Description: My Adventures with Superman is a serialized coming-of-age story catching up with twenty-somethings Clark Kent (voiced by Jack Quaid), the bright and driven Lois Lane (voiced by Alice Lee), and their best friend Jimmy Olsen (voiced by Ishmel Sahid) as they begin to discover who they are and everything they can accomplish together as an investigative reporting team at the Daily Planet. The story follows Clark as he builds his secret identity as Superman and explores his own mysterious origins. Lois, on her way to becoming a star reporter, teams up with photographer Jimmy Olsen to break the stories that matter. All the while, Clark and Lois are falling in love… as Lois gets closer and closer to uncovering his secret identity! Our trio share adventures, take down bad guys, stumble over secrets, and discover what it means to be heroes in their own right.
By James Harvey
Superman’s first headlining animated series in over two decades is just as super as the hero himself! My Adventures with Superman is an incredibly fun, smart and modernized spin on the classic DC Comics character. Deftly balancing the show’s inviting cast with its equally compelling plots and great action beats, this legit cool cartoon soars in every sense of the word. Packed with heart, great stories and set pieces, and one intriguing hook after another, My Adventures with Superman is the Man of Tomorrow as his joyful best.
A serialized coming-of-age story, My Adventures with Superman follows the adventures of Clark Kent (Jack Quaid), Lois Lane (Alice Lee), and Jimmy Olsen (Ishmel Sahid) as they begin making their mark as an investigative reporting team at the Daily Planet. At the same time, Clark starts to build his secret identity as Superman and explore his own mysterious origins, while also falling in love with Lois. And if that wasn’t enough, a mysterious force behind-the-scenes is making trouble for our intrepid trio!
As usual, spoilers will be kept as light as possible, though some specific details will be covered in this review.
Packed with plenty of heart and anime-inspired visuals and designs, My Adventures with Superman is a fresh, slick reinvention of comic’s first super hero, one brimming with hope and optimism that dutifully builds up its characters and puts some intriguing problems in their path. It’s refreshing to see a take on the Man of Steel that isn’t drenched in depressing visuals and forced melancholy, but instead light and cheer. Superman may struggle with himself here, but it’s all part of the journey and not the sole focus.
Without question, there’s an immense amount of love from the creative team for Superman, his supporting cast and his world, but that doesn’t preclude said creators from introducing some tantalizing new ideas. My Adventures with Superman, right from the opening scene, is clearly setting up a unique take on the Man of Steel. And, as the series gets deeper into its first season, uses that train of thought to create some of the show’s biggest mysteries and genuine surprises. There’s impressive world-building abounds throughout the show’s first season that pulls you right in, all carefully constructed as each episode easily flows into the next and all clearly leading to a specific end goal.
There’s a palpable sense of escalation as the series progresses, too, with some massive game-changers happening within the first seven episodes alone, including some twists possibly inspired by the Superman: Birthright DC Comics origin series by Mark Waid. My Adventures with Superman makes it clear out of the gate that this Superman might be a little different than you’d expect, but it’s so worth it to stick around and find out just how it’ll all play out.
The writing here is witty, genuinely hilarious and constantly subverting expectations. The light, almost wacky tone offers a perfect balance to the excellent action beats and some of the heavier character work. More importantly, these characters feel genuine and real, especially as Clark, Lois and Jimmy navigate the complications of their respective relationships. There’s genuine emotional stakes here, and it can be a bit of a roller-coaster at times.
My Adventures with Superman not only shows that no aspect of Superman’s history is out of bounds here, especially given the clear Silver Age-esque influence to some of the season’s characters, but also that it’s willing to mix things up quite substantially. While fans will see plenty of familiar faces from the Superman mythos and the DC Comics universe (and from outside the comics, as well), they don’t always take the role you’d expect. Some well-known characters get a pretty noticeable makeover, or pretty big tweaks to their backstory, along with others popping up who are a complete surprise. Suffice it so say, My Adventures with Superman keeps you on your toes.
My Adventures with Superman also shines when it comes to animation. While it may slip and stutter on occasion, overall it looks gorgeous. The anime-inspired designs and bright color palette further establish this series’ unique take on the super-mythos. Not every redesign works, admittedly, but the majority are slick and smart tweaks. There’s also a wealth of references and homages to well-known anime projects like Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Neon Genesis Evangelion, among a plethora of others. The style might take a little bit to get used to for some, since it’s so different then how Superman has been previously portrayed in animation, but it quickly ends up adding to the show’s overall charm.
