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The World's Finest Presents

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., LTD.

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

Screen Grabs


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 theft.
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 ourselves.

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.
Superman: Oh?
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 cooler.

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.

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