ur fight’s pretty good.
  • I feel like Lois hasn’t been central to an episode in A WHILE. They use her/Mala’s mad-on for her to good effect here.
  • Intentional call back here to the time in the comics where Superman broke his ONE RULE and used Kryptonite to execute Jax-Ur and co. That’s kind of a weak story and this is a kids show, though, so that doesn’t happen here.
  • Jax-Ur and Mala going around just wrecking shit for giggles.
  • Whole lotta heat vision in this episode.
  • That was…alittle anti-climactic.
Overall? Decent enough episode, though I have to say the first part was much stronger. Definitely felt like they ran out of time at the end. There are greater sins, I suppose.

NEXT EPISODE: LIVEWIRE. Lori Petty? Yep.

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Blasts From The Past – Part 1”)

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: “Blasts From The Past – Part 1″

ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER KIRBY HELL

What Happens: While messing around with a Kryptonian Phantom Zone generator with Prof. Hamilton, Superman discovers a surviving female Kryptonian trapped inside. Somethin’s up, though. Why’s she there in the first place, right?

Thoughts:

  • So this is the first time the Phantom Zone shows up in DC Animated continuity. I honestly can’t remember it showing up much outside of this two parter and its use on a Cadmus storyline JLU episode (Man, that arc was like non-stop Superman stuff, huh?)
  • Professor Hamilton just messing around with switches on an alien machine. What the hell school taught you that, Prof?
  • The Fortress of Solitude’s more and more built out and homey each time we cut to it. It’s practically a bachelor pad at this point.
  • So Superman just keeps Brainiac tech in his crib? I mean, its the only way he’s going to learn about his former planet I guess but I’m surprised they never followed up on the storytelling potential of this. Too similar to his next appearance, I guess?
  • Ron Perlman as Jax-Ur!

Is that like...supposed to be Krypton on his chest?

  • Interesting that they went with Jax-Ur and Mala as names for these characters since they resemble General Zod and Ursa rather closely. Jax-Ur makes some sense as that’s a pre-crisis Kryptonian Phantom Zone criminal, but Mala’s counterpart in the comics is…male.
  • THE DRAMATIC RETURN OF THE GOOFY LOOKING KRYPTONIAN COUNCIL!

Seriously what is UP with that?

  • I LOVE how Jor-El was basically this SCIENCE ACTION HERO back on Krypton. Dude steals a soldier’s helmet, wires it to take down everyone in like 5 seconds. Animated Jor-El’s the best.
  • A big part of using The Phantom Zone in your standard Superman story tends to involve raising the question of how ethical the whole thing is, this episode manages to keep that concern but without belaboring the point.
  • I’m really glad this is a two-parter, this would’ve really suffered otherwise. Way too much too cover and explain, I think.
  • Dig the “Mala’s eyes adjusting to sunlight” perspective shot.
  • I think one of the real strengths of this episode is how Mala is built up to be pretty likeable and sympathetic initially. The lighthearted “testing out her powers” montage, the affection for Superman, just the whole tone. But you still get the impression something’s off.
  • And then the other shoe drops and we realize how crazy she is.
  • “THE EX-CON FROM KRYP-TON”. These Angela Chen soundbites are always fantastically dumb.
  • Lex Luthor going all Glenn Beck. “THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE KRYPTONIAN BABIES AND MAKE US THEIR PETS!!”
  • Glad they build up Mala’s big freakout here. There’s lots of signs, but Superman rejecting her romantically really setting her off just makes sense.
  • Lois gets the best quips, doesn’t she?
  • Great cliffhanger.

Overall?

Just going off of the first half, this is one of the best episodes of the series. The two-parters really give this team time to put in some nuance and detail that you can’t do in a one shot episode.

NEXT EPISODE: BLASTS FROM THE PAST – PART 2. PERLMAN. PERLMAAAAAN.

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Prometheon”)

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 Prometheon”

He is you, you is he.

What Happens: A giant asteroid heading for Earth turns out to be a giant asteroid-with-a-big-alien-dude-attached. As is its custom, it rampages. Superman appears.

