|Apokolips...Now!, Part 2
Episode #35 - Apokolips... Now!: Part 2
Original Airdate - February 14th, 1998.
Steppenwolf, a hunter from Apokolips, joins Darkseid in his battle
to take over Earth, which results in a crushing blow to Metropolis
and Superman -- the death of a friend.
Media by Bird Boy
Review by ragindrummerboy
Story by Bruce Timm, Rich Fogel
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
David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen
Steve Sandor as Orion
Joanna Cassidy as Maggie Sawyer
Joseph Bologna as Dan Turpin
Victor Brandt as Professor Hamilton
Laraine Newman as Toby Raynes
Michael Dorn as Kalibak
Sherman Howard as Steppenwolf
Michael David Donovan as Male Anchor
Joseph Gole as Rabbi
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|Darkseid: You're a magnificent opponent Superman... but even you
must realize its hopeless.
(Darkseid begins using the Omega Effect on Superman)
Darkseid: I could easily destroy you now... and once you're gone, the
pathetic beings of this planet won't have the will to resist me... the
few who survive, that is. (Darkseid releases Superman) However, if you
join me as my loyal vassal, I could guarantee a moderate amount of...
restraint. Think of it Superman... the power you have now, its *nothing*
compared to what I'm offering you.
Superman: You know I can't do that.
Darkseid: Pity. Still, if you won't be my knight, you will be my pawn.
Darkseid: People of Earth - I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips! Here is
your savior... cowed, and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have
crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am
power unlike any you have ever known: Absolute, infinite, and
unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long, dark future
as my subjects... and my slaves.
Dan Turpin: In a pig's eye!
Darkseid: Savor your moment of triumph Superman... but remember, victory
has its price.
This episode is just as intense, if not more than Apokolips...Now! Part
1. The action sequences and plot twists pile on top of each other at a
breathtaking pace, and never lets down for a second until the end when
it reaches its heart wrenching conclusion.
As the episode starts, a sense of urgency is immediately created when
Superman finds out that the nuclear explosion is threatening to create
huge "burn holes" on Earth, similar to those found on Apokolips. As the
foul planet is mentioned, we switch to a conversation between Darkseid
and Kalibak. One thing I love about this show, and this episode in
particular is that each locale or kind of situation has a unique "mood"
or "flavor" to it... this is noticeable in the Apokolips scenes with its
flying Parademons, oppressed slaves, blazing fires, hellish backgrounds,
and crackling music. Darkseid is his usual brutal self, denying his
biological son a second chance to prove himself... I almost feel sorry
for the big gorilla. Almost. As Steppenwolf dramatically emerges from
the flame, we're left wondering what this bodes for Superman.
As Superman finds out the communicator to Orion doesn't work, the
tension continues to build. He's on his own, and the future of the world
is at stake. At this point I was wondering why Hamilton didn't call a
construction crew, fire crew, someone with many resources (such as
Luthor, who wouldn't mind some positive publicity) or some other heroes
other than Superman to help put out the fire. I was also wondering why
Superman destroyed the communicator (even though the circuitry was
fried), because Hamilton still might have been able to repair it. But if
any of these solutions were dwelt upon or implemented, the episode would
have lost much of its intense sense of urgency and tension buildup that
contribute to making this such a cool "good vs. evil" story.
As Superman rushes to the site of the explosion, a Boom Tube opens and
Steppenwolf appears with a horde of Parademons. The tension that has
been built up through Part 1 and the early segment of Part 2 is finally
released in a fantastic fight scene where Superman becomes the prey for
a seemingly ruthless, powerful, and experienced predator. Even though
its only one city that the Parademons have visited, the buildup up to
this point contributes to this feeling of a huge "alien invasion", where
the fate of the entire world is at stake and the "bad guys" are winning.
When the safety of the world in jeopardy, its obvious that Superman
isn't playing any games. He ferociously tries to tear away at the
Parademons, even going so far as burning a hole in the skull of one!
Eventually, Steppenwolf and the Parademons overwhelm Supes, but Dan
Turpin and his men chip in again, and by beating Steppenwolf and the
Parademons show that it doesn't take a person with superpowers to be a
Superman quickly reaches the fire, and uses a cool stunt where he turns
himself into a giant drill to put it out. The musical sequence during
this scene is great, and its also nice to have another reminder that
Superman has considerable intellect to go with all of the power that he
carries. After he puts out the fire, he takes a few moments to rest
after all of his hard work, and the viewers are filled with a feeling of
relief. The feeling is short-lived, however, when a shadow looms
ominously over Superman.
