The Best Superhero Show of the Year Gives Us the Superman We Deserve
This new, anime-inspired superhero show has taken the DC fandom by storm.
It’s hard for new superhero shows and movies to really make an impact these days. The genre isn’t just over-saturated right now, but even DC Films co-head, James Gunn, is quick to admit that the overall quality level of its titles has dropped quite a bit. Despite those two facts, just a few weeks after The Flash made its disappointing theatrical debut, DC has unveiled a brand new TV project that’s doing quite well so far.
The TV series in question is none other than My Adventures with Superman. An Adult Swim original, the series relies on a shonen anime-inspired style of storytelling that helps it breathe new life into the Superman mythos. The result is an animated adventure series that’s charming, heartfelt, fun, and as pure-hearted of a love letter to the Man of Steel as fans have ever seen. To date, only its first two episodes have been released, but it seems safe to say that My Adventures with Superman is a DC title comic book fans won’t actually want to miss.
While its episodes premiere exclusively on Adult Swim as well, they debut just a day later on Max, which means they’re more widely available than some fans might think. Its first installment is, in fact, available to watch for free on YouTube.
A unique blend of DC iconography and various anime influences, My Adventures with Superman takes place during a very specific period in its eponymous hero’s life. While its first episode begins with a flashback to his childhood in Smallville, the series is set primarily during Clark Kent’s early days working as an intern at the Daily Planet. The show follows Clark (voiced by The Boys star Jack Quaid) as he not only learns to work in Metropolis alongside two of his peers, Lois Lane (Alice Lee) and Jimmy Olsen (Ishmel Sahid), but also hones his crime-fighting life as the Man of Tomorrow.
The show’s dawn of adulthood setting reflects its style, tone, and aesthetic, all of which can be best described as, well, bright. The Studio Mir-produced series feels exactly how a young Superman adventure should. It’s full of hope, whimsy, surprising grace, and enough awkward tension between Quiad’s Clark and Lee’s Lois to make their now-iconic romance feel new again. The same goes for much of the series’ take on Superman’s Metropolis life. Even little moments, like Clark’s desire to buy donuts for his Daily Planet co-workers and boss, feel like new additions to the on-screen Superman canon.
My Adventures with Superman doesn’t hold back in its superheroic moments, either. Indeed, as familiar as the Man of Steel’s power set may be, the animated series still manages to make his first use of Super Speed feel like a charged, electric moment. The show’s decision to open with Clark’s first use of his powers also allows it to offer a brief but effective window into its take on Superman and, specifically, where his true power comes from.
In its opening scene, My Adventures with Superman sees Clark try and fail to reach his kite, which has ended up stuck in a tree outside his parents’ Smallville farmhouse. Moments later, he sees a car hit a nasty pothole on a nearby road and spin out of control, and it’s only then that he’s able to actually tap into his powers. He uses his super speed and strength to stop the car from slamming into the side of a tree and doesn’t get anything resembling a “thank you” or acknowledgment of his presence. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter to this show’s version of Clark.
He’s a version of Superman who, like all great iterations of the character, is made powerful because of his desire to save and protect others — not because of his actual super strength. My Adventures with Superman makes that long unspoken fact literal. When you watch it, it’s hard not to fall in love with Superman all over again, which is as much a testament to its endearing power as anything else.