|Apokolips...Now!, Part 1
Episode #33 - Apokolips... Now!: Part 1
Original Airdate - February 7th, 1998.
Darkseid brings his battle against Superman to Earth. While all
looks hopeless, Orion, an escapee from Apokolips' firepits, teams up
with Superman to defeat Darkseid's advances.
Media by Bird Boy
Review by ragingdrummerboy
Story by Bruce Timm
Written by Rich Fogel
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Kristopher Carter
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD., Dong Yang Animation Co.,
Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany as Lois Lane
Michael Ironside as Darkseid
Steve Sandor as Orion
Joanna Cassidy as Maggie Sawyer
Joseph Bologna as Dan Turpin
Bruce Weitz as Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim
Barbara Perkins as Mother Box
Victor Brandt as Professor Hamilton
Laraine Newman as Toby Raynes
John Garry as Guard
Steve McGowan as Thug #1
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|Manheim: Darkseid! We tried out the tank, just like you said.
Darkseid: I did not return you to earth so you could indulge in petty
Manheim: Petty!!?? We cleared over twenty million!!
Darkseid: I play for higher stakes.
Lois: So you're saying not even Superman could stop this thing?
Turpin: I'm saying we can't always expect one guy to save our sorry
butts, even if he is Superman! This time we'll have to tackle it
Orion: (grabs Clark Kent) SUPERMAN! Must...warn...Superman (faints)
Superman: It was a good thing you showed up, Orion.
Orion: It was too easy.
Superman: Oh, yeah. A real walk in the park.
Orion: Don't mock me. Darkseid will consider this a minor setback, if
that. I know how he thinks.
Orion: Yes. I'm his son.
This fast-paced, action-packed episode introduces and explains the
origins of one of Superman's greatest foes in the series: Darkseid.
Until now, Darkseid had been a "behind the scenes" influence in
Superman's exploits... he was responsible for supplying Intergang with
Apokaliptic weapons in "Tools of the Trade", and spurred Kalibak to
attempt to engage Superman in battle in "Father's Day". Unlike the
previous Darkseid stories, which have consisted primarily of large-scale
slug-fests, Apokalips...Now! Part 1 brings not only action on a grander
scale, but suspense and quite a bit of character development as well.
Instead of handing the entire story to us on a plate like many other
Superman: The Animated Series (STAS) episodes, the story continues to
get bigger and bigger, and more and more is at stake.
The episode starts off with showing detectives Dan Turpin and Maggie
Sawyer wrapping up a case involving Intergang. As they are relishing
their victory, a couple of Intergang members in a massive flying tank
easily overpower and overwhelm the police, severely wounding Sawyer and
stealing the tank back. The musical score greatly aids the quick buildup
of the story... from the slow, suspense-building music as the tank
approached to the intense, explosive music that bellowed from our
speakers as the tank was tearing up the impound, we felt the plight of
the Metropolis police force and the despair of Dan Turpin when his
comrade fell. Rarely do I feel the murderous rage that Dan Turpin felt
as he fired at the escaping tank while watching TV, but this time I was
into this story.As the tank escapes, the hero of the show (Superman)
appeares to try and stop the tank, but his efforts are ultimately
futile. While Superman's inability to catch the perpatrators adds to our
frustration, at this point Superman feels almost like a secondary
character to Turpin and the rest of the police force. We cut to the
hospital scene, where Dan is visiting Maggie in the hospital. Maggie has
a "friend" with her, and the more perceptive viewers can usually
understand her significance. I thought this was very appropriate for the
show... Superman is supposed to be the epitome of perfection, and so
must be very tolerant. Therefore, it is very fitting that this show is
subtly advocating tolerance of different beliefs and orientations
(another good example is the funeral scene in part two). The writers for
these shows are the masters of subtlety, and this is a great example of
their talent.The next scene with Darksied and Bruno Manheim help add
tension to the story, and show the viewers the magnitude of difficulty
that our heroes are facing. The robbery that overwhelmed the police and
foiled Superman is viewed by Darkseid as simple petty theft. Michael
Ironside as Darkseid is just creepy, and we start to see how dark of a
villian he really is.
We jump to a press conference with Dan Turpin, and we learn more about
his bold and independent nature. Rather than simply telling us "Dan
Turpin is brave. Dan Turpin likes to do things himself whenever
possible", the writers *show* us that Dan Turpin doesn't expect to rely
on Superman to deal with every single difficulty. This is further proof
that the writing in this episode is top-notch, and serves as a great
example for other shows to follow. Never allowing the story to slow
down, a Boom Tube instantly appears, and Orion flies in the room with a
bang. He grabs Clark Kent and yells "SUPERMAN!", faking us out for a
split-second, until we realize that he wants to warn Superman. As he
faints, we're left wondering what the heck is going on.As Orion
ferociously demands to meet Superman, Supes approaches Orion with Dr.
Hamilton and Dan Turpin. Orion uses a "Mother Box" to explain the
conflict between Apokolips and New Genesis, and shows us that the Earth
is just a small part of an epic struggle, partially resolved by the
exchange of Darkseid and Highfather's infant sons. Just as this
information is beginning to settle in, Orion and Superman are called to
defend an Air Force base. Another great action sequence takes place,
with some of the best musical sequences of the series. The action is
fairly good, but the vibrant, energetic music makes the scene ten times
After the fight is over (in other words, Orion whoops the tanks), we see
that despite his bold exterior, Dan Turpin shows that he feels like he
is outclassed by the interplanetary struggle he's been thrust into. As
Superman converses with Orion, we learn a shocking truth about Orion's
birth that helps explain his well-meaning, but ferocious nature. Orion
solemnly departs, promising to provide further assistance. Just as
things seem like they are beginning to calm down, we watch the ruthless
Darkseid dispose of Manheim as his usefullness ends. The horrific
nuclear explosion (again complemented by equally chaotic music) provides
a great cliffhanger into part 2, leaving us eager to wonder how our
heroes will deal with Darkseid... if they can.
I thought this was one of the best STAS episodes for a variety of
reasons. It was more serious in nature, and we knew that Superman
wouldn't be able to simply fight his way out of this mess that he was
in. The independence of the entire world was at stake, and the writers
conveyed that very well. The music was also fantastic! From the dramatic
orchestrations during the sad bits to the pounding, almost impulsive
sequences during the action scenes, the music supplemented the story
perfectly without becoming too overwhelming. The dialogue was great...
in most shows I find at least a few corny lines that I just groan at,
but this was fantastic! Its easy to jump into a situation when you have
superpowers that outclass your competition by far, but this episode
shows that Superman is willing to go in over his head for Earth. It
reveals the nobility of his character, and provides us all with an
example that is worth following.