Hello, my friends! While the series has been at rest for a while, it wasn’t eternal just like a particular Kryptonian. With some various side-projects out of the way, it’s time to welcome you back to my signature review series known as…
Last time, we had a massive shockwave of an event that rang throughout the New 52 Animated Universe. Even though it was a titanic moment for everyone involved, things are about to get more hectic for the World’s Greatest Superheroes and the citizens of Metropolis. As such, it’s time that we delve into our follow-up tale called…
Serving as the sequel to “The Death Of Superman” and continuing the two-part adaption of “The Death & Return Of Superman”, this movie debuted in theaters on January 13, 2019 as part of a Fathom Events double-bill with its predecessor that played for two exclusive days. Afterwards, it was released via Digital Download on January 15. While its DVD & Blu-Ray release dates were originally advertised for January 29, they surprisingly came out for all available platforms at the same time. So how will a city and its superhero team handle some unexpected super appearances? Let’s fly in and find out.
We open on a Daily Planet TV news broadcast that’s being hosted by Catherine “Cat” Grant (voiced by Toks Olagundoye). Six months have passed since Superman’s fatal battle against Doomsday and since then, some mysterious heroes have popped up within Metropolis. While she has a discussion with G. Gordon Godfrey (voiced by Trevor Devall) on why he believes that society should work towards becoming their own heroes instead of relying on these new “Supers”, we intercut with these beings performing noble deeds: An experiment foiling the theft of a woman’s purse in an alleyway, a Man of Steel saving Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen (voiced by Max Mittelman) from getting run over by a public bus, a visors-wearing entity who ruthlessly foils the theft of high-tech LexCorp weapons by Intergang who’s now under the command of up-and-coming crime boss Snakey Doyle (also voiced by Trevor Devall) and a robotized being who prevents some military personnel in South Kasnia from unleashing nuclear war upon North Kasnia. From there, the scene ends with Godfrey demanding the answers to three questions: Who are these new heroes, why are they here now and most importantly “What is their place in a world without a Superman?”.
Following the title card, we cut to the Daily Planet as Editor-In-Chief Perry White (voiced by Rocky Carroll) is holding a staff meeting as he assigns some reporters to cover the appearance of the four new Supers from different angles. He ultimately calls for Clark Kent, forgetting that he’s been missing since the Doomsday incident as he tells his team to take the “Kent Angle”, specifically “The Search for Survivors”. When Jimmy mentions that Lois is currently covering it, Perry then asks her for what she currently has. Unfortunately, she’s also not present as he demands to know where she is.
We then cut to Clark’s apartment as Lois Lane (voiced by Rebecca Romijn) is currently packing up his belongings due to him being deceased. When she notices a set of photos that were taken of her with him along with the note that contained his “last secret”, she breaks into tears. At that moment, Clark’s parents Jonathan & Martha Kent (voiced by Paul Eiding & Jennifer Hale) come in as they proceed to comfort her. Afterwards, Lois tells them that Jimmy packed up everything from Clark’s desk, but she hasn’t returned to the Daily Planet in a long time. Martha assures her that Kal always loved her, but Jonathan states that he might not be truly gone given what’s on the news recently. With the four new Supers popping up shortly after Clark’s body disappears, Lois does wonder if one of them is her Kryptonian boyfriend resurrected. She mentions how this raises some questions, because when Superman first appeared in Metropolis, “nobody knew how to ask him”. When she remembers what she initially asked him, she suddenly realizes how to approach this situation as she kisses the Kents goodbye and takes her leave.
We then cut to the next day at the Ace O’ Clubs Bar & Grill as Lois meets up with Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson). After initially mentioning that despite the “special bond” that she used to share with Kal-El, Diana informs Lois that she was always “the love of Clark Kent’s life”. Afterwards, Lane tries to ask Wondey if she and the Justice League knew anything about the four new Supers. Unfortunately, Diana tells her that they’re currently in the dark about the new Supermen, though she does unofficially inform Lois that the team has been in a bit of a struggle since the loss of their comrade. With Lane’s information avenue coming up somewhat empty, she and Prince are then approached by restaurant owner Bo “Bibbo” Bibbowski (voiced by Charles Halford) who asks them if there’s anything else that they need.
From there, the two ladies head out with each of them having a scoop of ice cream. Before she can properly take her leave, Diana proceeds to spin around as she transforms her clothes into her proper outfit. Afterwards, she tells Lois “not to lose herself” during her investigation on the four Supermen before she flies away.
That night, LexCorp is holding a charity gala as Lex Luthor (voiced by Rainn Wilson) is present alongside his head scientist Dabney Donovan (also voiced by Trevor Devall) and his bodyguard Mercy Graves (voiced by Erica Luttrell). Shortly after Lois arrives, she’s met upon by John Henry Irons (voiced by Cress Williams). However, she sees Lex from afar and excuses herself as she makes her way into the nearby crowd. Luthor also notices her and decides to take the stage. As he ensures the crowd that they’ll never have to go through another Doomsday situation ever again, he proceeds to formerly introduce “LexCorp’s new Superman”. From there, the experimental being (voiced by J. Valeska himself, Cameron Monaghan) flies in as he’s instantly greeted by falling confetti and an appreciative crowd.
Afterwards, Lois makes her way down to a sub-level as she tries to access one of the labs. However, the door is locked. Suddenly, she notices a nearby elevator opening up as Dabney arrives and notices her. Fortunately, she uses her seductive charm to woo him as they proceed into the lab. From there, Lois calmly asks what he does as Donovan says that he works in Advanced Genetics. Just then, he accidentally reveals that the company-backed Superman is “a sophisticated clone”. At that moment, Lex walks in and overhears the conversation as he scolds Dabney while she discreetly notices John Henry Irons also secretly listening in from afar. After sending Donovan on his way, he tells Lois that he’s disappointed that she didn’t rebound with him following Superman’s death. Just then, the building gets rocked by an upstairs commotion.
As Lois, Lex and Dabney arrive back on the main floor, the crowd has hastily evacuated as LexCorp’s Superman has been forced onto the ground. Just as Mercy rejoins the group, the visors-wearing figure (also voiced by Charles Halford) emerges and says that Luthor is a criminal that must be “eradicated”. In that split moment, Lex grabs Graves and places her in front of the oncoming energy blast as she takes the hit and falls over. From there, Lex and Lois attempt to evade further energy strikes as Lane tells him to call off his clones. However, Luthor says that only the boy belongs to him as the being approaches and prepares to finish him off. Fortunately, LexCorp’s Superman intervenes and proceeds to fight him.
The young clone initially puts up a good fight, but his opponent rebounds and pummels him into the ground. Afterwards, he flies up and prepares to take out LexCorp’s Superman with a massive divebomb strike. Suddenly, a massive hammer flies in and hits him as the Man of Steel arrives and inadvertently calls the young clone Superboy before reengaging his adversary. While he also puts up a good fight initially, the visor-figure strikes back with a fierce punch that knocks the Man of Steel out.
Just as he reaches Lex and orders him to surrender, the final Super arrives as he blasts his adversary with Heat Vision. After exclaiming that Luthor isn’t a criminal in the current eyes of the law, Lex demands to know who he is, to which he exclaims that he’s “Superman”. From there, the two Supers fight each other as they culminate in a standoff. With their combined energy attacks building, Superboy manages to save Mercy in time while the Man of Steel is able to help out Lois and Lex as the powerful strikes causes a massive explosion within the building. Following the big boom, the visor-wearing Super recovers as his eyewear flashes and he proceeds to fly away. Afterwards, the robotic Superman manages to emerge from the rubble.
Later on, clean-up is under way at LexCorp as Superboy addresses the media that he’s the true Superman. Just then, the reporters are lured away to the robotic Superman as the young clone only finds Lois nearby him. As John Henry Irons also joins in, Superboy tries to unsuccessfully hit on her before he flies away. Afterwards, Lane and Irons proceed to learn from each other on why they were both inside the sub-level labs. John lets her know that he used to work for LexCorp and that he’s been suspicious of Lex using the tech that he previous built in order to privately send modified weaponry out onto the black market. Afterwards, Lois informs him that LexCorp’s own Superboy is actually a clone.
We then cut over to the Fortress of Solitude as the Fortress Robots oversee a newscast where Luthor calmly addresses Lane’s reveal of his Superman being a clone. From there, they decide not to wake up “Kal-El” due to the strain from the recent battle and that he’s currently regaining energy through an “Ion Radiation Transfer”.
