DCAU #151: Distant Thunder

IN THIS ONE... Brainiac is back and making Superman fight robot cats.

CREDITS: Written by Scott McCloud; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Austin.

REVIEW: Not gonna like the A-plot is a little too goofy. Brainiac comes back and builds robot cats that can blow up cars and merge to become a big fight cat-man? A neat idea that doesn't really work with the Kryptonian computer tyrant. And taking Brainiac out of Luthor's computers and into Krypton's memory sphere feels like a move that's gonna be contradicted on the show. But the A-plot isn't where McCould's script shines. It's pretty brilliant everywhere else.

Those memories of Krypton are pretty precious, but the present is always more important than the past, and that's well shown in the story and its subplots. If the choice is between Lois and Krypton, Lois must win, and Superman isn't bluffing about his hostage any more than Brainiac is. In the subplot, Professor Hamilton shows Superman Krypton some 27 light-years from Earth, and it is determined that from our relative place in the galaxy, it's about to explode. Superman watches his planet's destruction from Earth, but the sad moment has a touch of hope, for what lives on from that world, in him. A well-judged, sweet and intimate moment.

I also love McCloud's characterization of Lois Lane - aside from one dumb move trying to interview Brainiac - as a woman too proud to show she cares about Superman, as a person or as a story. She doesn't think he deserves all the headlines, she frowns on bystanders cheering the Man of Steel on (before punching the air herself in a private moment)... It's all an act. She also seems to be too proud to pay her share of the office coffee. Haha.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: It's often been said that Superman is a perpetual 29 years old. This story sets his age in the DCAU at 27.

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - The robot cats seem imported from a totally different story, but the emotional core of this story is right where it needs to be.

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