Superman: The Animated Series (1997) – Identity Crisis, Target and Mxyzpixilated

Clark Kent (Tim Daly) is seeing double in Identity Crisis, the first episode up this week. Originally airing on 15 September, 1997, this story introduced yet another DC character to the animated canon, that of Bizarro, a strange, flawed clone of Superman.

There’s an amusing moment as Supes is patrolling Metropolis and he rescues a kid, giving he and his fellows a quick chat about peer pressure. As he flies away, one of the kids calls him a dork.

There’s a nice moment when Lois (Dane Delaney) and Clark are in a car accident, and Kent is rescued by Superman! When he confronts his clone, Bizarro reveals his true nature, though, for now, it just seems that he wants to be a do-gooder.

But the clone’s creator, Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) has further plans for Bizarro. He created a clone by combining Kryptonian DNA with human DNA, with some neural programming to keep him under control, but things go wrong when the clone begins to break down.

He does seem to have a fixation on Lois, and the reporter uses that to dig up the truth on what happened to the poor creature. She learns what Lex is up to and discovers vat upon vat of Superman clones.

When Lex threatens Lois, both Bizarro and Superman come to her rescue, and the clone proves himself a hero, while Lex escapes to cause problems another day.

But is that the last time we’ll see Bizarro?

superman-tas-identity-crisis

Target is a Lois-centric story, that originally aired on 19 September, 1997, and sees the tenacious reporter dealing with an unknown stalker. The guest cast includes Airplane’s Robert Hays as Edward Lytener, a bit of a tech genius who used to work for LexCorp, and Jonathan Harris best known for his turn on Lost In Space plays fellow reporter Julian Frey.

Things begin to go badly for Lois when she receives a note during an award ceremony that threatens her life should she win. She does, and the first attempt on her life is barely averted by Superman. Her stalker, however, is determined to succeed, even if that means there will be collateral damage.

It also seems that whomever this stalker is, they have access to all manner of technology, but it seems they never accounted for Superman taking an active interest in keeping the dogged reporter safe.

Lois figures out who the culprit is and goes after herself, that I like. I love that Lois is a strong character, when it serves the story, but I hate when she isn’t much more than a prop for a story.

This time around, she gets to be a little closer to awesome, but in the climax, she gets sidelined and placed in peril so Superman can be the hero, again. Consequently, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for Lois’ character.

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The final story this week, Mxyzpixilated, is a bit of goofy fun, and introduces yet another classic character to the animated universe, Mr. Mxyzptlk (wonderfully voiced by Gilbert Gottfried).

The funny, but annoying little imp can return to Earth every 90 days, and causes Superman consternation. The original airdate of this episode was 20 September, 1997, and showed right from the get-go that this series could have a fun sense of humor.

The little imp wanders about yelling for someone named McGurk, which is just funny to me, Superman learns that that the little fella can only be banished by having him say his name backwards.

The little guy causes all manner of problems for Clark, causing him to question his ability to be Superman, and even seeks aid from his parents before Mxyzptlk interferes with them as well.

Poor Clark.

As the two match wits, it makes for some very enjoyable comic moments.

Sandra Bernhard makes an appearance as Mxyzptlk’s bombshell girlfriend, Gsptlsnz, whom he ignores in his attempt to beat Superman, once and for all.

I will say this, the Daily Planet globe atop the newspaper building takes quite a beating in all three episodes this week. That must get pretty expensive.

Until next time…

Up, up and away!

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