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Superman: The Animated Series – The Way of All Flesh (Review)

To celebrate the release of Man of Steel this month, we’re going Superman mad. Check back daily for Superman-related reviews.

Although it was quite clear from The Last Son of Krypton that Superman: The Animated Series was going to be quite a different beast than Batman: The Animated Series, there were times when the show borrowed a trick or two from its older sibling. Particularly early in the show’s run, there were a number of “villain origin” episodes which seemed to emulate the more successful villain-centric stories from Batman: The Animated Series.

Fun and Games, the origin episode for Toyman, could easily have been adapted for the other show with a minimum of fuss. It was probably too similar, and a demonstration that Timm’s approach to Batman couldn’t be expected to work perfectly for Superman. Feeding Time and The Way of All Flesh are two single episodes designed to introduce two of Superman’s second-tier bad guys, the Parasite and Metallo.

While they retain a stronger sense of serialised storytelling than many of the Batman stories, there’s a very clear attempt on the part of the writers to humanise and almost empathise with these villains. The Way of All Flesh is probably the most successful, in part because Metallo has a great hook for writer Stan Berkowitz to mine, in part because he’s an interesting villain is his own right, and in part because it does this without seeming too much like an attempt to copy Batman: The Animated Series.

The real man of steel...

The real man of steel…

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Possible Villains for the Zack Snyder Superman Reboot…

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way.

This being a month dedicated to Superman and all, I thought I’d put together a “rogues gallery” of Superman foes that Snyder might possibly consider using for the upcoming Superman reboot. After all, Luthor and Zod are the only Superman foes to really get a shot at a big-screen adaptation so far, so there’s a whole range of choices out there. Superman might not have as deep a selection of foes as Batman or Spider-Man, but he’s not exactly short on major threats, either.

A viable threat to the Man of Steel?

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Justice League – Hereafter (Parts I & II)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. With the review of Superman: Doomsday earlier, I thought it might be worth taking a look at some of the other times Superman has “died” in these animated stories.

Despite the rather large cast that the writers and producers used in producing Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, I always felt that the show was better with a more narrow focus. Of course, new characters like Green Lantern and Wonder Woman got their own episodes, but Batman and Superman were rarely the focus of attention – perhaps because they had each had their own television show beforehand, and ample time for exposure. Hereafter is a two-part episode which really feels like two separate stories, both of which are fundamentally about Superman. The first is an exploration of who the hero is, based around removing him from the fictional universe and examining the holes left in his absence. The second half explores what makes Superman a hero, if it isn’t his collection of superpowers.

Part of me wonders where Clark Kent is buried...

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Non-Review Review: Superman – Doomsday

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is the very first of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Superman: Doomsday is the first entry in the range of animated DC films featuring their iconic superheroes. The line has since ballooned to feature a wide range of other heroes, with movies focusing on Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and even the Justice League itself, but Superman seemed a logical place to start. Of course, the fact that the movie came from the minds that brought us Batman: The Animated Series and the rest of the animated universe (even if it didn’t share continuity) was also a solid indication. However, there’s very much a sense of a production team attempting to find their footing. Although it’s solidly entertaining on its own terms, the film feels like perhaps the weakest entry in the selection of films. 

Well, at least he can wipe it on his cape and no one will notice...

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