Superman: The Animated Series

Season 2 Episode 11

Solar Power

Aired Saturday 10:00 AM Sep 26, 1997 on The WB
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Edward Lytener escapes from Stryker's Island and becomes Luminus. He hopes to render Superman powerless by hijacking a number of satellites so that they permit only red light to filter through from the sun.

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  • A Wasted Brilliant Plan.

    In visual terms, this must be the best episode of Superman. There are some others episodes with good animation ("The Prometheon," "Speed Demons," and "Double Dose") but this one is impeccable. But unfortunately Superman has the bad habit of matching a good plot with mediocre animation ("Identity Crisis") or a weak story with great animation ("The Prometheon"). Alas, this episode belongs to the last group, for several reasons.

    The general plot is very clever; the only way to make Superman weak, other than with kryptonite, is to deprive him from the source of his powers: Earth's yellow sun. However, this seems to me to be a wasted masterplan. I think it would have worked better if it was used in a two or three-parter episode. It would also make more sense, if it was conceived by a mastermind like Darkseid or Lex Luthor, although it is hinted that Luthor might have had something to do with the whole scheme, but it's nothing more than an insinuation. If Luthor really was responsible for it, I'm sure it would have been revealed somewhere in the conclusion of the episode. In fact, I don't think he would waste such a good plan without leaving someone competent in charge of making sure that Superman was finished off. Luminus didn't strike me as a mastermind in "Target," and it was hard taking him serious with his motive to kill Lois, so now it was even more difficult to take him serious when he revealed why he wanted to get back at Superman:

    Superman: What do you want?

    Luminus: To kill you. For getting in my way. For making a mockery of me and my work.

    This isn't exactly original. These were the motivations of Metallo and Livewire, but they had charisma and personality. However, Luminus doesn't have the traits or qualities to be regarded as a dreadful nemesis. And his ridiculous suit makes it impossible to give him any credibility.

    Apart from this, there are some other plot holes that came to my attention. For example, how could Luminus control his holograms? Did he do it with his mind? When he called Superman with the 'S-signal' he was actually there, but his holograms interacted as they were real people... I can't demand logic from a cartoon show where a man flies at will and shoots fire from his eyes, but we must take 'internal logic' into consideration. In a world of aliens, superpowers and other dimensions, there must be some ground rules and limitations in order to make it credible. But Luminus's abilities seem too farfetched for a 'simply human inventor': he flies, he generates hologram around him that seem to act independent form his actions, but under his will, he controls these hologram at distance, and changes scenarios.

    I also think that the scene where Clark lifts his desk to get the pencil was much exaggerated. For someone who has to keep a low profile, raising a desk to get something from the floor is just yelling "look at me!". I know he had to realize that something wrong was happening before he actually saw the red sky, but this could have been done in a more subtle way...

    To conclude, the idea was very good, but it should have been more developed.moreless
Castulo Guerra

Castulo Guerra

NASA Spokesperson

Guest Star

Robert Hays

Robert Hays

Voice of Edward Lytener/Luminus

Guest Star

Victor Brandt

Victor Brandt

Professor Hamilton

Recurring Role

David Kaufman

David Kaufman

Jimmy Olsen

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions