Friday, October 8, 2010

Episode One: The Last Son of Krypton - Part 1

The introductory chapter of the three-part series premier, The Last Son of Krypton - Part 1 follows Jor-El's final day on the doomed planet.  The scientist's pleas to Krypton's governing council go unheard when Brainiac contradicts his theories on the planet's impending death.  Also, his terrible plan.  When it turns out he's right, Brainiac escapes and little Superman is drugged and shipped off to earth.  So... good?

Evan:  First, I guess I should disclose that while a huge fan of comics, I've never really read a lot of Superman.  I've always loved Batman, and that meant that my introduction to Superman was the Justice League, where I always enjoyed him but never really wanted to read his own book.  I was mostly interested in how other people reacted to Superman, especially (my personal favourite) the Green Arrow's awesomely out-of-place outrage.  Frankly, I've always enjoyed Lex Luthor more than I've enjoyed Superman.  That said, I love the big guy and I'm really excited to see his show.  I've somehow completely missed it despite loving Batman: TAS and the Justice League cartoons, and I'm looking forward to this crash course.  Fingers crossed people...

In the first episode we get to follow Jor-El as he battles against evil monsters, police officers and an evil computer overlord using his flying machine, gun and sweet halo-headband.  Which makes perfect sense as he's a scientist.  The origin of Superman, especially the part on Krypton, is never going to be very interesting because all the characters end up dead.  So here we get a brief look at Jor-El, his (British?) wife, father-in-law, and the homicidal computer brain that runs the entire planet.  Brainiac is straight up evil, but everyone is too busy navigating the nightmarish architecture (the council is about ten stories in the air on a five-foot wide platform) to notice that they've allowed robo-Hitler to run their society.

See... here's what they don't tell you going in.  Everyone on Krypton is a moron.  Every single person.  The council (rocking some Gaga-esque shoulder points) decides to trust the creepy computer brain over everything.  The hero scientist's plan involves saving an entire species by having everyone hide in extra-dimensional prison while he uses his homemade single-man rocket to find a new home world.  Brainiac is completely unable to kill a single man on a planet that built him guns into the walls and surveillance in every room.  Jor-El's wife offers no resistance to the idea that their infant son should be sent into space.  Her father is completely won over to this argument in five seconds, despite perfectly reasonable objections.  Most fun, the police shoot to kill immediately, and Jor-El himself likely kills at least a half dozen of them.

Maybe this planet deserved to blow up?

Here's to hoping that the crash landing in Kansas goes a little smoother.  Or at least the Kent's show some basic logical reasoning... or even some fashion sense.

Kristin:  I braced myself for impact on this show. Being the first episode and Evan only giving me vague hints as to the quality of content (with such gems as "Are you ready for this?" and "I have never even made it through the first episode!"), I was ready for anything and expecting the worst.

Shockingly, despite the obvious flaws in logic and the complete inability to develop any sort of character depth in an episode literally designed to both introduce and kill off an entire cast of characters, it was fairly entertaining. By that I mean that I was not face-down in my cheap cup of coffee trying to drown myself for agreeing to this blog in the first place. The opening credits, hilariously containing a t-rex, are action-packed and really get me excited to start the show. I have always been a half-ass fan of Superman in the I-watched-Lois-and-Clark-in-the-90s sort of way, but I'm not really familiar with the majority of the actual comics timeline or anything of the sort. I didn't even know the name of Superman's dad until I met Evan. And he didn't know that until just now.

When we first see Jor-El putting along in personal aircraft of some kind zooming into an icy abyss, I automatically assume that we are being taken into his own "Fortress of Solitude". Do all Kryptonian men have their own? If so, what do they do there and why does it sound so dirty? I breath a sigh of relief when I find out that he is simply conducting routine experiments on the planet's core and being attacked by a giant amoeba monster. Which I guess is a daily thing on Krypton, judging by the way he brushes off his wife when he saunters home with his data.

My overall impression of Krypton is that it is an impractical place for being so advanced. Why are all their buildings (monuments? government institutions?) on spindly stilts? The architecture aside, Kryptonian fashion sense is an entirely different bag of potatoes. I think the governing council must have been leagues ahead of us on discovering Alexander McQueen's genius if their shoulder pads have anything to say.
These are modest by Kryptonian standards.
Baby Superman is cute, but I'm kind of wondering if it was necessary to stretch his origins into a three-part introduction. Let's just hope it doesn't get all Smallville up in here...

Final Thoughts: Despite the blatant mirroring of our planet's destruction as predicted by all of Earth's scientists and the incompetence of our leadership in dealing with said problems (and we don't even have giant ameobas coming out of the ground when we take our polar ice cap measurements!), the episode is not terrible. Jor-El is kind of a badass. Let's hope Superman can keep it up.

Evan's Episode Rating: 6/10 - A good start, let's just add some brains when we get to Earth.

Kristin's Episode Rating: 7/10 - Digestable. Is Alexander McQueen on the shuttle to Earth with baby Superman?

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