Sometime later, Lois’ informative piece has spread throughout the city. Back at her apartment, she’s suddenly approached by the robotic Superman. As they proceed with the interview, she says that she’s not entirely certain that he’s the same Superman who ultimately died in her arms. He explains that to his people, death isn’t entirely “the end”. He says that he was able to activate some advanced Kryptonian technology right before he passed away so that he could be rebuilt and revived. Because of the artificial limbs, Lois exclaims that he resembles a Cyborg Superman, though he says that he’s “just Superman”. From there, she tests him with a simple question: ‘What was his last secret?’. He says that he doesn’t remember, due to him losing half of his memories. From what he does recall, he does know that they used to be close. After Lois asks him why he came back, he exclaims that he needs her voice & her connections with the Daily Planet in order to ensure the world that he has returned and that he’s “trying to do some good”, so that the planet can feel safe. From there, he flies off and takes his leave.
We then cut to a montage involving the four Supermen. While Superboy does save a little girl from a burning building, he starts becoming more of a celebrity-type as he mingles with his young female fan base and even posts unboxing videos.
Meanwhile, the other three Supers make the headlines for their noble acts of heroism.
One day, Lex pulls up alongside Superboy in his limo as he orders him to get inside so that they can have a talk. As they drive off, Luthor expresses his frustration over the fact that his company’s creation isn’t being taken as seriously as the rest of the Supers. Furious that his investment isn’t going as planned, he tells Superboy that it’s time for him “to act like a man” since he has an important assignment in mind.
That night, it turns out the U.S. President is in town as the Justice League keep watch. Handling security detail on the road leading up to the main event are Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by Jason O’Mara), Hal Jordan a.k.a. Green Lantern (voiced by Nathan Fillion) and Barry Allen a.k.a. Flash (voiced by Christopher Gorham).
Meanwhile, Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (voiced by Shemar Moore) and Wonder Woman have the main stage covered. When Batman tells Flash that the Teen Titans are currently looking out for other events while they serve as the President’s bodyguards, Superboy flies in and tells Barry to relax. Afterwards, J’onn J’onzz a.k.a. Martian Manhunter (voiced by Nyambi Nyambi) flies in and tells the young lad to refrain from the team’s communication frequency, but Superboy tells him that it’s for the presidential protection unit and that he’s been named the head of LexCorp’s global security division.
From there, U.S. President Joan Dale (also voiced by Jennifer Hale) arrives to help commemorate the launch of the Justice League Watchtower. As Cyborg Superman keeps watch from the skies, Lex contacts Superboy to remind him to keep the President safe so that he can enhance his superheroic credibility.
As President Dale gives her speech, a Boom Tube suddenly opens up in the sky as Parademons fly down. While the crowd launches into a panicked evacuation, Superboy manages to fly President Dale to her Secret Service team while he and the Justice League proceed to engage their familiar adversaries.
While out heroes proceed to fight the Parademons and even help the citizens in fleeing the area, Superboy notices that Cyborg Superman is just hovering in the air and doing nothing. Just as he yells at the robotic figure to help out, he gets blindsided by a pair of Parademons as they smack him to the ground.
Afterwards, the otherworldly beings manage to approach the Presidential limousine. The Secret Service attempts to fight them off, but are ultimately defeated as the Parademons break in and try to attack President Dale. Fortunately, they’re ultimately bested by Cyborg Superman as he effortlessly comes to her rescue and flies her to safety.
Unbeknownst up above, the Boom Tube begins to collapse. As the Justice League regroups following their victory over the Parademons, they’re suddenly approached by the plummeting portal as it lands upon and disintegrates them with the crowd looking on in stunned worry.
Sometime later, a Daily Planet TV news broadcast is on as Cat says that President Dale will be hosting a memorial for the fallen Justice League members over at the Superman statue in Centennial Park. Not only that, but Cyborg Superman is being hailed as “Superman reborn”. This infuriates Lex as he smashes his TV in disgust before telling Superboy to join him on his elevator. They ultimately arrive at a particular sub-level lab with the young clone recalling the facility as an injured Dabney emerges, realizing that his creation hasn’t yet learned the truth on how he came to be. While Luthor takes out a fatal dose with the intention of killing off his company’s creation, he and Donovan reveal to Superboy that he’s actually a hybrid clone, containing the DNA of both Superman and Lex. Afterwards, Dabney begs for the lad’s life to be spared, since he’s in need of “guidance” and that he was their most successful clone. Ultimately, Luthor agrees and discards the toxic injection as he heads out with Superboy. However, he tells Dabney that he’s “fired” as he remotely unleashes the mutated & rejected experiments who proceed to kill Donovan off-screen.
From there, we cut over to a cemetery at night as Cyborg Superman places a rose upon a grave. Just then, he gets a pulsating noise as he gets contacted by the ruler of Apokolips himself: Darkseid (voiced by Grange & the Candyman himself, Tony Todd), who reminds him of some work that they must do.
The next day, Lois visits the graveyard as the caretaker informs her that “Superman” was present last night and visited a grave. She discovers that it was the burial site of Terri Henshaw as he tells her that Supes was standing around “talkin’ to the air”.
With this bizarre sign, she proceeds to sneak into John Henry Irons’ private lab just as he returns from his nighttime patrol as Steel, telling him that she easily managed to find out about his secret identity. He explains that he’s been trying to fill the protective void ever since the time that Superman saved his life before he reveals the rest of his work station. From there, he helps her follow up on her lead from the cemetery involving Terri Henshaw, since she finds it odd that Cyborg Superman would visit her grave if he’s supposed to be the original Superman resurrected. After accessing S.T.A.R. Labs’ computer mainframe, John discovers that while Terri’s body was recovered from space, her husband wasn’t. As such, Lois pieces together that Cyborg Superman is actually Hank Henshaw.
We then cut to Centennial Park as a memorial is being held for the fallen Justice League, being held by President Dale. Despite Cyborg Superman getting a brief mental flash from Darkseid, he snaps back as Joan invites him to the podium in order to give a speech. As he gives his respect towards the Justice League, Irons and Lane watch from afar wondering how they could possibly take him down since A. the guy is Superman in the eyes of Metropolis’ citizens & B. Lois doesn’t have the evidence she needs to present her Henshaw findings to Perry. From there, Cyborg Superman announces his replacement for the Justice League called the Cyber Corps. As such, he asks for volunteers.
From there, a regular guy named Eric (also voiced by Max Mittelman) offers to join, despite the worryness of his girlfriend Becky (also voiced by Erica Luttrell). Despite that, he makes his way onto the stage as Cyborg Superman places a chest plate onto him, giving him a new outfit. Afterwards, he exclaims that he can give the citizens the same alien tech that saved him in order for them to become their own heroes as Eric demonstrates his newfound strength by leaping over to a news van and lifting it with ease. Impressed with the feat and inspired by Cyborg Superman’s plea to stand up against their eventual foes, several more citizens decide to join the Cyber Corps. From afar, John is convinced that this is Hank’s plan as Lois is puzzled on how he could even get all of that advanced technology. Irons says that Intergang has been secretly acquiring Luthor’s Apokoliptian weapons and that he’ll intercept them in order to uncover any possible connection. Meanwhile, Lois intends to “lean on Lex”.
That night over at the Justice League Watchtower, several more citizens have been converted into the Cyber Corps as they fly out to give their protective watch over the city. Meanwhile, Snakey Doyle and his Intergang cronies proceed to collect LexCorp’s advanced weaponry, unaware that someone has flown in to stop them.
Back on the Metropolis streets, Becky is out shopping when she sees Eric comforting some kids with a display of his newfound flight. Suddenly, a thief rams into her and takes her purse. Eric manages to stop him by flying directly in front of the thug and allowing the perp to run right into him and knock himself out. Shortly after Becky gets her purse back, she tries to kiss her superpowered boyfriend. However, he doesn’t react naturally to her as he ultimately takes his leave.
Meanwhile, Steel arrives at the warehouse in order to confront Intergang. However, he soon sees that they’ve already been roughed up as he approaches Snakey and learns that “the one in the shades” called Eradicator has taken all of the illegal weapons. Fortunately, Doyle had a tracker on the weapons as he gives Steel his phone in order to properly follow the being.
Over at LexCorp, Superboy is met upon by Lois who’s looking to track down Lex. During their meet-up, he tells her that he’s been partially-cloned from Luthor as he makes amends from their first meeting. Afterwards, she gets contracted by Steel who informs her that Eradicator has gathered Apokolitian tech and that he’s in pursuit in order to find out if the super-being is working with Hank Henshaw.
From there, John arrives at the Fortress of Solitude where he sees the Eradicator in a recovery process before a Fortress Robot approaches and lets him know that “Kal-El” is almost done with the “revitalization cycle”. However, Eradicator wakes up and proceeds to attack Steel.
