Nous sommes en 1988 et Superman fête ses 50 ans. Ce sera suffisant pour que DC décide de relancer Superman à la télévision.
Ruby-Spears Enterprises, qui a déjà produit des dessins-animés sur Scooby-Doo, Mister T, Alvin et les Chipmunks ou encore Punky Brewster ou Police Academy s’occupe dont de cette adaptation.
Diffusée à partir du 17 septembre 1988 sur CBS dans la case du samedi matin. D’un format de 30 minutes (22 minutes sans les pubs), la série se découpe en deux segments, le premier relate les aventures de Superman tandis qu’un second raconte la jeunesse de Clark depuis son arrivée sur Terre jusqu’à ses débuts en Superman. L’idée de ce segment intitulé Superman’s Family Album venait de la resposnable du département jeunesse de la chaine.
L’un des responsables des histoires était Marv Wolfman qui avait travaillé avec John Byrne sur le reboot de Superman en 1986 en format comics. Wolfman prit la décision de changer Lex Luthor en le transformant en criminel scientifique plutôt qu’en industriel millionnaire. Gil Kane, qui travaillait pour DC Comics s’est occupé du design des personnages.
La série ne dura qu’une petite saison dû à des audiences basses et un coût de production (surtout le coût de la licence Superman) élevé.
[tabgroup][tab title=Critique]Superman par Ruby-Spears est quasiment l’adaptation la plus réussie en terme de dessins. On retrouve le style des animés de cette époque où le design se rapprochait d’un style très réaliste. Loin du style rétro des Fleischer, plus technique que les Filmation et mieux détaillé que les Bruce Timm, Superman est un dessin-animé plutôt bon ! On le ressent dès le générique qui reprend le thème de John Williams avec la scène de l’explosion de Krypton. La couleur, l’animation et le trait rendent vraiment bien et on est agréablement surpris. Il est vrai qu’après les Super Friends ou le dessin animé de Filmation, on était en pleine progression graphique et technique.
Niveau scénario, il ne faut pas s’attendre à du lourd comme dans Superman : The Animated Series, ici les trous béants du script se ressentent vraiment, les personnages ou les situations sont grotesques ou incohérents mais il y a une résolution d ‘intrigues quelque fois étonnamment intelligente. En somme, de bonnes idées mais un scénario aux raccourcis douteux et une réalisation et un dessin réussis font de ce dessin-animé une petite réussite.
Le segment de fin intitulé Family Album est très sympathique et plutôt orienté humour avec le jeune Clark encore enfant voir bébé qui utilise ses pouvoirs pour par exemple ramener un lion dans sa chambre quand il est à l’orphelinat ou encore tout casser dans un supermarché… Ca reste bon enfant mais sympathique.
Superman se paye la part du lion laissant Clark apparaître au tout début avant qu’une catastrophe arrive. Il est le cliché du superhéros parfait à la voix puissante et imposante quand Lois reste la journaliste curieuse et intrépide amoureuse de lui. Jimmy est la caricature même du Jimmy de l’époque en jeune rouquin fougueux.
Lex Luthor n’est plus un magnat mais un scientifique qui veut conquérir le monde. Tout est donc prétexte à le voir tenter de prendre le contrôle de tout et de provoquer des catastrophes.[/tab]
Résumés en anglais des épisodes
- Destroy the Defendroids – Lex Luthor puts into place a force of robots, called the Defendroids, to protect Metropolis in an effort to make Superman redundant. Playing along, Superman announces his retirement, allowing Luthor to continue is devious plan to use his Defendroids to steel a large shipment of gold being hauled by train. With Lois’s help, Superman stops the robots, but not before Luthor has successfully distanced himself from the altercation with an excuse to the Mayor.(The Adoption) – Martha and Jonathan Kent discover a small infant in a crashed rocketship, take the baby boy to an orphanage where they try to adopt him. However there is a waiting line of couples looking to adopt. Although each couple quickly change their mind thanks to pranks played upon them by the baby. He clearly wants to be adopted by only Martha and Jonathan Kent.
- Fugitive From Space – STAR Labs discovers an alien space craft that appears to have crashed many years ago. Called to help document the find, Lois, Clark and Jimmy join the STAR Labs scientists as they venture inside the craft. Once inside they discover to alien lifeforms in suspended animation. Jimmy accidentally knocks in to a button that awakens them. One is a criminal intent on taking over the earth, the other an intergalactic police officer. But which is which? Superman must work it all out while battling giant beasts planted by one of the two aliens.(The Supermarket) – Martha Kent takes young Clark on their first shopping trip together. She has a hard time instructing Clark not to use any of his superpowers while in public.
