Superman is back, baby.
Max, Warner Bros., and DC have delivered to audiences a brand new Superman animated series. My Adventures with Superman debuted last Thursday with the two-parter ‘Adventures of a Normal Man’. The show stars The Boys’ Jack Quaid as Clark Kent aka Superman, Alice Lee as Lois Lane, and Ishmel Sahid as Jimmy Olsen. The first episode is available to watch for free on YouTube.
What immediately sticks out about this series is its art style. It takes clear inspiration from Japanese anime. This is made clear by the Sailor Moon-style transformation that Clark undergoes when he first becomes Superman. It’s not the first time a Western animation project has taken clear inspiration from anime. Shows like Steven Universe, Teen Titans (2003), and Miraculous Ladybug have done so as well. Even major animation studios like Disney have taken the plunge in this regard if Disney’s Turning Red is anything to go by.
This choice of art style works with the type of story that My Adventures with Superman is trying to tell; that story being a more slice-of-life slash romance tale. While My Adventures with Superman focuses on the early beginnings of Superman’s superhero career, it also has a hard focus on the romantic relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. There’s a lot of ship tease right from the get-go with the blushing and awkward moments filled with sexual tension shared between the two. Despite the heavy focus on romance, Lois is not simply a love interest here, as the show pays a lot of attention to her job at The Daily Planet.
This series spins a new take on Lois Lane. While this Lois Lane still has that journalist spunk that she’s become well-known for, she’s young and green. She’s at the bottom of the totem pole at the Daily Planet. She’s an intern, she’s not being taken seriously, and she’s someone who is trying her best to get her piece of the pie. She can also be very selfish as showcased in the first episode with lying to Clark and Jimmy in her attempts to secure a scoop in the first episode. But that selfishness is quite Lois Lane-y of her.
In My Adventures with Superman, Clark Kent aka Kal-El/Superman is an absolute cinnamon roll with the body of a himbo. Despite being aware that’s he not like everyone else, he is still in the dark about his Kryptonian origins and still hasn’t cracked up to the full potential of his abilities. As such, in these early episodes, he struggles in fights against his enemies and is learning as he goes along.
The one weak point I could find about the show is Jimmy Olsen. In this show, Jimmy is Clark’s friend and roommate. Jimmy is meant to be the comedic relief character of the Daily Planet trio. Yet for me personally, this portrayal of him is not hitting as hard as Lois and Clark’s are. His whole shtick of being a passionate conspiracy theorist gets a bit tiring after a while, especially since it is the only thing Jimmy got going for him so far. As a result, Jimmy’s character suffers but I can see this changing further as the series goes further along.
Superman is an iconic superhero. Not just in his home of DC Comics, but in superhero comics in general. He’s been adapted for both the big and small screens. We’ve seen the big man in red animated and in live-action. With so many screen adaptations of him, there have been so many interesting takes on Superman over the years. Even outside of DC, it can be seen that Superman is a huge inspiration for stories like Brightburn, Invincible, and The Boys.
In recent years, pop culture has known a darker, more serious Superman thanks to Henry Cavill’s Superman from the DC cinematic universe. This Superman wasn’t bright or happy, nor did he seem to have a sense of humor. In many stories, this Superman was corrupt and lived in a world where heroes weren’t really that heroic.
Admittedly, I am tired of this ‘Beware the Superman’ trope. In fact, I believe that doing gritty and deconstructive takes on superheroes, in general, is getting old. Yes, stories like Injustice, The Boys, and Invincible were incredible and give us a lot to mull over when it comes to how power can be abused, and we should exercise wariness over the people who have that power. But in my opinion, those sorts of stories are getting so darn common that I think we’re losing sight of the original genuineness that lies at the heart of superhero fiction.
Deconstruction and satire of a genre can be enjoyable every now and then. In fact, they can be revolutionary if Invincible and The Boys are anything to go by. But pop culture loses sight of the original genuineness that lies at the heart of superhero fiction, it will make the superhero genre lose its luster and its wonder. Too many in Hollywood seem to think that the only way to make a good superhero story is to have it be dark and deconstructive of the superhero genre when that is simply untrue, and My Adventures with Superman is proof of that.
My Adventures with Superman is a return to the classic, cheerful Superman that audiences fell in love with in the past. A Superman that is hopeful, cheerful, and inspiring with his charm and courageousness. The show has heart, romance, action, and a decent number of laughs. My Adventures with Superman is full of promise, and I definitely recommend putting it on your ‘to-watch list’.
Edited by Shawn
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