Yo

Thoughts:

  • Because the disc order on these Superman DVDs is kind of wonky, I assumed this was the last episode of Season One, but that was actually last week’s Two’s A Crowd. According to Wikipedia, Season Two starts off with the Blast from The Past two-parter.  But since I’ve already got this episode queued up, I’ll be going in whatever order the discs have the episodes.
  • General Hardcastle (voiced by Charles Napier, who’s just one of those character actors you see everywhere) first shows up in this episode. I thought he’d be in earlier episodes but NOPE. He fulfills the standard “law and order figure who doesn’t like Superman” role  here but doesn’t get really interesting until the series finale and his short but important JLU appearance.
  • You know, guys, maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong. Maybe the guys behind this show DON’T like Jack Kirby:

Very, very, very Kirby.

  • Man, General Hardcastle hates Aliens. If you even mention the movie Aliens, he probably flips a shit. Thats how deep his hatred goes.
  • Superman’s Space Suit (which just gets an enormous amount of screen time on this show, really) melting as he tries to redirect The Prometheon/Asteroid chunk toward the ocean is a cool bit of animation.

BLORP

  • Lady on cruise boat, that is not a shooting star. You are dumb.
  • Lois’ offhand reference to Perry White’s explosive flatulence is… intriguing.
  • Haha how great would it be if The Prometheon ran into Metallo while he was walking down there at the bottom of…whatever ocean Metropolis appears to be attached to? Place gets alot of foot traffic ever since Superman showed up.
  • The best Superman foes somehow reflect or play off of Superman himself: Brainiac is Superman’s alien nature without his compassion, Lex Luthor has Superman’s capacity for greatness but is too small minded to reach his potential, The Parasite TAKES as much as Superman GIVES to the world. Prometheon’s another interesting threat for Superman because he’s like a mindless, destructive exaggeration of Superman himself: Enormously powerful, absorbs energy for strength, sent from a distant alien world only to end up on Earth. Has to be intentional.
  • The Prometheon’s the biggest (literally, I guess) physical threat Superman’s had to deal with on this show. He’s barely holding his own for the most part.
  • Prof. Hamilton shuts down all the power to the city for a few minutes. Hope that doesn’t cover back up generators, people in hospitals on life support!
  • So they freeze the Prometheon with cold pack chemicals. Cool ending shot aside, what the hell do they do with it? Because Metropolis is screwed the next time they get a sunny day.

Overall?

I really liked this episode. Not the most satisfying ending in the world but this was a big monster movie that had Superman in it. Prometheon’s a good one episode monster that, like I said, reflects Superman in several respects. And hey, we got a fart joke from Lois Lane.

Kind of a shame no one ever used this character again, would’ve worked great as a Justice League threat of some kind.

NEXT EPISODE: The previously mentioned BLAST FROM THE PAST. Kryptonian criminals! The Phantom Zone! Be there!

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Two’s A Crowd”)

I’ll be honest. I’m alittle buzzed. I just got back from bar trivia. In other words, I’m in the perfect mood to watch some 90’s Superman animation. Lets bust a move.

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: “Two’s A Crowd”

Even Parasites Get The Blues

What Happens: Rogue scientist Earl Garver threatens Metropolis with a radioactive bomb and is left unconscious via severe concussion following a stand-off with Superman. The bomb’s location still unknown, Professor Hamilton suggets they use the Parasite, last seen here, to probe the scientist’s mind. No possible downsides to this plan!

Shh. Shhh.

Thoughts:

  • I love, love, love that this episode opens with Dan Turpin and co. firing on this house with laser guns and SWAT shields.
  • The set piece of a normal house decked-out in Super-Science weapons is well done, reminds me of the gauntlet Luthor puts him through in Superman: The Movie.
  • Sawyer, put on some pants. Everyone, act like you’re posing for a lame album cover!

