Superman: Animated

The Second Season


by Russ Dimino
Originally ran in Krypton Club Newsletter #189, January 1999

On September 12, 1993, future FoLCs got their first look at an all-new take on the classic man of steel known far and wide as Superman. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher brought new life to the fictional characters Clark Kent and Lois Lane. On September 6, 1996, another incarnation of Superman hit the small screen. Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Alan Burnett, the creators of the five-time emmy-award winning Batman The Animated Series, offered their take on the big blue legend in an animated form.

So just how alike (or how different) is the cartoon from our beloved L&C? Last edition we took a glance at the first season of the animated series and drew some comparisons to the live action series. Continuing on with our feature, we'll now delve into the second season, which shows us some villains from Krypton, an imp from the 5th dimension, and one of the "world's finest" crossovers of all time when Superman is joined by the Dark Knight, Batman. So whether you're already a fan of the animated Superman, or if this is your first glance, sit back and enjoy this look at a different take on our favorite super hero.

SEASON TWO

Here's a list of the major character voice credits for the second season.

Alfred: Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Angela Chen: Lauren Tomas
Bibbo: Brad Garret
Bizarro: Tim Daly
Brainiac: Corey Burton
Bruce Wayne/Batman: Kevin Conroy
Bruno Mannheim: Bruce Weitz
Clark Kent/Superman: Tim Daly
Dan Turpin: Joe Bologna
Darkseid: Michael Ironside
Detective Kurt Bowman: Eddie Barth
Dr. Fate: George Del Hoyo
Edward Lytener/Luminus: Robert Hays
Flash: Charlie Schlatter
Granny Goodness: Edward Asner
Harley Quinn: Arleen Sorkin
Jax-Ur: Ron Perlman
Jimmy Olsen: David Kaufman
John Henry Irons/Steel: Michael Dorn
Joker: Mark Hamill
Jonathan Kent: Mike Farrell
Kalibak: Michael Dorn
Kara/Supergirl: Nicholle Tom
Lana Lang: Joely Fisher
Lex Luthor: Clancy Brown
Livewire: Lori Petty
Lois Lane: Dana Delany
Lt. Maggie Sawyer: Joanna Cassidy
Mala: Leslie Easterbrook
Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard: Miguel Ferrer
Martha Kent: Shelly Fabares
Maxima: Sharon Lawrence
Mercy Graves: Lisa Edelstein
Metallo: Malcom McDowell
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Gilbert Gottfried
Orion: Steve Sandor
Parasite: Brion James
Perry White: George Dzundza
Professor Hamilton: Victor Brandy
Ron Troupe: Dorian Harewood

"Blasts From the Past" (Part 1 of 2)
Air Date: September 8, 1997
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: Superman discovers a Kryptonian device hidden in the spaceship that brought him to Earth, and takes it to STAR Labs for analysis. What he and Professor Hamilton don't realize is that this device unlocks the gateway to a dimension equivalent to a Kryptonian prison world, known as The Phantom Zone. A portal brings forth Jax-Ur and Mala, criminals imprisoned by Superman's father, Jor-El, years ago.

L&C CONNECTIONS: The idea of bringing super-powered criminals from Krypton to Earth was also explored on Lois and Clark, but the villains came from New Krypton rather than The Phantom Zone. Jax-Ur is bent on world conquest, not unlike Lord Nor was in "Lord of the Flys" and "Battleground Earth."

"Blasts From the Past" (Part 2 of 2)
Air Date: September 9, 1997
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: Jax-Ur and Mala, the Kryptonian supervillains, are loose in Metropolis, and only Superman can stop them. So when the two renegades trap Supes in the Phantom Zone and throw away the key, who will defend the city? Lois Lane and Professor Hamilton, that's who.

L&C CONNECTIONS: While still bearing similarities to the New Krypton arc in Lois and Clark's third and fourth seasons, this episode plays homage to the Christopher Reeve movie "Superman II" as well. In that movie, three criminals escaped from the Kryptonian Phantom Zone and wreaked havoc on Earth, while Superman had given up his powers and was defenseless.

