Superman: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 12

Tools of the Trade

Aired Saturday 10:00 AM Feb 01, 1997 on The WB

Episode Recap

A quiet day in Metropolis is disturbed by a very large tank rolling through the city. Its destination is the Metropolis Gold Exchange. As the metal beast begins to tear through the building, the head of Metropolis' Special Crimes Unit Maggie Sawyer and her partner Dan "Terrible" Turpin arrive. The cooler headed Sawyer wants to establish a perimeter to protect the citizens; Turpin wants to go in guns blazing! Lois Lane ditches fellow reporter Clark Kent in the middle of gridlock in order to get the developing story. Moments later, Superman arrives and after taking a few blows, proceeds to rip the tank apart, extracting the drivers and carrying them to the police. While this is all going on, Bruno Mannheim watches it on the news. While the world at large believes Mannheim to be a more-or-less reputable businessman, he is in fact, as the police suspect, the head of a criminal organization called Intergang. And it was his plans Superman just foiled.
At a press conference held later by Sawyer, Lois asks if Intergang is suspected in the robbery. When told that the police hope to have the situation with Intergang under control, TV Reporter Angela Chen insists that that means they hope Superman will deal with it for them, like he "always" does. Turpin does not find the comment amusing and Sawyer diffuses the situation by saying the SCU appreciates assistance from any citizen, including Superman.
In his weapon's warehouse, Mannheim is complaining to his men, saying they need better weapons and equipment with Superman now in town. Just then, they all hear a loud BOOM in the distance. Moments later, a well-dressed man enters named Kanto. He says he comes bearing gifts. He demonstrates a staff which emits a beam that can disassemble any firearm. He shows them a smaller device that fires a laser that burns through a safe made of tempered steel. His most amazing item is a pair of metal gloves that, when worn; create two giant hands made of pure energy that respond to the glove's movements and exhibit super-human strength. Turpin is on stake-out outside of Mannheim's home and sees most of the demonstration. When Mannheim asks Kanto what the deal is, Kanto replies that these are only free samples from his boss, and that should Mannheim like them, he and Kanto's employer can enter into an arrangement. Kanto leaves the weapons with Mannheim and his men and departs. When outside of Mannheim's estate, Kanto disappears in a flash of light that blinds Turpin as to his method of departure.
Turpin tries to tell Sawyer what he saw, but she is having trouble believing him. Besides that, Mannheim is a powerful man and they don't have enough evidence to arrest him. She doesn't want Turpin to get hurt. Turpin says maybe she would like it better if he could fly, and promises to take down Mannheim on his own if he needs to.
Later, a train is passing on the outskirts of town carrying lots of money, in which Intergang attacks, using the Hands to derail the train, the Laser to get inside, and the Staff to disarm the guards. At the Daily Planet, Lois rushes past Clark telling him the news before jumping on the elevator. Clark steps into an empty elevator shaft and falls, while seconds later Superman emerges from the elevator and flies out the front doors at super-speed. When Turpin and Sawyer arrive at the scene, the criminals fire the Laser on their car, sending it over a cliff. But Superman catches it just in time. The man with the Hands picks up a section of the train and hurls it at Superman, sending him into a nest of power lines. While Superman is busy keeping the power lines from falling, the men escape. Saywer tells Turpin that considering what they are up against, she wants to bring Superman on this investigation officially. Turpin is very upset and turns in his badge, feeling betrayed by his own partner. Superman tries to apologize to Sawyer for anything he may have done wrong, but she cuts him off saying, "If I had a dollar for every time he's turned in his badge I'd make Luthor look like a pauper."
That night, Turpin breaks into Mannheim's house to gather evidence, only to be captured by Kanto. Kanto is there to tell Mannheim that his employer was pleased with Intergang's showing with his weapons. Kanto gives Mannheim new ones, including an energy pistol that could potentially kill Superman. Just then the alarm system Kanto has brought with him sounds, saying that's job is to detect Superman. Working on a tip from Sawyer, Superman has come to investigate Mannheim, whose men fire their new energy cannons at Superman. They knock the wind out of him, but he dodges the next round, catching one of the shells and returning it to the guards, blowing up the ground underneath them. Inside, one of the men uses the Hands to capture Superman, who is able to break the energy hand's grip, breaking the fingers of the man operating the gloves.
When Superman turns to free Turpin, Turpin shouts a warning just as Mannheim fires on Superman with his new toy, blasting Superman across the room, and injuring the Man of Steel. As Turpin struggles to break his bonds, Mannheim gloats that his gun wasn't even on full power. He then turns the dial to Full Power and takes aim. Turpin manages to break free and tackles Mannheim. After Mannheim shoves Turpin away, Superman uses his heat vision on the gun until it is too hot to hold, advancing menacingly on Mannheim. Mannheim, who sees Kanto fleeing, follows after him. Kanto opens a Boom Tube and Mannheim follows him into the interdimensional doorway, which closes before Superman can catch him.
Later, when reporters and police have gathered about, Turpin boasts that now that Mannheim is gone, Intergang's back is broken. Chen tries to suggest that it was all thanks to Superman again, but Superman stops her, saying that if it wasn't for Turpin, he would be dead right now. Superman publically thanks Turpin, who salutes Superman and smiles, saying it was no big deal. When asked about Mannheim's whereabouts, Turpin responds that he believes Mannheim to be well out of their jurisdiction.
On a dark, evil looking world, with several pits shooting fire into a blood-red sky, Mannheim follows Kanto, demanding to know where in God's name they are. Kanto smiles and says that all depends on whose god he's speaking off. Kanto motions to a very large man who appears to be made of living granite. "Welcome Mr. Mannheim. I am your new lord and master. You may call me....Darkseid." Mannheim recoils in terror knowing his life will never be the same.