Jimmy and Tom are back for more DCAU talk.
This time, we’re covering the Superman the Animated Series episodes “The Late Mr. Kent,” “Heavy Metal,” and “Warrior Queen”.
“The Late Mr. Kent”
Clark Kent is looking into the case of a criminal on death row wrongfully convicted of murder. But when he gets too close to a truth, a car bomb meant to silence him may not work, but he may also have to reveal the only way he survived was because he was secretly Superman!
jimmy: So, we already knew Bowman was corrupt correct?
tomk: Well, he was a suspect back in “Target” when someone was trying to kill Lois Lane. And then it turned out to be Luminus.
jimmy: Maybe that is what I was thinking of. But the instant I saw him, even before Kent’s “murder” I knew he was bad.
tomk: He has those fish lips.
jimmy: Fish lips equals evil.
tomk: That’s what Aquaman taught us.
Fish lips that aren’t on fish = bad news.
jimmy: On fish is probably bad news too…but that’s another show.
tomk: This cartoon taught me that.
tomk: Uh-oh. I broke Jimmy.
So, anyway, with the voiceover, this episode had a real noir feel.
jimmy: It did. And though I got what they were going for, it never really worked for me with the whole pizza delivery thing etc. I’m not sure why.
tomk: He’s not Batman. Batman would have solved the whole thing inside of a minute. Clark just had to go by pizza receipts.
jimmy: That’s fine, but the story just didn’t grab me. When it turned into a “normal” episode after the car explosion I enjoyed it more.
tomk: The mystery aspect was a nice touch. The episode really worked on what being Clark means to Superman.
jimmy: Though didn’t he tell Mxy(?) that he’d just adopt another identity if he exposed Clark? No big deal.
tomk: Yeah, but that was to Mxy. It was part of a con to get rid of the guy for good.
jimmy: Fair enough. Ma Kent needs to work on her acting though.
tomk: That was hardly a position she was expecting to be in.
jimmy: I know, but it was like, “Yes, Mr. Policeman, I heard you. Clark is dead. I’ve got some cookies in the oven, I better go. Jonathan hates when I burn them. Toodles.”
tomk: It was better than, say, “Hello, suspicious cop man with the weird mouth. Clark’s dead? Are you sure? I think he’s in the next room. No, I’m kidding. You suck. You couldn’t blow up a car with a key witness in it if your freedom depended on it. Oh yeah? Come by and say that to my face. My address is 1 Wayne Drive, Gotham City. Biggest house on that road. You can’t miss it. Be sure and make some orphan jokes when you stop by. Those always work out well for visitors. And bring some clown make-up. Adios, moron.”
So, we already knew Bowman was corrupt, correct?
tomk: Wow. Deja vu.
He was a suspect back in “Target”. That’s not exactly corruption. He was just creepy.
jimmy: Did I ask that already? Either way I was on to him from the start.
tomk: You might have asked that, or I saw it on an episode of the Minority Report TV show that may or may not have existed.
jimmy: That’ll never get made.
tomk: If it did, I suspect no one would watch it.
jimmy: One thing that bugged me a little was that if Superman was prepared to reveal his secret, perhaps he should have done it before Kent’s funeral?
tomk: Well, good thing he didn’t, eh?
jimmy: Oh, yes, plot-wise. But not Superman-is-a-jerk-wise.
tomk: You ever read Astro City? Or Irredeemable?
Both did interesting takes on the superhero-hiding-in-plain-sight concept.
In Astro City, there was an issue where a woman reporter was so sure her male co-worker was the superhero who always rescued her. She thought they had a thing, but when she finally got his identity revealed, the hero just flipped out and lost it because she wouldn’t leave him alone. He flew away never to be seen again.
In Irredeemable, one of the things that seems to make the Superman stand-in character the Plutonian lose it is when he reveals his secret identity to a female co-worker/love interest, she’s creeped out by how much he’s been lying to her for years and doesn’t want to see him again.