"The Prometheon"
Air Date: September 12, 1997
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Nobuo Tomizawa

SUMMARY: Superman is sent out to intercept a meteor on a collision course with Earth. To his surprise, he finds what seems to be a gigantic rock statue the size of a mountain bound to the meteor. What's even more surprising is when it wakes up. It's actually a creature from an alien world that thrives on heat. It crash lands to Earth and begins destroying everything in it's path. And it's headed straight for - you guessed it - Metropolis.

L&C CONNECTIONS: We've never seen anything quite like the Prometheon creature on Lois and Clark, but Superman did attempt to divert a meteor in the first season episode "All Shook Up." Also, the general in this episode is very similar to Col. Cash from the New Krypton arc.

"Speed Demons"
Air Date: September 13, 1997
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: Toshihiko Masuda

SUMMARY: Superman and The Flash participate in a race for charity to determine which of them is the fastest man alive. Though we may never find out the answer to that burning question, when the two heroes must divert their course to thwart a maniac calling himself the Weather Wizard.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Although The Flash appeared in the TUFS episode "The Flash," the version of the scarlet speedster seen here is a younger, cockier one, and though his identity is never revealed, many comic fans have assumed it is Wally West and not Barry Allen.

"Livewire"
Air Date: September 13, 1997
Written by: Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: A hot young female shock-jock called Livewire is slamming the man of steel, and the people of Metropolis are listening - she's turning citizens against the "big boy scout." During a live broadcast at a rock concert, a thunder storm kicks up and Livewire is struck by lightning, making her name much more literal than ever. She's now in control of electricity, and she's got it in her head to fry the fly-boy.

L&C CONNECTIONS: There was never a character like Livewire on Lois and Clark, but plenty of people tried to turn Metropolis against Supes. Perhaps if Ariana Carlin or Diana Stride had gotten struck by lightning, they would have been just as lethal!

"Identity Crisis"
Air Date: September 15, 1997
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: Lex Luthor's attempt to clone Superman goes awry, when the unstable Kryptonian DNA turns the clone into a dimwitted crystal-skinned troublemaker, dubbed by Lex's bodyguard Mercy Graves as "Bizarro."

L&C CONNECTIONS: Lord knows we saw enough cloning on Lois and Clark, and many FoLCs still shiver at the thought of frog's legs because of it. However, this episode bears more resemblance to the first season "Vatman" than the wedding arc, where Lex cloned Superman and got a childlike copy of him instead.

"Target"
Air Date: September 19, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: Lois wins a coveted Excalibur Award for Journalism after she does a story on Lexcorp. After she wins, several attempts are made on her life, and she starts receiving threatening notes. Someone is trying to kill her, and everything seems to point to Lex. Lois and Clark turn to Lois's informant on the story, former Lexcorp technician Eddie Lytener, not realizing they are walking right into the proverbial spider's web.

L&C CONNECTIONS: This is the first time we've seen someone really out to get Lois, which became a common occurrence on L&C. We also get to see a lot of super-saves, as Lois is almost impaled by a giant sword, her car is blown up, and she is trapped in a rocket-propelled elevator. A busy day for Superman.

"Mxyzpixilated"
Air Date: September 20, 1997
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: A magical imp from the 5th dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk, is tormenting Superman every 90 days. To get rid of the little pest, all Supes has to do is trick him into saying, spelling, or otherwise revealing his name backwards, which is easier said than done. And it's pretty darn hard to say, at that.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Mr. Mxyzptlk was used in the fourth season holiday episode "Twas the Night Before Mxymas." In the live action version, Mxyz was played by Howie Mandel. The animated version is much more true to the comic appearance of the imp, and the villain is more of an annoyance than a real threat.

"Action Figures"
Air Date: September 20, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Kenji Hachizaki

SUMMARY: Last seen in season one, Metallo resurfaces on an island in the middle of an ocean, where scientists are studying an active volcano. Corben's developed amnesia, and he befriends some children who think he is a superhero. Gradually, Metallo's memory begins to return, and the volcano is getting closer to eruption. But when it's time to evacuate the island, the children are off with their newfound friend, whose memory is back and is deadly as ever.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Amnesia figured in to Lois and Clark a couple times - Clark got it in the first season, and Lois in the third. Now Metallo has it here in the animated series. Who knew it was so common?

