Sunday, June 2, 2013


"I am the knowledge and strength of 10,000 worlds. I am flesh and machine.
I am becoming everything."

2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Superman. With the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the most recent Man of Steel trailers, it seems like everybody is once again ready to believe that a man can fly! However, his first big adventure of the year has already come out, and its name is Superman: Unbound.

After rescuing his girlfriend, Lois Lane, for the 63,842nd time, Clark Kent starts to become annoyed with her taking his powers for granted so she can keep chasing the scoop of the century. While Lois does enjoy the perks of being Superman's girlfriend, she tells him that she also feels like he's smothering her by trying to protect her from every little thing as well, like being hit on by co-workers. Meanwhile, Kara Zor-El, who is still adjusting to her new life on Earth as Supergirl, is growing tired of her older cousin lecturing her, believing that he doesn't know what it's like to be powerless for most of his life, like she was.

When Superman learns that a meteor is about to collide with the Earth, he heads over to stop it, only to discover that it's actually a robot drone. Supergirl recognizes it and reveals that it belongs to Brainiac, a mysterious being that abducted Krypton's capital city, Kandor, as she watched, and left the rest of the Kryptonians for dead. The Man of Tomorrow then tells a disappointed Lois that he needs to go out into space, and then leaves to take on this mysterious invader.

Over the years, Superman's amassed a very interesting and varied rogues gallery, and Brainiac, through his many different incarnations, has long been a fan favorite. I find this version of him particularly interesting because in this story, he comes across as an accurate representation of how the U.S. continues to portray the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He's an unsympathetic, calculating, physically-imposing information vacuum that will go through anything and anyone to obtain all the knowledge in the galaxy. Add to that a truly chilling performance by John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, Transformers: Prime), and this take on the classic DC villain makes for an exciting antagonist for the personification of Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

For as powerful as Superman is and how exciting his fights usually are, I believe that he's at his best when he's faced with a dilemma that challenges his sense of morality. What I like most about Unbound is that while Brainiac's invasion of Earth may be the conflict that's at the forefront of the story, the whole event helps Superman to realize the problems that Lois and Kara are going through because of him, and what he can do to save them from himself.

If you aren't really all that familiar with Superman as a character, then Superman: Unbound is a really good place to find out why he has had such incredible staying-power, among his many other powers.

Superman: Unbound was directed by James Tucker, and is the sixteenth entry in Warner Bros. Animation's successful DC Universe Animated Original Movie series.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked the characterization of Supergirl in this. She was a character I never cared much for in the 90s animated series. I found Kara quite interesting here since with her struggles to adapt to Earth since she grew up on Krypton unlike Superman and later on finding out her parents are still alive in Kandor. I also enjoyed the spin on the Lois/Superman relationship as well as Lois' "rude gesture."