- By the Skin of the Dragon’s Teeth – Having bought the Great Wall of China, Lex Luthor invites the Daily Planet staff to an exclusive interview, all as a plan to use Superman’s powers towards his own ends. Once he gets Lois, Jimmy, Clark and a Chinese governmental representative inside his excavation site beneath the Great Wall, Lex creates a cave-in which he knows will bring Superman to their rescue. To save them all, Superman tunnels through the rock walls and accidentally discovers the ancient stolen treasure of the Dragon King. Luthor steals the jewelled tooth from a stone Dragon, bringing it magically to life. In order to stop the Dragon, Luthor (at Superman’s insistance) must become an unwilling hero.(At the Babysitter’s) – Martha and Jonathan leave Clark with a babysitter for an evening. When told he has ten minutes before bed time Clark uses his heat-vision to stop the clock. Easily carries the TV set into his bedroom when he finally is taken to bed, and then flies on top of the refridgerator for the cookie jar when he gets hungry.
- Cybron Strikes – As Superman and Lois celebrate her birthday in the clouds, a giant metallic pyramid hurtles towards them from above. Catching the structure, Superman is confronted by an unfriendly cyborg calling himself Cybron, who turns himself into pure energy and disappears into the electrical wires. The pyramid is taken to a government facility where Jimmy sneaks in to take photos. Cybron returns and converts Jimmy, Lois and all the army base into slave robots. Lois and Jimmy discover Clark is Superman, but he takes them with him to STAR Labs where he devises a plan to trap Cybron inside a super-conductor. Once captured, Superman reverts everyone back to normal, making sure to wipe clean Lois and Jimmy’s memory of his secret identity.(The First Day of School) – Clark attends him first day at school, where he meets Lana Lang. Another boy accidentally lets loose the class guinnea pig and blames it on Clark. Not happy with being in the teacher’s bad books, Clark continually attempts to retrieve the pet (getting in trouble again), until he finally succeeds.
- The Big Scoop – Dr. Glozer has invented a machine he calls the Chronotron, that can look one hour into the future. Reading Clark’s article in the Daily Planet, Lex Luthor decides he wants the Chronotron for himself. He sets his goons out to the Kent farm where Clark, Lois, Jimmy and Dr. Glozer are having dinner together. The goons kidnap the Kents and Dr. Glozer. Lex’s men steal the Chronotron, while Lex keeps Superman busy saving Jonathan and Martha Kent from a car crash. Toying with the Chronotron, Lex stumbles upon Clark changing into Superman one hour in the future. Lex kidnaps Lois and Clark and uses a planned train disaster to try to force Clark into revealing he’s really Superman, but Clark uses his heat-vision to burst a steam pipe, hiding his disappearance and return from saving the train. Allowing them to leave, Lex uses the Chronotron to time the theft of rocket fuel to fuel his missile to happen at the same time as a fire which Superman is at. Lex then kidnaps Clark to be on live TV at the same time as the missile launch… however « Clark » is really Jonathan Kent in disguise, while the real Clark disables the missile as Superman. Lois’s meddling destroys the Chronotron, leaving no proof of Lex’s involvement.(Overnight with the Scouts) – Camping out in the woods, Clark and his Scouts friends are treated to a ghost story which sets their imaginations running wild. When Clark hears noises in the night, the boys go exploring a find nothing more than the usual woodland nightlife.
- Triple-Play – The Prankster forces Superman to play macabre baseball games against the kidnapped World Series teams.(The Circus) – Clark accidentally becomes a part of his first circus.
- The Hunter – Holidaying with his parent’s Clark is called off time and time again to help out as Superman. From the Phantom Zone, General Zod and his companions successfully create a creature they call The Hunter which comes to Metropolis to destroy Superman. Able to convert itself into any substance it touches, the Hunter converts itself into steel, breaks into the Daily Planet and captures Lois Lane in order to attract Superman. After battling Superman, the creature retreats and is introduced to Kryptonite by General Zod. The Hunter seeks out Lex Luthor, touches his piece of Kryptonite and converts his whole body into the green glowing rock. Another confrontation with Superman sees the Hunter supposedly kill the Man of Steel. However Superman, having given Lois a particular device, had played dead by putting himself into a type of suspended animation, which Lois (using the device) is able to re-awaken him from. Superman destroys the Hunter and uses a Phantom Zone projector to ensure General Zod stays in the Phantom Zone.(Little Runaway) – Unhappy with having to clean out the barn without his superpowers, and miss out on a movie he’d wanted to see. Young Clark decides to runaway from home. When a dog steals his packed lunch, Clark’s day goes from bad to worse, and he finally realises that home isn’t so bad afterall.
- Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time – Superman teams up with Wonder Woman to stop the Syrene from getting the Globe Of Darkness.(The Birthday Party) – An unexpected surprise disrupts Clark’s birthday party.
