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Recap / Superman: The Animated Series S1 E9-10 "The Main Man"

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Superman conducts a test flight of the rocket that brought him to Earth, and Professor Hamilton wonders about the "great achievements" and "brilliant minds" to be found among the stars. Cut to Lobo, capturing a target in a seedy alien bar. His trip to collect the bounty is interrupted when an alien collector calling himself "the Preserver" hires him to capture a bigger prize — the last Kryptonian.

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Tropes:

  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When Lobo meets the Preserver:
    The Preserver: I am the Preserver.
    Lobo: And I'm the night manager at the Hotel d'Frag. Lookie there, it's checkout time.
  • Angrish: Lobo often lets loose with garbled tirades, apparently as a substitute for the way he (as the DVD commentary puts it) "swears like a sailor" in the comics.
  • Armour-Piercing Slap: Lois lays one on Lobo after he comes on to her, but only hurts her own hand.
  • Ash Face: One of the Preserver's security probes shoots a beam on Lobo's face... with this as the sole result.
  • Asshole Victim: Lex gets his building trashed and riddled with holes by the fight between Superman and Lobo, making him a not-so-innocent bystander.
  • Bar Brawl: Lobo starts one as he's searching for Sqweek.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Averted. This episode confirms that the DCAU Superman needs a spacesuit to venture into space. Lobo can live (and talk) in space just fine without one.
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  • Beware the Silly Ones: Lobo is actually quite good at his job, if not the brightest bulb in the box.
  • Big Bad: The Preserver.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: After Superman and Lobo spring out of their captivity, we then see that the Preserver has cameras everywhere to spy on where the two are going.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Sqweek and his brother Gnaww are humanoids with rodent heads. One of their eyelids is itself a head that talks for them.
  • Body Horror: The Preserver transforming into his true form involves the substantially larger clawed beast clawing its way out of his peaceful form's mouth and leaving behind a hollow skin.
  • Bounty Hunter: Lobo, but there's also the obligatory rival gang.
  • Briar Patching: Drained of his powers by being kept under red sunlight by the Preserver, Superman tries to elude a pack of alien bounty hunters, but they finally catch up with him right outside another habitat and soon loud screeches are emitted. He warns them that they really don't want to throw him in there, so of course they do... revealing that the occupant is no ravening monster, but a dodo. From Earth. Cue the Yellow Sun Lamp and a typical reaction from the bad guys.
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  • Bull Seeing Red: Superman is in a Tailor-Made Prison, trapped under a red light that neutralises his powers. He uses a shard of broken glass to reflect the red light into the eye of a Triceratops nearby, causing it to charge at his cell and break him open.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sqweek; even his own brother wants to turn him in for the reward.
  • The Collector: The Preserver collects living creatures who are the last of their kind. He doesn't target "sentient" creatures usually, but since both Superman's planet and Lobo's planet don't exist anymore...
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Lobo is openly referred to as a sociopath. When he comes to Earth, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Continuity Cameo: Starro is one of the creatures in the Preserver's zoo. This is just a throwaway reference at the time, but becomes significant much later in the Batman Beyond episode "The Call".
  • Counting to Three
    Lobo: I'm givin' you geeks ten seconds before I frag everything in sight. One... TEN!
  • Creepy Monotone: The Preserver speaks with a robotic-like voice, without any inflection or emotion.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Lobo is entirely willing to resort to Boring, but Practical when it comes to subduing Superman.
  • Depower: Superman and Lobo are deprived of their super powers in the beginning of the second part. Superman has been stuck in a prison with a red solar lamp and Lobo is still feeling the effects of the Preserver's knockout gas. Superman eventually finds a yellow sun lamp that restores his powers and Lobo eventually shakes off the gas.
  • Description Cut: Dr. Hamilton talks about how fascinated he is by the prospect of other civilizations in space: "their culture, their knowledge, their great achievements, their brilliant minds..." Cut to Lobo issuing a loud belch in a dive bar.
  • Enemy Mine: Superman and Lobo team up against The Preserver. In the end, Lobo gains respect for Superman.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Superman summons a Triceratops to spring him out from the Preserver's cage.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lobo fires a bullet at Superman, but he's too fast for it. However, the bullet is headed in the way of civilians, so Superman has to divert it into the sky. Lobo admits to not understanding what Superman was doing for a bit, before realizing that Superman doesn't want anyone to get hurt.
  • Exact Words: When Superman asks if Lobo will leave him and everyone else on Earth in peace, Lobo merely says "The Main Man's word is his bond". Lobo's eventual reappearance in "Hereafter" suggests he doesn't see his statement as an answer to Superman's question.
