Superman: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 7

The Way of All Flesh

1
Aired Saturday 10:00 AM Oct 19, 1996 on The WB
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
77 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Thanks to the orchestrations of Lex Luthor, terrorist John Corben becomes Metallo, a skin-covered cyborg with a Kryptonite heart. Luthor then sets the supervillain on a quest to kill Superman.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A Tragic Birth.

    9.0
    This is one of the better written episodes of Superman. It begins with John Corben's (cf. Last Son of Krypton) jail escape after finding out that he got a rare fatal virus. Luthor planed his escape and convinced him to undergo a surgery procedure that would give him a body made of metallo with kryptonite as its source of energy.



    Corben delivers a very realistic portrait of power-hungry man than becomes delighted with his new abilities, but as soon as he realizes that he won't feel any more, he panics and wants to be transferred back into a human body.



    Corben: I can't even feel a kiss... What did they do to me?



    Corben's concern with feelings and pleasure shows how human he really is. In spite of being a criminal, he is not as ruthless as Luthor is, looking to no means to achieve his goals. Corben wouldn't trade his humanity to get his revenge, but Luthor gave Corben's away – his supposed loyal employee – to get Superman out of his way.



    There is an ironic contrast here: Corben is the one who is supposed to be a monster, but he proves to be as human as anybody else. However, Luthor shows to be even more ruthless and evil than previously, which makes him the real monster, as it turns out that he was behind the whole scheme.



    The fact the Corben's virus was induced makes his fate even more cruel and tragic, which culminates with a disturbing a chilling scene where we see his shadow tearing his fake skin and clothing off, thus rejecting his fake human appearance and accepting what he is:



    Corben: It's all fake. A FRAUD! There's the reality! The metal behind the man! It's all I am now! It's who I am... Metallo.



    Malcolm McDowell's voice acting is superb, and makes Metallo one of the most charismatic villains in Superman. He is the heart of this episode, and is what makes it work. We can't help feeling sorrow for his misfortune fate. The musical theme used for Metallo also brings a twisted and disturbing effect to the episode.



    This episode also has some witty scenes, for example when an old woman biking past Clark calls him "Slowpoke." Also, when Lex's date admires the size of his... yacht. These kind of deceiving comments make this show a bit more pleasing for a mature target. It was also nice to see Lex in some trouble for a change, as he was being chased by a shark.



    The animation was pretty good, particularly the effect of the kryptonite illuminating the darkness on the lower decks of Luthor's yacht.



    Every line in this episode seems to have a deeper meaning, specially the ironic comment that Corben makes to Dr. Vale in beginning:



    "The trick is to never underestimate the value of a good friend, and always keep your mouth shut."



    One can't help noticing the irony of this remark, since Luthor betrays and uses him.



    The episode ends with the idea that this time Lex might have biting off more than he can chew. In the process of destroying Superman, he might have created his own nemesis. The very last scene wraps up the whole disturbing and chilling tone of the entire episode, as Corben slowly walks on the depths of the ocean floor towards his revenge.moreless
  • This episode introduces the super villian Metallo, one of Superman's greatest foes. Corben was introduced in Last Son of Krypton Part 3 but here we see how he became the cyborg Metallo thanks to Lext Luthor.moreless

    10
    I just love Metallo. I think a big part of it is because Metallo is voiced by Malcolm McDowell, who most may remember from A Clockwork Orange. Also Metallo is a tragic figure. Corben is not a very nice man, he is after all a mercenary but he didn't deserve what Lex did to him; turn him into a non feeling man/machine who "can't even feel the kiss of a woman." I think this in part is what makes Corben/Metallo so hateful toward society. Corben is tricked into becoming a Cyborg by Luthor who says Corben is terminally ill. When Corben realises he can't feel anything, such as when he touches something, Luthor lies to him telling him that certain adjustments need to be made. Corben almost has his revenge on Luthor but as always Luthor escapes. This episode shows what a truly heartless man Lex Luthor is. Well worth watching.moreless
  • Oh how I despise you Luthor.

    10
    If you want to see somethig creepy,sympathetic,and profound then this is an episode you must see.The whole plot to this episode is about a criminal named John Corben (see Planet of Krypton Part Three) who is tricked out of his life by the manipulating and cold caluating Lex Luthor,he is told that he has a viral disease and that the disease is terminal,so Lex suggests to him an 'experiment' he might want to try.The experiment is the only shot Corben has to survive so he takes it,the experiment is to transform his diseased human body into a walking,talking machine or in other words a robot.The operation is successful he is now a robot disguised as a human,everything is artificial.Persuaded by Luthor he is set out on a mission to destroy Superman once and for all.He rivals all of Supermans powers perhaps even more so.



    This episode is alot like "The Terminator",an invincible machine set out to destroy!The creepy parts of this episode are slowly revealed as you see John Corben's experiences in his new body,he figures out that he has lost the ability to touch and feel,the loss of hunger for food,and all the senses that make you human.He starts to realize that he misses his human body and goes back to the doctors and scientists that did this to him but they tell him its irreversible then he goes to the man behind the operation,Lex Luthor and demands him to turn him back into the man he used to be.Picture yourself in his position,you're an artificial human you go to sit down on something nice,warm,and comfy but as you sit on it your ass can't feel it just cold numbness,you don't have to eat anymore,you don't have to sleep anymore,but most importantly you lose everything that made you a living and breathing person.That to me is truly Hell!



    But out of all the things that make this episode absolutly superb is how profound it is,a man who had been a human for all of his life suddenly becoming this thing that can't even feel the lips of a woman.No man or woman deserves this kind of punishment.We figure out that Lex Luthor devised the whole thing it was all setup.I was absolutly shocked how far Lex Luthor would go to get what he wants their is no limit to how far he will go to destroy Superman,he is an actual villain not a cartoony villain but an evil,sadistic,uncompromising,and just a plain cruel bastard.From start to finish a superb episode especially the ending,it left me with an eerie and unsettling feeling.The moral of this story is to never make a deal with the devil.moreless
John Rubinov

John Rubinov

Dr. Vale

Guest Star

Jeff Bennett

Jeff Bennett

Young Doctor

Guest Star

Neil Ross

Neil Ross

Male Anchor

Guest Star

Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell

John Corben/Metallo

Recurring Role

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Angela Chen

Recurring Role

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