HRUMPH

  • I dig how this episode utilizes Parasite in a way beyond something like a prison escape or something like that. The good guys desperately need his help and it just kind of goes to shit from there.
  • Hamilton’s whole idea of using a super villain to solve their problem (along with a bunch of stuff in the series finale) arguably goes a long way to explaining his heel turn  over in Justice League Unlimited (JLU’s Cadmus sure did like using super criminals for stuff).
  • So Parasite’s awake, I guess. But we already knew that from the bug touching thing at the end of his first appearance.
  • Parasite refusing to help them unless they give him cable TV is perfect, I love how Parasite’s plans are never “take over the world” or anything, just simple pleasures for a simple guy.
  • Parasite’s “feedback” scream is unnerving as hellllll.
  • Hey so fun fact: Earl Garver is voiced by Brian “Original Hannibal Lecter” Cox. Consistently amazed by the voice talent on the Timm DC Animated stuff.
  • I was going to cry foul on Superman using the special underwater suit but then I remembered this Superman needs to breathe periodically (also, probably doesn’t hurt that you can make an action figure out of it)

STAR labs whole budget goes toward making Superman little mission suits, I guess

  • Teaming up Parasite with a character like Garver whose charisma and intellect act as a counterpoint to his…unmotivated brute strength is a fantastic way to raise the stakes by giving Supes a physical threat that can plan.
  • The concept of introducing a scientist consciousness into Parasite actually predates this in the comics (Google: “Torval Freeman”), I’m not sure if this is intentional or just a happy coincidence. Circumstances aren’t identical, atleast.
  • The difference in the movements of Parasite-with-Garver’s consciousness (very acrobatic, playful almost) is a great touch.
  • Superman not being strong enough to fly out, just kind of super-jumping from ledge to ledge is, again, another great touch.
  • Kind of weird that they gave Parasite the TV after all that but, hey, whatever.

Overall?

I say this alot, but good episode! It’s kind of cool but strange just how many of these Superman episodes are low action and plot-heavy. Obviously not a bad thing, though.

Next Episode: THE PROMETHEON (One of the more memorable episodes from my younger years! Space gollum!)

 

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.

Thoughts:

  • 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:

Eh?

  • 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.

Overall?

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

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“My Girl”)

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: “My Girl”

What Happens: Hey! Superman’s Childhood Crush, Lana Lang comes to Metropolis! She’s dating Lex Luthor! Explosions! Fashion! Mystery?

Very off-model S-shield

Thoughts:

  • At 20 minutes, is this the shortest episode to date?
  • Clark Kent’s immediate reaction to initials “LL” being to guess “Lana Lang” is pretty funny when you consider how many people he knows with those initials (well, maybe not in the animated continuity). LL dating Lex Luthor: also pretty good.
  • Uh hey there Frank Miller-esque criminal amazon woman

Just missing the pointed teeth and swastika pasties, really.

  • Sort of off-topic but not really: the quality of this episode animation-wise is…off. Simpler than usual, almost. And the transfer on this particular episode is not great. Wonder why that is?
  • I like the way they position Lana in contrast to Lois on the show: Lana’s always been the “girl who got away” but now she knows Clark is Superman, so it makes the romantic tension between alittle more interesting. Logically, he WOULD find a girl from his past who knows his secrets, who knows the real Clark Kent, appealing.
  • Sidebar: I love the character of Mercy. Giving Lex a tough-as-nails girl friday who just does his dirty work is a brilliant conceit.

Creep creep

  • Oh man, Lex’s boner face.

You've seen it. You can't unsee it.

  • While we’re on the subject, you get the sense that Lex genuinely cares for Lana here, which is a change of pace from the disposable women we’ve seen him with so far in the show. The only reason he turns on her is because she’s being unfaithful to him. I like it. Lex is human, after all.
  • This episode feels very noiry, with the whole Lana/Lex/Clark triangle/espionage plot. Batman:TAS gets more associated with this kind of thing (because, yeah) but I feel like a number of Superman: TAS episodes have this feel.
  • Superman saving the deer and delivering the corny “open season on terrorists” line is perfect Superman right there.
  • The reference to Batgirl by Lana is, I think, only the second reference to Batman we’ve gotten on the show thus far. Might be wrong.
  • Oh Lana. Stepping out on Lex Luthor with Superman is like the worst idea of all time.
  • Oo a reference to Central City too.
  • Lana’s plan here of “eavesdropping on Lex, fucking up his plans by telling Superman, and expecting no negative consequences” is a pretty shortsighted one.
  • Surely nothing bad will happen at the LEXCORP LEAD & ALLOY?

