Evil Superman has been a popular culture focus for about a decade. From the video game series Injustice, which features a Superman who becomes completely fascist after Lois’ death, and Homelander on The Boys, a Superman-like character who went terribly wrong. People are obsessed with turning the healthy, good Superman into a complete sociopath. I understand why someone would be inclined to tell this story. Superman has the powers of a god. What would happen if instead of giving his hat to a child who fell from Superman, instead people were blown to death with one eye?
Warning: This review contains full spoilers for Superman & Lois: Season 1, Episode 2!
Superman & Lois decided to swim in the Evil Superman Storytelling Pool by revealing that Captain Luthor came from an alternate universe where Superman, for some unknown reason, perpetrated all of the injustice in this world. This creative choice gives me mixed feelings. It gives Captain Luthor a compelling reason to want to kill Superman, but it also feels creatively lazy. We saw Evil Superman put to death. At this point, it just feels like any writer who does it is like, “Tee hee. I will write Superman as a merciless killer! Isn’t that subversive? It’s supposed to be good, but now it’s bad! I am smart and nervous! Applaud now! ”
To be fair to the show, they could do this to contrast the Superman of that show with all of the creatively bankrupt Superman stories. If they use this to really criticize these stories and show the real heart of Superman and why he could never be like that, that would be refreshing. What makes Superman such a compelling character is that he always wants to do the right thing, even when it’s difficult. That’s why a lot of fans like me are frustrated with Evil Superman stories. They are everywhere and it feels like people writing these stories think Superman is boring. I don’t think this show is in the “Superman Is Boring” category, but hopefully this story has a bigger meaning. Otherwise it will be lazy and I will be very disappointed.
Let’s get to the real star of this episode: Lois. In my rating for the pilot, I said I wanted her to have more point of view. This episode delivered that. She’s on a mission to expose billionaire Morgan Edge. Morgan has whispered cute things to small towns in the past and then left them once he’s pumped them for all of the work. You’re worth it. Lois points this out, but the town of Smallville collectively says, “La la la. We can’t hear you! Use us, Daddy Morgan! We are cheap and desperate! You can place it anywhere. And by somewhere, we mean that Smallville has multiple locations that serve your business interests! ”
Morgan, rewriting Lois’ piece about him, is the last straw for her. In the best scene of the episode, she marches in and gives up. Elizabeth Tulloch had that confident and brazen energy perfectly. Journalism is an integral part of Lois. She is a wife and a mother, but being a reporter is her life’s work. It is a declaration of war for Morgan to attack them on this front, and Lois is ready for it. So ready that she now works for the Smallville Gazette, a one-woman operation led by Chrissy Beppo.
It is a step downhill for the world’s most famous journalist to work on such a small newspaper, but it makes sense. The Smallville Gazette has no corporate overlords who may be afraid of Morgan, so Lois can protect her journalistic integrity. It’s conveniently located. And she’s Lois, who freaks Lane. She can make it work for her. As Chrissy said, “You don’t get on the news. The message goes to you.” I hope this continues because Lois felt like a minor character in the pilot and this episode she felt like a lead role and it was nice to see .
In his teens, Jordan was able to explore his Kryptonian heritage with a visit to the Fortress of Solitude, where the hologram Jor-El reads, “This saggy teenager is easy! He will never be you! I am your Dead Space Daddy and I know! “Obviously that’s wrong. They just didn’t realize that Jordan only showed powers around Jonathan and when he’s in danger. I think they’ll make that connection sooner rather than later.
“Heritage” was another powerful outing that fleshed out the stories that began in the pilot. I have big reservations about Evil Superman, but I will try to be open, even if it makes my brain scream: “Why ?! I have to see Evil Superman in every other medium and here too ?! Leave the sweet cinnamon bun Clark alone!” “If there really is a narrative point on how to turn General Lane against his son-in-law, as Captain Luthor tried, it might be worth the dislike I have for this type of Superman story trope. I love drama more than that I hate sociopathic Superman stories.
Random thoughts on “Heritage”:
If Jonathan didn’t have a “Superman, help me!” acoustic tone? He could get in trouble too! It feels rude.
Dan Romer does a great job with the score. It sounds epic and I like that it doesn’t try to mimic the John Williams score. I feel like too many composers working on Superman content are trying to get that sound. It’s an icon, but you can try new things.
I know it’s only the second episode, but Lana is so irrelevant to the narrative. She could drop dead and it wouldn’t hurt a story. The new character Kyle is more relevant than her, which is just sad.
The Fortress of Solitude set for Superman & Lois looks very different from the set for Supergirl. It’s now my head canon that Clark set up another room for her in the back. Here he is also lying on the huge statues of his parents.
They brought back the black suit from Elseworlds for Evil Superman. Good for them to be thrifty. Why waste money on a new suit when you have a perfectly fitting suit in stock?
Clark is unemployed and Lois works for a podunk newspaper. I hope this show doesn’t go too far with financial problems. I don’t want flashbacks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in season six when she was working at Doublemeat Palace. As if I don’t want Clark to work a Burger King at Smallvilles.