Monday, December 14, 2015

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 14: Superman "World's Finest"

Superman: The Animated Series
“World's Finest,” Season 2, Episode 16-18, 1997

Matt Says:

In the beginning, there was Batman: The Animated Series, and it was good. And when that legendary series ended, the creators went on from Fox to the WB, and there they produced Superman. A phenomenal series, it does for Superman what the other series did for Batman, distilling the essence of a legendary character and his cast down to what is essential. And with both series under their belts, fans began asking, "When is Superman going to meet Batman?" And as the WB commissioned new Batman episodes, the time was right for a three part epic that would introduce the characters to each other, "World's Finest."

Originally aired as a ninety minute movie, then broken up into three episodes of Superman, "World's Finest" has pretty much everything. It not only teams up Batman and Superman, but their two arch nemeses, Joker and Lex Luthor, and develops a rivalry between Harley Quinn and Mercy Graves, Joker and Luthor's henchwomen. Lois Lane plays an important part in the series, and the idea of pairing her with Bruce Wayne is an inspired idea; they're both driven, hard-headed characters, and while Lois and Clark are meant to be, the scenes between Lois and Bruce in the episodes are phenomenal. It's only a little weird that Lois is voiced by Dana Delaney, who also voiced  Andrea Beaumont, Bruce's lost love, in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; I guess Bruce has a type when it comes to the voices of women he's involved with.

The story finds a great balance between Batman and Superman, never letting the one drown out the other. There are phenomenal set pieces throughout, with battles taking place in a LexCorp lab, the daily planet printing press, the harbor, and on a giant flying wing the Joker has stolen from Lex. There are thugs, robots, and super villains. It's everything you could want from the first meeting between Batman and Superman, and it set the tone for Justice League and the other big superhero shows of the DC Animated Universe for years to come.

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