Leading us from the depths of space to the deep trenches of the ocean “The Prometheon” is a fun, if somewhat forgettable, episode that pits the Man of Steel against a massive golem-like creature from another planet. When a giant asteroid is careening towards Earth, Superman and a group of soldiers lead by General Hardcastle are sent to use explosives to destroy it before it has a chance of causing massive damage. As Superman is planting the charges however, he comes upon a humongous rock-like humanoid being strapped to the underside of the asteroid.
Hardcastle decides to blow up the asteroid despite Superman and Professor Hamilton’s objections, which winds up flinging the creature at high velocity towards the Earth. Landing in the ocean and causing a massive tsunami, the creature lumbers around the deep sea before eventually coming ashore near Metropolis. Meanwhile, Hamilton is able to decode a message found within the asteroid and finds out the being was created (and eventually banished) by an alien race on a faraway planet to aid in building their massive cities. The designed it to gain its power through the solar energy of their sun, but the creature eventually grew hungry for more energy and began destroying cities to feed off the fire of the burning buildings.
The design of the creature is impressive in its conveyance of just how large it is. Every laborious step it takes carries weight as it shakes the Earth without so much as a second thought. The episode itself isn’t exactly breaking any new ground with most of the plot points straight from the cookie cutter right down to the stubborn General Hardcastle ignoring Superman’s warnings and firing intensely hot missiles directly at the massive being.
Superman is able to stop the fire-sucking beast by leading it into the reservoir with a burning beam of steel. He fights it until Hamilton can dispatch helicopters to drop a freezing agent into the reservoir, freezing the creature solid and stopping it once and for all. While not a terrible episode by any means, there was just nothing truly spectacular that makes the episode stand out. There are worse, but there are certainly better ones too.
“Speed Demons” opens up the world of the DCAU by introducing the Flash, who years later would join up with Superman as part of the Justice League. But for today they are just holding a race for charity to see who can be the first to run around the globe 100 times. Unfortunately they are interrupted by a very silly villain with a very silly name and a very silly power.
A little ways into their race around the globe they are interrupted by the Weather Wizard, an extortionist named Mark Mardon who decided to name himself after something that sounds like a latter day Black Sabbath album. He’s armed with an advanced “weather rod” that is able to change the weather and allow him to create storms at will anywhere in the world. He creates squalls off the Australian coast and ice storms in the Arizona desert to keep Flash and Supes distracted. Despite god-like powers, and the voice of Miguel Ferrer, there is just so little to Weather Wizard’s characterization it leaves me pining for when even the lesser foes for Batman would get fully fleshed out backstories. There is an incredibly minor plot point regarding Mardon’s brother who helped create the rod, but it goes nowhere fast.
Luckily, despite the lackluster villain, scenes with the Flash are far more entertaining. Although never confirmed to be the same Flash as the one who would appear years later in Justice League, he still has the same fast-talking, hyperactive, wise-cracking personality. Scenes of Superman and Flash racing do a fantastic job of portraying the unbelievable speed the two heroes are running at, as they run fast enough to stay afloat on the ocean with ease. Their speed leads to them looking like blue and red blurs for a good portion of the race, making some scenes look like light cycle races from Tron. The Flash even gets to show off some of the more interesting aspects of his powers, creating whirlwinds to fling oil out of the ocean and vibrating his body fast enough to melt his way out of a block of ice.
Eventually the two heroes are able to find Weather Wizard’s hideout and use their speed to capture Mardon and destroy the weather rod. Though initially annoyed by the younger heroes’ brash personality, Superman ultimately realizes that the Flash is a well-meaning jokester. Flash and Superman decide to race once more without the distraction of any super villains or charity events, just for fun. Despite the absolutely lame villain, “Speed Demons” is able to use Flash in enough creative ways to salvage the episode and (even though it wasn’t planned yet) set the stage for the Justice League cartoon in four years’ time.
-The beast in The Prometheon is evocative of the Promethean Giants from the New Gods series, but is never explicitly named and, beyond being strapped to a meteor, bares few similarities to them.
-There’s a great moment in “The Prometheon” where the creature steps on Superman only to have him burrow underground and pop out from under his foot a few yards away.
-Carl Lumbly, future voice on Martian Manhunter in Justice League, pops up as the race marshall in “Speed Demons”
-The charity race between Superman and Flash always reminds me of this panel from Flash: Rebirth