Lead & Alloy & Kryptonite & Ghosts

  • I can’t imagine liquid lead flows EXACTLY like water but what do I know?
  • Superman: Forever doomed to be the plaything of loud, outgoing women.

Overall? Decent episode, but nothing too showy. The Lex portions of the episode are fantastic, really great to see an episode where he isn’t motivated by power or greed but, well, LOVE. What the episode lacks in the great villains or set pieces of the past few episodes it makes up for in solid character work. Really, have any of these episodes so far been less than “Very good”?

Next Episode: “Tools of The Trade” (No clue what this one’s about)

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Main Man – Part 2”)

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 Main Man – Part 2″

What Happens: PREVIOUSLY. Superman and Lobo were captured by the sinister alien “The Preserver” and put in his SPACE ZOO. Now they have to team up and escape AHH SPACE DEMON WORM.

Look at that thing.

Thoughts:

  • Weird fact: the first time I ever saw DVR technology being demo-ed was like ten years ago on a news broadcast that used this specific episode to demonstrate pausing/rewinding live TV.
  • The Preserver keeping Lobo satisfied with robot alien hookers in what looks like a college dorm room is the best, man. That concept alone is pure Dini.

Literally my sophomore year dorm room.

AHHH! AHHHH!!!!!!

  • “Kizz”

Yep.

  • Superman reflecting the red sun lamp light onto some kind of wacky space rhino in order to goad it into smashing through his cell is a clever way to get him free.
  • “The Main Man’s word is his bond, man”
  • Hahaha what the hell?

    " "

  • The dynamic between Superman and Lobo in this episode is really fun.
  • There’s even more really sweet alien designs in this half of the two parter, must’ve been a pain to design and animate but it really adds something. And moar STARRO

Love that guy.

  • Maaaan, Lobo tearing the skin off that giant alien snake thing. How on earth did they get away with that?
  • I don’t know how it took me this long to place it but Sqweak is voiced by David “Squiggy” Lander. Ok!
  • The Preserver transforming from “alien John Hodgman” to “enormous Kirby-esque monstrosity” is cool!

Total Kirby teeth.

  • I like that Superman puts all the animals from the Space Zoo in his budding Fortress of Solitude and that its something that gets referenced from time to time later on.

😀

 

Overall? This is a really fantastic two-parter. There’s so many weird, cool ideas they manage to jam into the story and it all works.

Next Episode: (Talkin’ bout) “My Girl”

 

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Main Man – Part 1”)

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 Main Man – Part 1”

What Happens: Superman runs afoul of space-jackass bounty hunter Lobo, contracted by gross alien The Preserver to capture him for his SPACE ZOO. There are double crosses.

Big chins.

Thoughts:

  • It is nuts. NUTS. That the first DC character not in Superman’s supporting cast to show up is LOBO. Not Batman, not any of the members of the JLA. That really tells you how popular Lobo was about 15 years ago, doesn’t it?
  • The character design for Lobo here is pretty much just a cleaned up version of his comics counterpart. You can say the same for his characterization, too.  Obviously he’s not going around killing a ton of characters on screen but I would say its a pretty faithful transition.
  • Brad Garrett’s Lobo sounds more or less like Bibbo Bibowski but how different can they really sound?
  • Forgot that the rocket was just one that brought him to Earth, retrofitted.
  • This is really the first episode to take place off of Earth. Well, if you don’t count the Jor-el portions of the pilot, I guess (I don’t).
  • The designs on the aliens in this two-parter are great, especially Squeaks and his brother.

Pupil is the tooth.