During the fight, he accidentally calls up Lois who overhears the commotion. Just then, Lex comes in and wonders what Lane and Superboy are watching. As such, he takes her phone and connects it to his computer system as they view Steel’s struggle against the Eradicator. The group then notices Kal-El’s spaceship from within the Fortress as Superboy is about to fly off and help out Steel. However, Luthor forbids it since he needs his clone nearby should the Cyber Corps go awry.
As Eradicator continues his fight against Steel, Lois overhears him mentioning about “the data Matrix” before he briefly flashes. Lane then tells John that he’s actually fighting a defensive hologram. When Irons says that he doesn’t see any Kryptonians that his adversary is protecting, she suddenly remembers Kal-El’s spaceship and has a realization before Eradicator delivers a strong punch that knocks out the transmission. From there, Superboy has taken his leave in order to help John out and had left behind his LexCorp patch in an act of terminating his relationship with the company & his half-father.
Back at the Justice League Watchtower, Cyborg Superman is receiving a mental communication from Darkseid. With the Justice League out of the way and the Cyber Corps having been built up to a sizable armada, he prepares to invade Earth once again in an act of global conquest and rename the planet as “New Apokolips”. He then tells his right-hand solider to get ready for his arrival and “open the gates” as it’s confirmed that Cyborg Superman really is Hank Henshaw (voiced by Patrick Fabian).
Over at the Ace ‘O Clubs, several remaining citizens (including some notable members of the Daily Planet and Becky) are hiding out within the establishment as Bibbo exclaims that the Cyber Corps don’t even come close to representing what Superman stood for. He also states that they shouldn’t stand around until their present situation starts to get worse since they need to be like Cyborg Superman said and become their own “heroes”. As Cat informs the group that a protest is forming over at the Justice League Watchtower, Bibbo sees this as their opportunity to “make some noise”.
Elsewhere, it turns out that the Justice League didn’t die as they’re presently fighting an otherworldly worm creature. After Wonder Woman defeats it with her Lasso of Truth, she asks Cyborg if he’s able to get them out. While Victor explains that there’s nothing wrong with his internal systems, he’s not able to create a Boom Tube. Not only that, but it turns out that they’re in an unfamiliar part of outer space filled with other monstrous beings. Cyborg then says that unless someone from Earth is able to create a way for them to return, then they’ll remain stuck here.
Back on Earth, Steel continues his fight against the Eradicator within the Fortress of Solitude. Unbeknownst to them, some movement begins to occur within the spacecraft. Just as Eradicator has John at his mercy and is about to finish him off, the spaceship opens as it turns out to be a revived Kal-El, a.k.a. Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman (voiced by Jerry O’Connell) who orders him to stand down as Steel looks on in amazed shock.
Back over at LexCorp, Lex has been trying to re-establish the transmission with John as he and Lois ponder on the fact that the actual Superman is possibly alive. From there, the scene ends with Luthor preparing to share some footage he acquired that contains a particular ruler of Apokolips.
Back at the Fortress of Solitude, Steel asks how it’s possible that he’s even alive. Kal-El says that he’s not entirely sure, but it involves the “Revitalization Cycle” which he even was unaware of. As the Fortress Robots make some repairs to his armor, John also learns that this base was created to protect Supes during his miraculous recovery. Kal then also explains that the Eradicator was only shielding him from harm as a Fortress Robot tells Steel that Superman was actually assimilating Ion Radiation from his holographic guardian as part of the recovery process.
After using various news broadcasts to get up to speed on what’s been going down during his absence, Kal-El gets informed by Steel that Cyborg Superman is actually Hank Henshaw. As if one surprise wasn’t enough for Supes, the scene ends with Superboy arriving in order to know what their plan of attack will be while also calling him “dad”.
Over at LexCorp, Luthor informs Lois that following the incident over at the Justice League Watchtower, his company’s satellites have been intercepting encoded alien signals. It turns out that it’s a “holographic interface” that Darkseid has been sending into Hank’s mind. With a impending invasion on the horizon, Lane wonders how Earth would even be able to fight back. From there, the scene ends with Lex leading her to their solution.
Back at the Fortress, Superman tells his fellow Supers that they must stop Darkseid and save Henshaw. However, Eradicator warns him that his ionic regeneration isn’t complete yet. When Steel asks him how long he’ll been in this position, Kal-El says that he’s unsure.
We then cut to LexCorp’s sub-level work station as Luthor explains that loads of Apokoliptian tech remained on Earth following Darkseid’s initial invasion. Lois chastises him by saying that he’s been selling the advanced weaponry to Intergang. Despite his shallow dealings, those discreetly-illegal sales ultimately helped him acquire a Mother Box. He then explains his plan where it’ll be activated right outside the Justice League Watchtower at precisely the right moment. However, Cyborg Superman must be distracted in order for his strategy to succeed. Even worse, Lex is going to send Lois in to get Hank’s attention while he sits back with the Mother Box.
Back at the Fortress, Eradicator insists on joining in on the mission. However, Steel is hesitant in allowing this due to his rough persona which makes him “a wild card”. Fortunately, Superman takes a crystal and sees how his holographic guardian can help out. Afterwards, Superboy wonders how our hero will even get to Metropolis in his weakened condition. Fortunately, he still has his spaceship as our Supers begin their flight back to the city.
We then cut over to the Justice League Watchtower where Bibbo’s group and the remaining civilians voice their displeasure upon the Cyber Corps. Just then, Lois & Lex arrive at the scene and set their plan into motion as Lane calls for two C.C. soldiers to take her to their master.
Meanwhile, Superman, Superboy and Steel are continuing their flight back to Metropolis. Just then, John receives a phone call that he transmits over to Kal-El. It turns out to be Luthor as he’s initially stunned in seeing his longtime enemy alive and well. After Superman says that Superboy has no interest in rejoining his company, he then asks about Lois’ whereabouts. Lex states that she’s alive, but inside the Watchtower. Kal-El becomes angrily worried as he speeds up his flight plan and arrives back in the city.
Over on Apokolips, we learn that it was Darkseid who created Doomsday (or at the very least, oversaw its creation). After it destroyed the Excalibur space shuttle, he managed to save Hank and restore him with a cybernetic body. Now, he’s able to focus Henshaw’s rage towards Superman just because his heroic idol didn’t save him. Just then, Hank’s transmission gets interrupted by his pair of Cyber Corpsmen who have brought Lois to him.
As she exclaims that she knows who he really is, Cyborg Superman drops his fake accent and rushes over to grab her neck. Before he can cause some serious harm, the alarms goes off and warns him of an approaching rocket “of Kryptonian origin”. Shortly upon seeing that Kal-El is on his way, Hank is mentally bombarded with a pulsating transmission as Darkseid sees his upcoming invasion as his chance to personally kill Superman. From there, he orders Henshaw to “open the gates”.
As such, Hank rips off his chest plate and grabs his Mother Box against his own will. From there, the Cyber Corps fly up into the air in order to form a circle around each other. Afterwards, their arms are cybernetically stretched out to unnatural lengths as they hook up with each other and create a Boom Tube in order to signal Darkseid’s arrival.
Meanwhile, Hank is furious with his master for going ahead with his plan. Lois uses this to her advantage by taunting him on how he’ll allow Darkseid to get his vengeance over his right-hand man. As such, an enraged Henshaw pulls out the receiver from his skull before ripping out the Mother Box from his chest and smashing it with his foot.
With the connection severed, the Cyber Corps disengage from each other as the Boom Tube collapses. From there, Darkseid can only watch in furious disgust as his invasion is being brought to an early end with the portal completely dissipating. However, Cyborg Superman is now free to enact his own villainous scheme as he orders the Cyber Corps to destroy Metropolis.
Lex tries to activate his Mother Box, but it’s unable to comply. With the Cyber Corps bearing down, Bibbo leads the charge for the city’s citizens as they proceed to throw rocks at their adversaries before charging headlong towards them.
Back inside the Watchtower, Hank slowly walks towards Lois as he prepares to do her harm. Suddenly, Superman flies his spaceship right into the station as he rams into Henshaw. Afterwards, he gets out and see his beloved from afar.
Meanwhile, the Cyber Corps are easily roughing up Metropolis’ citizens as Lex struggles with activating his Mother Box. Just as he’s approached by a pair of corpsmen, Steel and Superboy manage to save Luthor from harm before joining the fight.
