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Headscratchers: Superman: The Animated Series
  • In "Apokolips . . . Now!" Part 2, the citizens of Earth rise up against Darkseid. All manner of Hell is about to break loose when the armies of New Genesis arrive, and Orion informs Darkseid that Earth is now under their protection. Any further aggressive action will result in a war between them. Darkseid agrees to withdraw. As his armies retreat back to Apokolips, he hits Dan Turpin with his Omega beams, vaporizing the man before teleporting himself back home. He cold-bloodedly kills a person, for no reason other than to spite Superman, less than 15 seconds after agreeing to withdraw. HOW is this NOT an act of aggression? Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly in-character for Darkseid, and it makes for one of the most dramatic moments in the DCAU, but is there some reason that the New Genesis troops don't promptly open fire?
    • It's not worth it. That's it. There's no point starting what would amount to a war of extermination over one man.
    • Also, these guys know Darkseid. Retreating with only one murder under his belt is practically leaving on good terms for Darkseid.
    • Plus he's heading back into his boom tubes and the guns would have had a short window to do anything. From what I recall, he was the last person retreating.
  • In "Mxyzpixilated", Mxyzptlk is a powerful, supernatural being who can easily conjure things up out of thin air. Why then, does he spend 90 days building a robot suit? Also, Superman defeats him a few times by making him spell his name backwards. How the heck did he know how to spell Mxyzptlk's name, forwards or backwards? Mxyzptlk never revealed the spelling, and it's not the sort of thing you can sound out.
    • For the first question, Rule of Funny. For the second, Mxy *did* reveal the spelling. Early in the episode (just before Mxy appears to lecture Clark on how to properly pronounce his name) Jimmy shows Clark a comic strip entitled "Mr. Mxyzptlk". It was probably a projection of Mxy's, but Clark saw it nonetheless.
    • As for the robot suit, Mxy suffers from serious Plot-Induced Stupidity: he could have just made Supes disappear if he wanted to but seems to have a self-imposed limitation against using his powers directly on Superman. The robot could be explained as Mxy needing to put more effort into creating a robot that could actually beat Superman; maybe his powers are enough to create a giant robot but giving it the attributes necessary to actually hurt the Man of Steel required more forethought.
  • In "Livewire" our titular supervillianess transforms into electricity to escape the hospital. This is all well and good for an electricity-based metahuman, but how can her clothes transform with her? Couldn't she have created her "ionized air" costume at the hospital and then gone into the outlet?
  • "Speed Demons". Superman uses his heat vision to seal a hole in an actively-leaking oil tanker. Hey, Supes, isn't that stuff, y'know... flammable? I mean, even he did kinda pinch the leak together you'd think that the superheated metal would catch the stuff inside on fire and cause a HUGE FREAKING FIREBALL and kill everyone inside...
    • Like gasoline, liquid crude oil in and of itself isn't as flammable as one might think. (See also Every Car Is a Pinto.) You'd also need a lot of oxygen — or something else for the oil to react explosively with — to create that 'huge freaking fireball'; spot-welding a still mostly full tank underwater seems a relatively poor candidate for that.
  • The Batman/Superman Movie (or "World's Finest", whichever you prefer). The Joker splits the Kryptonite dragon into two halves to use in two schemes. Um, why? Each half is easily ten times the amount shown to be necessary to incapacitate Superman (heck, the movie even shows that a piece the size of a peanut can make Superman wince in pain). It just seems wasteful. Heck, the Joker could've even sold a chunk of it if he's in such dire straits financially. Remember that the initial estimate of its value was when they thought it was just jade. Revealing it to be Kryptonite would get him a million bucks a chunk, easy.
    • It doesn't have to make sense - he's the Joker!
    • How about when they use hydrochloric acid to dissolve the Kryptonite? Dissolving something in acid is a chemical phenomenon, whereas radioactivity is a nuclear one. Dissolving it wouldn't do anything, just make a still-harmful Kryptonite puddle.
    • "Remember that the initial estimate of its value was when they thought it was just jade." Yeah, that's another thing. How could anyone, never mind a trained jeweler, look at a statue made of brightly glowing rock and declare it to be simple jade? You know, I'm glad all those people caught radiation poisoning from that dragon statue. Clearly they were Too Dumb to Live anyway.
      • Because it, uh, wasn't glowing maybe? Watch the episode. It doesn't glow.
      • Yes it was. It very clearly was glowing. See here and here. It's kryptonite. Kryptonite glows.
      • Actually it glows when The Joker discovers it's Kryptonite. Prior to that, the statue was portrayed as not glowing. The small pieces of the statue left behind were glowing a tiny bit but overall the statue appeared to be jade. It's a very curious property of Kryptonite that it doesn't start to actually glow until it's being used/acknowledged as Kryptonite. Happens on Smallville all the time.
      • I believe that the DCAU population at large only found out that Kryptonite was harmful to humans (in the long run) in Justice League, which takes place a while after STAS.
    • To answer the question about splitting it, he planned on selling the other half piece by piece for a fortune after Superman was dead. As for the first half There Is No Kill Like Overkill. Better to use too much Kryptonite then too little.
      • That's a little odd, though. Why would Kryptonite be valuable if Superman's already out of the picture? Was he going to make them into souvenir key chains?
      • Its a semirare gemstone that is visually unique and has high potential as an energy source. Of course it'd still be valuable.
    • It was in case the Joker's first plan involving the kryptonite fell through and he needed more to kill Superman afterwards. Which is exactly what happened. The Joker is insane, but he can still understand the concept of a "back-up plan."
      • What the OP is asking is "Why only two pieces" as opposed to splitting it into several.
  • The above discussion only raises another issue: how did the Joker know the Laughing Dragon was Kryptonite in the first place? It looks like ordinary jade in all the pawnshop scenes, and the fact that all its previous owners died shouldn't have meant anything at that point (see above point: they didn't find out that Kryptonite was harmful to humans until Justice League). And he tracked it down before Lex "how can I kill Superman today?" Luthor did?
  • In the first episode, am I the only one who remembers Lara, Kal-El's mother, turning down the chance to go with him to die on Krypton with her husband? Why would she do that? Why turn down the chance to raise and PROTECT your son to die with your husband? Who does that? I'm sure that was put in to show the great love Lara had for Jor-El, but... then it just makes her seem like a horrible, selfish mother. "Oh, I won't be able to live without my man! Hope that whole being the last of your kind on an alien planet works out for you, kid!"
    • She did it out of love. She would only be a burden for Kal-El, weighed down by the fact that she has lived on Krypton, remembers all of it, and would eternally be depressed at the loss of the entire planet she grew up on and the people she loved on it such as her husband and father. Kal-El, meanwhile, is only a baby. Too young to remember. Sure, he'd find out his origin years later and that would set him off a bit, but it's much easier to get over finding out you're an alien than having to live with the burden that you fled while everyone else you ever cared for died a horrible death.
    • Also, the rocket wasn't designed to fly with her and Kal-El, just Kal. Jor-El would have had to do some super fast last minute adjustments, and with planet collapse imminent, there would be no time to double check to make sure the rocket would stay on course and keep two passengers alive instead of two. Staying with Jor-El probably maximized Kal's chances of surviving (at least the initial) trip off his planet.
      • To add onto that, he said something about re-adjusting the course, suggesting that with the added weight the rocket would have to take a more straight-arrow path to Earth, possibly getting caught in the gravity of some planet or star that the original course was meant to avoid.