Clark needs to be a bit more careful is my point.
jimmy: I’ve read Irredeemable, but not Astro City. It is awesome.
tomk: Astro City often does interesting takes on Silver Age characters and concepts.
jimmy: I’ve heard that is quite good as well. I will put it on The List.
tomk: Your List can be seen from space now, can’t it?
jimmy: Seen? It reaches.
tomk: As someone who started watching My Name Is Earl on Netflix, talk of a list means something different these days.
jimmy: Great show.
tomk: Who finishes their list first? Jimmy? Steve Rogers? Earl?
jimmy: Well, Earl is cancelled and Steve is Hydra, so not looking good for any of us.
tomk: Ah-ha! Earl finished his if you pay attention to background chatter for the producer’s next series, Raising Hope. A newscaster playing on a TV in one scene mentions Earl finished.
jimmy: I have no idea what you are talking about. 🙂
Getting back to the show, they sure don’t waste any time planning funerals and executions in Metropolis.
tomk: Well, only for guilty cops. The wrongfully accused guy waited a long time.
jimmy: The whole execution thing was dark for this show. Especially the end where they successfully (I assume) execute Bowman.
tomk: (Not Very) Fun Fact: The gas chamber as a method of execution works fast. It’s cyanide gas. Once the convicted killer inhales any, he’s a dead man no matter what happens.
I’m not sure even the darkest episode of Batman has an execution in it, though…
jimmy: Yeah, Supes was a bit late on that one, even if he did suck the poison out of the room eventually.
tomk: He was probably holding his breath, not gasping out a sudden realization about who Superman is.
jimmy: So, yeah, if you wanna stay on the show: a) don’t try to kill Clark Kent and 2) don’t discover Superman’s identity.
tomk: At least don’t do them both at the same time.
If you want to stay alive: a) be Lois Lane.
Surprisingly, Lois and Superman worked a sting operation together to get Bowman to confess.
jimmy: She’s got to be good for something besides needing Superman to save her from sure death every couple of hours.
tomk: She’s apparently a good reporter since she just goes wherever she damn well pleases and writes about whatever.
Well, that was an interesting episode, Jimmy. Anything else to add?
jimmy: Did I ask if we knew Bowman was corrupt?
tomk: You might have. He sure was suspicious back in “Target”.
jimmy: I guess I only have one last question: Has anyone on TV or a movie never not known how to fly a helicopter when they needed to?
tomk: I think I saw Chief Wiggum flying one today, so…no?
Superman has been severely injured by an upgraded Metallo! It’s a good thing John Henry Irons has perfected the Steel armor!
jimmy: The voice gives away any surprise of it being Metallo. Would work better in comic form.
tomk: True. Personally, Metallo and his kryptonite attacks are getting old at this point.
jimmy: You know, I was thinking the same thing. I was trying to remember if I felt that way about any of the Bat villains, but didn’t recall. The really early episodes feature a lot of the Joker, but he’s much more interesting than Metallo. And Kryptonite has been “old” for a long time. I know it must be tough to write for Supes, but it seems like that is the only way to make a fight remotely fair and hence stretch out an episode to 22 minutes.
tomk: Well, this episode is more to formally introduce Steel than anything else.
jimmy: Yes. I was wondering if it was a backdoor pilot since Supes barely appears.
tomk: We have the guy with the armor on the outside fighting the guy with the armor on the inside.
jimmy: I like Steel, but I thought he’d never be able to move in that suit in real life. Fine, comics. But his ability to block bullets, especially with his wrist blaster while not fully on outfit was a bit much.
tomk: I remember when they did the “Reign of the Supermen” story with him, and Green Lantern showed up and found Steel’s discarded hammer and couldn’t lift it without the Ring helping out. You may be on to something.
jimmy: He’s Thor I guess.
tomk: Actually, Jimmy, do you know what this episode reminded me of this time around? “I’ve Got Batman In My Basement “.
jimmy: I hadn’t thought of that, but you are right.
tomk: The main hero is incapacitated while an old foe is looking to kill him. Said bad guy is stopped by a friendly individual who delays the villain until the unconscious hero can wake up.
