Best Superman: The Animated Series Epsiodes
Before it streams on DC Universe, here are our picks for the best Superman: The Animated Series episodes!
Honorable Mention: Knight Time
Starting our list is this fun crossover episode with Batman: The Animated Series titled Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman must assume The Dark Knight's identity to keep crime under control in Gotham City and help Robin find out what happened to the Caped Crusader. This one brings Superman to Gotham for the first time, has plenty of fun with the Superman as Batman gimmick, and brings back fan-favorite throwback character Roxy Rocket.
10. Identity Crisis
Introducing Superman's flawed clone Bizarro, Identity Crisis has Lex Luthor attempting to create a replacement for Superman who can carry out Luthor's diabolical plans. Bizarro's backwards way of talking and acting makes him hilarious but his manipulated and underdeveloped mind makes him a sympathetic character. This is an excellent episode which highlights Tim Daly's acting chops as he pulls double duty as both Superman and Bizarro.
9. Little Girl Lost
Little Girl Lost brings Superman's cousin Kara into the mix adding some welcome youthful fun into the series. It's a great dynamic between the two as Supergirl's headstrong personality clashes with Superman's overprotective nature. This episode also deals with fallout from the previous installment Apokolips... Now!
8. Action Figures
The Way of All Flesh is a great origin story for Metallo, but Action Figures goes deeper into his psyche by focusing on John Corben as he is taken in by two children. Malcolm McDowell does a phenomenal job in the role of Metallo as he transforms from villain to hero and back again. This is one of the few great villain-centric stories of the series thanks to wonderful voice acting and gorgeous animation.
7. Stolen Memories
An emotional and complicated episode, Stolen Memories has the Man of Steel facing off against Brainiac. The reimagined backstory that Brainiac is a Kryptonian artificial intelligence works so well for this series and Corey Burton's robotic performance as the cybernetic baddie is genius. The fact that Brainiac nearly convinces Superman to join him is a testament to what a strong villain he is for the hero.
6. Apokolips... Now!
Perhaps the most epic episode of the show, Apokolips...Now! finds Darkseid and his forces invading Earth as Superman must defend the entire planet from utter devastation. First we're brought a dire message by alien warrior Orion who warns of the coming invasion and helps fight off the first wave, but after he leaves, Superman and the might of the military and the Metropolis Police Department aren't enough to withstand the onslaught of Darkseid and the Parademons. The episode features Superman in his darkest hour and brings the stakes of the series to new levels with a character's shocking and emotional demise.
5. The Last Son of Krypton
The origins of Superman are known the world over, but this series' unique take on the story is touching to watch. They spend a lot of time with Jor-El and Lara as they prepare for the destruction of Krypton by placing their son in a rocket ship headed for Earth. The child learns to use his powers on the Kent farm where he's raised and soon reveals himself as Superman to the world in Metropolis where he also lives disguised as Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. It sets up plenty of future storylines and characters, has an awesome musical score, and features many beautifully animated scenes.
4. The Late Mr. Kent
The Late Mr. Kent might have the best opening and closing scenes of any other episode with a surprising funeral and a shocking realization. Here we follow the titular Clark Kent hot on the trail of a criminal who tries to murder him, but he can't reveal he survived the attempt without unveiling his secret identity, so he lists the help of one of the few people who already know his alter ego, childhood friend Lana Lang who pretends to nurse him back to health. It's a complex storyline with some great detective work from the ace reporter as he figures out whodunit and how to return to his normal life. However, the episode is more about Lois Lane as Dana Delany delivers a passionate performance playing Lois as a no-nonsense, determined woman who realizes she cares deeply for her co-worker Clark Kent.
The finale of the series does everything it needs to by taking the show to some horrific places while staying true to the characters and the series' lighter tone. This is certainly as dark as it gets for our hero as he is brainwashed into helping Darkseid take over the universe, but once he arrives on Earth, remembers who he was and takes the fight back to his evil former master. No longer trusted by humanity, Superman is defeated at the end of the episode even though he beats the bad guy, but there's hope that the people of Earth will come to see him as their hero again as Lois Lane tells him. It's a sad and bold note to end this fun and hopeful series on.
2. Brave New Metrpolis
In this elseworlds episode, Lois Lane wakes up in a Metropolis where Lex Luthor and Superman have taken control of the city. She soon finds out that Superman has done this as a reaction to her doppelganger's death. Another Lois-centric episode, this one really gets to the heart of Superman as a character who cares so deeply for those he loves it can change him drastically if he were unable to save one of them. There's some well-written dialogue here and it's all flawlessly delivered by the cast, including Clancy Brown's dastardly Lex Luthor.
1. World's Finest
The best episode of Superman: The Animated Series is World's Finest. In this stunning, three-part event, Superman and Batman team-up for the first time against their arch-enemies' Lex Luthor and The Joker. The cast is of course fantastic with Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly and Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown playing perfectly off each other. The writers captured the odd couple nature of both sets of heroes and villains in the script and gave them some excellent dialogue. There are some incredibly well-animated sequences of action, but the animators also show off their brilliant ability to show real emotional range in these characters from anger to sadness to joy. This is the ultimate crossover with the best superheroes ever as they clash and join forces to stop a mad plot of insanity from becoming a reality.