      • Why Lara didn't join Kal-El in the spacecraft varies from continuity to continuity: In one, there is room in the craft, but she stays in order that the ship will have a greater chance of a successful trip; in another, it's loyalty and love to and for Jor-El; in another the primitive culture on Earth repels her; in another Jor-El lies by omission by promising that he and Lara will not leave Krypton, carefully not mentioning Kal-El. The net result remains the same, of course, with the launch being the largest Hail Mary pass in human imagination.

Another Jor-El question: his plan was to put all of the Kryptonians in the Phantom Zone: this poses two questions:
  1. The council rightfully points out that they'd be vulnerable to all the criminals they'd locked up there, so what was Jor-El's plan to protect them within the zone, and to ensure that the criminals wouldn't be released?
    • As we later see you can pick and choose who you release from the zone. Also in the zone they all exist as phantoms with no real physical form, so they can't be harmed. The council just didn't like the idea of being put in the same place as criminals even for a few hours to save themselves.
  2. Brainiac says he refused to tell the council about Krypton blowing up because there was no plan to save them; why didn't he consider Jor-El's plan to put everyone in the Phantom Zone and, tying in to point 1, come up with a solution for protecting them?
    • Brainiac is known to lie. As he later reveals his goal is to take all a planet's knowledge and then destroy it so that he can be the only one who has it. Brainiac didn't want Krypton to be saved at so naturally he wouldn't suggest a good idea to the council.

  • "The Promethean", why didn't the aliens just send the titular machine into their sun? Either it has all the heat it wants and no way to get off anyways, or its destroyed. Why leave it to fall onto some other planet and reawaken.
    • I suppose there was the possibility, given its absorption powers, that doing that would cause their sun to go out and turn the machine into some sort of Physical God. On the other hand, This Troper is bugged by the end of the episode: what the heck are they going to do with the thing? If it thaws out, the heat from the sun will revive it. If they leave it there and somehow keep it frozen, that's the Metropolis Reservoir. It's the water supply for 10 million people, and they froze it solid. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, indeed.
      • Maybe after the episode ended, they cut/broke the ice around the thing, and moved it elsewhere?
      • Superman's Fortress of Solitude is in the Arctic; This Troper would assume Supes heat-visioned cuts into the ice around the Promethean, like those bug-in-an-ice-cube things, carried it to the Arctic, stuck it deep under the ice cap, and, well, left it there., nice and chilly for all eternity.
      • or just toss him into space, like Wizard magazine said about how to handle Doomsday; it won't kill the Promethean but it will make him someone else's problem.
      • Or better yet, maybe Superman cut the machine out and then, while it was still frozen, sent it to the Phantom Zone.
    • I always figured it was kept in cold storage somewhere just in case the Godzilla Threshold was ever reached by Superman. Of course, long before any menace that it would have been useful against popped up, the Justice League was formed as a better alternative.