Except the ally is Steel and not some obnoxious kids.
Well, there was one obnoxious kid.
tomk: There were four kids in that Batman episode making the Penguin and his boys look like chumps. Here’s one guy and his teenage niece doing the same to Metallo and Intergang.
jimmy: Speaking of Metallo and Intergang…they dug him out of the volcanic ash (or whatever) he was trapped in and repaired him…but left him with half a face?
tomk: Well, uh, apparently.
jimmy: I know, one of those things we’re not supposed to think about.
tomk: Metallo might have wanted that for himself to remember he used to be human and what a twisted wreck his life has become as symbolized by the half a face.
Or he takes style tips from Two-Face.
jimmy: I was thinking that too…the former, not the latter, but it still seemed silly.
tomk: If the episode can borrow broad plot outlines from Batman, the bad guy can borrow fashion tips from Batman’s enemies.
jimmy: Heh. Fair enough.
tomk: Though I just checked…Metallo will only appear one more time before Justice League.
Steel I think is done until Justice League.
jimmy: That’s surprising.
tomk: Yeah, well, “season two” is almost done and the last batch of episodes cover a lot of guest superheroes. No room for Steel.
That’s too bad. I like Steel quite a bit. He gets a few moments in Justice League here and there, but this episode here is his big showcase.
jimmy: And doesn’t wear the S crest or the cape for obvious reasons, but that was a cool look.
tomk: He also had a laser on his wrist instead of the classic hot rivet gun.
jimmy: Yeah. And the bad guys guns couldn’t decide if they fired bullets or lasers. Multiple settings I suppose.
tomk: But he had his sidekick Nat.
Heck, she even had her own armor for a period.
jimmy: That I did not know.
tomk: Steel eventually took the armor (which had some size-changing powers) away from her, so she volunteered for Lex Luthor’s Everyman Program to gain some superpowers.
You know, we both seem to love Steel as a character, but we seem to be having a hard time discussing this episode, most likely because it was just Steel and Superman getting smacked around by Metallo, and we’ve seen most of that sentence before many times. The only thing missing was for Superman to lose his lead-lined suit.
jimmy: Lol, he wasn’t awake long enough to do so.
One scene did remind me of this though:
tomk: Yeah, or as I call it, “Metallo vs. the People of the Neighborhood”.
tomk: Oddly enough, the People of the Neighborhood were able to slow him down.
jimmy: The people that you meet when you’re walking down the street can be intimidating.
tomk: It does make a person ask just who are the people in your neighborhood.
jimmy: Well, when we diverge into silliness it’s usually time to move on. Anything else to add about Metallo or Steel, Tom?
tomk: I wish we saw more of Steel and less of Metallo.
Maxima, Queen of Almerac, has chosen Superman for her mate! Too bad for the Man of Steel that Maxima is not the type to take “no” for an answer!
jimmy: Lol, when watching the very beginning of the show I thought she should be fighting and choosing Lobo for her mate. And then he shows up right at the end.
tomk: Well, clearly, Maxima learned nothing.
At least, on that front.
jimmy: So, I’m assuming Maxima is a comics character. What’s her deal?
I predicted at the time I wrote that that Paul Dini was the writer of this episode. I was wrong about that much.
jimmy: Nice job. So Maxima is pretty much as you see here, made Saturday morning cartoon friendly.
tomk: Yeah, she’s played more for laughs on the show.
jimmy: George Clooney’s cousin wasn’t laughing.
tomk: That guy may not have had much of a sense of humor.
Though yes, Miguel Ferrer is back as a new character.
He’ll be back one more time at least…as yet another new character.
jimmy: He’s the Micheal Dorn of characters not voiced by Micheal Dorn.
tomk: Well, he did seem to voice a lot of grim-sounding men.
