PG Cooper: Superman: The Animated Series: A Retrospective, Volume Two

Posted: May 16, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Retrospectives

19- Identity Crises

Written by Robert Goodman and Joe R. Lansdale. Curt Geda.

Superman has been cloned by Lex Luthor. The clone starts out fine before becoming the deformed villain Bizarro. I like the idea of Bizarro. A deformed version of Superman is pretty cool in my opinion. I just don’t like the way most media depict him as a child-like idiot. The best parts of this episode are the beginning, when Bizarro is like Superman, but just a little off. But the stupider he gets, he actually starts to become funny and isn’t very menacing. Still, this is a decent episode. I like Luthor’s involvement and I think the action scenes are fun. Not too bad on the whole.

20- Target

Written by Hilary Bader. Directed by Curt Geda.

Lois Lane has become a target for someone with repeated attempts on her life. Getting the negative out of the way, it’s real easy to predict who the would be killer is, and the climax with the killer and Superman was kind of lame. I like the rest of the episode though. I like the episodes where the problem isn’t something Superman can just punch out. Some of these murder attempts are pretty creative, and you do feel Lois’ paranoia.

21- Action Figures

Written by Hilary Bader. Directed by Kenji Hachizaki.

Metallo washes ashore an island with amnesia and his befriended by two little kids. Metallo became one of my favourite villains of Superman after “The Way of All Flesh”, and I continue to like him here. Early on, Metallo gets his memories back and is using these kids. There’s a certain tension because we know Metallo is really a villain. Also, while I thought they were gonna have Metallo bond with the children, they thankfully didn’t. Metallo is an a**hole villain, and he remained such here. I don’t think the fight scenes in this quite match up to what was done in “Flesh”, and I don’t like how they dropped the man who can’t feel side of his character, but this is still a fun episode with a pretty cool ending.

22- Mxyzpixilated

Written by Paul Dini. Directed by Dan Riba.

A magical being from another dimension called Mr. Mxyzptlk starts bothering Superman every three months. The only way Supes can get rid of him is by tricking Mxy into saying his own name backwards. This is a really goofy episode, and I mean that in the best possible way. I’ve never seen this or Batman get so cartoony, but it works for this episode. Mxy is a great villain, and I love Gilbert Gottfried as the voice. This episode is funny, but with a weird, sinister edge, like the seen where Clark’s parents begin acting like chickens. I also like how Mxy is completely oblivious to his hot girlfriend for most of the episode. The humour is odd and the episode won’t appeal to everyone, but I really like it.

23- Double Dose

Written by Hilary Bader. Directed by Yuichiro Yano.

Livewire and Parasite team up to take down Superman. Really? Did really need to bring Livewire back? Hopefully this’ll be her last appearance because I really hate this character. She’s just as annoying here as ever. The better, though still uninteresting, Parasite is here to make everything a bit more tolerable. At least the action scenes between the three are good.

24- Solar Power

Written by Robert Goodman. Directed by Kazuhide Tomonaga.

Lois’ old stalker returns as Luminous, a villain who uses light and holograms against Superman. He also sets up some satellites so only red sun radiation is getting through, thus limiting Superman’s powers. Lois’ stalker himself was easily the lamest thing about the otherwise solid “Target”, and now they’ve made him a full out villain. The idea of using light as a weapon is kind of cool, but I find the episode goes too far. I also don’t buy the red sun thing. The only thing I like is Lex’s brief appearance.

25- Monkey Fun

Written by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer. Directed by Curt Geda.

A monkey Lois knew as a child comes back from space and becomes a giant monkey. Yeah, this episode is pretty dumb. Superman fights a giant monkey, who gives a ****? I like seeing a more sensitive side to Lois, but that’s all this episode has going for it.

26- Brave New Metropolis

Written by Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett. Directed by Curt Geda.

Lois goes to another dimension where after her death, Lex and Superman teamed up and formed a fascist rule over Metropolis. This is a really good idea, but I feel like the execution could have been better. For one, despite what the plot would suggest, the episode feels kind of small in scale. You don’t know the full extent of this new world or if Luthor and Superman’s fascism reaches beyond just Metropolis. Also, Lois’ gawky eyed reactions to seeing everyone gets really annoying. That said, this episode has a lot of good. The new designs of Metropolis are good, and I really like the fascist side of Superman. It’s a cool episode and a cool idea, but I think the team did a better job when they did a similar episode of Justice League called “A Better World”.

27- Ghost in the Machine

Written by Rich Fogel. Directed by Hiroyuki Aoyama.

Brainiac, having downloaded himself into Lex’s computers after “Stolen Memories”, forces Luthor to build Brainiac a new body. This is probably one of my favourite Superman episodes. This episode has a cool premise that I really like, and I also find the episode digs into some of the characters psychology. Not extensively mind you, but you see Luthor struggling with savagery and sophistication, and Mercy’s odd relationship with Lex. The fight scene between Superman and Brainiac is pretty good, and Corey Burton and Clancy Brown are both great as Brainiac and Luthor respectively. Cool episode, and it’s interesting to watch after seeing all of Justice League (anyone who’s watched all of Justice League will understand).