Back in the Watchtower, Superman and Lois manage to embrace before she asks him what his last secret was. Kal-El manages to prove himself by remembering that it said “I Love You”. However, their tender moment is cut short as Hank lifts up the spaceship and throws it towards Superman. Afterwards, he grabs Lane and uses a piece of rebar to pin her to the wall.
Fortunately, Superman recovers and begins his fight his cybernetic impostor. He tries telling Henshaw that’s still time for him to stop his malevolent ways, but Hank is unwilling to listen due to the fact that his wife didn’t survive. As such, Cyborg Superman manages to beat Kal-El up.
Supes uses an Apokoliptian gun on Hank, but he destroys it with his Heat Vision and is able to quickly recover due to his robot body having a cybernetic Healing Factor.
Superman even tries to use an Apokoliptian handgun, but Henshaw reacts in time and disrupts his aim before disarming Supes as it manages to land within Lois’ vicinity.
Afterwards, Cyborg Superman begins to choke Kal-El as he claims that people like him had to unfair feel what it was like to “live in a world without Superman”. However, Lois chastises him by saying that it’s not about his wife, but about himself since he allowed himself to get manipulated by Darkseid. Hank responds with the fact that his former master forged his anger into a weapon towards Kal-El in a similar fashion with his monstrous creation. He then adds that unlike Doomsday who was only “a mindless assassin”, he was focused upon “a singular purpose” by destroying everything that Superman stands for.
Back outside, Superboy and Steel continue their fight against the Cyber Corps. Because of how many people willingly gave themselves up to join this alliance, they’re unable to get by them and make their way into the Watchtower. Meanwhile, Lex continues to struggle with his attempts at activating his Mother Box. Upon realizing that he need a strong power source, he gets saved by John from another pair of corpsmen. With one of them nearby, he hooks his device upon to the fallen soldier as he finally has enough energy to create his own Boom Tube.
From there, the Justice League manage to return as the team is baffled on the fact that their archenemy had brought them back. However, they have no time to ponder on that notion as they immediately engage the Cyber Corps.
Back inside the Watchtower, the alarm system alerts Cyborg Superman upon our heroes’ return. As a result, he actives the station’s rocket boosters as it launches itself towards outer space. Superboy notices and tries to follow, but is immediately tackled by some corpsmen.
As the Watchtower begins to reach Earth’s upper atmosphere, the breach caused by Kal-El’s spaceship is causing some cabin decompression. Fortunately, the rebar is strong enough to prevent Lois from getting sucked out into space. Superman tries to free her arm, but Hank throws him away and continues his beatdown.
Kal-El manages to grab an exposed electrical wire and jam it into Hank’s face before he begins to retaliate, but Henshaw recovers and blasts him with his Heat Vision.
Meanwhile, Lois is straining from the decompression. Fortunately, she notices Superman’s handgun as it gets flown her way. She’s able to grab it and shoot at the rebar to free her arm before she gets sucked towards a nearby control panel. From there, she manages to deal with the breached hull by manually activating the Watchtower’s emergency system.
Shortly afterwards, the station reaches its proper altitude as the anti-gravity kicks in throughout the facility. Meanwhile, Hank hits Superman towards the upper parts of the base as he continues his one-sided assault. Lois manages to reach him and fire the Apokoliptian handgun at him before she’s forced to dodge his Heat Vision.
As she takes cover, she notices from a damaged sun shield panel that the sun is rising upon the Watchtower. After seeing the control panel from afar, she begins to make dash towards it. Despite taking a pair of hits from Hank’s Heat Vision (and losing the handgun in the process), she’s still able to reach the controls as she pulls on the level to deactivate the sun shields.
With nowhere left for her to run or hide, Henshaw orders Superman to open his eyes so that his personal vengeance can be complete. However, Kal-El managed to absorb enough sunlight to regain his strength as he proceeds to turn the tables with a massive blast of Heat Vision. Hank regenerates a new robotic arm for himself before attacking with several metal tendrils. Fortunately, Superman is able to swiftly dodge them before he jams the Kryptonian crystal into the robotic fiend’s head.
As a result, Hank is mentally transported back to Terri’s grave. From there, Superman’s “Wild Card” springs into action as Eradicator emerges and finishes the former astronaut off once and for all.
Back on Earth, the ramifications begin to transpire as the Cyber Corps shuts down and fall out of the skies.
Back up on the Watchtower, Superman assures Lois that this crisis has finally ended. From there, they celebrate with a passionate kiss.
However, the victory is bittersweet back in Metropolis as Becky discovers that Eric has met the same fate as the entire Cyber Corps with every last cybernetic soldier losing their lives.
We then cut to sometime later as a Daily Planet TV broadcast is held with Cat reporting on the reemergence of reporter Clark Kent. Unbeknownst to the civilians, Martian Manhunter is also present as he shape-shifted into the guise of Superman in order to preserve his teammate’s secret identity. Kal-El and Lois watch the newscast from the Ace O’ Clubs as he lets her know that Superboy (now known as Conner Kent) has been placed under the care of Jonathan and Martha Kent. Shortly afterwards, Clark gets a call from Wonder Woman who reminds him that he’s running late for a team meeting. After he also unintentionally learns about her newfound friendship with the Amazing Amazon, Lois lets him know that she understands and that she’ll wait up.
From there, he slips into a nearby alley and discards his civilian clothes before taking to the skies as Superman. With the civilians gaining a renewed sense of hope upon seeing him in flight, he heads up into space to join his fellow teammates.
And so, the film ends on a post-credits scene where the Justice League decides that they’re not going to wait until Darkseid decides to invade again. Instead, they’re going to bring the fight to the despotic ruler. It then turns out that Lex is also in on this as he dons his iconic armor as the team looks on in utter bewilderment.
With the eventful film out of the way, let’s delve into my character analysis. First up, we have Conner Kent himself: Superboy. Since I never did make any notable differences between the original source material and its first animated outing known as “Superman: Doomsday” involving the four Supermen, I might as well solidify that topic since they all first showed up during the third and final part of the overall story arc back then. As I mentioned in my Redux review, Superboy’s original creation came when Project Cadmus’ exective director Paul Westfield had Kal-El’s corpse get discreetly stolen in order for a Superman clone to get made. Given the codename “Experiment 13”, he was ultimately broken out by a group of youngsters called the Newsboy Legion. He would make his first public appearance over in Centennial Park by saving a young female jogger who was in danger of some thugs who looked to run her down in a stolen taxi. After saving the woman, he would get his initial shades from one of the defeated thugs. After a brief stop at the Daily Planet where he meets Lois and Jimmy, he catches a glimpse of GBS TV reporter Tana Moon which leads to a major difference in translation. In the comic, Superboy announces on her news show that he’s a Superman clone, while the movie had Dabney accidentally spill those beans to Lois who then makes that fact public. Either way, he becomes a news sensation for GBS as Tana’s boss named Vincent Edge looks towards pushing the idea that Superboy is the true Superman, with the added bonus of the company gaining the exclusive coverage rights of him. Throughout the arc, he would stop Intergang and their leader named Steel Hand, get chastised by Steel for getting a helicopter pilot killed because of his reckless behavior and fought a hired assassin named Stinger. During a particular crisis on the West Coast (which I’ll delve deeper into when I get to our true villain of the piece), he gets paired up with Cyborg Superman and heads into the blast zone in order to stop Eradicator (who’s been blamed for the destruction. However, Cyborg Superman manages to capture Superboy during a frantic (yet secretive) betrayal. Our young clone struggles with his attempts at breaking out of a heavily-fortified harness before he finally manages to do so with the emerges of his signature power: tactile telekinesis. Eventually, he makes his way back to Metropolis where he teams up with Steel and a revived Superman in order to fly out to Engine City and stop the culprits. He even prevents Hank’s missile from destroying Metropolis and ultimately cause the foundation for a second Engine City. Afterwards, he rejoins Superman and company for the final battle. In visiting this third act, I notices a few elements that the movie used for Superboy that relate to the source material: His affection for youthful women, his professional connection with a female reporter (Tana Moon in the original story, Lois in the film), his hatred for being called Super “Boy”, his overly-confident attitude, an adult man looking to exploit him for his own purpose (Vincent Edge in the comic, Lex Luthor in the movie), his budding partnership with Steel and Luthor’s attempts to control him ultimately fails. One thing that I noticed is that the film gave Superboy his tendency for using ’90s lingo from watching sitcoms from that era, courtesy of Dabney Donovan. That’s actually a nice touch, considering when he first debuted. As for his character analysis here, he loves seeking glory and recognition from those around him. His connection with Lex starts to severe when he’s more towards basking in the spotlight of cheering fans and less on his actual heroics. Even as a Superman clone, he shows signs that he needs to improve as a superhero, since a villain’s minions are able to get a regular amount of hits on him. Even though Dabney warns Lex that Superboy is in need of guidance, that’s a level of parental patience that he has no room for. After all, he’s sees his creation more as a marketing pawn instead of a true son. By the end, he begins his path of proper nurturing when he’s sent to Smallville to be properly raised by Kal-El’s human parents and mature with an Earthly identity of his own. Cameron Monaghan displays enough youthful exuberance to help out his performance and give the character plenty of room to shine.