"Double Dose"
Air Date: September 22, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Yuichiro Yano

SUMMARY: This time Superman's up against not one, but two villains. Livewire and The Parasite have escaped from their high security cells, and they make an electrifying combination. These two can easily fry the fly-boy... if the two power-hungry supervillains don't take each other down first.

L&C CONNECTIONS: If the forces of evil ever truly got together, they could give Superman a run for his money. It seems the bad guys just can't play nice, though... Livewire and Parasite are constantly at each other's throats, and trying to top each other. Many villains on L&C double-crossed each other as well, like Nigel St. John and Jason Mazik.

"Solar Power"
Air Date: September 26, 1997
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Kazuhide Tomano

SUMMARY: Eddie Lytener, last seen in "Target," is back with a vengeance. Now calling himself Luminus, he's developed a high-tech suit for himself that gives him powers to rival Superman's. Not only that, but he's used satellites to create an artificial red filter around the sun, depleting the man of steel's energy.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Lytener could be compared to the Prankster - an inventive, technologically gifted criminal who stalks Lois and wants to rid himself of Superman. As Luminus, Eddie takes the game to a level the Prankster could only have dreamed of.

"Brave New Metropolis"
Air Date: September 27, 1997
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: Professor Hamilton has opened a gateway to another dimension, and Lois finds herself trapped in an alternate reality version of Metropolis. Here, Superman is a dark, stone-cold enforcer dressed in black, working under Lex Luthor's command. What turned Supes so dark? The death of Lois Lane.

L&C CONNECTIONS: The similarities to "Tempus, Anyone?" are obvious. Lois is trapped in a world where she is dead, and Metropolis is a very different place. In Lois and Clark, the city was run by Tempus, and Lois had to help create Superman. On the animated series, Luthor ran the city, but the clever villain had made Supes part of the problem.

"Ghost in the Machine"
Air Date: September 29, 1997
Written by: Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer
Directed by: Hiroyuki Aoyama

SUMMARY: Brainiac, the alien entity that destroyed Krypton (last seen in season one's "Stolen Memories"), has stored his consciousness in the Lexcorp computer network. When Lex investigates a glitch in the system, Brainiac reveals his presence and forces Luthor to build him a new android body with which to kill Superman.

L&C CONNECTIONS: This episode explores some of the relationship between Lex and his female bodyguard, Mercy Graves. Mercy can be best compared to Mrs. Cox from the late first season, although Mercy seems to have a more obsessive devotion to her boss.

"Father's Day"
Air Date: October 3, 1997
Written by: Mark Evanier & Steve Gerber
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: Jonathan and Martha Kent are in town visiting Clark in the big city for the first time... and what a time to come. Kalibak, the son of Apokolips's ruler Darkseid (season one, "Tools of the Trade"), has come to Earth to try and defeat Superman, and Ma and Pa are caught in the crossfire. When Jonathan is caught under the wreckage left in the wake of the battle, will Superman defend Metropolis or save his dad?

L&C CONNECTIONS: Jonathan and Martha meet Lois in this episode, and they think she's as perfect for their boy as they did when they met her in "The Green, Green Glow of Home" on L&C.

"World's Finest"
Air Date: October 4, 1997
Written by: Alan Burnett and Paul Dini
Directed by: Toshihiko Masuda

SUMMARY: This three-part episode, arguably the best of the entire series, marks the historic first crossover with the animated Batman. Bruce Wayne is in Metropolis on a business deal between Wayne Enterprises and Lexcorp, but Lex has a business deal of his own on the side. The Joker has stolen a dragon statue made of solid Kryptonite, and Lex has offered the homicidal clown one billion dollars to kill Superman with it. Meanwhile, Lois feels rejected by Superman, and Bruce starts romancing her. So when the Joker kidnaps Lois to lure Superman into a trap, he soon has Batman after him as well. But this is no "Super Friends," folks... Bats and Supes aren't getting along so well. In fact, the Dark Knight actually flips Superman over his shoulder and into a table when they first meet - the only mortal to ever get such a drop on the Man of Steel.

