Superman’s onscreen presence across the past decade has resulted in wide spectrum of emotions and responses from fans of the character — there have been moments of celebration, of frustration, of joy, of confusion … so it’s only natural that any new version of the character is met with trepidatious caution. Thankfully, Adult Swim’s newest series, My Adventures with Superman, is a carefully constructed series that celebrates the best of the Man of Steel in a fresh reinvention that will leave audiences full of hope and optimism — the two feelings at the very core of Superman’s character that have eluded many recent DC projects.
If the future of Superman has felt like a dark tunnel to you, this series is the light at the end of it.
My Adventures with Superman is the first animated series for the character since the 90s, and the modern anime-inspired design provides ample opportunity for world building that is consistently seized by the team behind it. The animation is beautiful, providing plenty of eye-catching visuals for audiences to fawn over. As amazing as it looks, the best part of the series for me is without a doubt the writing. Episodes flow well together and build themes as the season develops, and the writing team behind the series does not shy away from embracing the peculiar nature of Silver Age comics. The script is whacky, witty, and allows viewers to experience a perfect balance between emotional highs and lows, all while watching a series that feels like it jumped directly off the pages of a comic.
Jack Quaid voices Clark Kent/Superman and provides an excellent performance as both consistent with his resume at this period in his career. He presents a Clark who, fresh out of college and an intern, is unsure of himself and learning to be confident in himself. On the other side, Quaid lends the perfect voice to Superman to truly bring the character back to his roots — this is not an edgy take on the character, this is a Superman who would rather reason with villains rather than use violence to defeat them. Despite the internal turmoil Clark is experiencing at this young time in his life, he is always trying to do the right thing … both in and out of his suit.
It’s refreshing to see Clark in this time of his life for many reasons, but ultimately, making a hero as powerful as Superman flawed creates a more relatable experience for the audience. Clark is not only still learning about his powers, he is learning to live … to create relationships with people, to balance fighting crime and maintaining a job. His inexperience as a hero and in life shows consistently throughout the series as he rarely has an upper-hand while fighting a variety of villains, still unaware of the scope of his strength.
Rounding out the main cast are Alice Lee as Lois Lane with both tried-and-true and new characteristics and Ishmel Sahid as Clark’s best friend and roommate Jimmy Olsen, both of who bring enough strengths of their own to compensate for Clark’s learning curves. There have been many phenomenal Lois’ in the past, but Lee’s version of the character — an arguably over-driven firecracker who displays how a hardworking journalist can seek justice — quickly became my favorite. As strong of a character as she is, Lois still experiences relatable, bashful, goofy moments thanks to her attraction to Clark that perfectly round out this portrayal. Sahid’s Jimmy is an instantly lovable goofball, and every moment he is on the screen it is obvious that Sahid had a great time voicing the character.
The bulk of the series is an exploration of this trio working at The Daily Planet, tracking down stories to cover that lead them into more and more dangerous situations. If you’ve ever wished for a more in-depth look into Clark’s time as a journalist, this is the series for you — My Adventures with Superman is hands-down the most representation of a career in journalism the franchise has seen to date.
As the series’ focus is on Clark Kent growing into the Superman tights and how his allies can help him toward a better tomorrow, one part that did suffer for this focus on his personal life is the villains. While the designs are impeccable across the board, some re-imaginations fall flat and some inclusions feel as though they were only added as another name on a list. However, when the team behind the series decides to take a deep dive into the more bizarre villains the franchise has to offer by showcasing names like the Brain, it is an overwhelming success — animation flourishes when its teams embrace the outlandish nature of the superhero genre.
Overall, this is a great return to animation for the Man of Steel that will satisfy both fans who are looking for a traditional take on the character’s story and those looking for something new. If you’re a fan of Superman, you’ll love the series, and if you’re not … you should check out this series so your answer can change to “not yet.”
The trailer for My Adventures with Superman can be watched below, and episodes 1 and 2 can be viewed when the series premieres July 6 on Adult Swim, with the next eight episodes for the season releasing weekly. Episodes will be available to stream on Max the following day.