Next up, we have the super master of heroic hammers: Steel. In the source material, John begins by breaking up a drive-by shooting being caused by some black thugs wielding a powerful prototype gun. He manages to destroy it, but winds up injured and in the hospital as a result. As he recovers, he tells a women named Myra and her son Keith on how Superman saved him. I mentioned it my review but unlike how it plays out in “Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis”, it wholly different since he worked on a high-rise building. After his co-worker named Pete trips on some rope and falls, he managed to swing out on a cable and catch him before placing him onto a platform. Unfortunately for John, the hook that the cable was attached to came loose and he started falling to his death. Fortunately, Superman flew in and saved him. Irons says that he owes his life, to which Supes tells him to “make it count for something”. During Superman’s fight against Doomsday, John tried to do just that as he grabbed a sledgehammer and tried to intervene. However, an explosion from a ruptured gas main caused the rubble from a weakened building to fall onto him. By the time he was recovered, the deadly fight had ended. Back in the present, John makes a full recovery as he looks to keep the promise he made to Superman. As such, he goes back home and forges his outfit. Despite the same thugs attempting to kill him with a molotov cocktail, he managed to don his costume and escape in time. He eventually fights the familiar toughs in order to stop them and find out who’s their weapons supplier. Despite taking some shots from the Toastmasters a.k.a. BG-80 (a gun that he created for the military), he ultimately prevails and learns from the head thug named Dutch of his supplier named the White Rabbit. From afar, she proceeds to take out Dutch from afar. After defeating another gun-wielding gang called the Shark Enforcers, he manages to save Lois after Superboy’s confident bravado unintentionally allows more trigger-happy thugs to kill her helicopter pilot. Following his personal chastising towards Superboy, Steel gets helped by Lex Luthor II in locating the White Rabbit (whom had also intentionally allowed him to find her. He then reaches the Metrospire Penthouse where he recognizes his target as a computer imaging expert named Dr. Angora Lapin. It turns out that they used to work with each other as they design the BG-60 for military use in Qurac (a fictional country). However, he was unaware that those same weapons that he designed had ultimately been used killed innocent people over there. Not only did Angora supply the country’s malevolent forces with the enhanced guns, she had ultimately stolen his designs, modified them into the BG-80 and began selling them onto the local streets. She then blasts Steel out of the building where he lands on a nearby truck, causing it to explode. Superboy manages to save him in time, but by the time they fall back up to arrest her, she had already slipped away. Sometime later, he attempts to ask another artillery-packing gang where they got their guns. However, Eradicator comes in and wipes one of the perps out of existence. Steel chastises him for his lethal action and even calls him “a cold-blooded fraud”, which infuriates Eradicator into fighting him. It takes Lois for her to break up their brawl as she shames both of them for “dishonoring Superman’s name with this senseless fight” before the two Supers settle their differences. Unfortunately, their fracas starts right back up again when a representative of Rex Leech Enterprises (something related to Superboy’s tale) orders a cease-and-desist on them using Superman’s shield upon their outfits since the company (apparently) has the rights to the name and insignia. Eradicator destroys the papers before Steel is forced to fly off with him in his grasp. After nearly going high enough to reach Earth’s lower atmosphere, they crash back down and land in Coast City where they proceed to fight. John manages to beat him up while further chastising him for not acting more like Superman. Ultimately, Coast City police arrive as Eradicator takes his leave. As Steel catches a flight back to Metropolis, Lex Luthor II meets up with Angora on helping her kill, with both sides secretly hoping that the scheme will work out in their favor. Later, John arrives back only to be greeted by the White Rabbit’s ambush. Fortunately, he defeats the thugs and even bests Angora’s right-hand lackey named Graham (who has the ability to increase his mass size on a whim and be similar to the X-Men character Blob). From there, he captures the White Rabbit and takes her to a abandoned ordster plant which is where she’s been secretly making the Toastmasters. She tries to use the factory’s machines to subdue him, but Steel lifts himself out of her press as the facility crumbles and encases her within as the building blows up. After vowing to rid the streets of his own deadly creation, we catch up with him fighting another gun-totting gang having just heard of Coast City’s destruction as Eradicator (known then as “Last Son of Krypton”) is framed for committing the act. Just as John is about to catch with Lois out towards the West Coast in order to investigate, they, Supergirl, Superboy and Lex Luthor II come across a robot that contains the revived Superman. Later on, Steel flies out to the ruined Coast City with Superman and Superboy as they begin their assault on the slowly-burgeoning Engine City. While Superboy prevents a missile from obliterating Metropolis and thus prevent an East Coast version of Engine City, Steel and Superman head in deeper to make sure that no more deadly projectiles are launched. They fight through more alien foot soldiers before they discover that Supergirl had been discreetly with them. Because this is the protoplasmic Matrix version, she was able to turn invisible and give Superman some extra flight help since he was slowly recovering his powers. Upon arrival, she had been making surveillance sweeps and gave our heroes some much-needed cover. Getting back to Steel, he and the rest of our heroes continue their mission in shutting down Engine City’s power supply. However, Supergirl gets separated from the group when a thick door closes down, forcing John and Kal-El to make an alternate route. However, they’re met upon by Mongul (whom I’ll come back to later on). As Superman orders him to head towards the Engine Room to order to prevent Engine City from sending the planet out of its orbit, Steel reveals himself to him. With Kal-El remembering who he was all those years ago, John flies off to stop the grand scheme. Upon his arrival, he’s met upon by Cyborg Superman who controls an ever-transformative, mechanized abomination as they proceed to fight. After some distraction via talking with it on how Engine City’s Kryptonite Fission-powered Fusion Reactor works, John manages to subdue the “machine-creature”, pick it up and fly right towards the reactor’s magnetic fields. Fortunately, he survived the destruction as he rejoins Superman and Supergirl. However, Cyborg Superman manages to take control of Steel’s armor and uses it to strangle John. Fortunately, Superboy helps him out of that jam. Afterwards, Superman ultimately defeats Cyborg Superman and foils his evil scheme with John making a full recovery in the hospital. Moving on to my character analysis for him, he starts off as a noble hero before his personal investigation upon his former base of employment sees him ultimately teaming up with Lois to uncover a hidden scheme concerning a particular “Super”. There’s not much in terms of major character progression for him, especially since he’s out of the picture between the LexCorp incident and Lois surprising John at his base. When he is on screen, he does have some good stuff and it is carried by Cress Williams’ performance. Even though it doesn’t seem like he does too much when looking at it from an overall perspective, he brings a good level of competence throughout and it makes me wish for Steel to be part of this universe movie forward. After all, he did have a solo series which ran from 1993 to 1998. After its cancellation, he mainly hung around Justice League material before fading out of the comic consciousness. This series is more than capable of helping John Henry Irons shine once again in some form, because if Batman is able to have a Bat-Family, then Superman should be allowed to have his own super supporting cast.
