Superman Animated Series Vol. 3 Review

A look at the latest collection from Warner Bros. ground-breaking Man of Steel cartoon.
In its third season collection of Superman, Warner Bros. Home Video takes the story of the Man of Steel to the next level, expanding his world to include such stars of the DC Universe as Supergirl, the New Gods, Aquaman, Green Lantern, the Legion of Super-Heroes and even Maxima. The culmination of this season however, is Superman’s most savage battle with Darkseid; a fight that leaves the world fearing the hero that had been its sworn defender.
The collection starts off with “Warrior Queen,” in which Superman must team with Maxima of Almaric who had sought to force him into marriage, to defeat an even worse tyrant.
And speaking of tyrants there’s none more heinous than Darkseid of Apokolips who re-appears in “Apokolips …Now!,” a 2-parter that culminates in the heart-wrenching death of tough Metropolis police sergeant Dan Turpin, a character from Jack Kirby’s memorable Fourth World creations for DC Comics. The episode is, in fact, dedicated to “The King,” whose imaginative creations are so lovingly featured here.
Supergirl, the only other Kryptonian survivor, is introduced in “Little Girl Lost,” which recounts her origin and her efforts to fit into Earth life and escape from the shadow of her more famous cousin Kal-El.
In “Where There’s Smoke,” Frasier’s Roz (Peri Gilpin) plays the fiery vixen Volcana, who would later show up on “Justice League Unlimited,” as a member of Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Super-Villains. It’s an episode that showcases Clark Kent’s often overlooked investigative reporter skills as he uncovers a government conspiracy run by a Nick Fury-like character.
“Knight Time” is yet another fine example of a “World’s Finest” team-up with Batman, except this time Superman works with Robin alone as Batman has gone missing. This leads to a humorous masquerade as the Man of Tomorrow imitates the Dark Knight Detective in order to keep Gotham from being overrun by its criminals. Seeing Superman take on the likes of Penguin, Riddler and Bane is a treat. But Brainiac is true villain of this story and more than a match for Superman.
The Legion of Super-Heroes, a 30st century team of super-teens inspired by Superman, come to visit teenage Clark Kent in “New Kids In Town,” in a clash with Brainiac that threatens not only Smallville but also the future of the entire Earth.
The incredibly creepy Toyman debuts in “Obsession,” a story of arrested development that updates one of Superman’s Golden Age villains in a very imaginative way. Another Golden Age villain Mr. Mxyzptlk (voiced once again by the inimitable Gilbert Gottfried) teams with Bizarro in “Little Big Head Man,” a storyline replete with comic overtones and plenty of nods to some of the strangest issues of Superman’s 60 year history of comics. Check out the jazzy soundtrack as well!
“Absolute Power” marks the return of Superman’s foes he thought he had sent to the Phantom Zone and “In Brightest Day” marks the debut of Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, in the DC animated universe.
Jimmy Olsen’s special friendship with the Man of Steel is highlighted in “Superman’s Pal” while Aquaman shows up for the first time in “Fish Story” (he’s not the long-haired, harpoon-handed barbarian king of later Justice League episodes however). Next, Supergirl faces off a truly icky Cthulu-like menace in “Unity” and Batman makes a much-anticipated return to the animated DC Universe in “The Demon Reborn.”
Finally, Superman’s relationship with the U.S. government and the citizens of the world is forever altered by the tragic events of the 3-part “Legacy,” in which Darkseid uses the Man of Steel as his pawn to wage war against Earth. Only the love and support of Lois Lane and Supergirl can avert more tragedy. The effects of this episode are felt even into the last season of “Justice League Unlimited.”
This set contains many special features including commentary by the series creators Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and others. And also “Superman Behind the Cape” and a preview of Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns’ documentary “Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman.”

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