Episode #34 - Heavy Metal
Original Airdate - November 8th, 1997.
Superman teams up with Steel (John Henry Irons), to take on a much
modified and improved Metallo.
Media by Stu
Pans by Bird Boy
Review by Brainiac
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Kenji Hachizaki
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation by TMS-Kyokuichi Corporation
Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent
Michael Dorn as Steel/John Henry Irons
Malcolm McDowell as Metallo
Lauren Tom as Angela Chen
Brad Garrett as Bibbo
Cree Summer as Natasha
Michael David Donovan as News Anchor
Matt Landers as Robber
Marc Drotman as Bank Manager
Marc Robinson as Teen
Vernee Watson-Johnson as Female Neighbor
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I'd like to eventually someday become an English teacher, in part
because I think that writing and supporting evidence is crucial to clear
communication between people, and demonstrating a good education. I like
to imagine that I'm a better writer than I am, and that I am prepared
(or becoming more prepared) how to teach my future students how to
competently write. That said, when I reach for the words to describe
this episode, the words that best come to mind are "Blah" and "Bleh."
WHAT WORKED: One of the very few nice things about this episode
happened within the first two minutes of the show and lasted for only
about two seconds. The appearance of one of my personal favorite
Superman characters: Bibbo. S:TAS hardly utilized him for all he was
worth; he could have been the great occasional comic relief of the
series, (and they would not have had to dumb down any existing character
or create anyone totally new,) but they never took advantage of him
except for in one or two episodes. So seeing Bibbo, no matter how short
his appearance and how trivial in the grand scheme of the episode, was
The other enjoyable part about this episode was the fantastic casting of
the voice of John Henry Irons. Authoritative, intelligent, and
altogether great voice work. I was also pleased by the physical
appearance of both John Henry AND his alter ego, Steel. I think it would
have been too soon for Steel to put an "S" on his costume (even though
Steel debuted in the comics with and "S") but I would have liked to have
seen Steel with a red cape.
The third and final enjoyable part of the episode was when it ended and
we were no longer subjected to such an ill-conceived, poorly-written
story with some of the most cliché dialogue in any Superman episode
WHAT DIDN'T WORK: In the episode THE WAY OF ALL FLESH, (and even
to a minor degree in ACTION FIGURES,) Metallo was a frightening,
threatening villain who happened to have a heart of Kryptonite. However,
this was not the ONLY reason that he was a intimidating foe to Superman.
He was driven insane by not being able to feel his body, and brainwashed
by Luthor into thinking it was Superman's fault, (vague shades of Hank
Henshaw can be seen in Metallo's blaming of Superman for all his
misfortune.) In HEAVY METAL, the only reason that Metallo is a threat is
because of his Kryptonite heart. If a villain is defined solely by his
or her power or ability, as you might know by now, I am not at all
interested. I like to see the villain demonstrate some kind of
psychology, mentally deranged or frighteningly calculating... but I
don't care how big his guns or laser blasts are at all. In most cases, I
prefer he not have them.
So Metallo having received "more than just a fix-up job" doesn't really
appeal to me at all. Because in his physical upgrade, he seems much more
stupid... more like his mentally deficient comic book counterpart. Just
punching things and becoming more and more of a physical threat that is
still easily beaten by cunning. I need the Metallo back from THE WAY OF
ALL FLESH when he was actually frightening. Still though, Malcolm
McDowell does a GREAT voice for the character.
As great as everyone's voices are, the dialogue in this episode does
absolutely nothing but annoy me. So much so that, as opposed to my
tradition of listing quotes I really enjoyed from the episode at the end
of my review, I was unable to find even ONE that stuck with me; instead,
I have listed the quotes that I hate.
This episode was little more than a waste of animation, and the only
thing that saves it from receiving a zero rating across the scale was
the sheer fact that Steel appeared in the episode.
HORRIBLY CHEESY LINES
NAT: You gonna be home for dinner Uncle John?
JOHN: What are we having?
NAT: Pork chops and green beans in a salantro sauce.
NAT: Hey, you're the one who got Grandma a California cuisine
JOHN: Maybe I should be building myself a cast-iron stomach.
ANGELA: This is nonfat decaf, right? I don't wanna be up half the
CAMERA MAN (?): Psst! Angela, you're on!
JOHN: How about a little target practice before dinner?
NAT: Whoa! That's one part of the suit that doesn't need testing!
JOHN: That's putting out the trash Superman!
NAT: Uncle John, what are we doing to do?
JOHN: You're staying here with Superman.
NAT: Where are you going?
JOHN: For a test drive!
KID: Looks like the Erector Set's got a big brother!
METALLO: Steel, Metallo. The meeting of the metals. Well then,
Mr. Steel. May the best alloy win.
METALLO: Sorry, Steel. I've still got some business in the hood.
NAT: Come on Superman! This ain't no tannin' salon!
NAT: He's got Superman! He's going to kill him!
STEEL: Not on my watch, he's not.