28-30- World’s Finest

Written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Rich Fogel, Steve Gerber, and Stan Berkowitz. Directed by Toshihiko Masuda.

Batman and Superman versus The Joker and Lex Luthor! As a Batman fan, this episode is a real treat. Watching all this characters play off each other is what makes this episode great. Batman and Superman, Joker and Lex, Harley and Mercy, it’s awesome. I like how Batman and Superman’s relationship starts off kind of rough. They don’t really like each other and are actually kind of rude to each other. Joker and Lex are also really fun to watch together. There’s so many great scenes here too. The Joker’s first meeting with Lex, Batman’s first meeting with Superman, Mercy and Harley’s fights, when Batman discovers Superman’s identity, Joker attacking Superman, and a bunch more. All the actors bring out great performances from each other, and the whole thing never loses steam for a minute. Plus, it’s a crossover, and crossovers are pretty awesome. When I was a kid, this was the most mind blowing thing ever. I had never seen my heroes team up before this.

31- Father’s Day

Written by Mark Evanier and Steve Gerber. Directed by Dan Riba.

Kalibak defies his father Darkseid’s orders, and travels to Earth to defeat Superman. That same day, Clark’s parents are visiting him in Metropolis. This episode is pretty much an extended fight scene between Kalibak and Superman. The fight is okay, but being the center point of the episode, it gets boring after awhile. Still, it’s a fairly entertaining episode, and it’s pretty awesome to see Darkseid himself.

32- The Hand of Fate

Written by Hilary Bader and Stan Berkowitz. Directed by Dan Riba.

A demonic entity comes to Metropolis and starts doing evil magic stuff. Superman enlists the help of Doctor Fate. Now, I remember from Justice League, that Doctor Fate is a pretty cool character. But here, he’s lame. First off, he just seems like a baby when he’s introduced because he’s all upset that evil is still around. Second, this is the first time we meet Doctor Fate, but within the context of the plot, Superman already knows him. So none of it really means anything. The action scenes aren’t very exciting and at the end of the day, I just don’t care.

33- Bizarro’s World

Written by Robert Goodman. Directed by Hiroyuki Aoyama.

Bizarro learns about Krypton and tries to recreate it on Earth. The setup for this episode is pretty good. I like the idea of Bizarro trying to recreate Krypton. The problem is I don’t like Bizarro. He’s such a moron that it’s hard to take him seriously as a threat. It really hurts the episode. That said, this episode does have some cool action, and I like the way Superman deals with Bizarro by episode’s end.

34- Prototype

Written by Hilary Bader. Directed by Curt Geda.

Lexcorp creates a robotic suit that gives the wearer super powers, and they give it to a cop. A “robocop” if you will. Of course you know by episode’s end he’ll go crazy and become a villain. I think that’s my biggest problem here. I’d rather have had the character introduced earlier, and build him up, like Batman did with Harvey Dent. That way, when he went rogue, it would actually mean something. But they didn’t. It doesn’t help that the actor voicing “robocop” was pretty bad. The action here may have been solid, but this episode could have been a lot better.

35- The Late Mr. Kent

Written by Stan Berkowitz. Directed by Kenji Hachizaki.

Clark is investigating the case of a man on death row. When Clark thinks he’s find evidence to clear the man, Clark’s car is rigged with an explosive. Of course Clark survives, but has to keep it a secret because if not, people would figure out he’s Superman. Now this episode has a pretty fun set up. I like that Clark narrates a lot of it, and it’s fun to see Clark doing more without being Superman. There’s even a great scene where Superman talks about why he needs to be Clark, and how he’d go crazy without Clark. I also like that it’s more of an investigation. Now, I think the second half has some problems. For one, certain things fall into place a little too conveniently. The episode tries too hard to have an action climax, and I also don’t like the way Superman barges into a prison and knocks a hole in the ceiling, yet no one seems to care. You know what would have been a ballsier ending? Clark fails to save this guy and has to stand by as he’s executed. THAT would have been an interesting ending. Still, this is a good episode that earns points for being different.

36- Heavy Metal

Written by Hilary Bader. Directed by Curt Geda.

So basically this episode has the guy who made the suit in “Prototype” make another suit. He uses this suit to become the hero Steel. Also, Metallo shows up and messes some stuff up. You got some balls naming your episode after the greatest genre in all of music. And unfortunately, it’s a pretty lame episode. First off, the animation is a bit off. I also don’t like the little girl in this episode (even though the actress would go on to play a character I like in Batman Beyond). However, Steel himself is kind of cool. He’s kind of a boring character, but at least he looks cool. Some of the fight scenes are fun too. Though this episode does have one of the most lifeless chases I’ve ever seen in one of these shows. Now one thing I wanna talk about is Metallo. I really liked how he was this almost tortured soul who was unable to feel. But that aspect of this character has been more or less completely dropped. He doesn’t really have any interesting quirks anymore. What saves him is looking cool, knocking the crap out of Superman, and being voiced by Malcolm McDowell. On the whole, this episode is okay. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible.

Strongest Episodes (One Per Disc): Mxyzpixilated, World’s Finest, The Late Mr. Kent

Weakest Episodes (One Per Disc): Solar Power, Monkey Fun, The Hand of Fate

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