Episodes 1-2 Review
In the two part series premiere of "My Adventures with Superman," "Adventures of a Normal Man" audiences are introduced to Clark Kent as he builds his secret Superman identity and embraces his role as the hero of Metropolis, while he shares adventures and falls in love with Lois Lane, a fellow intern at the Daily Planet, who also takes Clark's best friend Jimmy Olsen under her wing. Clark just wants to have a normal life while secretly helping people with his powers, Lois wants to become a real reporter, and Jimmy just wants to prove his conspiracy theories are all right.
A unique feature of the series is Clark doesn't know the extent of his super powers nor his own origins and this will be an ongoing sub-plot. As seen in the opening scene and throughout this two parter, when Clark is in a desperate situation trying to save someone in need, his eyes flash blue and his powers kick into overdrive. Another new take on Clark's origins are the fact that the little ship he came to Earth in is now huge and the hologram recording of the one person that has the answers he wants is talking to him in an alien language he doesn't understand but as a consolation, he gets a cool suit.
Another ongoing sub-plot introduced in the premiere are military weapons stolen by Leslie Willis that seem to have a connection to Clark that he doesn't recognize. Easy money to bet these are all Kryptonian technology but how they got to Earth is another question. Did they once try to invade Earth but something went terribly wrong? Is was the military pulling an Area 51 and trying to integrate this tech into their arsenal in preparation for another alien incursion? We shall see.
The humor hits on another level. Clark and Lois's first meeting at the bodega and it descending into utter embarrassment for Clark sets the tone for the series. Another is Clark accidentally breaking stuff and making up explanations is also a fun bit that never gets old. The trio's interactions with their no-nonsense boss, Perry White is also delightful as is the magical cutaways to when they suddenly find themselves outside his office. One thing I've always loved about Lois in all mediums is her quick wit and here it is no different. As soon as Jimmy addresses it, she establishes she's the boss because of her seniority over him and Clark and that's that. I wonder if the producers and writers had a competition to see who could come with the funniest one liners for their assigned episodes. Clark's "Goodbye forever!" or Badger's "He looks like Brad" had me rolling this week!
But it's not all chuckles. There is some genuine drama and it usually orbits around the secrets and lies that Clark and Lois indulge in as they learn to work with and trust each other. I think I'm going to call things a lot of "welcome surprises" as I review this series but how about a Clark and Lois romance sub-plot right from the start? At this rate, one can only wonder how long Clark will be able to keep his secret identity a secret in this series and in theory if he can't, will that lead to more drama in Lois and/or Jimmy find out before Clark confides in them?
The first villain of the week turning out to be Leslie Willis was a welcome surprise. While not a breakout original creation from the Bruce Timm era of animation, Willis is still a memorable villain from Superman: The Animated Series and while her radio shock jock origins are omitted, her short fuse and electrical powers, with a twist, are still present. It's a a great hook that Clark's first day of work, Lois's latest story, and Leslie's failure to fence the tech all coinciding in one day is this series's equivalent to Pandora's Box and sets everything into motion. It is a welcome sight to see the staff has leaned into all walks of Superman mythos. Not just the staple Daily Planet cast but also the Newskid Legion, an update of sorts on the Newsboy Legion complete with a blink-and-miss hat tip to Guardian. Makes perfect sense Lois would utilize the kids who deliver the Planet's newspapers as her source on the streets but the Legion's leader Flip isn't just doing it for altruistic reasons, she's got her ideas on expanding on her business goals. One that came out of left field was Jimmy's stream being named after Flamebird who in the comics comes from Kryptonian legend. The X-T 00 robots, on one hand seems highly influenced by anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion from a design standpoint and on another, seems like a slight nod to the Fleischer Superman's battle against the Mechanical Monsters. And the staff has a lot of love for classic Superman writers and artists, like naming the military base Leslie Willis steals from after Louise Simonson.
On the flip side, it's intriguing and a welcome surprise that they're already hinting at the greater DC universe and not just mining the Superman mythos. Lois has a clipping of an article by Vicki Vale above her bed. Jimmy seems to allude to a so-called sighting of Starro in Germany and Monsieur Mallah in France. Or the presence of a company called AmazoTech. I'm rooting for Jimmy to meet Aquaman or realizing Mothman is really Batman in a hypothetical season 3. But the real white elephant in the room. Agent Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke in the comics is out to recover the stolen tech along with a military official and 100 percent someone who looks like Amanda Waller. Perhaps this is a take on Task Force X, as mentioned by Slade, or A.R.G.U.S. or any number of shady government operations from the DC universe. Josie Campbell, Brendan Clogher, and Jake Wyatt ain't pulling any punches with the content in this show and I love it!
"My Adventures with Superman" gets the party started in bold fashion and "Adventures of a Normal Man" is a perfect two-part premiere that introduces the cast, the ongoing threats and mysteries, the landscape and sets the pace, action, tone, heart, and humor in a masterful execution of 40+ minutes. Don't sleep on this show! Or you'll end up like Brad.
DCAU Resource's rating: 9.9/10