Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound…and apparently greater than 80’s corporate greed. Kinda.
Ah, the 80’s. Was there ever a time when the world went more bat-shit insane on hairspray, cocaine and greed? You’d think that all those drugs would have fueled a greater creative fire than what it did. I mean, this was the decade that gave us day glow clothing, Growing Pains and Huey Lewis singing the praises of being “square.” It’s funny how everything went so glam in the 80’s and this animated Superman is no different.
To understand this cartoon series, you have to understand what the world was like in 1988. Contrary to the revisionist history that Hot Topic and Hollywood have made popular in the last few years, the 80’s were not a decade of awesome. It was a time built on hairspray and silicone as well as corporate greed and corruption; which brings us to the theme of this series. Lex Luthor has become a businessman and founded Lexcorp which is a corporate façade to mask his evil plans. From the very first episode, Luthor is plotting against both Superman and Metropolis while hiding inside a penthouse office. And that’s about it. Every time that Superman foils one of Lex Luthor’s plans, all Lex essentially says, “Have fun trying to connect me to this, I’m just a businessman trying to make a living. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.”
I know that cartoons are supposed to be for kids, but the over simplistic stories and really bad dialogue bogs this series down terribly. Not to mention how incredibly misogynistic Lex Luthor is toward his assistant Jessica Morganberry. Every thing he says to her is followed immediately by an insult and she is portrayed as completely vapid and superficial. This was a Saturday morning cartoon on CBS aimed at kids! No wonder the douche bags have invaded the mainstream today.
I will say that Lois Lane is portrayed as a strong female fighting for equality in a man’s world, until she has to put on a skimpy outfit and become a dancer to get information about a stolen ship; or if she’s in the same room with Superman. Once Supes enters the room, Lois turns into a love struck little girl. It’s really unpleasant to watch and a little disturbing. But then all the supporting characters are really just wallpaper. Jimmy Olsen, Perry White and even Ma and Pa Kent are just there to give Superman someone to save. Even when Wonder Woman shows up in an episode, it’s less of a team-up and more of an excuse for Superman to save another damsel in distress.
The bright spot of this collection is the Superman Family Album shorts that accompany each episode. These five minute vignettes are written by Marv Wolfman who was responsible for re-launching the Superman comic in the mid-80’s. Each installment tells a story from Superman’s days growing up in Smallville and are a nice change of pace from the rest of this disaster.
Animated series have a tendency to not hold up over time. This collection is no different. If you’re a Superman fan, then you’ll probably want to add this to your collection but it’s really for the “completist” than the casual fan. Ruby-Spears did a pretty good job of capturing an era but much like those Huey Lewis albums these cartoons just look like a product from a time we’d be better off forgetting.
The video is presented in a standard full screen format. It looks so-so. I think the real problem with this set is the animation more than the video format. I’m sure these cartoons look as good as they can. They’re just really hard to watch.
Dolby Digital in mono. The dialogue is clear and easily understood throughout. It sounds okay but it nothing great. So, it is not this disc you will pop in to show off the home theater.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
There isn’t much in the way of bonus features on these discs. Corporation of the Corrupt: The Rise of Lexcorp is less about Lex Luthor or Lexcorp and more about how corporate America has ruined society. It’s only about thirteen minutes long and really has no meaning to this collection. There are a few trailers for other animated dvds in the bonus features menus but those aren’t bonus features.
As far as the packaging goes, it is presented in a standard amaray case.
I think it’s safe to say that I did not like this cartoon. I can see why it was only on the air for thirteen episodes. I think it was given too long of a life.
Overall (Not an Average) 3.5/10
The Season 3/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 4/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average) 3.5/10