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Recap / Superman The Animated Series S1 E1-3 "The Last Son of Krypton"

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The origin of Superman, from the end of Krypton to him dealing with his first criminal threat. This was released on home video as Superman: The Last Son of Krypton.

This episode contains examples of:

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  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Brainiac knows that Krypton is going to explode, but covers it up in order to save itself without having to divert attention and resources to saving anybody else since there wasn't time anyway.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Jor-El complains about Brainiac's intrusion on his privacy, saying that people don't like that, Brainiac asks if that's the case, why would they create something like him? Jor-El admits he asks himself that question often.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Lois gives Bibbo money to call Clark should she get in danger. He quickly forgets and spends it on a soda machine. Superman ends up saving her anyway.
  • Badass Normal: Jor-El, who is basically the same as a normal human, starts the episode escaping a giant monster and escapes the Brainiac-deceived police to evacuate Kal-El from the doomed planet. It seems awesome runs in the family.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Krypton accepting Brainiac's word without questioning. Sul-Van is the only Council member to realize this.
  • Blessed with Suck: How teenage Clark views his powers, until...
  • Bullet Catch: Superman catches a whole volley of bullets and throws them back at the shooters' feet.
  • Captain Obvious: Perry points to a picture of Superman and asks Clark and Lois who he is. Jimmy (listening in) helpfully suggests that it looks like a man flying.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Luthor does it near the end.
  • Continuity Cameo: Pete Ross, Clark's best friend in the comics, appears as just a fellow student.
  • Cultural Rebel: Jor-El. He's the only Kryptonian to not trust the AI Braniac, which the Science Council are aware of and displeased about it.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Jor-El is for all intents and purposes the main character for the first episode.
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  • Decoy Getaway: Sul-Van leads the police away while Jor-El makes the final preparations and launches the rocket.
  • Doorstop Baby / Moses in the Bulrushes: Discussed and lampshaded as the Kents tell Clark about how he was found.
    Jonathan Kent: Do you know how some babies are found in baskets? (reveals the rocket) Well, this is how we found you.
  • Death by Origin Story: Jor-El, Lara-El and the entire planet of Krypton.
  • Doomed Homeworld: Krypton, and the entire first episode is devoted to how and why it got that way.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Clark tells Lana about his emerging powers, including X-ray vision. She jokingly asks if he's been peeking into the girls' locker room, but Clark's not too happy with that remark since he's really worried about the weird stuff that's happening to him. Lana backs off and shows genuine concern for him.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The final scene is an alien ship finding Brainiac's escape pod and being overtaken.
  • Famous Last Words: In response to a quake when the police finally catch Sul-Van:
    Officer: Not another one!
    Sul-Van: No. The last one.note 
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: An example so blatant even the cast brings it up:
    Lois: (While looking at a photo of Superman) Nice 's'.
    Clark: Excuse me?
    Lois: Right here. (Points at the "S" symbol on Superman's chest)
    • Young Clark informs Lana Lang about how he is seeing through things, she asks if he's looked towards the girls' locker room.
      • This ended up becoming Hilarious in Hindsight just five years later, when in the Smallville episode "X-Ray", Clark discovers his X-ray vision by accident and ends up inadvertently seeing into the girls locker room... directly at Lana (and grinning in exactly the way any teenage boy would have who was able to do something like that).
  • Happily Adopted: Typically, Clark finds out he's adopted and an alien both at once - but in this version, the Kents let him know he was adopted long before he found out about his powers. He doesn't show any angst on the subject.
  • Heroic BSoD: Clark after he finds out about his true nature.
    Clark: It's not true... I'm not a freak... I'm not... I'm NOT!
  • Ignored Expert: Jor-El, as usual, though it's not quite as bad in this incarnation as he is discredited by Brainiac, who was buying some time to save himself, giving the Science Council an easy-out of trusting him even though he turns out to be right.
  • I Own This Town: Luthor on Metropolis - and given the amount of power he has, he's hardly exaggerating.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Martha calls Jonathan out for calling baby Kal-El a "thing."
