Recap / Superman The Animated Series S 3 E 2 Knight Time

Another crossover episode with Batman: The Animated Series.

When Roxy Rocket tears into Metropolis, she tells Supes that Batman is missing, meaning Gotham City is being overrun by crime, so she came to Metropolis to try her luck there. Supes heads to Gotham to investigate, where he finds and assists Robin (Tim Drake) with foiling a robbery. When the trouble is over, Robin is hesitant to tell Supes about what's going on, but he's immediately surprised by what the Man of Steel knows...

Superman: Where's your boss?
Robin: [shrugs] Around.
Superman: Alright, let's try this another way. Where's Bruce?

Robin tells Supes that Bruce had called and told him he'd be away on business and that he shouldn't worry, but, according to Robin, "he wasn't himself," and the fact that he simply bailed and didn't ask Nightwing or Batgirl to fill in was suspicious - Nightwing and Batgirl had traced the call to Romania and were now chasing down Ra's Al Ghul, suspecting he might have kidnapped Bruce. When they see the Bat Signal light up, Robin laments that it gets worse every time Batman doesn't show. However, Supes has an idea. When Commissioner Gordon and another cop shut down the signal, deciding Batman's not coming, the Caped Crusader (actually Supes in disguise) and Robin swoop in. "Good evening, Commissioner."

After the brief conversation with Jim, who tells them that Bane is back in town with a refined Venom formula (with Superman trying to keep his cover despite doing a bad job of it even with an authentic voice), Superman and Robin head to Wayne Enterprises to investigate Bruce's disappearance, starting with the computer records in his office - Bruce had sent a video message to Lucius Fox explaining he was taking a impromptu vacation, which contradicts what he told Robin about being away on work, but the fact that he's smiling is the weird part. They tracked the message to New Zealand, meaning Bruce is either hopping the globe, or someone's hiding his actual location by faking the traces. Superman, using his superhuman sight, finds nanites on some nearby papers, and a needle in the phone's earpiece - someone has injected nanites into Bruce, and is controlling his mind. Now, who in Gotham would know about such technology...?

After interrogating the Penguin for the Mad Hatter's location (Supes picks up on Batman's interrogation methods rather quickly with a bit of instruction from Robin), Bat!Supes and Robin crash a meeting between Hatter, Bane and Riddler. Bane is actually thrilled, as he didn't want to be forever denied an opportunity to break the Bat. Riddler uses a cage to trap Robin, and traps Bat!Superman's arms with a contraption, enabling Bane to deliver a brief smackdown, before seemingly crushing him with an easter island head. However, Superman pushes the huge stone statue off him (shocking the villains by sending it flying across the room), breaks the contraption, and wipes the floor with Bane, while Robin frees himself using Riddler's cane, cuffing him and lifting him into the air with the cage. Superman uses his super speed to confuse the Hatter and capture him. Later, at the Gotham PD, Hatter confesses that the nanites aren't his - he's stolen from the best, but even these outclass anything that he's ever seen, speculating that they might even be alien in origin.

While analyzing the message to Lucius, Superman and Robin speculate that whatever aliens have kidnapped Bruce need him for something, and discover the sound of rocket fuel in the audio, meaning it was likely recorded at Wayne Aerospace. They investigate the site, and discover that it's full of activity, even though it's not supposed to be active. The rocket that is being developed has weaponry that Supes recognizes as Kryptonian. Then they see Bruce arrive, who tells everyone at the site to go home. When all the scientists have left, Braniac emerges from a hidden compartment, and prepares to kill Bruce now that he's no longer useful to him, but Bat!Supes and Robin intervene, and Supes deduces that Brainiac broke into Bruce Wayne's computers during his partnership with Lexcorp, saw that he could build him a rocket to leave Earth, and brainwashed him to make him authorize the project. While Brainiac compliments Batman's deductive skills, he notes that Batman is just human, and promptly blasts him. However, all this does is reveal who happens to be under the cowl.

Brainiac: Kal-El. This development was highly improbable.
Superman: Today's been full of surprises. *Punches Brainiac out a window*

Brainiac attempts to escape in the rocket, and Superman gives chase, with Superman destroying the rocket's turrets with heat vision, and uses Braniac's own tentacles to short-circuit and destroy the rocket, along with Braniac himself.

Back in the Batcave, Bruce is feeling much better, as the nanites self-destructed along with their master. Superman warns him to check his computer systems in case Braniac left a part of himself around. Bruce mentions that the city's been busy while he was gone. Superman's response? "Nothing the kid couldn't handle. For someone who's supposed to be such a loner, you sure know how to pick a partner."

