JLUCast Special: Superman vs. Darkseid

Cindy and Chris take a look back at Superman: The Animated Series, and the episodes that chronicled the growing rivalry between the Man of Steel and the Lord of Apokolips, Darksied. What follows are alien invasions, family drama, shocking deaths, and a world turned against their greatest hero. All leading up to their epic rematch in Season 2 of Justice League, with coverage coming soon!

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Clip credits:

Clips from Superman: The Animated Series, music by Shirley Walker, Christopher Karter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis

25 responses to “JLUCast Special: Superman vs. Darkseid

  1. Good episode as normal and I look forward to season 2 of JLI, though JLU is more my jam for obvious reasons.

    That Superman comic was actually one of the first of his I remember, where I first met Barda (and Supes I guess) and it somehow didn’t scar me to much!

  2. So Lois and Superman become a couple in this? Did she ever learn he was Clark? (the fact that she wasn’t at the Kents for the Holidays in Comfort and Joy makes me think she doesn’t.)

    1. No, Superman and Lois were still in their classic mode of “dating” but “not”, from what I recall. She never learns Clark’s secret ID on JL or JLU. Or he never reveals it, and she never admits she already knew it.

      Oddly enough, her and Bruce Wayne have a more tangible “dating” relationship in the 3-Part “World’s Finest” episodes from BTAS. Plus, she learns he’s Batman!


      1. Yeah that’s what I figured. I mean Clark did tell Lois outright that he was Superman but he said it in such a way that she just figured he was being a jack@$$.

        (I honestly would give good money to see short where Superman basically comes clean to Lois by reminding her of that conversation and enjoying her reaction.)

  3. I was blown away by the 2-part Apokolips Now episode. I was especially impressed by the sensitivity shown by the DCU animation team when they showed Turpin’s funeral. It was one of the rare times that the Jewish faith has been portrayed in episodic TV animation.

  4. Great episode as usual guys!

    I saw this STAS episode, presented by Bruce Timm himself, as a sneak preview at the 1998 SDCC. People in the audience literally gasped when Supes cracks Darkseid’s face using the Omega Blast, then gasped again when he decked Lex, then roared in laughter at the callback of Lex’s jaw being wired shut. In the intervening years Timm seems a little scarred from all negativity thrown his way by “fans”, but that afternoon was glorious because he was clearly proud of the episode, and then he got to see the crowd eat it up.

    Cindy—I know post-Dr Phibes you do no not trust my movie opinions anymore, but BONNIE’S KIDS truly is a good movie. Max would agree, and you trust him, right?

    1. Oh man, I am so envious. What a great way to watch an episode!!!

      Yeah, we should have brought up that Superman got to deck Lex when he was powerless under the red solar lights, and later Lex has his wired shut. You hear him in our episode mumbling “No one man should have that much power” which is ironic coming from the power-mad Lex. It’s the unfortunate side effect of us doing several episodes in one show, we lose details like this.

      I will try and get Cindy to watch Bonnie’s Kids at some point. It’s more likely than her taking in the Phibes sequel!


  5. I haven’t been checking out the podcasts of shows I haven’t seen (my bad), but maybe I should because I enjoyed this. Your discussion on Supes’ rogues gallery made me think of other classic foes like historical villains, corrupt officials, and strange flavors of kryponite…

  6. Impressive Pod cast. Most Impressive. Yep Dark Side was great in these. Ah Worf as Kalabak. That was great casting. Orion was great. I wish this had one more season so we could see Supes win the people back. Dan Turpin as Jack irby was great. Sad that he died, but they gave him a great send off. The Supes Christ stuff is still used to this day. It’s fine. Oddly the creators had him more set up ad Mosses, but it’s cool. Ah Orion showing up Showing Dark side he didn’t want no part of this was awesome. Supes morning his friends loss worked well. Kind of oy timing as it fits well with the sad passing of Zoom.

    Super Girl was awesome. Look she can be cool with out having to push down Super Man.. This may shock the CW. Here she was cool. Supes with his hands cuffed and still beating up Dark side Awesome. Supes as a Mandalorian could be cool. I can see him protecting Baby Yoda. I can see Supes if he was brains washed as evil dating Lashina, She does look like his type. Brunet tough inside. smart. Her being the Duchess in SS was cool. So she works. Glad Lois could reach him…huh Super Girl again didn’t have to stand on his head and have him grovel at her feet for them to both be cool…..wow. THe CW will be shocked. Sorry I love the DC CW…just not Super girl after season too.

