Saturday, October 9, 2010

Episode Two: The Last Son of Krypton - Part 2

Part two of the opening trilogy takes us all the way from Superman's infancy in Kansas to first assignment in Metropolis.  We go through two love interests and get our first glimpse of Lex Luthor.  While shadowing Lois Lane at a LexCorp's press event, the party is crashed by an aerial attacker (not throwing Lex off his game at all) and novice hero Superman ends the episode by blowing up a passenger jet in pursuit.  Thanks...

Evan:  Thankfully, we get all the way to Metropolis in about eight minutes, saving us watching young Superman fall in love with every woman he meets initialed LL.  I really liked this episode.  I appreciated the rocket not crash landing, because the original plan was to safely land and let all of Krypton out of the phantom zone, and that would be really tough if your ship exploded.  We get the (amazingly too sweet) Kents, who adopt an alien within seconds of finding his shuttle in a swamp.  A time jump later and Clark is trying to deal with his powers.  I'm hoping that the series addresses that Lana Lang knows he's Superman, because frankly if she doesn't make the connection there's no hope for any of us.

We then hit my biggest problem with the episode.  Young Clark is shown a recording of his parents, who tell him all about his strange powers and the fate of Krypton.  How did they know he would have super powers?  Why didn't this factor into Jor-El's plan at all?  They had a a back-up plan to shoot Clark into space if it all went to hell, but they were pretty sure they could send Jor-El.  When did they record this?  I really liked the scene, but it all seemed way too neat.  The machine even used the Superman logo to scan his brain!  Why is that even a thing?

Finally we make it to Metropolis, and Clark is fresh on the job.  I'm liking Lois as a reporter.  She needs to be a good reporter to not become a complete damsel in distress, which we know she will spend a fair amount of time being.  Hopefully, she'll spend an equal amount of time doing whatever the first completely insane thing she can think of in any given situation.  That's my favourite Lois.  The quick look at Jimmy Olsen was a little disappointing, but I think that I just miss the bow tie.

Anyway, it looks like Luthor is taking a page out of his classic playbook (although I guess it's all new in a first episode!) and robbing himself.  I like his white-tie look.  I'm hoping he keeps rocking it throughout the series. As I've said before, I like Luthor way more than anyone else in Superman's cast, so I'm always happy when he's around.  Maybe he'll even get to talk in part 3!

Watching this episode was really strange, because it felt half as long as the first one.  Maybe that's just the benefit of not having to kill off all of your characters at the end.  Or maybe Krypton is just a boring, terrible place...  I thought that the episode was actually pretty good, and I'm excited to see the end of the premier..

I've got some high hopes, show... please be awesome.  Thank you.

Kristin: One thing I did not notice last episode was that the opening credits also contain Superman in his own personalized space suit! Not only do I find this almost as awesome as the opening credit t-rex, but I also would like to know who makes this stuff for Clark. Does Mrs. Kent sew his super suit and craft space-worthy equipment on their Kansas farm? I'm not even sure Superman needs a space suit considering the fact that he already flies to such extreme heights that the levels of oxygen do not seem particularly important to his physiology... In the end, the space suit is a win in my book and sits next to dinosaurs as an awesome bonus to watching this series for the next few months.

I was also pleased with the brief time spent in Smallville itself. Baby Superman is cute, but not cute enough to excite my imagination for twenty minutes which could be spent on something more awesome. Like Lois Lane. I was thrilled that we were already introduced to her as an independent, ass-kicking journalist in the big city although I was less thrilled about the length of her skirt. Not to be picky, but isn't the pleated mini more suited to pornographic notions of a Catholic school girl than a self-actualized career woman? I guess what I have to learn is that women are more often present in superhero stories as the helpless victim of villainy/bad relationships/society than they are actual personalities.

I've talked to Evan about this lack of strong, dimensional women in comics before and believe that it likely comes down to the fact that no writers working in comics right now know how to write good characters that are not men. In such a male-dominated industry, I'm not sure whether this is due simply to the lack of women available to write about what they know or if this is about the nature of the industry itself being filled with men who are afraid to write women who will not "sell" to the men who consume comics. It's probably a combination of several factors, but I digress...

I hope Lois Lane kicks ass.

Also, (is it just me?) the actress voicing Superman's childhood girlfriend completely sucks. A monkey shoving a banana in its ear while doing the lindy hop could do better line readings than this low-budget choice.

Final Thoughts:  Time-skipping saves this episode from the dregs of super-puberty and brings us right up to where we want to be - Superman in Metropolis dealing with Lex Luthor and Lois Lane, respectively.

Evan's Episode Rating: 8/10 (Lois Lane Ratio: 1 incompetent / 0 insane) - I hope I get dozens more opportunities to see the adventures of these great characters!

Kristin's Episode Rating: 7/10 - I like the fact that we neutralized Smallville Syndrome. Time to add some personality!

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