L&C CONNECTIONS: To the regret of many fans of the comic book Superman, Batman never actually appeared on Lois and Clark. However, there were Batman references in several episodes ("We Have A Lot To Talk About," "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape," "Ultra Woman," and "The People Vs. Lois Lane"), as well as Superman references in the last two Bat-films, hinting that the two heroes may have met at some point in continuity. This animated episode could certainly have slid right into the first season era, when Lois didn't know Clark's little secret yet, and Lex still ran Metropolis's underworld. FoLC's did get their meeting with the Bat, however, when TUFS did an episode teaming the two crimefighters against Intergang in an episode also called "World's Finest" (in homage to the comic book series that first paired Superman and Batman). Great minds think alike.

NOTE: All three episodes have been edited together and are available on video as "The Batman/Superman Movie."

"Bizarro's World"
Air Date: October 10, 1997
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Hiroyuki Aoyama

SUMMARY: The misfit clone Bizarro has resurfaced. This time he believes himself to be the real Superman, and he wants to recreate Metropolis in the image of Krypton... but with the way he's going, that recreation may be right up to and including the planet's firey end.

L&C CONNECTIONS: On the surface Bizarro's plan may sound like Lord Nor's vision of Earth as New New Krypton, but it's actually quite different. Bizarro learns about Krypton's doom from the knowledge globe Superman had saved, and the poor demented clone just feels bad that his homeworld blew up so he takes it upon himself to rebuild it.

"The Hand of Fate"
Air Date: October 11, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: An ancient tablet stolen from the Metropolis University's archaeology department turns a petty thief into a horrible monster called Karkull. Superman, who up to this point had been invulnerable to everything but Kryptonite, learns he can be harmed by magic. As they say, fight fire with fire - Superman seeks the aid of Dr. Fate, a sorcerer with power over the supernatural.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Supes was vulnerable to magic on Lois and Clark as well, as we saw in the first season ("Illusions of Grandeur") and again in the third ("Never on Sunday").

"Prototype"
Air Date: October 11, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: John Henry Irons, a technician for Lexcorp, has developed an incredible battlesuit that gives its wearer powers far beyond those of mortal men. With black light lasers, grenade launchers, jet boots, and more, the suit transforms S.C.U. agent Sgt. Mills into the perfect crime-fighting machine. But Mills has much darker views on crime and punishment than Metropolis's other resident superhero.

L&C CONNECTIONS: The struggle between Superman and Sgt. Mills can be compared to the one presented by Vixen in "Faster Than A Speeding Vixen." Superman upholds truth and justice, whereas Mills is as cold and dark as his robotic armor, believing criminals deserve to pay for their crimes with their lives.

"The Late Mr. Kent"
Air Date: November 1, 1997
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: A man named Ernest Walker is accused of murder and is on death row, but Clark Kent is certain that he was framed. Ever the intrepid reporter, Clark sets out to prove Walker's innocence. Apparently he gets a little too close to the truth, because someone plants a bomb in his car. The bomb blasts his vehicle into the ocean with him inside. Of course he survives... but the witnesses on hand may wonder why Clark Kent can emerge unharmed from such an explosion.

L&C CONNECTIONS: This episode is part "Ides of Metropolis" and part "That Old Gang of Mine." First Clark sets out to prove the innocence of an accused man, and then ends up having to fake his death or reveal his super powers. Of course, C.K. manages to explain his way back to the land of the living by the episode's end, but the final scenes involve a pretty shocking twist. This one is a must-see.

"Heavy Metal"
Air Date: November 8, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: There's a new Man of Steel in town... literally. John Henry Irons, the technician from "Prototype," has made his own suit of armor. Vowing to fight crime and clean up the streets of Hobb's Bay, Irons takes on the name Steel. He's not the only metal man in Metropolis, though. Metallo's back, working for Intergang.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Although L&C shied away from the Reign of the Supermen heroes, Shaquille O'Neal starred as Steel in the big-screen production. (Oh, stop laughing. I didn't see it either, I just thought it was worth mentioning!)

"Warrior Queen"
Air Date: November 22, 1997
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: The queen of a distant war world comes to Earth in search of the only man she deems fit to be her husband. Guess who? Yup, seems this Queen Maxima wants Superman to rule beside her on her home world of Almerac. But De'Cine, a combatant from Almerac, wants the throne himself, even if he has to kill Superman and Maxima to get it. Lobo, the bounty hunter from "The Main Man," has a cameo.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Yet another episode reminiscent of the New Krypton arc, with Superman being called to marry someone that he doesn't want to, to rule a planet that he doesn't want to, and having a Nor-like character vying for the same throne, but for evil purposes.