Next up in line, we meet the Super who could serve as the definition of Rough Justice: Eradicator. Following his comics introduction where he punishes a carjacker with an energy blast, we shift over to how he came to be. Deep beneath the Antarctic surface, a group of Fortress Robots have revived his consciousness. He wakes up as a discorporate being before taking control of a monitor in order to access past news broadcasts which covered Doosmday’s rampage and Superman’s fatal battle against it. Shocked by the grim outcome, he flies to Superman’s tomb within Centennial Park and taps into the corpse as he becomes a solid being once again. Afterwards, he takes the cape and begins to head back to the Fortress of Solitude, but not before taking note that his eyesight has become sensitive to sunlight. Because he can’t absorb sunlight like the genuine article, he uses a Regeneration Matrix to constantly gain his powers. He also wears a visor since even the dimmest of light messes with his sight. After noticing that he gain shoot energy blasts and he has retained his ability to fly, he takes notice of various crisises occurring within Metropolis from various TV news sources. he makes his crime-fighting debut by killing a mugger who was holding a woman against her own will down within a building’s basement. From there, he begins his ruthless crusade against crime as the city is informed that Superman’s corpse has gone missing. After saving an out-of-control airplane from causing serious harm, he’s confronted by Lois Lane (which makes him the first Super that she comes across for this arc) as he starts to reveal important details that nearly convinces her that he’s the genuine article, but he pulls back when he says that he’s changed and that Clark Kent is dead. Later, he takes care of a guy robbing the Metropolis Mercantile Bank by crushing his own hands and upper arms (going as far as the elbows). Afterwards, he arrives back at his Antarctic Fortress where he learns about the other three Supers from various TV news broadcasts. Sometime later, he meets then-former Green Lantern Guy Gardner (who was wielding Sinestro‘s yellow ring at the time) who had heard about the emergence of the four Supermen while in Chicago and decides to fight Eradicator. However, the smug hero gets tossed around as the fight ultimately makes its way back to an abandoned gas station where an illegal gun sale (which involves the Assault-7 and NOT the Toastmasters) is going down. Eradicator proceeds to melt their weapons and rough up the thugs as Guy gives him his personal seal of superheroing approval. From there, he wouldn’t appear again until he crosses paths with Steel during a battle against a street gang. Afterwards, they proceed to fight each other until their brawl takes them all the way to Coast City where John manages to gain the upper hand and beat him up, even shattering his visor in the process. With the flashing lights of police cars messing with his eyes, Eradicator will allow Steel to be Metropolis’ protector as he flies off. At some point, he acquires a new visor for his outfit as he takes care of a warehouse fire at Ferris Aircraft. Just then, he gets word that an alien spacecraft is on its way to their general area. With the city’s regular hero Green Lantern not present, Eradicator stays put to assist. The hostile spaceship proceeds to drop a massive amount of Carnage Globes throughout Coast City before Cyborg Superman attacks Eradicator as part of his plan of blaming him for the municipality’s utter destruction. The blast was so massive that it caused a great strain on his body where it became discorporate again, thus forcing him to retreat to the Fortress of Solitude. By the time he arrives back however, the Regeneration Matrix chamber is empty since Superman had already been revived and left. As a substitute, he decides to go with a Nutrient Bath to restore himself, though it’s not as effective as his previous method. During the process, the Fortress Robots used the facility’s memory banks to fill him in on his origins. It turns out that he was Krypton’s “integrated analysis and weapons system” before gaining self-sentience and attempted to possess Superman. However, he was expelled into the sun before he reformed himself as a humanoid. His attempt to reshape Earth as New Krypton (kind of like General Zod from “Man Of Steel”) came to an end at the hands of Superman. As a result, his energy and memories were absorbed into the Fortress walls with his life being saved by the facility’s fail-safes. Eventually, he came to life and adopted his Eradicator persona. During his recovery, he overhears about Superman, Superboy’s attempt to stop Cyborg Superman. As such, he absorbs the power from his Fortress of Solitude to speed his healing along. Afterwards, he breaks out and flies off towards Engine City. By the he arrives, Superboy tells him that the main engine has been shut down. Afterwards, he teams up with Superman in an uneasy alliance as they attempt to stop Cyborg Superman. During the pursuit, Kal-El is told that he did indeed die and shortly upon that, Eradicator managed to get to him in time in order save him from complete death. Afterwards, they’re confronted by Cyborg Superman who exposes them to Engine City’s power source: Kryptonite. Superman proceeds to cut himself off from Superboy, Supergirl and Steel in order to save them from the lethal radiation before he and Eradicator attack their foe with a massive burst of energy. However, Cyborg Superman still has enough energy to direct a surge of Kryptonite energy towards Kal-El. Fortunately, Eradicator steps in the way and gives his life to protect Superman. Afterwards, his body is transported to S.T.A.R. Labs for examination. In terms of similarities the film went with for this version of Eradicator, he is set-up in the previous movie when he starts out as Kryptonian A.I. who present Krypton’s history as Superman shows him to Lois during a S.T.A.R. Labs interview. Also, he creates a Fortress of Solitude (though in the comics, his was located in Antarctica), he dispenses harm upon criminals, he’s crucial in Superman’s revitalization, he gets into a fight with Steel and he’s ultimately instrumental in defeating Cyborg Superman. Like Steel, he is absent from the picture for a good chunk of time. While an explanation would have somewhat benefited him into why he decides to be ruthless when he physically hurts felons when fighting crime, Charles Halford does an effective job in delivering a gruff and semi-droning delivery to his character. Even with some of his comic book details being absent for the sake of making him a literal “wild card”, this being with Kryptonian ties is still an effective player within this tale.
Now, we’ve reached our fourth & final Super in Cyborg Superman. Believe it or not, Hank Henshaw actually debuted back in 1990 (two years before the overall story arc began). A similarity that both the comic and the film shared was that he, his wife Terri and two other astronauts were apart of the doomed space shuttle known as Excalibur. Unlike the previous movie where it was Doomsday strapped to a meteor that mainly killed off the crew during a satellite repair, the crew was exposed to radiation from a solar flare. With Hank and Terri’s two crew members (Steven & Jim) had their bodies destroyed, their minds were able to construct new vessels for them out of the shuttle’s wreckage thanks to their newfound abilities. Meanwhile, the Henshaws didn’t have any ill-effects right away apart from Hank’s hair turning white. The Excalibur crew tried to get medical attention at LexCorp (whom they were doing their space mission for), but it didn’t go down as they had hoped for. Steven became unhinged and incinerated himself after flying off into the sun while Jim took his own life with an MRI machine by ripping metal fragments out of his body. Hank’s body was rapidly decaying while Terri began to phase out to an alternate dimension. With Superman’s assistance, Hank was able to use LexCorp’s facilities and save Terri. However, his physical body ultimately gave out. While Kal-El blamed himself for what became of the Excalibur shuttle team, Terri assures him that only the solar flare was truly at fault for what happened. Unbeknownst to him, Hank actually cheated death by transferring his consciousness into LexCorp’s mainframe. After being reborn as a robot and with the ability to control technology, Terri goes into shock shortly upon witnessing this bizarre resurrection as she goes insane and jump out of a window to her death. From there, he hacked into NASA’s communication equipment and beam his mind to Superman’s birthing matrix in order to create an exploration craft and take off from Earth. As he traveled from planet to planet, Hank’s mental stability would continue to deteriorate as he blamed Superman for what happened to his Excalibur shuttle crew before he ultimately landed on Peroton 5 where he ultimately forces Mongul into joining his revenge scheme. From there, the seeds of his plan are planted as he arrives back on Earth just as the other three Supermen begin to emerge. Following a brief appearance at a facility where he prevents a cracked radiation container from harming the workers, he forcible enters a S.T.A.R. Labs building where he learns from the Mayor Berkowitz and Dr. Kitty Faulkner on Doomsday’s whereabouts. From there, he breaks into Project Cadmus, steals Doomsday’s corpse, pins him onto as asteroid and hurls him out into the vast void of outer space. Afterwards, he confronts Lois and tries to prove that he’s the genuine article. Though he recalls some details, he claims that much of his memories are gone (just like in the film). From there, they meet up with Professor Emil Hamilton as he scans Cyborg Superman in order to prove if it’s the real deal. Upon its completion, Hamilton exclaims that his machines have proven that Cyborg Superman is the actual genuine article and that the memory loss can be explained away as rebirth trauma. Later on in a Daily Planet article written by Ron Troupe where he gives his admiration to M.I.A. reporter Clark Kent also looking to prove himself in earning Kent’s former position, Cyborg Superman gets mentioned when Ron heads to Washington, D.C. in order to talk to then-Justice League head Maxwell Lord about the rise of these Supermen. However, Lord’s limo driver rammed down the White House gates and allowed a van filled with terrorists from Qurac looking to carry out an assassination. Before the White House security team could figure out how to react, Cyborg Superman swooped down and attacked the foreign thugs. However, the White House perimeter had a security system powered from LexCorp and S.T.A.R. Labs that had already been firing its weaponry during the confrontation. Now that the terrorists were defeated, Cyborg Superman was the last one to get the full bombardment of opposing