Superman: The Animated Series Volume II
-Warner Brothers (1996)
Superman saves Lois a couple of dozen more times!
Volume two of the great Superman: The Animated Series contains a lot higher quality episodes on average than the previous volume, especially when it comes to the cross over event featured in this set. Fans of the Batman Animated Series might want to consider picking this one up, because there’s the “World’s Finest” episodes that feature a team up between Batman and Superman. When this first aired it was a fan boy’s wet dream. You can buy this in it’s own cheap release, but it’ll help support Superman if you buy this set and you'll get some other great episodes as well including one that features a guest appearance by D.C. comics resident mystic Dr. Fate, who I might add beats out Marvel’s mystic Dr. Strange any day of the week. Darkseid finally appears in more than a cameo form (but just barely) in this volume to give the Man of Steel a hard time. The Bizarro episode was rather good and furthered the character of Bizarro who is a much better improvement over the Superfriends version. God, how stupid is it that he came from a cube planet? There’s even an episode featuring everyone’s favorite “regulated to the background of Justice League Unlimited” character Steel.
If you read my review of the previous volume, you’ll know the distaste I harbor for the villain Live Wire. I was a little disappointed to see that she returned in an episode called “Double Dose” on this volume. I found that it’s about a hundred times better than her intro episode, thanks to some much better writing. It also doesn’t hurt that it features one of my favorite Superman villains, Parasite. “Double Dose” is notable for Superman outwitting the Parasite when he’s just about down and out, yet again. This time Supes uses his brains to do it in a pretty creative way. The episode is also notable for its allegory to rape with the Parasite constantly trying to drain Live Wire's powers. He even says, “You’ve said no to me for the last time, baby.” That’s some pretty adult stuff. True Superman fans will be pleased to see that both Streaky the Super Cat and Krypto the super dog make appearances, albeit for Krypto it’s a bizarre-o appearance to say the least.
My biggest gripe about the first volume was the poor video quality. This edition features much fewer particles on the prints, although there is some on the early episodes in the set. The sound is the same decent stereo mix as before, but still it’s not in 5.1. Oh yeah, and why and the Hell does Lois always where the same skirt and suit coat combination while she’s at work? Any respectable woman would own at least fifty outfits and two hundred pairs of shoes.
An Overly Critical Nerd Nitpick: Seriously, why is it that every time Superman uses his anti-radiation suit it tears open within fifteen seconds of facing off with a bad guy? Why even waste your time putting it on?
Surprising as it is, this otherwise great volume has less extras than the first volume. The nifty motion menus are back and better than before. The best feature in that set was the great commentary tracks. This volume contains a few of them for your listening pleasures. One of them was a video commentary that made me feel like I was watching the episode with the creators in their living room and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.
Perhaps in an apology for the paltry amount of extras, there’s a nifty little animation cell included in the package for this set. It’s cool, but I would have liked more commentary tracks!
Finally, there are also a few commercials disguised as trailers. For shame!
Episode Average: 8.5