The quality of animation by Studio Mir is also pretty strong, adding flair to the set pieces and nailing the show’s multitude of humourous and heavy character moments. The only real shortcoming here is the occasional use of CG, primarily for vehicles and robots and the like, which don’t quite gel with the overall look of the show. Thankfully this doesn’t really take away from the show’s quality in any real substantial way, as it’s an occasional distraction more than anything.
When it comes to the voice acting, My Adventures with Superman is nearly an embarrassment of riches. Leading the cast is Jack Quaid as Clark Kent/Superman, and he perfectly brings the lovably dorky and inexperienced hero to life. He brings a soft touch to Clark, here starting to learn about his mysterious origins and unsure of his place in the world, while also juggling his relationships with Lois and Jimmy.
Deepening his voice slightly when Clark dons the cap, Quaid also brings that same energy to Superman. Here, the Man of Steel somewhat goes back to his roots, and would rather reason with his foes than fight it out with them. Granted, the fisticuffs are inevitable, but there’s something refreshing about Superman trying to deescalate the situation as opposed to flying in with both arms swinging.
Rounding out the main cast is Alice Lee as Lois Lane and Ishmel Sahid as Jimmy Olsen, Clark’s best friend and roommate. Lee’s version of Lois is an absolute firecracker, despite just the character just starting out her career as a Daily Planet intern. Eager to jump deep to get a story, and driven to right wrongs and get to the truth, this strong take on DC Comics’ greatest journalist is bound to be a favorite (and she has one of the show’s best lines: “Sorry! Your life looks hard!”). You can’t help but root for her. Jimmy, here as a conspiracy-believing goofball, nicely counters the more level-headed Lois and Clark. Sahid is clearly having a ball with this lovably silly take on the Daily Planet’s burgeoning top photographer.
Make no mistake, while there is plenty of high-stakes super-action to be found in My Adventures with Superman, the cartoon also refreshingly spends a lot of time with our main trio at The Daily Planet. When they’re not butting heads with an exasperated Perry White (played by Darrell Brown), they’re tracking down leads and doing the legwork to get to the truth. Watching the trio break down a story, figuring out all the clues and putting in the work, can be pretty exhilarating to watch (and something we haven’t gotten too much time with in other assorted takes on Superman).
Gene Vassilaros, the voice director, pulls out some fantastic performances, and not just from the main trio but from the entire cast at large. Everyone sounds … right. Also bang-on is My Adventures with Superman‘s score work, led by Dominic Lewis and Daniel Futcher. Whether it’s bringing the right soft touch to the show’s character-driven moments, an ominous vibe when diving into Superman’s mysterious backstory, or a hard edge to the show’s multitude of set pieces, the duo never miss a beat (pardon the pun). The show’s theme song, “Up and Away (My Adventures with Superman Theme),” written and performed by Kyle Troop and the Heretics, is a pure banger through-and-through, as well.
My Adventures with Superman is a fantastic example of how to create a new spin on an established property without losing or forgetting what’s made these characters work for decades. Whether a long-time fan or new to Metropolis, or somewhere in-between, this series truly works for all audiences, regardless of your knowledge on the Man of Steel. It’s impossible not to get pulled in by the series’ eclectic cast, charm and wit.
Genuine and gorgeous, My Adventures with Superman offers an inspired spin on the world’s greatest super-hero that undeniably stays true to the super-mythos’ core. Balancing action and character work to near-perfection, and packed with an abundance of heart, laughs and beautiful visuals, the creators behind this series have truly created one of the best, brightest interpretations of the Man of Tomorrow to date, and one that deserves to soar for years to come. Do Not Miss It!
Oh! Be sure to stick around during the end credits of each episode to see some surprises from Jimmy’s camera roll!
Note: The above review covers first seven episodes of season one. The review will be updated when the all ten episodes are released. My Adventures with Superman review copies provided by Warner Bros. Animation.
My Adventures with Superman airs every Thursday at midnight on Adult Swim and streams next day on Max.
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