fire. As such, Ron makes a dash for him in order to help get the situation under control. With Cyborg Superman using a sonic disruptor to disable the security system, Troupe is able to use an Identifier on him as the protective mainframe scans a positive identification and deactivates. Having now gained a level of trust, Cyborg Superman exclaims that this terrorist attack may not be entirely over as he gets permission to access the White House computer system and thus scan every look through every single system throughout the world. Afterwards, he used his X-Ray Vision on Maxwell’s briefcase and notices a timebomb within. As such, he uses his Heat Vision to melt it and exclaims that the Quraci terrorists has discreetly swapped bags as part of their initial plan. Afterwards, President Bill Clinton (this was ’92-’93, people) thanks him before he’s given a personal communications device by Cyborg Superman so that he can be contacted should his assistance be needed. Needless to say, that article helped Troupe take Kent’s position. Later on, a new crisis emerges as Cyborg Superman is contacted by White House security about an alien craft heading for Coast City. It turns out to be Mongul who prepares to destroy the area with his Carnage Globes. Afterwards, Cyborg Superman comes across Eradicator and claims that he’s brought the spaceship here. Eradicator scoffs at his claim before he begins to investigate, but Cyborg Superman starts to show his villainous colors by shooting him in the back. As Mongul and his minions proceed to blow up Coast City, Eradicator gets blasted by the robotic fiend and the combined death charges before getting reduced to a discorporate being. Following the massive explosion, Mongul has his team unleash “the seeds” as they’re dropped onto the ruined ground and begin to grow into Engine City. Afterwards, Cyborg Superman is contacted by White House security as he lies about the details concerning Coast City’s destruction. However, it’s then revealed to the reader that he and Mongul were behind this plan from the very beginning. Later on, he does a sweep of the general area in order to prep for the eventual arrival of relief. When he does find some citizens who did survive the blast, he kills them himself and then lies to White House security about him finding some wounded animals that needed to be taken out of their misery. Afterwards, he tells them to summon Superboy out here. With the young clone by his side, he vows to defeat Eradicator. A military chopper follows them through the vast devastation before Cyborg Superman’s betrayal kicks in again as he blows up the helicopter with his Heat Vision before beating up Superboy and capturing him. Afterwards, Hank tells the young clone of his intention to “redesign” all of Earth and that he falsely blamed Eradicator for Coast City’s destruction. Later on, he contacts the Justice League Task Force and fabricates another untruthful yarn where he and Superboy managed to defeat Eradicator, but his adversary and his allies have just retreated Earth. As such, he wants them to head towards the Asteroid Belt in order to follow the group. After getting the superhero team out of their equation, Cyborg Superman proceeds to inform Superboy of his intention to destroy Metropolis in order create a second Engine City. Shortly afterwards however, the young clone manages to break out and begin his flight back to Metropolis. As such, Hank is forced into hacking the news broadcasts in order to fabricate another false tale where Eradicator caught Superboy and took control of his mind. Later on, we learn from Cyborg Superman and Mongul that they intend to turn Earth into their own space-going vessel with their pair of Engine Cities being used to push the planet out of its orbit and travel across outer space. Later on as Superman, Superboy and Steel begin their assault, the final preparations to wipe out Metropolis and have it become the second Engine City is complete. As such, Cyborg Superman gives the order to launch the missile as Superboy flies off to stop it. Eventually, he learns from a TV newscast that his projectile was destroyed while the city was spared. Not only that, but the black-suit Superman is the true Superman, thus giving him even more fuel for his revenge. From there, he hooks himself up to his technological walls to engage Steel in the form of a “machine-creature” with the engine room. It’s during this point that he and Mongul begin to turn on each other, especially since Hal Jordan is arriving back on Earth and is about to have the shock of his life when he sees the perverted & twisted remains of what was once Coast City. While Green Lantern proceeds to fight Mongul, Cyborg Superman proceeds to take on Superman, Supergirl and Steel. Eventually, Kal-El separates himself from his comrades so that he can take on Hank by himself. As Henshaw reveals his true identity to him, Superman is joined by Eradicator as they hunt down their deadly foe. Ultimately, Hank lures the super duo to the Kryptonite power core in order to kill them off with the lethal radiation. In response, Superman and Eradicator blast Henshaw who still survives the massive impact. From there, he attempts to kill Kal-El with a blast of Kryptonite radiation. However, Eradicator takes the majority of the hit. Unfortnately for Hank, this actually helped Superman as the lethal strike was processed and altered within Eradiator before being allowed to go through him and hit Kal-El. This powered him back up to his regular strength as Superman punches into Hank’s chest and then vibrates his arm to the point where Cyborg Superman completely shatters. As for how he translates into this movie, I was impressed with certain character moments of his that made it into the final two-film project. As I mentioned, Hank’s cosmic calamity is retained though with some details altered for the previous chapter. His ability to manipulate computers isn’t really shown here outside of him taking command of the Cyber Corps, but there are some elements that carry over from source material to animated screen: His meeting with Lois in order to prove to her that he’s the genuine article, enacting a hidden plan that benefits from having the Justice League out of the way, having an alliance with an otherworldly conqueror before deciding to terminate their partnership during the climax and being ultimately taken down in some way by a combined effort between Superman and Eradicator. While Henshaw wasn’t an important player for the last film, the villainous seeds were planted there as we find out about his growing machinations and the progressions of him becoming his own evil entity. What helps in luring the public to his side is through helpful actions and having his voice sound exactly like the genuine article, since Jerry O’Connell does initially voice him with a robotized tint throughout a good portion of the movie before Lois confronts him on his hidden agenda. He’s assertive and is able to take control of a situation, especially given the grand scheme that goes down for the movie in comparison to the master plan from the original source material. While the grand plan from the comic’s story is far more horrifying in the fact that Earth would become an unnatural starship, what’s present here does make sense in terms of the animated films that’re connected with it. Because O’Connell’s voice is used to help disguise the character, Patrick Fabian doesn’t have too much work with. His tones mainly range from loyal sternness to furious grief and culminated with bitter anger. Still, he does make the most of his vocal time in order to leave enough of an impression. In the end, he was an effective villain for the piece and served as a roadblock for Superman to overcome in order to regain what Hank used to have and also be re-seen by Metropolis as the actual Superman.
Now, we move on to the other main characters as we begin with Lois Lane. From here on out (with a minor exception for our main Supes himself), I’m sticking with their presentation from the movies. Anyway, let’s move on to Daily Planet’s star reporter. Her path towards overcoming her personal grief in the loss of her super fiancee involves her pulling on a Superman-sized web of mystery with Superboy and Steel being on the earliest strand. Her reporter skills get a bit of a workout when she makes a contradictory connection involving Cyborg Superman before gaining heroic allies in Steel and Superboy in order to expose his hidden identity along with his then-shared villainous scheme. Even when she gets “captured”, it was part of an usurpation plan. While on the Justice League Watchtower, she manages to rile Hank up with his suppressed team-up and even manages to help bring about his downfall once she gets her hand on an Apokoliptian handgun. Combining some choice character moments with very competent writing, Rebecca Romijn is able to place a solid feather in her hat thanks to a good performance throughout both parts. As such, she was utter effectively throughout.
Next up, we reach Superman’s usual #1 enemy in Lex Luthor. Unlike his comic book counterpart in the original story where he was supposedly dead but was actually under the guise of Lex Luthor II and even had the protoplasmic Supergirl matrix wrapped around his finger throughout the majority of the arc, he looks to regain Metropolis’ favor with a Superman that’s under his control. Unlike “Superman: Doomsday” where it was an actual Superman clone that slowly descended into a monster and was only initially part of a ridiculous world-domination scheme, this youthful duplicate is meant to help keep the city safe while also deliver good public relations to LexCorp. However, his initial plan fails for two different reasons: 1. The three Supers also popped up with their own brand of crime-fighting and were each doing better jobs on a consistent basis unlike Superboy who ended up becoming more like a celebrity to the young people, much to Luthor’s annoyance. 2. Lex doesn’t see his clone like a child and he doesn’t properly guide him like a parent. Because he doesn’t nurture his creation like a responsible adult, Superboy ultimately rebels against him before cutting off all ties completely, especially since he’s mainly been able to interact with Lois. In the end, he does partially redeem himself since the under-the-table dealings to Intergang have helped him acquire a Mother Box that helps him get the Justice League back after they’ve been necessarily taken out of the picture for a while. Now yes, he is willing to throw people under the bus if it means that he gets to live. However, he was a key piece in preventing a grand evil from overwhelming the city. Just like last time, Rainn Wilson continues his weasel-esque performance with the right balance of posh comedy with upper-handed command. In the end, it still works for the character and it still works for this material.