And with that, now that Gotham's protector is back in action, Superman heads back to Metropolis, with a job well done.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Defied. When it's all over, Superman suggests that Bruce look over his computer systems and make sure Brainiac didn't leave anything behind.
  • Blood Knight: Bane. He's excited to see Batman alive and well, as it means he still has a chance to break him. Unfortunately for him, Superman happens to be in the cowl that evening.
  • Brains and Brawn: Alluded to by the Riddler, though the man he's talking to is a recognized Genius Bruiser himself.
  • Call-Back: How Brainiac brainwashed Bruce is one to World's Finest. He got into Wayne Enterprises' computers due to the brief partnership with Lexcorp.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After Bat!Supes stops holding back on Bane, he proceeds to wipe the floor with him.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Brainiac thinks he roasted Batman, only to see Superman emerge from the flames. In his own monotone way, he's stunned.
  • Distressed Dude: Robin is briefly trapped in a cage by Riddler. However, he doesn't take long to free himself, and to add insult to injury, he cuffs Riddler's arms to the bars and leaves him hanging in the air as the cage rises.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: When Penguin refuses to give up any information, Robin suggests that Superman kick over his desk. He does—not like a Badass Normal would, but like someone with Super Strength. Penguin is suitably freaked.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Roxy is surprised that Superman's unaware of what's going on in Gotham—thinking heroes had various club meetings. Superman remarks he and Batman aren't exactly friends.
  • Genre Blindness: Superman chides Roxy for making trouble in his town. She defends herself by saying it's preferable to the mess going on in Gotham.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Superman has to hold back when he fights Bane, but after Bane is led to think he's won, Superman stops holding back. It's both hilarious and awesome at the same time.
  • Identity Impersonator: Superman filling in for Batman.
  • I'm Standing Right Here / Insult Friendly Fire: Robin momentarily forgets that Superman's technically an alien and not a human.
    Robin: Bruce is being controlled by aliens? Eww!
    Superman: I'm deeply hurt.
  • Irony:
    Superman: [to Bruce] I have to say, for a guy who's supposed to be such a loner, you sure know how to pick a partner.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Superman is initially reluctant to use this on The Penguin, but with a little urging from Robin, he emulates Batman's manner of interrogation superbly.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: The premise of the episode, as Superman dons Batman's cape and cowl.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Bane, Riddler and the Mad Hatter are in various states of panic when Bat!Supes not only starts pushing the moai head Bane dumped on him, but then sends it flying across the room.
  • Mugging the Monster: Bane is excited to fight Batman. Unfortunately for him, Superman is impersonating Batman.
  • Not Me This Time:
    • Since Bruce is under mind control, Robin immediately suspects the Mad Hatter is behind it, but Hatter tells them that the technology being used is far more advanced than anything he's ever made, and they find out it's actually Brainiac.
    • Earlier, Nightwing and Batgirl traveled to Romania, where Bruce's phone call came from, to track down Ra's al Ghul, believing he kidnapped Bruce.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Bruce Wayne's behavior while brainwashed — and specifically the fact that he's smiling — pretty much causes Robin to instantly suspect that something's up.
  • Oh, Crap!: Penguin after "Batman" kicks his desk into a wall.
  • Superman Stays out of Gotham: Averted by necessity, though Superman has to reluctantly adopt Batman's methods to get things done. However, he does an admirable job of it with Robin's assistance, and he has a bit of fun using his superpowers discreetly to fool Batman's enemies (first by proving to be out of Bane's league even with the Venom, and confusing Mad Hatter with super speed).
  • This Cannot Be!: Bane presumably crushes "Batman" with a heavy moai head. Then it suddenly starts moving.
    Mad Hatter: That's not possible.
  • Villain Team-Up: Bane, The Riddler and the Mad Hatter were planning to do this before Superman and Robin showed up.
  • Voice Changeling: Superman is able to precisely imitate Batman's voice... and Robin's, for that matter.
  • Written-In Absence: Nightwing and Batgirl left town to search for the missing Bruce.
    Robin: Batgirl traced the phone call to Romania. They went over there to find some old guy who might've kidnapped him. Ghul something.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The characters initially think they're dealing with a Batman-level villain. Instead, it's the monotone alien computer. The same goes for Gotham's villains; Bane assumes he can win a bout with Batman using higher doses of Venom, but the stuff won't get him far against the Man of Steel.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Brainiac was about to do this to Bruce before Superman and Robin stopped him.