SUPERMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES APOKOLIPS... NOW! (1998)
Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Michael Ironside, Joseph Bologna, Steve Sandor, Joanna Cassidy, Sherman Howard
Story by: Bruce Timm (1&2) Rich Fogel (2) Written by: Rich Fogel Directed by: Dan Riba
Darkseid - "People of Earth, I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips. Here is your saviour, cowered and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am power unlike any you have ever known; absolute, infinite and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long dark future as my subjects and my slaves."
Turpin - "In a pig's eye!"
OF ALL SUPERMAN'S...
...many villains, Darkseid has to be the most powerful. Lex and Braniac have the intelligence, Bizarro and Parasite have the brawn, but Darkseid is the one that proves time and time again that he's a force to be reckoned with. He is a god and physically the equal of Superman, so when he sets his mind on destroying the Earth in his endless quest to discover the anti-life equation, there is not much that can stand in his way. Oh and he tends to want to do that a lot! Of course Superman always finds a way to stop him, because for all of Darkseid's power, he lacks the one thing Superman possesses.... a human spirit! A spirit which pushes and drives him forward, not accepting the rules imposed by a tyrant; a spirit that finds inspiration from others. With Apokolips...Now, the inspiration that Superman found, came from Dan Turpin, the head of Metropolis' Special Crime Unit (and Superman's pal), who proved that he would never bow down and let anyone tell him how he was to live his life. For Turpin his decision to speak up against Darkseid's oppressive threat ended in tragedy; yet in many ways it was actually a moment when Superman truly realised the power of one man's spirit.
In Apokolips...Now, Darkseid had set in motion plans for taking control of Earth, which kick-started with his pawn Bruno Manhiem, causing a meltdown at the nuclear power plant. Superman was unable to stop the plant from going KER-BLUEY, which was all part of a grand scheme to create a series of craters throughout the planet. As Superman attempted to stop the chain-reaction, Dan Turpin arrived with re-enforcements giving Superman enough time to relieve the pressure from the explosion, but the task drained him of some of his strength which gave Darkseid the opportunity to imprison The Man of Steel. He was then paraded throughout Metropolis as Darkseid's trophy, but so confident that Superman was his only obstacle in claiming the Earth he delivered a victory speech, forgetting to take into account resistance from the citizens of Metropolis....and more importantly Dan Turpin!
Turpin spoke out and refused to bow down which was an action Darkseid did not tolerate. He was killed and not only was it a shock to Superman, but it was a shock to viewers as well. Death had been touched upon before in Superman TAS with the episode The Late Mr Kent, but Apokolips....Now broke away the comfort barrier of the show and demonstrated that Darkseid was a villain who played for keeps when it came to Superman’s nearest and dearest. But no matter what he did to Superman to break his spirit he couldn't because Supes knew that if an ordinary man like Turpin could stand up to a god like Darkseid, then he would never give up. Apokolips...Now was a shining moment in Superman TAS' history, as Turpin's death provided a number of outcomes. It demonstrated that a recurring character could die, that Darkseid was a serious threat, that Superman couldn't save everyone all of the time and that one man could make a difference. Superman may have lept tall buildings and gone toe-to-toe with the big boys, but he understood the human spirit was far more powerful than anything the Universe had to throw at him and that was what always kept him fighting to the bitter end.
THE AFTERMATH: *Apokolips...Now was the first step that Darkseid took directly against Superman in the DC Animated Universe and it began the escalation which continued during Superman TAS' season finale and into Justice League Unlimited.
*When Superman stopped the fallout from the power plant meltdown he had to use his super-speed to dive underground which created a tunnel to let water pour beneath the surface to cool the situation. Superman had put his powers to use in many different ways before, but that sequence was the first time where it appeared as if he was the only person that stood between victory and chaos.
*Part 2 of Apokolips...Now! was dedicated to the memory of comic-book legend Jack Kirby who created Darkseid and the New Gods.
*Sherman Howard provided the voice for Steppenwolf, but he had also voiced the Preserver in the Superman: TAS episodes 'The Main Man' (1&2) and Derek Powers in Batman Beyond. Howard's other DC connection was on the TV series, Superboy (89-92), playing the boy of steel's arch nemesis, Lex Luthor.
*Michael Ironside reprised his voice-over duties for Darkseid, in Justice League Unlimited. He also played Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane on the TV show Smallville.
*As the episode drew to a close, Superman stood by Turpin's tombstone and said, "Good-bye old friend. In the end the World didn't really need a Superman, just a brave one." Dan Turpin's tombstone read, 'Daniel Turpin Earth's Greatest Hero'.
*Dan Turpin's partner, Maggie Sawyer, was a lesbian. Although it was not mentioned specifically in the series, her girlfriend was by her bedside when Maggie was in hospital.