  • It's All About Me: Brainiac's justification for not revealing Krypton's fate.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sul-Van, Lara's father, who despite doubting his son-in-law, is ultimately the only Kryptonian who took his concerns seriously, if only due to caring about his grandson's future.
  • The Joy of First Flight: Young Clark Kent is understandably distraught when his Puberty Superpowers kick in and his adopted parents reveal that he is an alien. Learning that his alien heritage includes the ability of flight, however, goes a long way to calming him down and starting him on the road to coming to terms.
  • Match Cut: While Jonathan and Martha considering a name for...
    Teacher: Clark! Clark Kent!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the guards says "Great Rao!", which Superman often says in the Silver Age comics.
    • When Martha Kent finds the infant Superman, she considers the names Christopher and Kirk, in reference to Christopher Reeve and Kirk Alyn, who also played Superman, before deciding on Clark.
    • Lois tells Bibbo to have Clark call "Commissioner Henderson" if she is not heard from soon. Inspector William Henderson was a character originally introduced in the 1940's radio series as Superman's contact on the police force; he was later adapted into the television series and, eventually, the comics. His role was eventually supplanted by Daniel Turpin and Maggie Sawyer, two characters who would become important recurring characters within this series, and he is currently Metropolis's Police Commissioner. He is given a small role in "Feeding Time" and appears in the background in "Apokolips... Now!".
  • Papa Wolf: Both Jor-El and his father-in-law Sul-Van (the one member of the Council he is able to convince) become this, as Brainiac tries to use the police to prevent him from activating Kal-El's rocket. Mostly Sul-Van, however. Knowing that he really has nothing to lose now. leads the police on a high-speed chase ending in a crash simply to draw them away from the lab and buy his son-in-law time. They manage to catch him only minutes before the rocket takes off.
  • Powered Armor: Luthor unveils a new prototype, which is promptly stolen. The "theft" is actually a cover for an illegal arms sale to Kaznia.
  • Not Helping Your Case: After Braniac discredits him Jor-El pleads for the council to at least hear out his plans. They involve (temporarily) trapping the entire population of the planet in the Phantom Zone, only further convincing the council of his supposed madness.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sul-Van originally shares the Council's skepticism toward Jor-El's conclusions, but he's willing to look at the evidence for himself... and changes his mind to the point of running interference to buy time for the launch.
  • Sarcastic Confession:
    Lois: How'd you get here before me?
    Clark: Well, I just flew.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One name Martha considers giving Clark is Christopher, no doubt in honor of Christopher Reeve, who played Superman onscreen.
    • She also considers "Kirk", possibly a reference to Kirk Alyn, who played Superman in a 1948 serial.
    • The unfortunate aliens who find and retrieve Brainiac's pod and are immediately massacred, resemble the "Martians" from the 1953 film of The War of the Worlds.
  • Slave to PR: Martha Kent suggests that Clark ought to cultivate a good public image rather than try to help people behind the scenes and disappear, lest people get the idea that he's like "that nut in Gotham City".
  • The Space Race: One of Johnathan's initial concerns about finding Clark in a spaceship is that he could be a Russian "Sputnik Baby", though he also considers that "maybe he's one of ours."
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Facial features-wise, Superman is nearly identical to his father.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Just before Krypton gets destroyed.
    Kryptonian: Not another one [earthquake]...
    Sul-Van: No, the last one...
  • Title Drop: Jor-El mentions to Sul-Van that Kal will be "The Last Son of Krypton."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jor-El was right that Krypton's blind faith in Brainiac would doom them all, as he'd intentionally lied to get time to save himself.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Luthor has a minor one after Superman silently refuses his offer to work together, throwing a model of the Lexo-Suit at him (which is promptly crushed) and yelling after him as he flies away.
  • We Can Rule Together: After making it plain to this mysterious alien that he runs Metropolis, Luthor notes that he often wonders if he should be satisfied with "just" one city, and that between the two of them they could basically run the world. Naturally, Superman doesn't bite.
  • You Are Too Late: To save everyone on Krypton, since the planet only has a few hours remaining.

Alternative Title(s): Superman The Last Son Of Krypton

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