    Professor Hamilton becoming Ruin was oy. But I get why Supes acted as he did. Kara is family after all. I liked seeing Supes beat down Dark Side. Sadly he doesn’t get the final 2 wins on him. The first being Lex. In a suit no less. Also CWs Criss was awesome. The kiss between Supes and Lois was great. The downer note was a bit, oy. But, the cartoon was great. Oh I just got a Supes Tattoo on my left arm. That has Huntress and a cross on it. I look forward to the Cadmus story in JLU. This did build up well. And Kara was handeled well. here and in JLU.

    Star Girl being jealous of her was funny. Sorry jumping the gun. I saw these when I got home from collage. Waaay back when and liked them. After all we hadn’t got a Super Man cartoon sine the 90s. And this was perfectly cast. This did take a bit from the Byrne stry, but a lot of other stuff and built up well. To how Dark side made Supes turn on his own people. After all Clark was just a baby on Krypton. Earth is his home. Making him an intsment of death against them was a shock. Turning Supes from who he realy was. And helped cause the Cadmus thing. Though as Waller says there were many things that worried them.

    And that made a person whom likes every thing controlled like Waller Worry. As it did the others, but She is defiantly the one controlling every thing. She used public opion and other issues to set this up. And assembled the team she knew she’d need to make it happen. She has a great change of heart latter. But, this big moment did give her the seed of doubt needed to plant the whole Cadmus thing. And as is it greave Clark a great thing to over come. Any way can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

    1. Doing this episode made me REALLY want to talk about the Cadmus arc, but we’ve got another season before we get there. But at least its a great season! But the Cadmus stuff is just fantastic, and the seeds were all planted in the episodes we covered here. So rewarding for longtime fans!


  7. Great mosaic that brings together all of Darkseid’s DCAU appearances under one discussion. I got nostalgic b/c I used to make mix tapes with various clips from my favorite tv shows and Michael Ironside’s Darkseid was often sampled.

    Not sure if you are aware already or not based on the commentary, but there are two different versions of the funeral scene for Turpin/”Jack Kirby.”

    “Since the character of Dan Turpin on Superman: The Animated Series was based on the king of comics, Jack Kirby, who had himself recently passed away, Turpin’s funeral scene originally featured some notable attendees from DC Comics and Marvel Comics, including Stan Lee, the Fantastic Four, Bruce Timm, and many of the Fourth World New Gods. This version was only broadcast once, and subsequent reruns replaced these characters with background extras and more STAS cast.”

    “Dan Turpin’s funeral was based on the original Jack Kirby eulogy ceremony where a Rabbi sings Hatzi Kaddish while several Kirby friends and characters pay their last respects to the King of Comics. This scene was altered and removed from DVD official release, because it shows Marvel Comics characters in a Superman show, including Alex Ross and his father Norman Ross, Bruce Timm, Captain America, Mark Evanier, Tony Stark, Glen Murakami, Dan Riba, Paul Dini, Goody Rickles, Stan Lee, Alan Burnett, Reed Richards, Nick Fury, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Kamandi.” (Not sure I see all of these, but many I do see are removed with the second clip)

    Original (like Chris mentions with FF and Stan Lee, etc)

    Subsequent airings (Perry White replaces Timm and Murakami’s Hitchcock cameos with Stan Lee in the background, there’s still a blonde female mourner, but no longer Nick Fury, Sue Richards and Marvel’s First Family, and I think T’Challa?)

    1. Derek, thanks so much for posting this! I do have that TwoMorrows book, so I have seen Timm’s storyboards, but I had no idea the version with the Marvel characters actually aired with them being so prominent. I figured they may have still been in the background of the one and only version, which is on the DVD set. Timm never mentions the change in his commentary, but then he probably got his hand slapped by WB legal, so why compound the problem?

      Thanks again, this was awesome to see!


  8. Now I’m extra glad that I finished my S:TAS watch-thru! Quite chilling to see the stories planted for JLU begin here. Loved the review and discussion, and yay, season 2 on the way! Thank you, Franklins!

    1. Glad to be of service Tim! I’m due for a rewatch of STAS from start to finish myself. It’s been a long time, probably since I watched the whole series with Andrew when he was little.


  9. Greetings, Franklins. Thanks for the show!

    I really appreciated the look at the Superman episodes that led up to the Justice League plot threads. I remember watching Apokolips Now and really enjoying it up until the climax. I HATED that Superman remained captured and the New Gods showed up and rescued him and Earth. It was very anticlimactic. Even though I’m a Bat-fan first, I’ve been hypersensitive about Superman being disrespected since Frank Miller got a hold of him. Obviously, I’m a huge Super-fan, too, and wanted him to be the hero of his own show. This was a start toward the not so-Superman of season one of Justice League. The funeral at the end for Turpin/Kirby was touching and I loved the shout-out to King Jack.

