“A Little Piece of Home”
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Toshihiko Masuda
Originally airing on September 14, 1996, here are a few aspects of “A Little Piece of Home” worth mentioning:
- The Superman: The Animated Series Lex Luthor was originally based off of actor Tely Savalas.
- “A Little Piece of Home” marks the debut and first appearance of Luthor’s body guard, Mercy Graves. She’s voiced by Lisa Edelstein. Mercy Graves was later brought into the DC Universe, revealed to have Amazonian origins, and will soon be seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, played by Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine, Hannibal).
- We also get the first animated appearance of Professor Emil Hamilton. He previously appeared on Lois and Clark. Prof. Hamilton would later appear notably on Smallville and in 2013’s Man of Steel.
Kryptonite, the green meteorite, Superman’s weakness (outside of magic), a little piece of home. The fifth episode of Superman: The Animated Series introduces us, in proper, to kryptonite. Hilary J. Bader’s “A Little Piece of Home” is probably the best episode out of the ones we’ve watched so far – “The Last Son of Krypton” and “Fun and Games.” It’s positively Superman in every way and we’ve seen the blueprint for this story used many times, most memorably in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and an early episode of Supergirl. Particularly the episode that was originally pre-empted – ““How Does She Do It?” because of the tragic 2015 Paris attack.
“A Little Piece of Home” introduces Superman to kryptonite for the first time and shows how Clark discovers a dangerous weakness, along with Lex learning how to exploit the Man of Steel’s susceptibility to kryptonite. The episode opens with Lex Luthor introducing members of the media to the Lex Luthor Museum of Natural History. Inside, a group of crooks are attempting to steal priceless artifacts, but are soon stopped by Superman. But when he comes into contact with a section devoted towards rare meteor fragments, he’s momentarily weakened. He manages to stop the crooks, but Lex discovers that one of the rare meteorites has an unsual effect on Superman. Upon further study, he learns that the fragment comes from an alien solar system and that “kryptonite” is a small piece of Superman’s homeworld, now irradiated from the explosion. Superman and Lois Lane discover this, as well, with help from Prof. Emil Hamilton of S.T.A.R. Labs.
The main portion of “A Little Piece of Home” revolves around Lex Luthor testing the Man of Steel’s strength, speed, and invulnerability by staging various events around Metropolis. It’s a fun, if not whimsical aspect to Lex’s villainy, which we’ve seen in John Shea’s Lex and Peter Facinelli’s Maxwell Lord.
“A Little Piece of Home” concludes with Superman meeting with Lex Luthor. Luthor attempts to make a deal with Superman that would have him look the other way in regards to his business deals, in exchange that he would not use kryptonite against him. It’s fairly one-sided and, no surprise, Superman turns him down. There’s a great moment between Tim Daly’s Superman and Clancy Brown’s Lex that sees the two men get less than a mere inch away from one another’s face. They bring a great intensity to the iconic and long documented rivalry between two of the most recognizable DC Comics characters. Only adding to the scene is how well animated the Superman/Lex stare down is.
Superman: The Animated Series is a great animated show to look back upon in just the same way Batman: The Animated Series is timeless. The attention to each character in voice work and animation blends together in a way that offers near definitive portraits of heroes and villains our world has enjoyed for over 75 years. While all of these episodes are collected on DVD, they can be purchased as a whole season or individually on iTunes and Amazon.
“A Little Piece of Home” gets five stars! And that’s not just because we see Superman fight a dinosaur!
Stay tuned for more Superman: The Animated Series.