  • The Lobo vs. alien posse sequence is far more cartoony than anything we’ve seen so far in this show. Probably because you can’t show Lobo blowing up people realistically on a saturday morning cartoon.
  • I get a real “Heavy Metal” vibe from this whole episode. Not sure if thats intentional.
  • The Preserver: A floaty alien egg thing. For now, atleast.

Not unlike Marlon Brando.

  • HEY STARRO CAMEO (I know it shows up again in Batman Beyond, hadn’t realized it was actually in this episode. Neat!)

Man, I love Starro

  • The whole bit where Lobo starts wrecking the police station to get Superman’s attention is fun. Honestly, I think the only time I’ve really *liked* Lobo was in the DC Animated stuff (Hitman/Lobo doesn’t really count considering it is…not especially flattering on purpose).
  • This is a weird looking car!

Right??

  • Love the completely unnecessary Lex Luthor running gag. This is a pretty funny episode.
  • Nice to see Lois and Superman/Clark get some good interaction.
  • A lot of well executed fights in this episode. Probably because its a two parter and they have time to spare.
  • The Preserver putting Superman in traditional Krypton garb is a nice touch.
  • And of course Lobo gets betrayed.
  • Kind of interesting how many electric guitar riffs they use in this episode because it’s a Lobo episode. The variation on the theme that plays as the episode fades out is neat.

Overall? Probably the funniest episode to date and a well-paced one. The two parter format means they can pack in fun moments and a more nuanced plot than normal.

Next Episode: Obviously, “The Main Man – Part 2”

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Stolen Memories”)

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: “Stolen Memories”

What Happens: Brainiac comes to Earth with the help of LexCorp! He is creepy and also a jerk and he tries to steal the internet and robo-murder Superman.

MAKE WAY FOR THE ROBO-SUPERIOR

Thoughts:

  • I hadn’t really noticed this but the Timm-universe has been big on Luthor/Brainiac episodes since pretty early on. It’s pretty nuts that this episode has repercussions as far down the line as the second to last JLU finale.
  • The DC Animated Brainiac redesign is gorgeous. Incorporates the important stuff (the three circle head thing, mainly) and the psuedo-Batman eyes are used to great effect.
  • Corey Burton’s Brainiac voice is great. Deadpan with a hint of arrogance.
  • Superman tearin’ around in his spaceship is something that throws me every time they show it. When does Superman ever use a spaceship?
  • I like that Lex Luthor demonstrates the alien technology he’s been given with what is essentially a garage door opener that makes people float.
  • ROBO-CHAIRRR

Stand up, you asshole.

  • Brainiac’s “I AM Krypton” line is great and leads me to why this is truly the best version of Brainiac. Brainiac being responsible or atleast culpable in Krypton’s demise makes the beef between him and Superman that much more interesting. It’s also pretty fascinating that, just as Krypton’s destruction gave the universe Superman, it also gave it something equally terrible. Superman as a character is all about his humanity and empathy for people while Brainiac is precisely the opposite.
  • “Go ahead, touch your legacy” *shudder*
  • “ALL OF METROPOLIS IS MANIAC FOR BRAINIAC” Haha wow. TV reporters don’t really come off well in the Timm-universe, do they? Angela Chen, Summer Gleason, Jack Ryder, all not very flattering. Snapper Carr seems pretty ok.
  • Not enough liquor in the world to make THIS go away:

No more. Please.

  • Superman helplessly witnessing the telepathic montage of different planets Brainiac has subsumed and destroyed is a really effective sequence.
  • Man, Luthor’s plans in this and the last episode sure have been shortsighted and dumb, huh?
  • The whole “Killing a planet and taking their collective knowledge so that said knowledge becomes more precious” is a pretty original and unsettling villain motivation.
  • I like that the Fortress of Solitude starts out as a random cave in Antarctica where Superman stores his weird shit.

Overall?

Very good episode that mainly serves to set up Brainiac as a recurring foe. And like I said, he’s a great foe, not the least of which is because he’s one of the few members of Superman’s rogues gallery that can challenge him physically and mentally. Brainiac episodes as a rule are all pretty solid.

Next Episode: The Main Man (Part 1) (Brad Garrett. Lobo.)