My Adventures With Superman is a fantastic reinvention of the iconic hero that will make you fall in love with its ridiculously charming cast.
Animated shows focusing on popular superheroes used to seemingly come out all of the time. These shows have since become ingrained in popular culture, and for me, a handful of them now place among my favourite programmes of all time. In recent years though, the number of new animated superhero shows has dwindled for some reason, and even more annoyingly, the few that we do get are typically much lower quality than the classics that populated the 1990s and 2000s. Luckily though, it seems like this might be about to change, as I’m overjoyed to report that My Adventures With Superman is a welcome return to form for the genre, a love letter to Superman and the countless brilliant shows that preceded it.
For me, My Adventures With Superman feels like the character’s answer to my all-time favourite superhero cartoon, The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009). Both shows depict the early years of their respective superhero careers, and they also notably both have a keen interest in the human side of their characters. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I think My Adventures With Superman is more interested in Clark Kent (Jack Quaid, of Scream (2022)), the bumbling rookie reporter, than it is in his heroic alter-ego. The first episode begins with him meeting Lois Lane (Alice Lee) for the very first time, just before turning up for his very first day as an intern at the local newspaper, The Daily Planet. At this point in his life, Clark is just Clark, he’s trying his best to fit in with the world around him, and he’s constantly trying not to use his god-like powers.
This all changes though, once he realises that he can actually use these powers for good, eventually taking on the mantle of Superman, sporting a fancy, vibrant alien suit. Lois Lane, another intern at The Daily Planet, immediately becomes enthralled by the brand new flying man who keeps popping up across the city of Metropolis and decides to make it her mission to get an interview with him. To help her do this, she recruits conspiracy theorist Jimmy Olsen (Ishmel Sahid), and his best friend, who just so happens to be Clark Kent. It’s a great premise, and it works so well simply because the central three characters are incredibly likeable. The vocal performances here are excellent across the board, and their chemistry with each other plays a big part in why they’re just so fun to watch.
Clark, despite his superhuman abilities, lacks confidence in himself but is constantly striving to do the right thing. Lois is driven, arguably too driven, and refuses to let anything stop her. Jimmy is hilarious, a caring soul who is also far more emotionally mature than his obsession with conspiracy theories would leave you to believe. We spend plenty of time with all three characters, and as a result, their low-stakes, human stories often end up being the most interesting part of every episode. I never expected to watch a Superman show and end up caring more about Clark Kent than I do about his caped alter-ego, but that’s exactly what the show manages to accomplish, thanks to its charming, well-developed and genuinely funny writing.
The show also looks gorgeous. It’s obviously drawing inspiration from anime, and it results in a programme that is constantly a treat to look at. Its character designs are also top-notch, whether it’s Lois Lane getting a totally different look to what we’re used to, or the large, visually stunning cast of villains. With that being said though, visually stunning might be the only compliment I can give to the show’s villains, unfortunately. One side-effect of spending so much time on Clark Kent’s personal life is that less time is spent fleshing out the Superman side of things, which means we get plenty of forgettable, uninteresting villains who mostly just faded from my memory the second I finished an episode.
This is also partly due to the fact that the overarching plot regarding the show’s main villains that’s built up over the course of the first seven episodes provided to reviewers feels incredibly detached from everything else, and as the show reaches its home stretch, it still feels annoyingly underdeveloped. Whilst a show like The Spectacular Spider-Man managed to tie its one-off villains into its overarching stories, My Adventures With Superman struggles to do that, resulting in a lot of episodes where the only real movement in the Superman storyline happens at the very end of the episode. It’s especially frustrating as the seventh episode, which I’d, unfortunately, rank as the weakest, throws a major spanner into the works and shifts the direction of the season in a way I wasn’t particularly a fan of, and I worry it’ll result in an ending that ultimately feels disappointing.
With that grievance aside though, I really enjoyed my time with My Adventures With Superman. It’s a brilliant throwback to the great superhero shows of old and superbly reinvents dozens of characters. There’s so much to like here, and I’d definitely recommend it to people who aren’t particularly familiar with the titular character, as this is a fantastic introduction to his mythos. Here’s hoping that this ends up with even more superhero shows like this one being made, because this is a superb example that when this genre’s done right, it can result in some fantastic television.
My Adventures With Superman will be released in the U.S. on July 6, 2023 at midnight on Adult Swim, and the next day on Max. No U.K. release date has been announced at the moment. Read our review of The Venture Bros. Movie!