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Recap / Superman The Animated Series S 1 E 7 The Way Of All Flesh

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While in custody on Stryker's Island, John Corben somehow catches a rare, untreatable, and terminal disease. As a result, he has to turn to an old friend of his, Lex Luthor. He has his mind transferred into a robotic body combined with kryptonite to get a chance in defeating Superman.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Personality Change: Dr. Vale. In the comics, he believes Superman is an advanced scout of an alien invasion and rebuilt Corben into Metallo to fight him, and Metallo killed Vale. Here, he was hired by Lex to help Corben, and is likely unaware of Lex's true intention.
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  • And Then What?: Luthor pulls this on Corben when his doublecrossed employee threatens him.
  • Asshole Victim: Given Corben was already an amoral mercenary, not many will feel too sorry for him.
  • Blatant Lies: When Superman tells Corben that Lex ordered Dr. Vale to give him the disease, Lex tells Corben that the kryptonite made Superman delirious and that he's trying turn them against each other to save his own life.
  • Blessed with Suck: While Corben's new body gives him super strength, invulnerability and an anti-Superman weapon, he has lost his sense of touch, taste, and smell.
  • Brawler Lock: Superman vs. Metallo, natch. Supes comes to regret it later, once John reveals his kryptonite power source.
  • The Chessmaster: Luthor deliberately had Corben infected with the lethal virus so he could use him as a guinea pig for the cybernetic transplant experiment to "save" him from the virus.
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  • Call-Back: The news mention of Corben's attack since "The Last Son of Krypton".
  • Didn't Think This Through: Corben revels in gaining a indestructible cybernetic body that saves him from a deadly virus and renders him immune to pain, but finds out the hard way that it also depletes all his pleasurable senses, and that the transplant is irreversible.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Metallo falls off Luthor's yacht and can't keep afloat. He sinks into the water. Then, at the episode's conclusion, the camera cuts below the surface and we see two glowing eyes and a figure walking along the sea floor...
  • False Reassurance
    • When Corben mentioned that he couldn't feel anything, the doctors said there would be "adjustments" to be made. He assumed they meant that his new body needed some fine-tuning; what they actually meant was that he'd have to get used to his new condition.
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    • When he goes to confront Luthor, he tries to explain that, in time, he would be able give Metallo his senses back (or transplant Corben’s brain onto another organic body). Metallo is not fooled this time.
  • Forceful Kiss: The newly-minted Metallo grabs Lois and forces himself on her... only to recoil in horror when he realizes he can't even feel a kiss.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pretty much every part of Corben's blatant sexual advances towards Lois is "The Way of All Flesh".
    Corben: I've been thinking about you a lot... especially these last few months in prison...
    Corben: I... I didn't feel anything... (*gawks at her, obviously distraught*)
    • And then, later on:
    Scientist: You can never get sick, you are invulnerable to injury, you'll never feel pain again!
    Corben: And what about pleasure?
    • And then, later on...
    Woman: (offscreen) It's so big, Mr. Luthor... (Luthor and the woman are revealed to be on a yacht) I've never seen a yacht this size!
    • And then, later on... Corben crushes an apple ("I can't taste anymore!"), throws away a vase of flowers ("I can't smell anymore!"), and walks over to Luthor's woman ("Can't...can't...") and throws her overboard in rage.
  • Irony: Unaware he's Superman (one of the fastest beings on Earth), an old lady on a bike passes Clark and calls him a "slowpoke".
  • Karma Houdini: Luthor. Though it's downplayed when Superman points out Metallo will want Lex's head on a platter just as much as he wants Superman's.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Corben was living in one as gratitude that he didn't reveal his ties to Luthor.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Metallo finally comes to terms with his Sense Loss Sadness and knows he is trapped inside of lifeless robot body for the rest of time. He is no longer John Corben, tearing much of his artifical skin off and he smashes that man's reflection in the mirror.
  • Sanity Slippage: Corben's mental state starts crumbling as the reality of what's happened to him sinks in.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: An old lady biker who rode pass Clark, calling him "slowpoke". (See Irony)
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Corben is upset when he realizes that he can't feel, smell, or taste, and flips out completely when he's told that the condition is permanent.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Corben realizes his fate.
    Corben: (looking in a mirror) It's all fake... (tears off the flesh from his face) A FRAUD! (starts ripping the skin off) There's the reality! The metal behind the man! It's all I am, it's who I am! (punches the mirror) Metallo!
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Metallo, at the end of the episode.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Dr. Vale.
    Superman: It's only a matter of time before the police find him!
    Lex: And what makes you think there's any of him left to find?
    [Superman is shocked by that]

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