Superman Red and Superman Blue have a rather interesting, albeit brief, history in the pages of DC Comics. In Episode 36 of Season 1, Justice League Action attempted their own spin on the split Supermen.
Air date: September 16, 2017
Written by: Heath Corson
Directed by: Doug Murphy
Justice League superheroes in this episode: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Arrow
Where to watch the episode: Cartoon Network, Amazon
*Spoilers for Justice League Action Season 1, Episode 36 “Superman Red vs. Superman Blue” in the review below.
As per usual with Justice League Action, “Superman Red vs. Superman Blue” wastes no time getting into the thick of the story. The premise is simple – Lex Luthor breaks into S.T.A.R. Labs to steal a powerful device that will allow him to finally end that menace called Superman.
The device doesn’t work exactly as Luthor intended, as he ends up splitting the hero into two halves – Superman Red and Superman Blue. Luthor explains that the “Red” version receives all of the aggression of the hero, although only half of the power.
The “Blue” version gets the other half of the powers, but none of the aggression. These split personalities are what leads to most of the comedy in the episode. Imagine a superhero kindly asking their arch-nemesis to casually escort them to a comfy prison cell.
Wonder Woman steps up to help stop Luthor and Superman Red, but she is quickly split into Wonder Woman Red and Wonder Woman Blue. The Red Superman and Wonder Woman team up and split all of the Justice League into their Red counterparts.
Batman and Green Arrow eventually need to step in to try to stop them. Batman is able to track the emitter, but the Reds are soon able to blast Batman to split him into two. Together, the “evil” trinity work together to create more Reds.
Green Arrow and the Blue Batman are the only two left to save the day. After some more action, Lex Luthor is ultimately the one to save the day after he is split into Red and Blue. It turns out the Blue versions of the characters are their true nature. Therefore, a Red Lex Luthor is actually a pretty swell guy.
Superman being split into two has now appeared in multiple forms of media, including in Smallville through the use of Black Kryptonite. We’ve also seen a funky form of Kryptonite splitting Superman from Clark Kent in Superman III.
The Red and Blue Superman have specifically appeared multiple times in comics, most recently with the electric Superman run from the late 1990s. While that is hardly the best received arc of the character’s career, the wild red and blue costumes are a memorable part of Superman’s history.
With an 11-minute run-time, Justice League Action did a great job of putting a fresh spin on having red and blue Supermen, Wonder Women, and more. It’s exactly the type of fun, action-packed episode we’ve come to expect from the series.