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The Way of All Flesh

Episode #06 - The Way of All Flesh
Original Airdate - October 19th, 1996.

Lex Luthor has poisoned terrorist John Corben and withholds the antidote until he has extracted a promise: that Corben will become Metallo, a flesh and metal Kryptonite-hearted cyborg with evil intent and no emotions. His only mission is to destroy Superman.


Media by Amazing Spidey, Bird Boy
Review by Brainiac
Credits:
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Kenji Hachizaki
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation Services by TMS-Kyokuichi Corporation

Voices:
Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delaney as Lois Lane
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Malcolm McDowell as John Corben/Metallo
Lauren Tom as Angela Chen
John Rubinow as Dr. Vale
Jeff Glen Bennett as Young Doctor
Neil Ross as Male Anchor
Jennifer Richards as Young Woman
 
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“The only hunger you should have is for power, my friend. The only thirst, for revenge.” -Lex Luthor

This was another great episode for Superman, this time bringing us a new threat for the Man of Steel: Metallo. Actually, that’s not quite true, since we were introduced to John Corben during the “The Last Son of Krypton,” but in his human/flesh form. It was a nice touch to see him again, in fact, it practically picked up where “Last Son of Krypton” left off with footage of Superman’s battle with the LexoSkel robot. But this time Corben had become the robot, as a kryptonite-hearted killing machine seeking revenge.

The entire episode was so expertly written, that every line seemed to have some meaning. An example would be the ironic comment Corben made to Dr. Vale in the very beginning, foreshadowing his own betrayal by Luthor:

“The trick is to never underestimate the value of a true friend, and always keep your mouth shut.”

Also, there were some fun little jokes stuck in there, such as when Clark is biking by the shore, when an old woman biking past him yells, “Slowpoke!” Yet it wasn’t only the one-liners that made the dialogue so great—in fact, what really impressed me most was Corben/Metallo’s dialogue. The episode was primarily focused on Corben, and how he slowly comes to the realization that he no longer is a living creature, but rather, a walking and unfeeling weapon. Even in the beginning, Corben notices this:

“But I can’t feel anything! It’s like I’m controlling my hands from outside my body!”

This adds a tragic sense to his character, for although Corben was a terrorist; he was also cheated out of his own life by Luthor. Of course, at first Corben is ecstatic with his newfound powers. He is virtually immortal, not having to eat, sleep, get sick, or even feel pain. He even remarks to Superman, while battling:

“I think you’re jealous of me! Because now I’m the real Man of Steel!”

But Corben’s abilities comes with a price, being that he also cannot do many of the things one would take for granted, such as smelling flowers, tasting an apple, or even kissing someone, which he discovers throughout the episode. After discovering these side effects of the process, Corben angrily demands to be transferred back into a human body. When he finds out this is not a possibility, Corben reaches the pinnacle of his tragic insanity, in what can only be described as a chilling scene. In front of a mirror, Corben delivers a monologue while tearing at the fake flesh and clothing covering his robotic exterior, marking his transformation from John Corben to Metallo:

“It’s all fake. A fraud! There’s the reality! The metal behind the man! It’s all I am now! It’s who I am—Metallo”

Finding out that Luthor was behind it all makes Corben’s fate all the more cruel, for he truly didn’t have to become Metallo.

The animation in the episode was great, especially the battle that took place on Luthor’s yacht. When Superman and Metallo battled on the lower decks, the kryptonite illuminating the darkness with a neon green glow was very nice. Also, the sharp and poignant theme used for Metallo was a nice addition, especially at the very end, as we see him walking slowly on the depths of the ocean floor.

Overall, this was a great episode, highlighting the sad transformation of man to metal, and giving us even more insight to Lex Luthor’s ruthlessness and true evil.

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