BAM! Suddenly Darksied has Superman at the brink of death (using the
overwhelming Omega Effect), his calm but cold words offering one
extraordinarily difficult decision. Superman (somewhat predictably)
makes the "right" choice, reaffirming his firm moral belief system that
exceeds even his super-strength. Unfortunately, this does not please
Darkseid, who continued the brutal tourture of Superman.
One interesting little bit is that during the invasion when Maggie is
talking to her "friend", the TV is going on in the background. It feels
like a real news report, complete with the president declaring a state
of national emergency. Little details like these really add to the
atmosphere of the story, and this invasion feels much more straining
than some other alien invasions that have been depicted in fiction
Back at Metropolis Plaza, the Parademons continue with the invasion. We
see Dan Turpin and the police force fighting the Parademons, and we
realize who the true heroes of Metropolis are: the men who put their
lives on the line every day for the welfare of their city. The shootout
progresses, but before the intense action becomes too stale Darkseid
enters the Plaza in a huge tank, ripping apart anything in his path.
Mounted in public view is Earth's Greatest Hero, completely battered,
beaten, defeated, and helpless.
At this point, most onlookers feel completely hopeless and lost. As
Darkseid drones on, most people are probably wondering "If Darkseid can
take Superman down, how do we have any chance against these guys?"
Darkseid hammers in the point, calling Superman Earth's "savior" and
demonstrating how easily he has been crushed. In a stunning display of
selflessness, Dan Turpin suicidally dissents and takes down a Parademon.
He hurls its spear at one of Superman's bindings, and Superman manages
to free his arms. Kalibak attacks Superman once more, and Superman
attacks Kalibak with more fury than all of the angst present in the
"Father's Day" episode combined.
As Superman and Darkseid are about to start duking it out, we are
surprised by the entrance of Orion and other forces from New Genesis
(with a really really really cool musical theme - see if you can spot
cameos by Mr. Miracle, Big Barda and Lightray). After a brief exchange,
we see that Darkseid concedes to withdraw, not out of fear of the wrath
of New Genesis but out of respect for his son. Orion does not
acknowledge the relationship between himself and his biological father,
treating the situation objectively as a confrontation. This demonstrates
how much he understands his father and the fact that he has come to
terms with the circumstances of his birth.
As Darkseid is leaving, Superman (and the viewers) feel a taste of
victory. Out of nowhere, Darkseid zaps Dan Turpin into ashes in front of
everyone, leaving all onlookers and the audience completely shocked and
horrified. I can't believe the censors actually allowed the writers to
show a MURDER on a cartoon! The following sequences are some of the most
heart-wrenching and emotional scenes of the entire show. Superman cries
"Murderer!" as Darkseid coolly drifts away, and proceeds to demolish the
tank in a fit of rage that we have never seen from him before, while
everyone stands and watches. Orion's comforting presence and condolences
transforms our anger into grief, as another great scene is carried out.
At the funeral scene, a Rabbi is chanting in Hebrew (thanks to MILatino
from the WF/ToonZone boards for that insight), which furthers the theme
of tolerance that is central to this episode. As the heartfelt music
plays on, we see Superman deliver one of the best lines of the series:
"Goodbye old friend... in the end, the world didn't really need a
SUPERman... just a brave one." The teary eyed Superman facing the
tombstone nearly brought me to tears myself. As it faded out, the end
reminded us that the story was not over, and left us hungry for more
encounters between Superman and Darkseid. The episode closed with a
tribute to Jack Kirby, the amazing man who (among other things) created
the "Fourth World" and its characters.
This episode showcased Dan Turpin, a man who put his life on line every
day for his city, and essentially risked his life (and gave it) for the
security of the world. It featured fantastic performances by the voice
actors, especially by Tim Daly and Michael Ironside. The story had a
great sense of pacing... it didn't feel too rushed or too slow, and it
also gives insight to the nature of the characters: It shows us what
kind of people Dan Turpin, Superman, Darkseid, and Orion are. Although
the episode is a typical "good vs. evil" story, it does not come off as
clichéd or preachy, but still gets the point across. The death of Dan
Turpin was probably the most emotional moment in Superman: The Animated
Series for me, which is why I consider it my all time favorite Superman