  • On the matter of Darkseid, in "Father's Day", there was no concrete reason given for him to reject Desaad's plan to build a better weapon with which to take Superman out or Kalibak's plan to beat the stuffing out of him when Darkseid had no better alternatives. If he was so determined to kill Superman, why didn't he just let his underlings at least try?
    • Been a while since I saw the episode, but it seemed to me that Darkseid had his own plan for killing Superman, and just didn't want Desaad or Kalibak taking him on at all. He wanted to be the one to take down Kal El, and he wanted Superman not to expect it. If he's got Desaad churning out machines to keep attacking, and Kalibak keeps showing up to beat on him, it's only going to harden Superman and make him used to fighting Darkseid's forces.
    • Darkseid's dialogue suggested he did order Desaad to send a machine to beat Superman and that when it failed, he refused to allow him to build another. Perhaps Desaad should have stated from the get-go that his machine was intended to assess Superman's capabilities rather than defeat him outright. Still, Darkseid did have the chance to finish Superman off himself at the end of that episode with his Omega Beams but instead settled for hurting Superman just enough to send a message.
    • Didn't the series finale kind of answer this? Darkseid considers himself Surrounded by Idiots and hoped to convert Kal-El into The Dragon. It was only after Superman slipped free of that control that Darkseid decided to settle for annihilating him.
  • In "Heavy Metal", they gave a concrete explanation for Metallo's return, namely Intergang. The explanation made sense since he was left to rot in a volcano. At the end of the ep, he's been incapacitated and has Steel's hammer blocking his Kryptonite so it should be no trouble for Supes to deliver him to the authorities, yet he returns with no explanation in "Superman's Pal" and later in Justice League. Most of the returning villains in the show got an explanation for how they extricated themselves from being incarcerated or left for whatever fate they were last seen in, yet Metallo shows up out of nowhere.
    • Recurring villains appearing out of nowhere with no explanation to harass the main characters is a classic superhero trope. We don't really need an explanation for how or why he came back. The fact that he wasn't dead by the end of his last appearance is enough.
      • Metallo isn't just any other villain. Without a chunk of Kryptonite, he's nothing more than a statue, incapable of any sort of self-directed movement. He doesn't "return" unless someone wants him to.
      • Again, this doesn't really need an explanation. Supervillains just "showing up" in later stories is a classic superhero trope. Any villain who isn't dead is nigh-on guaranteed to show up again later on. If you really need an explanation, just assume the deal he made with Intergang was still valid and they busted him out again.
      • Except as I noted, this goes against the show's established pattern of explaining how the villains return, in particular for Superman's rogues who are powerful & dangerous enough that when they break out, Superman and the SCU are at the ready. Intergang was disbanded by that point in the series so it couldn't have been them. There probably isn't a worthwhile explanation since Bruce Timm called "Superman's Pal" one of the worst eps in the DCAU.
  • In Legacy Darkseid's Omega Beams are deflected by the stone that Superman moves and later by Superman's hands. Wouldn't the second shot punch through the hands and continue onward?
    • The beams not piercing Supes' hands was likely a reflection of his invulnerability. If Darkseid was firing at maximum power, then the writers were stating concretely that the beams can't beat Superman's invulnerability.
  • In "Bizarro's World", the Brainiac ball is able to mistake Bizarro's DNA for Kal-El's DNA, even though Bizarro's cell structure is so different from Superman's, that he's immune to kryptonite. How is that possible?
    • Cell structure is different, but perhaps the DNA is similar enough that device couldn't tell.
    • This might be a clue that K-radiation doesn't see genes as the definition of what a 'Kryptonian' (or Argonite) is. There are scientific, mystic or psychic explanations which I leave as experiments in rationalization for the audience.
  • How could Mala and Jax-Ur speak perfect English if they had been in the Phantom Zone for over 20 years?
    • And for that matter, how do Lobo, the Collector, Maxima, and almost every other alien speak English?
  • Why didn't Metallo fix his face, or remove the rest of his face?
    • Short version: He's crazy. Longer version: He's inclined to let his anger fester rather than try to get past it, so he keeps a visible reminder of what he used to be and what he is now.
  • So...meddling executives vetoed the Kara Zor-El Supergirl because "Superman is the last Kryptonian." OK, but then...explain the two Kryptonian Phantom Zone escapees who are recurring villains.

Superman/Batman: ApocalypseHeadscratchers/WESTERNANIMATIONSWAT Kats

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