- Bonechill – Teenagers looking for decorations for their school dance are scared off by book store owner Chilton Bone. Lois and Jimmy turn up to interview Mr Bone about the Tallisman of Ola, an ancient medallion. Bone chases them off too, before stealing the Tallisman and using its power to turn himself into Bonechill. As Lois, Jimmy and Clark enter, Bonechill brings to life ancient mummies to attack them. Running into an alley, Bonechill is seen by the same teenagers, and decides to do away with them. He brings to life a strange creature to kidnap one of the girls who is riding with Lois in her car. Superman comes to the rescue, so Bonechill goes after the other teenagers, each in turn being rescued by Superman. Turning his attention on Jimmy, Perry and Lois, Bonechill kidnaps them all, endangering their lives to distract Superman to allow him to capture the midnight moonlight to give him more power… Superman however rescues his friends and destroys the Tallisman.(The Driver’s License) – Pa Kent tries to teach Clark how to drive, however Clark has problems hitting barrels Pa has placed as obstacles. When ready, Clark first takes (and quickly) passes the written exam… Passes the eye exam with flying colors… And finally takes the driving test, which he also passes, highly impressing the driving instructor.
- The Beast Beneath These Streets – A part of Metropolis has been buried undisturbed for 100 years. A grand opening involving Superman takes place to unearth « Old Town ». Legend has it that the people of Metropolis 100 years ago paved over the city when a demented doctor called Morpheus used an invention he created to endow himself with the powers of various animals, transforming himself into a man-bat of sorts. The legend turns out to be true when Lois is kidnapped by Morpheus to lure Superman to his machine where he drains Superman of his powers. With Lois’ help, Superman grabs a piece of Kryptonite to use on Morpheus, weakening him and placing him inside his own machine, whereby Superman’s powers are returned to him and the machine destroyed trapping Morpheus inside.(First Date) – Taking the family truck, Clark drives towards Lana’s house for their first date. The truck breaks down and Clark has to use his super powers to fix it. Arriving at Lana’s late, Clark and Lana drive off to a concert for a band called The Mix, only to have Lana’s car door get stuck. Again Clark uses his super powers to remove the door. When the band’s own van breaks down, making them late for their own concert, Clark flies off, fixes their van, and flies back to enjoy the concert with Lana.
- Wild Sharkk – Superman tackles Wildsharkk and the Bermuda Triangle.(To Play or not To Play) – Clark learns he can’t play football.
- Night of the Living Shadows – A shadow in the figure of a man robs a bank in broad daylight, gassing everyone on his way out. Superman is powerless to stop him, as he can’t grab the shadow. The Shadow turns out to be one of Luthor’s henchmen. Luthor himself goes on a little joyride, using the suit to rob a jewelry store. An alarm is raised, and Superman appears on the scene, only to have Luthor slip away from him. Luthor is informed that a person can only stay in the suit for no longer than 2 hours or they’ll stay a shadow forever. This gives him an idea… Recruiting villains to join his Shadow Gang, Luthor is unaware that Lois has infiltrated the gang. Foiling his plans to rob the Mint, Luthor gets away, while Superman captures the rest of the gang.(Graduation) – Clark’s Graduation robe is soiled in a run in with Lana’s pet dog, and then later by some runaway cows. There’s no time to get the robe drycleaned, so he purchases the last one in store… which is way too big for him. Martha stitches it up for him and they head off to the Graduation ceremony, only to realise rain clouds look like spoiling the outdoor event. Clark flies off to blow away the clouds, arriving just in time to receive his graduation certificate.
- The Last Time I Saw Earth – Jimmy and Lois are aboard a space shuttle headed for a Space Station in orbit around Earth. An alien bounty hunter by the name of Starock fires a laser weapon at the shuttle, causing it to spin wildly out of control on a collision course with the Space Station. Superman rescues to the shuttle and spies Starock’s ship nearby. In a brief battle, Superman is flung out of the ship, enabling Starock to kidnapp the shuttle with crew on board, and fly through hyperspace. Superman follows but is rendered unconcious when struck by another of Starock’s weapons. Lois, Jimmy and crew are taken to an alien city where they are fed well… fattened for the killing, as scans prove that earthling’s bodies contain proteins that will render these aliens immortal. Waking and making his way into the alien city, Superman befriends a young wanna-be hero who helps him find Lois and friends. Quickly disposing of Starock and company, Superman flies the shuttle back to Earth.(It’s Superman) – Clark leaves Smallville for Metropolis. His mother gives him a package containing a costume she’s created for Clark from the blankets he was wrapped in when they found him as a baby. While in an job interview with Perry White, Lois bursts in with news of a tank robbing banks. Perry promises Clark he’ll have a job if he can scoop Lois on this story… In the process of getting the story, Clark changes into his costume, saves Lois, stops the robberies and writes the first Daily Planet front page story on Superman![/tab]
DVD disponible en zone 1 avec sous-titres français
Générique de la série