Yesterday the animated Superman pilot, “Last Son of Krypton,” came out on DVD, and I picked it up at Wal-Mart for something like eight or nine dollars. I never really followed the animated Superman, catching an episode here, an episode there, over the course of its run, so the only extended visit I paid to the animated Metropolis was in The Batman/Superman Movie.
“Last Son,” to be honest, disappointed me.
I had no problems with the animation or the voice acting; both were fine, and up to the standards of Batman. The show has a different look than Batman, of course, because Gotham is a far different city than Metropolis and needs a different touch.
It was the story that really let me down.
Not knowing how Superman was broadcast, I would venture the guess that “Last Son” was broadcast over three parts, because that’s how the story breaks down most easily. Krypton stuff, one episode. Clark in Smallville, one episode. The Lexosuit, one episode.
The problem is that the three parts don’t add up to anything, except to try and explain Superman’s origin. The only problem I have with this is, Superman’s origin has been told better, elsewhere. The first Superman movie. The pilot for Lois & Clark. Did the Superman animated series need to open with Superman’s origin? The Batman animated series didn’t open with Batman’s origin; it started with a good Batman story. Admittedly, the Superman mythos uses his origin far more than the Batman mythos does. So, I was waiting for “Lost Son” to wow me with Superman being Superman, when the episode did nothing of the sort because it was trying too hard to lay a foundation that I already knew (and would have been familiar to almost everyone watching the show back in the day).
I’m sure the series gets better as it goes on. I’ve seen one of the Darkseid stories, the one where Terrible Turpin dies. I know there’s quality stuff down the pike. But I question whether or not “Last Son” really puts the right foot forward.
(And I’m sure that Warners will release Superman on DVD pretty much just as they’ve done for Batman and Justice League–a couple of episodes per disc. It’s not a pretty system, because a lot of what I want in Batman, particular the Ra’s al-Ghul episodes, are way down the road from where we are now.)
In watching “Last Son of Krypton,” I found myself wishing that Warners would release Lois & Clark on DVD. At least the first season. But I’m sure a marketing genius somewhere has the thought that Lois & Clark would confuse the people who think Superman is what Smallville says it is, and that saddens me. :/