"Apokolips...Now!" (Part 1 of 2)
Air Date: February 7, 1998
Written by: ?
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: More high-tech weapons like the ones used by Intergang in "Tools of the Trade" are showing up in Metropolis, and the S.C.U. is attacked by a gigantic flying tank. It's put out of commission by Superman, but it seems the problems are only beginning. Orion, a representative of the planet New Genesis, has arrived to warn Superman of an even greater danger approaching. Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, is making plans to enslave Earth. To be continued!

L&C CONNECTIONS: On Lois and Clark, it was pretty rare for a villain to be killed. Oh, sure, there are exceptions, like Spencer Spencer, Bad Brain, or Luthor (heck, he died twice). But it's even more unlikely for a villain to die in a cartoon series. Maybe that's what's so shocking when Darkseid leaves Bruno Manheim to die in a firey nuclear explosion as punishment for his disobedience. And wait'll you see what he does in part two.

"Apokolips...Now!" (Part 2 of 2)
Air Date: February 14, 1998
Written by: ?
Directed by: Dan Riba

SUMMARY: Earth is invaded by horrific Parademons from the planet Apokolips, and Darkseid has Superman beaten and paraded through the streets of Metropolis. While their hero is out of commission, the city turns to Dan Turpin and the S.C.U. for help. The daring agent defies Darkseid, telling him that Earth will never give in to his slavery. Orion returns with help from New Genesis and wards off the attacking Parademons. Darkseid is defeated... for now. But as he reminds Superman before leaving, victory has its price. And then he kills Turpin.

L&C CONNECTIONS: The ending of this episode was just as shocking as Mayson Drake's death at the end of "Lucky Leon." It was totally unexpected, and a loss of what was turning out to be a major character in the series. With Dan Turpin's death, the horrified crowd stands in a state of shock at what has just happened, and in a primal rage Superman repeatedly beats on the massive tanks left behind by Darkseid's troops, destroying them with his bare hands. The episode ends with a dedication to the late and hailed comic writer and artist Jack Kirby, the visual inspiration for Dan Turpin. Long Live The King.

"Little Girl Lost" (Part 1 of 2)
Air Date: May 2, 1998
Written by: ?
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: On a journey into space to explore the remains of Krypton for any signs of life, Superman stumbles upon the ruins of a sister planet called Argo. There he finds a teenage girl named Kara, the last of her race, in suspended animation. He brings her to Earth where she is raised on the Kent's farm. But the country life just isn't for this girl, and she takes to Metropolis after Clark, and begins using her powers as Supergirl.

L&C CONNECTIONS: "Ultra Woman" was about as close as L&C got to Supergirl, though many FoLCs thought Larisa Oleynik of Nickelodeon's "The Secret World of Alex Mack" a good fit for the part should the show have ever adapted the character. Fans may also be familiar with the Supergirl from the movie of several years ago, though the animated version has a different, more modern costume than the classic style.

"Little Girl Lost" (Part 2 of 2)
Air Date: May 2, 1998
Written by: ?
Directed by: Curt Geda

SUMMARY: Granny Goodness and her Female Furies have invaded Metropolis, and Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen try to take them on alone. Granny and the Furies are on a mission from Darkseid to draw a passing comet into Earth's gravitational pull and destroy the planet. Superman and Supergirl both end up traveling to Apokolips to stop the devilish plot, but it's Supergirl who saves the day and truly lives up to her name in the end.

L&C CONNECTIONS: Jimmy Olsen plays a key part in this episode, and his knowledge of computers is demonstrated when he helps disable the giant electromagnet that will pull the comet to Earth. We got to see Jimmy's technological side save the day more than once on Lois and Clark, such as in "Virtually Destroyed" and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape."

And with that, the second season draws to a close. What's up next, you ask? Well, the third season is still underway on the WB network, and already we've seen the introduction of a new villainess called Volcana, a trip back in time to Smallville's past, and Superman becomes Batman. What?? Superman *becomes* Batman? You won't believe it 'til ya see it folks, so be back here next month for the third season review. Join us, won't you? Until then, check your local listings to see when the animated Superman is on in your hometown.

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Russ Dimino 2008