Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Destroy the Defendroids

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: 5130-8801
Airdate: September 17, 1988

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Director: Cosmo Anzilotti, Bill Hutton, Tony Love

Voices: Beau Weaver (Superman), Ginny McSwain (Lois Lane), Michael Bell (Lex Luthor), Stanley Ralph Ross (Perry White), Mark Taylor (Jimmy Olson), Lynne Marie Stewart (Jessica Morganberry).

Plot: Lex Luthor creates a team of robot Defendroids who take Superman's place as defender of the city, causing Superman to quit his job!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Destroy the Defendroids is the first episode of the Ruby/Spears series from the 80s. Since Superman underwent a massive makeover in 1986, rewriting his whole history, this cartoon serves as the first appearance of this new version of Superman to grace the television.

Upon watching it you may not even know what the differences are, but that is because they are now ingrained in our minds as the definitive traits of the hero.

Lex Luthor is now a billionaire industrialist instead of a criminal scientist, Superman is not the ultimate powerhouse that he use to be (his powers now have their limits), and Clark's life before he became Superman is completely different and is told in a series of short cartoons shown at the end of each episode called Superman's Family Album.

After living through a decade and a half of Super Friends it is refreshing to have a Superman series that is much more serious. Sure, there is definitely a feeling of Saturday morning here but on the whole, it is a series that would better please fans of the Man of Steel.

The animation, by legendary Japanese company Toei Animation, provides some beautiful work here which rivals many of the cartoons produced in the eighties.

With designs by Gil Kane based on the works of John Byrne, this animated Superman has never looked more like his comic book double. Fans who don't want the stylized look of the Bruce Timm-verse and are looking for some classic 80s character designs will want to check out this show.

I do have one question, shouldn't Lois and Jimmy passed out due to lack of oxygen or frozen to death when the robot carrying them blasted of into outer space? I sure looked like it had an open front to me.

DVD Releases:
  • Ruby-Spears Superman

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