  • Expy: Emperor Spooj is basically just Jabba the Hutt.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Preserver seems calm, mellow, and usually polite, right up to the point he reveals his true form, which matches his true personality.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Preserver mentions that he has some organisms from Earth in his collection. Later on Superman gets his powers back to full strength when he tricks the bounty hunters into throwing him into the dodo exhibit, which has simulated yellow sunlight.
    • Lobo says that the first rule of bounty hunting is to let the prey come to you. Sure enough when Superman pursues Lobo into space, he's only being lured within range of the Preserver's ship.
  • Follow the Chaos: Lobo's method of getting Superman to come to him. When told that Superman only shows up when there's trouble, Lobo gleefully starts to make some.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Lobo spelling out his name:
    Lobo: The name's Lobo. That's L as in "Lacerate", O as in "Obliterate", B as in "disemBowel", and O as in, uh... well, I guess I can use "Obliterate" twice. What do you think?
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The bar Lobo is introduced in is called "The Steaming Load".
    • Lobo, while brandishing a crowbar, threatens the Preserver with a colonoscopy if he doesn't give back his bounty.
    • Lobo says, as Superman leaves him behind, that he's going to kick Superman's "big red S" (you know, the color the letter is inside the shield. And the color of his shorts).
    • Lobo describes how he and Supes would be tied down and tortured, and throws in a Weird Aside how it would be enjoyable under other circumstances.
    • The Latin American dub gets away with having Lobo outright call Superman a "hijo de perra" ( "son of a, female, dog" a toned down version of "hijo de puta," a "son of a bitch").
    • The Preserver's fembots each have a metal hose in their mouth, which sprays knockout gas on any captive who gets too rowdy. Lobo ties the hoses together, pointing and giving the audience a suggestive look as they grow large enough to press against each other and blow the fembots' heads off.
    • Not only is the Jabba-like alien despot after Lobo basically a huge turd with eyes, but his name is even Emperor Spooj.
  • Gilded Cage: Lobo is enjoying himself in his Tailor-Made Prison, but only until he remembers how he got there.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Superman relies on a Triceratops to break him out of his cage.
  • Hooks and Crooks: Lobo's famous hook on a chain finds a good use (though not for disemboweling, obviously).
  • Hulking Out: Except instead of its clothing being torn off, the Preserver's skin is discarded for a much larger and dangerous form.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lobo at first mocks Superman for caring about humans. But later on he falls in love with Lois who joined the battle between the two thinking she could be of assistance.
  • It's Personal: Instead of trying to "cut and run" like Superman is doing, Lobo wants to introduce "31 flavors of pain" to the Preserver.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When Superman breaks out of his cage, Lobo requests that he break him out as well. Superman scoffs that Lobo is a criminal who deserves this kind of treatment, but then Lobo threatens to wreak havoc on Earth some more and blow it up should he ever escape one day. Superman then agrees to free him if he promises to never come to Earth again.
  • Knockout Gas: The police try to help Superman out by gassing Lobo, but he only pretends to collapse so he can suckerpunch Superman again. The Preserver's gas on the other hand does work, likely because the Preserver knows a lot more about Czarnian physiology than police from Earth.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The Preserver likely died from being launched into space by Lobo.
    • Sqweek and the three bounty hunters rivaling Lobo are all demoted to lowly clean-up crew by Emperor Spooj.
  • Last of Its Kind: The Collector's collection is comprised entirely of these; more specifically, they're all species from across the universe that are otherwise extinct.
  • Lured into a Trap: The Preserver's bounty offer to Lobo was actually a trap for him as well as Superman. Lobo is too thick-headed to realize what's happening even when the Preserver casually mentions that he wants the last Czarnian too (Lobo is the last Czarnian).
  • Megaton Punch: Both Lobo and Superman can dish out these.
  • My Card: When Superman demands to know the name of the interstellar bounty hunter shooting up a Metropolis police station, Lobo answers, "Oh, I'm sorry; My Card", and promptly delivers a right hook that sends the Man of Steel flying.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the creatures in the Preserver's collection is Starro the Conqueror, a recurrent Justice League of America villain. Superman saves it, along with the rest, and puts it in his Fortress' alien zoo, which will come back to bite him in a big way later on.
  • No-Sell:
    • Lois attacks Lobo with a crowbar. Lobo simply steals and devours it.
    • Lobo punches The Preserver's monstrous form in the face, to no effect.
  • Not So Stoic: The Preserver loses it when he turns into his monstrous form after Superman and Lobo fend off all of his attempts to put them back in cage. He comments to Lobo that "a trash like him is not worth saving".
