DCAU #168: Solar Power

IN THIS ONE... Edward Lytener becomes Luminus, and cuts Superman off from the yellowness of the sun.

CREDITS: Written by Robert Goodman; directed by Kazuhide Tomonaga.

Eddie Lytener from "Target" is back and this time he's got a costumed identity and though we know he can pretty much build anything, he's decided to focus on light. Because your name always refers to your destiny in comics. But the show really needs to work on its villains' motivations. Too many of them simply want to kill Superman, even though they might have started out with something else. Luminus began as a rejected stalker with an ax to grind with Lois, but he completely abandons this in favor of a new target. If at least it had been made clear that Luthor asked him to do this in exchange for resources and liberty, but the Lex thread is woefully underdeveloped. We know he helped Lytener, and he's now practicing archery even as Superman's powers wane under the light of a filtered sun, but the relationship isn't explored, nor does Lex return to look miffed.

And so we're left with yet another combat encounter episode, and while these are usually well scripted, with Superman having to think his way out of unusual situations, they don't really leave that much of an impression. I've never been a fan of surreal sequences in episodic television, and Lytener's holodeck contraption offers various fantasy settings that fail to get a rise from me. Lively environments, but I know they're all fake, so I don't really care. I would like to imagine an episode where Superman's powers are drained and he has to adjust to life as a mortal being before a necessary and desperate fix is required at the end. In other words, the idea has promise, but only if you accept to cut down on the superhero fights.

We spend a lot of time in the wasteland around Metropolis in this episode, and I've got to wonder just what happened. Sea port or not, that seems a very austere location to build a city in, much less see it become a metropolis. In my head canon, the futuristic development of the city by LexCorp destroyed the environment and burned through all the outlying resources some time before Superman came to town. Because it really does look blasted and desolate. Especially under red skies.

IN THE COMICS: There is no equivalent for Luminus in the comics. In his costume, he looks an awful lot like Marvel's Maddrox the Multiple Man, especially when using an army of holograms.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Luminus is a pretty good villain, but I'd sacrifice much of the action if they'd only give me some character development.


American Hawkman said...

I always assumed Luminus was intended to be a Dr. Light without his embarrassing history.

Siskoid said...

It's probably just that they have similar powers (and as later revealed, a creepy motivation). Dr. Light has no real connection to the Man of Steel, after all. I think it was more a case of wanting to do a red sun story and needing a villain to implement it.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"I always assumed Luminus was intended to be a Dr. Light without his embarrassing history."

Me, too.


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