Superman (Tim Daly) has problems of a different sort in the first episode up this week. Warrior Queen aired on 22 November, 1997 and has the arrival of Maxima (Sharon Lawrence) to the fair planet Earth in hopes of marrying the one man she believes worthy of her… The Man of Steel.
Behind the scenes the sinister and manipulative De’Cine (Miguel Ferrer) is orchestrating her downfall when she rebuffs his advances.
Maxima doesn’t understand the world she finds herself in and only wants Superman. Unfortunately he too turns down her advances, but that means they have to have an all-out brawl throughout Metropolis.
When she gains the upper hand, she brings Superman back to her home planet, only to find that De’Cine has seized the throne, and she needs Superman’s help to reclaim her kingdom.
He points out quite rightly, that she was so concerned with finding a mate she sacrificed her duties to her people. As Superman and Maxima fight side by side, she learns that her first obligation must be to her people.
But that won’t keep her from hoping for love.Even if it shows up in the most ridiculous way at the end of the episode.
Darkseid (Michael Ironside) returns to menace our heroic Kryptonian in Apokolips… Now! Parts I & II which aired 7 & 14 February, 1998, respectively.
One of the New Gods, Orion (Steve Sandor) escapes Darkseid’s horrific world Apokolips and comes to Superman for help defeating the villain, and hopefully putting a stop to his plan to conquer Earth!
After alien tech starts showing up on Earth, courtesy of Darkseid and in the hands of is acolyte, the monster Mannheim (Bruce Weitz), Superman begins to suspect some external influences, and Orion’s arrival confirms it.
The episode talks about New Genesis, Apokolips and Darkseid’s quest for the Anti-Life equation, giving the viewer a brief history of parts of the DC Animated Universe they may not be familiar with – and there is so much Kirby here, it’s just geeky, giddy awesomeness. And it makes sense, because the episode is dedicated to his memory.
Superman and Orion team up as the influx of Apokolips tech begins to threaten and overwhelm Metropolis. It’s programmed to turn the world into one exactly like Darkseid’s home, and Superman may not be able to stop it.
As the second part revs up, Apokolips prepares to head to Earth to take on Superman, himself.
There’s also a building shown in the second episode that looks uncannily like the Hall of Justice as seen in the Superfriends.
There is some dark imagery in this episode, Superman bound and beaten by Darkseid, the death of a supporting character… there is some serious stuff going on in this story.
This is a great two-parter, strongly scripted, wonderfully performed, and as the series has done from the beginning, continue to open up the DC Animated Universe to everything that is in the DC Comics Universe.
Until next time, up, up and away!