In the ’90s, you’d be hardpressed to find a cartoon more successful and groundbreaking than Batman: The Animated Series. It was mature, very well-written animation, won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, and was aired Saturday mornings. The show being the roaring success it was, spun-off a crapton of (mostly) equally praised programs. One of those was the aptly-named Superman: The Animated Series.
A scientist named Jor-El discovers through his studies that Krypton, Superman’s home planet, is on the verge of total destruction. He attempts to convince Krypton’s rulers that the planet’s about to hit the fan, and they veto his idea of sending all of the Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone; because a supercomputer by the name of Brainiac, who monitors all of the utmost major operations of the planet, denies the apocalypse. Jor-El goes to try and explain the matter to Brainiac, but notices he is downloading all of the info it has on Krypton, preparing to evacuate the impending Armageddon that it knew was coming all along; stating that warning the rulers would result in a world-wide evacuation, not allowing enough time for the downloads. Jor-El ultimately decided that opening fire on the computer may wipe out all memories of the dying planet. Brainiac wasn’t feeling very appreciative, and ordered Kryton’s finest to arrest Jor-El. Jor-El rushes home to his wife, and child, and in their final seconds of life, send the boy off the planet, hurling into space, while they were engulfed in a fiery explosion; while Brainiac escaped to it’s satellite.
Their son, Kal-El, crashlands on Earth, in a small town known as Smallville, where he is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent; who take him in as their own, and give him the Earthly name: Clark. Fast-forward to his high school years, where he discovers that he has all sorts of extraordinary powers; which he then uses to save a family from a gas station explosion. Jonathan witnesses Clark melting metal with his newly-discovered heat vision, and decides to reveal his extraterrestrial origins, along with the spaceship, and a recorded message from his birth parents.
Fast-forward to post-adolescent years, where Clark is now employed to the Daily Planet, and lives in the sprawling metropolis known as Metropolis. Billionaire entrepreneur, and CEO of LexCorp Lex Luthor is giving a demo of a new experimental mech suit, when it is stolen by terrorists. A man in red and blue spandex bursts in and applies ass-whippings to 2 of the terrorists, while a third one fires a missile at a plane, prompting the underwear-donning Clark Kent, now as Superman, to give up chase and take to the plane’s rescue. Lois Lane, Superman/Clark’s love interest, is ordered to try for an interview with the superhero by the Daily Planet’s editor-in-chief, and her boss, Perry White. The escaped terrorist, John Corben, applies anarchy to the city, using the mech suit. Superman, in a surprisingly tough battle, manages to firmly hand his metal ass to him, finishing it off with the Bond one-liner: “Shall we go a few rounds without the suit?” In the deep reaches of space, extraterrestrials discover Brainiac’s satellite via it’s signal. Brainiac murders the aliens, and commandeers their ship, linking himself to the former owner’s computer. This 3-part beginning sets the premise for many more adventures from the man of steel himself, Superman!
The writers from Batman return, and as such, it contains many dark, maturely written narratives, modernizing Superman, in the same way they did Batman.
The animation is a excellent as Batman’s was, though not as dark, with many more primary colors compared to Batman’s primarily black and grey color palette, and the audio is naturally good, with good voice-acting and instrumental music.
Of course, as it came from Batman: TAS, this may very well be the best Superman cartoon ever made; good enough to be judged on it’s own merits from Batman, and proves itself to be much more than just “Batman, but Superman”.
(The entire series, all 54 episodes of it, is available on DVD; both in 3 volume discs, and a mammoth 7-disc boxed set, featuring the entire series, and extensive bonus features; it currently airs on The Hub, along with Batman: TAS, providing even more evidence that The Hub is currently the best family channel on TV. There also exists a direct-to-DVD feature called “Superman: Brainiac Attacks”, which was released in 2006, and is generally not considered a part of the DC Animated Universe, even though it has similar animation to TAS, and Tim Daly and Dana Delany reprise their roles as Superman and Lois Lane, respectively).
- Each volume ranges from $7-$11, while The Complete Series boxed set is $55.99 (Prices are from Amazon.com)
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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