  • Nuke 'em: Lobo mentioned that he destroyed his home planet in Part 1 making him the last Czarnian, but what method he used to do isn't brought up. In Part 2 it is implied that Lobo used nukes to do so.
  • Oh, Crap!: The bounty hunters have this when Superman, weakened by exposure to simulated red sunlight, tricks them into throwing him into an Earth-like habitat aboard the Preserver's ship.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Preserver shifts to its true hulking, clawed and really pissed off form to battle Lobo and Superman personally.
  • Pet the Dog: Lobo could have just run for it, but decides to help Superman by blowing open the airlock, which he calls his "good deed of the century".
  • Power Floats: The Preserver's first form hovers over the ground.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Superman after breaking free from his cage (and Lobo) is about to take his ship and leave. Superman insists that Lobo think of getting out of the zoo with him, but Lobo instead pursues vengeance on the Preserver for being a traitor and liar. Lobo's stupidity prompts Superman to rescue him again and again.
  • Robot Girl: Lobo's cell guardians are two robotic girls who can subdue him if he tries to escape by folding up the entire top halves of their skulls to reveal hoses and gassing him. Another one is seen taking care of Lobo's bounty, and Lobo is last seen with yet another one serving him at Emperor Spooj's palace.
  • Running Gags: The LexCorp building getting smashed up during the Superman/Lobo fight.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Clark Kent tells Lois that he's always beating her to the scoop because he's Superman in disguise. He even takes off his glasses while doing so!
    Lois: I'm confused, Kent. See, I've lived in Metropolis most of my life, and I can't figure out how some yokel from Smallville is suddenly getting every hot story in town.
    Clark: Well Lois, (*lowers his glasses*) the truth is I'm actually Superman in disguise, and I only pretend to be a journalist in order to hear about disasters as they happen and then squeeze you out of the by-line.
    Lois: (beat) You're a sick man, Kent.
    Clark: (*with a sly smile*) You asked.
  • Save the Villain: After being trapped by the Preserver, Lobo is reduced to begging Superman to free him. Superman refuses, claiming that it's suiting punishment for the trouble he caused on Earth, but Lobo swears he'll find a way to escape (even if that scenario doesn't seem likely) and get revenge on Superman and Earth's people for his imprisonment. Unable to take that chance, Superman agrees to free Lobo and the two work together long enough for Superman to return to Earth and Lobo to get his bounty.
  • Shout-Out: The alien beast Superman uses to break out of his cage looks like a hybrid of a rhino and a ceratopsian dinosaur, with six legs and a body covered in armadillo-like armor plates. A regular old Triceratops as people seem convinced of, or Tundro the Tremendous? All it's is missing a horn-cannon on its forehead.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Superman's pursuers think he's doing this when he breaks open the door to another environment, and decide to throw him to whatever bloodthirsty creature is within. Instead, a harmless dodo emerges.
  • Tailor-Made Prison:
    • The Collector keeps Superman in a simulated Krypton environment, complete with a red sun lamp that drains his powers.
    • Lobo's cell is tailor-made for him as well, with biker-themed decorations and two robotic babes. Then he tries to escape, and the robotic babes show their true nature...
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Lobo's "Who's gonna make me?" boast, which usually leads to appropriate trouble showing up. After the Preserver goes One-Winged Angel in response, he mentions he should probably quit saying that.
    • After Lois' slap is ineffective, Lobo encourages her to give him another one on the chin. Superman obliges.
    • The cop scoffs at the latest wacky news report about an alien on a space bike, only for said alien to walk right up to his desk.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Lobo opens the ship's airlock with his hook and the Preserver is sucked in outer space.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Upon getting Superman, the Collector tells Lobo that he's interested in getting the last Czarnian. Lobo proudly proclaims that he's the last Czarnian. He's immediately trapped and subdued.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Preserver speaks with a reverbal voice.
  • Villainous Rescue: In Part II as Superman and Lobo team up to escape the Preserver, Superman finds that he needs Lobo's help as much as Lobo needs his especially since they're outnumbered and encounter threats bigger than both of them combined.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Lobo destroyed his home planet. He calls it his "science project", for which he gave himself an A.
  • You Got Spunk: Lobo likes Lois Lane wacking him across the face with a pipe, which he then eats!
  • You Owe Me: Spoofed; Superman saves Lobo from being eaten by a giant snake, so Lobo says he owes Superman for that. Moments later Superman is caught up in the snake's coils and is about to be eaten, but Lobo is enjoying the show.
    Superman: Lobo, you said you owed me!
    Lobo: What, now? [reluctantly shuffles over and rips off the snake's skin]

 
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Clark Kent Reveals his Secret

Clark Kent reveals through sarcasm to Lois Lane that he's actually Superman in disguise to explain how he's such a good reporter. She thinks he's joking.

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