Right from the day of his first appearance, the Man of Steel has soared the highest in the animated adaptations of his adventures, which was pretty evident even from the earliest entries like the 1940s Fleischer Superman Cartoons, a collection of short films with animation way ahead of its time. During the tail end of the last millennium, the classic Superman: The Animated Series was released as a part of the Timmverse, which reinstated Superman’s relevancy for a new generation. In recent years, the silver screen ventures of Superman, veering toward a cynical, deconstructionist approach, have contributed to a lapse in the popularity of the character. This was somewhat countered by CW’s Superman & Lois, and now DC/Adult Swim has released the animated series My Adventures With Superman, aiming at a similar purpose: reinventing Superman for the modern generation while retaining all his core characteristics. The pilot episode of the series manages to emphasize that effort pretty well through its vibrant, anime-like aesthetics and by introducing new dynamics to the most well-known superhero lore.
Who Is Clark Kent?
As the episode begins, the sun shines bright on the Kent farm, situated on the outskirts of Smallville, and a kid named Clark Kent is seen trying to fetch his stuck kite from a tree. All of a sudden, a car with a lady in the driver’s seat and an infant as a passenger swerves on the road nearby at breakneck speed and heads directly towards a possible fatal collision course. Seeing the inevitability of the accident, Clark makes a desperate attempt to stop the car and at once rushes towards it, and at that exact moment, his powers get triggered. Using superhuman strength and speed, Clark manages to stop the car before it gets involved in an accident, and in a spree of excitement, he discovers he can fly as well. An excited Clark flies off through the clouds in pure childlike glee, and suddenly the question that he had forgotten to ask himself for so long pops up in his mind: how is he able to do all these things? Which leads him to the most important question: what is his true identity?
Years later, a young adult Clark, now a big dorky lad, is preparing for his interview as a fresh intern in the renowned news publication of Metropolis, the Daily Planet, and joining in his job hunting is the nerdy chatterbox, his roommate and friend Jimmy Olsen. In a parallel sequence, we see Lois Lane, the fearless, enthusiastic veteran intern of the Daily Planet, getting ready to present her scoop to the Editor in Chief of the Daily Planet, Perry White. She is pinning her hopes on the latest findings, which can help her make a good enough impression to get promoted to a full-time journalist. Struggling to deal with normal human stuff, Clark goes off to run some daily errands, not before saving a cat out of a tree (a classic Superman reference), and meets Lois at the local bakery. The kindly older owner of the shop funnily embarrasses Clark a bit by making him put on his donut bib while acknowledging his helpful and jovial nature, causing Clark to get really shy and almost flee the scene.
The opening segment establishes Clark’s character most accurately in a span of minutes—the naive, kind, helpful, and optimistic individual whose mere presence feels wholesome enough to turn others’ days a bit better. The attention paid to the humane side of the character from the get-go sets the tone of the series prominently as well.
What’s Lois’ Big Scoop? What Was The Reason For Clark’s Initial Disagreement With Her?
While going to the Daily Planet, Clark saves Jimmy from an oncoming rash-driving truck and briefly notices the reckless female driver—a point that will come into play later. At Perry’s office, the duo meets Lois Lane, who is assigned as their intern team leader. Lois talks about her latest scoop: the case of military-grade robots being illegally transported across the city, a case she wants to crack by doing a field investigation. Perry straight up rejects the idea and asks her to stick with the basic scan and search duties, or else she will be fired. Discouraged a bit initially, Lois quickly boosts her morale by herself and takes her rookie companions to the field investigation with her, completely ignoring Perry’s warnings and even telling Clark and Jimmy that Perry will be impressed if they indeed manage to come up with details about the case.
Meanwhile, the lady truck driver Clark saw earlier is Leslie Willis, a mercenary who runs a crew and has stolen the military-grade giant robots and tried transporting them to potential buyers—to no avail. On the other hand, Lois goes to her team of kid informants, the team of young newspaper distributors who call themselves the ‘Newskid Legion’ (a reference to the iconic team Legion of Superheroes), led by little Flip Johnson, who keeps a keen eye on most of the activities on the street, helping Lois stay in touch with ground-level details of incidents. From them, the interns get to know about the last location of the smuggling trucks and go to the location—a warehouse.
Clark expresses his concern about the potentially dangerous situation they are dragging themselves into and asks Lois whether Perry indeed approves of this. Lois once again nervously lies, but soon after, Perry, who has already assessed the situation judging from Lois’ steadfastness, contacts Clark directly and lets him know his ultimatum: that they better forget their career prospects at the Daily Planet if they don’t stop their investigation and return to the office at that very moment. Clark, aghast at the way Lois abused their trust to chase a story, confronts her about it. Faced with the unavoidable truth, Lois disgruntledly parts ways with him and takes Jimmy with her to continue with the investigation, only to later acknowledge that she was indeed in the wrong while not being completely honest with Clark.
Did Lois Find Out Clark’s Secret Identity?
Investigating the clues they found at the warehouse, a remorseful Lois and Jimmy reach the port, where the giant robots are being shipped elsewhere. The merc, Leslie, notices the duo snooping around and starts firing at her. However, one of her crews activates one of the giant robots, setting it after the duo, which is noticed by little Flip. The anime influence of the series is perceivable from the similarity in their design to the EVA units from the iconic anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
Flip catches Clark on his way back home and informs him about Jimmy and Lois getting into trouble. Without giving her a chance to notice, Clark blitzes off to the location and meets his team. Lois is relieved to see Clark return, but soon Clark gets knocked out of the scene while saving Jimmy. Just as the robot prepares to attack Lois, Clark disguises himself using a longshoreman jacket and jumps into action by using his powers. He starts battling with the robot and finally takes it out.
Seeing her robot destroyed by this mysterious savior, an enraged Leslie sets all her robots on Clark, whom Clark struggles to contain. We have to realize Clark has not become Superman just yet; he has yet to gain the iconic suit of his and has to learn more about his origin and the nature of his powers. Lois, noticing the activation keys, rushes to shut them off to help this seemingly unknown savior and even manages to turn them inactive—all except one, which lunges at Lois. Facing another severely desperate situation, Claek’s powers get activated mysteriously, the ‘House of El’ iconic symbol glows in his chest as well as in the spaceship at Smallville, and energy starts crackling around him. An empowered Clark takes down the remaining robot in one shot and flies away without giving Lois too much of a chance to use her deductive skills. The question about his identity, which bothered him in childhood, pops up again in his mind.
At the Daily Planet, Lois presents the sketchy shots Jimmy has managed to take in haste of this mysterious savior of Metropolis—one whom Lois names Superman. This time Clark corroborates Lois’ story as well as the trio’s function as a team, and although Perry isn’t super impressed, he will let them keep their internship for now. Later, as the trio discusses the possible identity of the savior, Lois is more determined than ever to learn about the true identity of Superman. As a pilot, the episode showcases the remarkable chemistry among the trio, an updated take on the classic characters while keeping them totally accurate to their beloved comic counterparts, and laudable voice acting—all of which indicate My Adventures With Superman is here for the long run, or should we say flight!