Though if we’re talking voices, I figure we should make some mention of Sharon Lawrence. She was kind of big at the time, doing a lot of TV work. She may not have necessarily been a household name, but she got around, starting with a supporting role on NYPD Blue which she parlayed into a lot of other work, including her own sitcom at one point.
jimmy: That name sounds familiar. Was she married to Bram?
tomk: Um, no.
I don’t think so.
jimmy: Disappointing. I never watched NYPD Blue. But apparently she was in the movie called Jimmy so maybe I should learn more about her.
tomk: Lots of people have been in movies with that word in the title. Some short guy made a whole mess of movies about Impossible missions.
But I see your point.
jimmy: By the sounds of it, better to stick to Impossible missions than try to deal with the supernatural.
tomk: Mums the word on that.
But back to Maxima…with her deep, deep cleavage and all-female bath attendants that somehow slipped into a kids show.
jimmy: I did think the whole bath sequence was a little racy.
tomk: I think someone found Bruce Timm’s legendary sketch book and thought they were storyboards.
tomk: We’ve talked in the past about how appropriate some scenes from these cartoons were for a kids show, but somehow, Maxima seems to have gone further over the line than other past incidents.
jimmy: I guess technically nothing is shown. And for the most part, the things we may see as “over the line”, would be completely oblivious to a ten year old.
tomk: True. As I said, we’ve covered this ground before, but Maxima clearly wants to get laid from the looks of things.
jimmy: She’s the Watson of the DCAU.
tomk: Well…sure looks that way if Watson were also an absolute monarch with tendencies towards despotism.
jimmy: He’s not?
tomk: Well, he’s not an absolute monarch.
jimmy: He’s an absolute something.
Surprisingly there was no “cat fight” between Lois and Maxima. I’m trying to recall if Lois even appears this episode.
tomk: Lois sat this one out. Good for her. That was one cat fight she would have lost badly.
jimmy: Very true. But odd for her not to appear at all.
tomk: Especially as it concerns Superman’s, er, love life.
jimmy: Exactly. They haven’t built at all on that alternate universe Supes episode where she basically said they should stop beating around the bush and go out sometime.
tomk: There’s some movement before the series ends, but I get the impression that they mostly wanted to use Maxima as some sort of Robert E. Howard tribute character. The hair, sword, and skimpy attire is somewhat reminiscent of Red Sonja.
Throwing a modern day reporter into that might not have worked. Look what happened to Angela Chen.
jimmy: She was pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty excited for about 39 seconds there.
tomk: Maxima or Angela? And you think Lois would react well to “Superman’s fiancé”?
jimmy: Angela was excited that she had a scoop on a slow day. And a huge one at that. And no, Lois probably would not be impressed, but would really have no right to be jealous.
tomk: Yeah, well, no great scoop is worth it when the crazy redhead starts trashing everything in sight.
jimmy: You don’t get between and a woman and her betrothed.
tomk: Well, maybe if the betrothed doesn’t know yet…
jimmy: There was one scene that reminded me of the couple on the old Spider-Man ’67 show (of course) where Harry would see Spider-Man doing amazing things and Harriet wouldn’t believe him. Only here the gender roles are reversed.
tomk: It was like something out of old sitcom like Bewitched where a nosy old lady would see something and her husband would think she was nuts.
jimmy: Exactly. Probably more fitting in setting to BTAS, but fits better tonally here.
tomk: I dunno. STAS is generally a more light-hearted show.
jimmy: That’s what I mean. While BTAS has more of an old school feel, that scene would not fit with that series at all.
tomk: So, we have old sitcoms, old barbarian stories, and a woman who won’t take “no” for an answer who has to be taught to be more humane. We missing anything?
jimmy: A segue to the next episode?
tomk: Unless you have something else to add?
jimmy: Nope. Decent episode but as you said earlier, it’s mostly just a Superman/Maxima brawl.
tomk: With some questionable gender politics.
And a Lobo cameo.
jimmy: Nothing says questionable gender politics like the Main Man.
NEXT TIME: Tom and Jimmy finish up the second season of Superman the Animated Series with a pair of two-parters: “Apokalips…Now!” and “Little Girl Lost”!