Retro Review – “Superman: The Animated Series” S03E01 “Where There’s Smoke”

Superman Homepage reviewer Marc Lax continues reviewing episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series” for those nostalgic for the 1990s.

Check out his review of the Season 3 episode titled “Where There’s Smoke” in which villain Volcana, using her pyrokinesis, gives Superman a run for his money. Meanwhile a secret organization is tracking Volcana to find out the source of her powers.

3Rating – 3 (out of 5): Volcana an original character created for the series is actually kind of a cool character (no pun intended). Which makes me wonder why she was only sparsely used over the years. The character design is great and voiced by Peri Gilpin is actually kind of Sexy. It makes me wonder why a character like Live Wire also created for the series was more popular and even used in the comics and on the Supergirl series. Live Wire is one of the most obnoxious annoying villains on the show but got better treatment. Maybe she was used for her electric Powers which of course in this series and Justice League could somehow take Superman out. A trope that was ridiculous.

Volcana’s pyrokinesis abilities is used to great effect especially early in the episode where she sets fire to a ship after a robbery. But Clark and Jimmy are on the scene doing a story for the Planet. Clark slips away and becomes Superman just in time. He uses a propeller and the ocean to put out the flames. Smart thinking Clark!

The problem I had with this episode is there’s just too much going on. Superman discovers a school for meta humans where Volcana was sent as kid to learn how to control her abilities. There’s a lot of silly interaction with one of the doctors at the school, as well as secret agents, Volcana’s fence and a few other odds and ends. I would rather have more scenes with Volcana and Superman. She could have divulged her history to Superman which would give him a reason to not only stop her but help her. Instead we’re introduced to mostly uninteresting throwaway characters that take up a lot of the episodes time.

In the end it’s a good episode because of the use of Volcana and her interactions with Superman. Volcana is a wonderful character that could have been used more often. I could see her being the Catwoman to Superman’s Batman. Well maybe not quite like that but you get the point. She’s a powerful sexy character that should have been used more often. Though for a character that was used infrequently I hear she got her own action figure. Go Figure.

Check out the “Superman: The Animated Series – Episode Reviews” Contents page.

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April 3, 2021 8:56 am

Thanks for the review, Marc! I’m excited to get more STAS reviews.

I also thought Volcana was a fun villain. I think she made an appearance on Justice League, but I would’ve been okay with her being used a little more.