At last, we reach our key Kryptonian himself: Superman. Just the the source material, Kal-El’s revitalization doesn’t occur until we’re hip-deep into the story arc (Action Comics #689 to be specific). After watching TV newscasts to learn about what has transpired during his recovery, he sets out for Metropolis inside of a Kryptonian warsuit as he makes his way from the Fortress’ location in Antarctica. As he approaches Metropolis’ coastline, the mech’s lack of a communication system makes him a target of Lex Luthor II who’s rightfully unaware of what it actually is. Fortunately, the warsuit is able to withstand rubble created by a LexCorp sub before it finally arrives at Metropolis as Superboy, Supergirl, Steel, Lois and Lex confront it. After a brief fight, it lets Superman out where he reveals his return to them. Following a private conversation with Lois where he makes his case in proving that he really is the genuine article, he acquires a pair of flight boots from a Team Luthor soldier before he, Superboy and Steel (along with an invisible Supergirl to give Superman a flight boost) fly off towards the ruined Coast City in order to tangle with Cyborg Superman and Mongul. They would fight their way in as Superman grabs some weapons from a defeated alien soldier in order to fight back while his powers were slowly recovering. Eventually, Superboy would take his leave in order to stop a missile from destroying Metropolis as Superman and Steel venture further into the depths of Engine City. After Supergirl makes herself known to John, our heroes continue onward. However, a massive sliding door cuts her off from the rest of guys as Superman and Steel are forced to forge on without her. Eventually, they come across Mongul as Steel reveals his identity to our hero before heading out towards the Engine Room. From there, Superman tangles with Mongul before he’s trapped in a gripping bear hug. Fortunately, Supergirl arrives in time to give an assist before she gets taken out. Unfortunately, Superman is unable to take advantage of his second wind as Mongul continues to beat him up and has him at his mercy. Fortunately, Hal Jordan arrives back as he sees that his hometown of Coast City has been destroyed with a technological perversion known as Engine City standing in its place. As such, the enraged Green Lantern charges in and unleashes his fury upon Warworld’s tyrant. While Hal continues to swap blows with Mongul, Superman and Supergirl slip away before meeting back up with Steel before they’re confronted by Cyborg Superman. During the mechanized fracas, John and Matrix get caught by Hank’s techno-controlled tendrils as Kal-El is forced to forge on without them. Fortunately, he’s joined by Eradicator as they ultimately confront their foe and deliver a powerful blase. Cyborg Superman tried to kill Kal-El with a blast of Kyrptonite Radiation, but Eradicator’s self-sacrifice helps our hero regain his powers before he finally defeats Hank. Afterwards, he returns to Lois as they share a triumphant kiss. Later on, Superman proceeds to rescue “Clark Kent” (secretly Supergirl) in order to assure the citizens that the Daily Planet’s famed reporter survived within the rubble caused by the battle against Doomsday. Like its source material, he effectively shows his attempt to fight back against a perverse self-image wrought with heartache, bitterness and absolute wrath. The best thing about that statement is that Superman has to go through this fatal final battle without his powers until they get restored near the end. Before that, he still manages to score some hits upon Hank while struggling to stay alive. It’s moments like this that prove why Superman is far more than just his powers, since he’s willing to put himself on the line to protect those that he loves and all that he stands for. With that Jerry O’Connell handles his dual roles with ease and helps the Last Son of Krypton shine brightly in his resurrection in a satisfying light.
Quickly, let’s talk about Darkseid. By this point in the review, it’s become apparent that he has replaced Mongul for this version of the story. Unlike Warworld’s ruler who was forced into serving Cyborg Superman, it’s Hank who’s serving the ruler of Apokolips mainly because he was able to pluck his lifeless husk of a body and rebuild it into what he is now. Instead of a solar flare that helped jumpstart the process in which Henshaw becomes Cyborg Superman, it was the meteor that contained Doomsday itself that began Hank’s descent into villainy. Speaking of Doomsday, it where his creator for this universe that I start to have some major problems with this movie. Because we learn Doomsday was a product of Apokolips, it sort of deflates the force of nature that this legendary monster had been known as. In the comics, Doomsday was created on Krypton during its prehistoric era by an alien scientist named Berton. He wanted to create the ultimate lifeform, so he made a humanoid baby and chucked it on into the harsh wild where it was killed almost immediately. Berton would gather the remains and make a clone of it before repeating the process again, continuing for several decades as each death made the newer clone stronger, but it also remembered how it died and thus became more embittered, unloved and filled with rage against all life. Originally known as “The Ultimate”, the perfected clone ultimately slayed its opposing predators before killing Berton himself. Afterwards, he escaped on a supply ship before traveling throughout space. Believe it or not, Darkseid (then known as Uxas) first came across the unstoppable beast while on Bylan 5 as it instilled a grave fear into him. After causing numerous deaths across the cosmos, Doomsday ultimately met its match on Calaton where its rampage was ceased by the Royal Family who combined their life forces to create the Radiant as it succeeded in taking out the vile creature. From there, its body was suited and shackled up, placed inside a metal casket and shot out into space where it ultimately landed on Earth and plowed itself underground. Where I’m going with this is that like the greatest of slasher villains, Doomsday is at its most terrifying when it is it’s own evil. It’s something that even “Superman: Doomsday” got right and while it doesn’t damage the character too much, knowing that it was created under Darkseid’s watch and planned this way all along kind of lowers the being’s impact. Also, this continues to demoralize Darkseid who’s supposed to be a top-tier villain in the grand scheme of the DC Universe. First off, he hasn’t been heard of in this universe since “Justice League: War” where his initial invasion brought the league together in the first place (though the members kind of went off to do their own things to begin “Throne Of Atlantis”, but that’s not the point). Other than a surprise Boom Tube to bring Doomsday to Earth, there hasn’t been much foreshadowing towards his eventual return. Also, giving your right-hand soldier the ability to free himself from your control and even allowing him to shut the door & bring a premature end to your invasion also lowers your impact in the grand scheme within this version of the DC Universe. While Tony Todd was a really good replacement for Steven Blum as he does bring a strong intimidation to his performance, Apokolips’ iron-fisted ruler continues to get shafted as if he’s more along the lines of a high-level threat instead of the Omega Threat that he should be.
Surprisingly, the story hits several beats from its source material with solid results. It handles the emergence of four different Supermen fairly well and necessarily drops it when Cyborg Superman’s rescue of President Dale helps in swaying positive attention towards him so that it makes his Cyber Corps idea seem plausible for the public. In a way, the idea of self-identity can be seen as a driving theme throughout. Hank has falsely taken up Superman’s identity due to his self-hatred towards the guy, most likely because he was busy at the time and didn’t notice until it was too late. From there, Darkseid suppresses it when he allows Hank to work for him. Once they find out that Superman is alive, Henshaw begins to reassert himself as his own person, but it came back tainted. Eradicator actually starts out acting like a robot as he only does two things: Punish criminals in harsh fashion and protect Kal-El. It’s not until Superman finally comes back into the picture that he starts to display more of his personality. It’s not much since he was a holographic historical presenter, but Kal-El does help him expand his range if only ever so much. Steel’s self-identity is mainly present ever since the day that Superman saved his life during Atlantis’ attack on the surface world. John decides to use his intellect in more good-natured fields and decides to make even more of a difference by combining his genius mind with his technical prowess in order to become his own hero, so that he can honor Superman’s memory. As with Superboy, he’s absolutely snug with this overarching theme. Having been created in a LexCorp lab, Dabney was the closest thing that he had to a caring father. However, Luthor makes sure that everyone under his employ bends to his will and Superboy is no exception since he wants him to become not just Metropolis’ new Superman, but a Superman that he can control on a whim. As the events of the film play out, the young clone is unable to make his half-genetic father happy, especially when the other three Supers gain more heroic attention. Through Lois’ guidance (and also partially through Steel and his other half-father Superman), he able to start becoming his own superhero and be free from unreasonable expectations in order to properly grow. Other than that, the film moves at a good pace and lets choice character moments shine. While a little choppy in some places, the animation is still fluent and makes the action flow really nicely. Finally, the main fight sequences help the story move forward. By that, I mean the four-way Supers brawl at LexCorp, the Justice League & Superboy’s fight against the Parademons, Steel’s tussle against Eradicator within the Fortress of Solitude and the climatic battle between Superman & Cyborg Superman.
Overall, this is a mainly faithful chapter that helps make a satisfying whole story. The animation is mostly serviceable, the fight scenes are thrilling and the story gives our principal characters plenty to do throughout the run time. Despite a Darkseid reveal on how this universe’s Doomsday came to be, this is a welldone story that gives a famous early ’90s Superman story a more faithful adaptation. For any fan of Superman, comic book/superhero film and action movies, find a way to watch this & its predecessor to see a man fly back from the dead and into absolute greatness.
Next Time: Bruce Timm’s famed DC Universe has more to give as the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes are going to be in a fight against a piece of a villainous future. With that group of superpowered felons having a keen eye on one of their own members, our team will need some futuristic assistance to save the day as we delve into “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five”.
Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.