May 31, 2024

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My Adventures with Superman 2×01 – 2×02 Review – Love and Secrets

The first season of My Adventures with Superman surprised us with a unique, bright take on the Man of Steel that emphasized the inner experience of Clark learning to be Superman. The show remixed his origin story to focus on his evolution as a hero. He might be a fully-grown Clark Kent, but as Superman, he has a lot to learn about himself, his powers, and where he came from. Season 1 was such a joy that it feels like My Adventures with Superman Season 2 has a tall building to leap over to equal it.

“More Things in Heaven and Earth” and
“Adventures with My Girlfriend”

As the title suggests, Lois is an integral character in this version of Superman. While the show isn’t told entirely from a first-person point of view, this is to some degree Superman’s story as told by Lois, and the eighty-five-years-running romance between the two figures heavily into this story.

The show’s second season, then, opens on one of the biggest days for a budding romance in the Western (especially American) world: Valentine’s Day.

Clark has a simple, personal idea for how to show Lois he cares about her. Everyone around him has a much bigger, more complex idea. But as is always the case, the world has other ideas on how Superman should spend February 14th, and the trio of Clark, Lois, and Jimmy end up on a plane to the Arctic to seek out a missing meteorite. If anything about this show reminds us it’s in a fantasy world, it’s not a handsome flying alien, it’s a newspaper with the budget to send three young reporters to the Arctic on a personal jet. With no pilot.

A big part of Clark’s journey is figuring out how to be Superman without losing Clark–to be true to himself. This episode puts the two at odds with each other, to some degree. He wants to spend time with Lois, but to explore who he is, he has to leave her behind, in a potentially dicey situation, trusting that she can handle herself despite how rash she can be in approaching risky situations.

Episode 2, meanwhile, keeps things within the bounds of Metropolis while expanding Superman’s world and the threats around him. After a young boy asks Clark to ask Superman to find his father, he and Lois sneak into Styrker Prison, only to find Task Force X experimenting on prisoners in a secret area below the facility. Here, Amanda Waller–truly one of DC’s greatest villains at this point–is holding prisoner not just truly dangerous people like Ivo, still trapped in his Parasite armor, but also Lois’ father, General Lane, who hasn’t quite accepted the reality of Task Force X and the situation he’s in.

These feel like a good way to start the season. We’re catching up with Clark and his friends, and a little bit of time has passed since we last met them–let’s find out what everyone in Superman’s world is up to!

The first episode does a great job of putting us in Clark’s head. This Clark is the closest I’ve seen to Reeves’ version of the character. He’s gentle almost to a fault, but when it comes to protecting people he’ll run toward danger at full speed. He’s gentle with no one more than Lois, someone who he respects and loves, and who he wants to feel loved and respected. He doesn’t want to take her agency away from her but also knows that there are a lot of things that can hurt her that don’t even register for him.

Meanwhile, Clark also has an encounter with the hologram of his birth father, Jor-El. This scene is important–Supes’ whole journey so far in this series has been one of self-discovery, and this could’ve easily turned into a lore dump. Even in the beloved Christopher Reeves Superman film, Clark goes into the Fortress of Solitude and comes out as Superman, fully formed, having spent months learning about who he is and what he’s capable of.

Here, Clark’s encounter with his father is just long enough for him to find out who his parents were why he’s on Earth, and that he is on the right track as far as Jor-El is concerned. Handling this encounter this way lets the show resolve the question of “where did I come from” without also chiseling who Superman will be in stone.

The second episode, meanwhile, is much more external. One of my favorite moments comes when Superman and Lois decide to enter Stryker Prison. Lois has an adorable but ill-conceived plan that feels less like Superman and more like Looney Tunes. Instead, Superman tells Lois to hold on and then crashes through a wall into a cell. Superman is often portrayed as being lawful to a fault, in a way that lets people take advantage of him. This Superman is willing to break the law to do the right thing. He sees the forest for the trees and knows that exposing the truth behind whatever is going on in the depths of the prison is ultimately the greater good.

One nitpick I have during this sequence is that Lois calls him Clark at least once. A prison is inherently under heavy surveillance. Are we not doing the code names thing anymore?

This episode has two ideas at its core, though, both adjacent to General Lane. General Lane has long been the leader of his organization, but he was dethroned by Amanda Waller, who sees him as being weak in the face of an alien threat. Lane is struggling with this shift in power, overconfidently believing that this is a temporary thing that he can talk his way out of, regaining both his position and Waller’s loyalty. We all know Waller doesn’t listen to anyone, though, so Lane has to begin learning that the part of the government he worked in for so long doesn’t work quite like he thought.

This infiltration is a triple-whammy, though. In addition to saving Lois’ dad and finding out what happened to the kid’s father, Superman knows that a beacon he can use to find Kara Zor-El, his cousin, better known as Supergirl, is in there. Clark knows that there isn’t a Kryptonian army coming, but when he brings up the idea of his cousin, Lois immediately assumes that Kara could be dangerous. But when it comes to Lois, Clark is so timid that he’ll take any excuse to delay the conversation. The two ultimately make up, but not enough time is given to the way Lois kind of steamrolls him with an assumption that has no truth to it.

Overall, though, these episodes set up the dynamics of the season pretty well; Clark’s relationships with Lois, her father, and his origin will take center stage, with Task Force X and Supergirl–who appears in some of the show’s key art–will complicate things. I continue to be impressed with the showrunners and writers in charge of the current television incarnations of Superman. I’m excited to see what James Gunn has in store with his Superman film, but whether I enjoy it or not, I still have Superman & Lois this fall and My Adventures with Superman right now.