Reviews: Superman The Animated Series

Deserves more credit than it gets

I admit that, back when I was a kid, I didn't watch that much of this show; like many people, I was more of a Batman: The Animated Series fan, and I only saw like two of three episodes of Superman. In these last years, however, my interest in the character has started to come back, so I decided to give this show a try. Now I find myself surprised this show doesn't get more attention. Don't get me wrong, I know it's by no mean obscure, but it always felt like it was overshadowed by Batman's series. I mean, seriously, Batman had, what, twice as much episode as this show did? And I am not even counting the other Batman cartoons, when this was the only Superman cartoon I can think of. And really, there are areas where I feel this show did a better job than Batman did.

Now, Superman the Animated Series isn't without its flaws. Most notably, there are some inconsistencies about how strong and durable he is; in one scene, he will casually shrug off point-blank explosion, whereas at other moments he seems to feel pain from regular bullets. Sometimes he is strong enough to stop crashing planes, sometimes he struggles to defeat guys who, while super-strong, should in no way be on his level. I also feel that, compared to Batman, this show could have used a few more villains, if just to establish a clearer rogues gallery. Characters like Volcana feel wasted, and some scenes, in particular his Roaring Rampage of Revenge on Legacy, haven't aged that well.

Still, there is greatness in this show. The villains who do show up tend to be good; Luthor, while a bit overused, feels like a genuine threat and has some great moments; Toyman is a great case of Creepy Awesome, and this version of Brainiac is by far my favourite to date. Mxyzptkl and Bizarro are both hilarious, and while I feel more could have been done with Metallo, he had a damn good start. Also, this should come as no surprise to anyone who saw the Justice League cartoon, but this show nailed Darkseid. Villains aside, Lois isn't quite as annoying as I remember, and actually gets a lot of really funny scenes. Superman, for all the complains about him being "boring", actually gets some good Character Development and is made genuinely likable; hightlights include "Absolute Power", "The Later Mr Kent" and most episodes where he gets crossovers with Batman.

I honestly regret we didn't get more of this show, or at least a reboot like the multiple ones Batman did. I left this show really entertained and wanting more, making me regret I watched the Justice League cartoon first.