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 “Knight Time” in which after Superman catches Roxy Rocket in Metropolis she mentions that The Batman is missing. Flying to Gotham City to investigate he helps Robin deal with several of Batman’s rouges gallery while trying to find out what happened to the missing Bruce Wayne.
Rating – 5 (out of 5): This is absolutely one of my favorite episodes of this series. You seem to get the best of both worlds. I always thought Superman masquerading as Batman was an interesting idea. While I’m sure there are certain facial expressions and the build is different he may just be able to fool the villains and citizens of Gotham. While Superman doesn’t exactly use the “famous” Silver and Bronze Age Super Ventriloquism he’s able to change the register of his voice while using some interesting techniques to mimic both Batman and Robin. Which creeps Robin out.
Seeing Superman fight Batman’s rouges is fun though I question why Bane seems to have the upper hand at first. Yes, I know Bane’s serum gives him Hulk-like proportions. Yes he takes Superman by surprise. But Superman should be able to take Bane out within a punch or two. And while he is able to beat Bane in the end I’m always annoyed that this series weakens Superman to a level where electricity takes him out! Post-Crisis Superman powers were taken down a notch or two but this series and subsequently Justice League and Justice League Unlimited seems to make him more vulnerable. I understand why Justice League might have done it. They didn’t want him to show up the other heroes. But this is his own series! Okay, I get that if Superman was able to knock his foes out with one punch the series may be a bit boring but it would have been pretty awesome if he could have taken care of Batman’s most formidable villain with one punch! At least I would have loved to have seen it.
I enjoyed Superman’s interaction with Robin. This version of Tim Drake is a bit arrogant though he’s also confident which helps him deal with Gotham’s criminal low lifes in Bruce’s absence. I like to think he learned a thing or two from Superman during their brief partnership. Superman seemed to get along with Robin pretty well. Well enough that I would have loved to have seen them team up again! Also it was great seeing Superman use his detective skills. A lot of people see him as the brawn and Batman as the brains. But let’s be honest Clark Kent is an investigative reporter. Not to mention his super hearing, telescopic vision, etc… that gives him enough ability to be his own detective! I’m glad we got to see some of that here.
As far as the villains are concerned Mad Hatter, Bane and Riddler is unusual trio but for this episode I suppose it works. If only to have Superman take them out. The Penguin is a bit more interesting. This was the redesigned version giving him the comic book accurate look. Not to mention this was also Iceberg Lounge crime boss Penguin that was happening in the comics. While I appreciate the original Danny Devito style of the first couple of seasons the Penguin’s classic look was always my favorite.
And then there’s Brainiac! Other than this series’ Lex Luthor (probably the best Luthor ever! Thank you Clancy Brown), Brainiac is my favorite. This version seemed different and familiar at the same time. The more robotic stealer of worlds fits with the pre-Crisis version while this series connects him to Krypton, which is a very interesting idea in itself. The idea of the nano bites swarming unseen except to the eyes of Superman was clever enough to show us how Bruce Wayne was being mind controlled as well as it being a clue. I honestly wish the comic book version of Brainiac was much closer to this version. It seemed after the post-Crisis story “Panic in the Sky” they just didn’t know what to do with the character. He was all over the place until the Post “Infinite Crisis” Geoff Johns story. And since than DC Comics still keeps reinventing the character. The animated series’ version is still the best of the many Brainiac incarnations.
This was just a clever fun packed episode putting Superman in a different type of story than he’s used to. Giving him a new challenge to play a very different hero. This episode is the best of both worlds giving us a team up with Robin and Superman and giving us a contrasting view of Metropolis and Gotham.