    Normally, I don’t like a “darker” Superman but the moment where Superman causes the omega effect to backfire into Darkseid’s brain is one of my favorite moments in Superman history.

    Chris, you’re one of my favorite podcasters (Cindy, too) so please don’t take this as me being “that guy.” I figured Rob, since he’s such a MASH fan, might mention this to you, but this trailer will show you how to pronounce Shelley Fabares’s name. I doubt I would know how to pronounce her name if I weren’t such a huge Elvis fan. Oh, and don’t mentioned what a cutie Shelley was in her younger days (She was!) because I don’t want Cindy to slap you.

    1. I hadn’t thought about Superman NOT resolving the issue on his own show in “Apokolips…NOW!”, I guess because they left that tag “Not The End” right before the Kirby tribute, but I can see it rankling feathers.

      I figured I was butchering Shelly Fabares’ name, but I just couldn’t remember how to pronounce it, and kept forgetting to look it up. No offense taken at all, we appreciate the correction. It’s the only way we’ll learn! And yes, she is quite an attractive lady!


  10. 1. I’m not surprised you could so few encounters between Superman and Darkseid. Darkseid was a manipulator, getting others to do his dirty work. Later writers did always grasp that subtle bit of his character. One exception is Xum Yukinori, whose current story has Darkseid as the perfect behid-the-scenes controller!

    2. The clip you played of Inspector Turpin. Did he say, “Royer! Coletta! Cover me!” or is that just what I want to hear because it would be so perfect!

    1. 1. Oh yeah, Darkseid is usually a behind the scenes player, which makes his throwdowns with Superman that much more special…even though there are three of them in the DCAU!

      2. Yep, “Apokolips…NOW!” is full of references to Kirby’s inkers. There’s a Sinnot Airforce Base, for instance. All of the King’s regular inkers get namechecked at some point. We should have pointed it out, but we were too focused on the Darkseid angle to go that deep this time.


  11. I’ve been catching up on certain shows on the network that I missed over the past year because of…reasons. So, it’s amusing to binge a bunch of Chris co-hosted shows and hear on at least three of them that apparently I am tearing my hair out at the mere mention of the Barda/Superman sex tape. It’s fair. I mean…I used to get really upset about it. That and mullets. But a man gets older and he starts to think differently and frankly with so many more boneheaded decisions that has been made about Superman over the past ten years, something Byrne did in 1987 doesn’t really compare.

    That, and my wife likes my hair, so I won’t be tearing any of it out.

    And let’s be honest; everyone talks about the porno, but no one talks about the fact that Superman and Amazing Grace made the Thought-Beast with two backs during the Legends crossover.

    I still laugh when Chris says it though.

    Great overview of the Fourth World on STAS. I loved that they included so much of it since Darkseid was there at the dawn of my love of DC Comics as a whole. My only objection to STAS comes from how Timm and company jumped on the “Superman has a lousy rogues gallery” band wagon and I am more than a little tired of it. Superman has an exceptional rogues gallery. Yes, many of the big guns are guys in suits, but…and maybe I’m asking a bit much…maybe you can rethink them to make a more formidable threat for Superman. Superman doesn’t have to go toe to toe with the Prankster, but you can make a meal having him throw dangerous pranks at Superman. Neutron would have made a great villain. Form a Superman Revenge Squad.

    I love the DCAU guys to death, but they seemed to just not think much of Superman. I remember a Wizard article where Timm said the biggest problem with Superman is that he isn’t as cool as Batman and 20 year old me had a meltdown about that.

    Still…this was a great episode and STAS remains one of the most underrated adaptations outside of the radio show. Thanks for covering this before getting into one of my favorite episodes when it comes to Superman.

    1. I should have mentioned the Superman/Amazing Grace thing, because it’s basically picked up by the animation crew in “Legacy” when it’s heavily implied Supes and Lashina are getting it on like Donkey Kong as well. I did mention it in the gallery posts, but that’s something that fell by the wayside in my notes somewhere.

      Yes, Timm said Superman wasn’t inherently cool as Batman in several venues, and in fact, they pitched the show as a DC Comics Presents type team-up show, figuring the other guest stars would balance out what they felt was Superman’s lack of “cool”. Jennette Khan put the kibosh on that, telling them to do a straight Superman show, and they sure pulled it off. It is a bit disheartening to hear, but I think Timm likes/loves Superman, he’s just more of a Batman guy.

      Don’t pull your hair out, Mike. Enjoy being your age (you are hair (ha) younger than me) and still having it. Relish your lovely locks!


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