Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 36: "Superman Red vs. Superman Blue"Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Originally Aired: September 16, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Heath Corson
Directed by Doug Murphy
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J Lewis as Superman (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman (voice)
Chris Diamantopoulos as Green Arrow (voice)
James Woods as Lex Luthor (voice)
Rating - 3 (out of 5): Lex Luthor crashes STAR Labs and steals a prototype. Inside is a quantum battery - just the thing to help power Lex's new Kryptonite radiation emitter. Superman confronts Lex who promptly shoots him with the Kryptonite gun. Lex is stunned to see that it has no affect on Superman until the Kryptonite starts pulsing red and blue and suddenly Superman splits into two beings. One is all red and the other is all blue. Both Supermen chase Luthor and use heat vision to stop him. This is when we find out the true effect it has on our hero. His blue side is passive and gentle while red is hard and aggressive and seems almost evil. Lex escapes down an alley and is blindsided by Wonder Woman. Lex shoots the weapon at her, and she splits just like Superman! Again her blue side is gentle while her red is aggressive. The two Supermen fight, punching and throwing each other into buildings while the Wonder Women also tussle. After subduing Lex the two red versions of our heroes take the weapon and depart to come up with some malicious plan. Meanwhile the blue heroes take Lex back to the Watchtower where Batman pinpoints the reds' location. After a confrontation with Batman and Green Arrow where Batman gets split, the three reds hatch a plan to use the Watchtower satellite to split all the heroes and have the reds takeover the world!
"Superman Red and Superman Blue" was the title of one of the very best Superman silver age imaginary stories. With art by the great Curt Swan, this story showed Superman splitting in two - one with a blue costume the other red. With two Supermen they combine their abilities to solve all the world's problems... too many to list here! This was a fun, positive, feel good story one of my favorites! We also had the 90's version of these characters during Superman's electric blue period. With that story when he split the red was the abrasive one, sort of a fight and ask questions later hero. While this story was not one of the best of its time it was an interesting variation on the original. This particular episode doesn't quite follow those stories. Yes, red is the aggressor and blue is good natured but it's just another excuse to have the heroes go rogue and fight each other. It's fun but has been done a thousand times before. A good vs evil story. I know not to expect too much from these ten minute episodes but I guess my expectations were higher.
After Green Arrow and Blue Batman return to the Watchtower they attempt to get back the weapon before the reds' world conquest. Red Superman and Green Arrow tussle causing the weapon to go off and split Lex! Red Lex joins the other reds to help enact their devious plan when he turns the tables and ends up reuniting the heroes with their other halves. Seems with Lex being the bad guy his red side is the good side and he does the right thing. When he prepares to unite himself Green Arrow questions if maybe a good Lex wouldn't be such a bad thing but Lex tells him it's just not to be.
Again a fun episode but it just doesn't attempt anything new. I know I should take these episodes at face value, after all they're shorts aimed at kids, but with this creative team I expected more. Perhaps if they went to 30 minutes they'd be able to flesh the stories out a bit more, but right now I think ten minutes is just enough to tell fun stories.
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