Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saying Goodbye

The final episode of Superman and The Legion of Superheroes aired today, and it is with mixed emotions we must bid the show farewell. Before we go on, it's only fair and proper to warn you that here we shall discuss that episode and its ending.

There be spoilers within, dear reader: continue at your peril.

The series, as a whole, was often good, rarely great, and more often than not mediocre. I preferred the first season to the second, overall, though both had their ups and downs. Character development was never lacking, but it always felt forced.

The second season centered largely around a fight against Imperiex, here a time-travelling warlord seeking domination over the Universe. On a scale of villains, I'd place him somewhere between Mumra and Skeletor. He didn't hold a candle to Starfinger, who faced off against the Legion of Substitute Heroes during season one. But then, that was by far the best episode of the series, and Starfinger did, in fact, have a different power in every finger, so such a comparison is far from fair.

Imperiex didn't last the season: Brainiac-5, possessed by the original Brianiac, assassinated him in the second to last episode. In addition, it should be noted, Brainiac 5 also offed Superman.

And if that feels like an afterthought here, rest assured it seemed far more peripheral in the actual episode. Superman dies, gets his shiny black coffin from The Death of Superman, and is shot into the sun in a short scene that echoes Spock's departure in The Wrath of Khan. Before any tears have dried, someone realizes Superman is, in fact, merely mostly-dead. Superman's clone takes off like a speeding bullet and picks up the original just as his coffin is burning up in the sun.

A few aspirin and a blood transfusion later, the two Supermen are ready for action, just in time to be beamed into Brainiac-5's head for the epic climax.

Did I mention the homosexual overtones to all this?

Season two opened with Brainiac-5 enjoying a holographically-enhanced Superman fantasy. Yes, our little Brainy is growing up, and lets just say he's more C3PO than R2D2. At the time I found the scene obnoxious and badly scripted, though the final episode mirrored the moment so poignantly, I must now admit it paid off in the end.

I think that the world has progressed far enough to accept a gay Brainiac.

The redemption of Brainiac-5 was likewise successful, managing to close the series without killing him, an impressive feat given what had previously transpired. No blue fairy appeared, not counting the obvious pun, but Brainiac-5, purged of his ancestor's evil, is given what his heart desires.

Well, Superman's already spoken for, so he gets his second choice. Brainiac-5, the little robot with a soul, becomes a real boy. It doesn't really make sense, but it does bridge the robot Brainiac with the humanoid version, and that's good enough for me.

It was a fine closing for a show that was never perfect but always watchable. It never came close to the levels of Justice League, but it can stand shoulder to shoulder with Teen Titans well enough.

Time will show whether Batman: The Brave and the Bold will be able to claim as much.

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