"Blasts From the Past" is a two-parter consisting of the first and second episodes of the second season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 14th and 15th of the overall series.
Inside S.T.A.R. Labs, Professor Hamilton struggles to open a compartment inside Superman's ship. Superman arrives and offers to help but Hamilton manages to open it himself. Inside the compartment is a strange device, which Superman identifies as a Phantom Zone projector.
Both Superman and Hamilton look into the projector but Hamilton turns a knob and accidentally releases a large creature onto Earth. The creature causes some slight trouble and nearly escapes, but Superman manages to subdue it and allow Hamilton to send it back to the Phantom Zone.
After the creature is captured, a voice calls from the projector asking to be released. Superman looks in and sees a woman who claims she's served her sentence. She identifies herself as "Mala" and asks to see the council and Jor-El. Superman considers his options.
Superman goes to his Fortress of Solitude and activates a Kryptonian computer made by combining the message projector he found in his rocket and the Brainiac Orb he got from his ship. He asks the computer about Mala.
Brainiac explains that Mala was once second-in-command to High General Jax-Ur, commander of Krypton's planetary defense forces. Unfortunately, Jax-Ur grew power hungry and attempted to take over the planet. However, his attempted coup d'état was foiled by Jor-El. Jax-Ur was sentenced to exile in the Phantom Zone for eternity; Mala, whom the council felt was only following orders, was only sentenced to twenty years.
Superman decides to release Mala. At first, she is confused and disoriented at hearing that Krypton is gone, but is intrigued when she learns of her new powers. Superman takes her to a cabin in the woods to teach her to control and responsibly use her powers. As her power grows, she relishes the fact that she and Superman are the only ones on Earth with such capabilities. Superman notices and insists that Mala cannot hurt anyone. Mala agrees and attempts to influence Superman with intimacy.
Superman and Mala go to Metropolis and stop a robbery but Mala takes it too far, brutally beating two of the criminals and threatening one into "restitution". After the police arrive, Mala claims that she's "Superman's Second in Command" and indicates that she believes that Superman rules earth.
Lex Luthor takes the opportunity to destroy Superman's reputation by going on TV and claiming that Superman and Mala intend to populate the Earth with Kryptonians and take over the world. Luthor insists that Superman send Mala back to the Phantom Zone, which greatly enrages her so much that she blows up the TV with her heat vision. Mala goes to see Superman and finds that he too is considering sending her back, enraging her even further. At a press conference, Mala rebukes her previous statement of wanting to rule Earth. Lois rejects the idea but continues the interview and asks if Mala and Superman are an item. Superman denies, and Mala tries to kill Lois. She is carried away by Superman to prevent her from causing further damage. Mala insists that Jax-Ur would have taken over the planet and after causing a disaster to distract Superman she escapes.
Superman goes after Mala but finds that she's stolen the Phantom Zone projector. Outside her cabin, Mala releases Jax-Ur.
Desperate to find a way to defeat Jax-Ur and Mala, Superman takes Professor Hamilton to the Fortress of Solitude. Hamilton is greatly interested by the animals in the Fortress but has to hurry to the Brainiac Orb. The computer explains how to make a Phantom Zone projector and says that every dimension vibrates at its own unique frequency.
Jax-Ur and Mala take a walk through Metropolis. He finds the natives rather primitive, but sees potential for Earth under his rule. He also revels in the fact that he has the chance to exact vengeance on Jor-El, by killing his son. Since his own powers are not yet up to either Mala's or Superman's, she gives him a demonstration of hers, and havoc ensues.
At the Daily Planet Lois informs Clark of Mala's rampage and he leaves as Superman to confront the duo. As Jax-Ur watches, Mala manages to defeat Superman and forces him to listen to Jax-Ur's monologue. After Superman refuses to bow down to Jax-Ur, he orders Mala to kill him. Fortunately, Superman manages to ward her off and attacks Jax-Ur. He easily captures the general but Mala attacks again. The two fight each other to a standstill, but Mala spots Lois and throws her in harm's way to distract Superman. She extracts Jax-Ur, and they escape once again.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Superman checks up on the progress made on the new Phantom Zone projector. Unfortunately, the projector doesn't work as it's missing a crystal that vibrates at the Phantom Zone's frequency.
Meanwhile, Perry White is on the backs of his staff about their inability to find Jax-Ur and Mala. However, the duo appear shortly and kidnap Lois. Jax-Ur leaves a message for Superman to come and get Lois at the cabin in the woods. Superman does come but in his Anti-Kryptonite suit, and bringing a chunk of Kryptonite. Mala falls before the rock's radiation and Lois keeps her covered. But Jax-Ur appears from hiding with the projector and sends Superman and the Kryptonite to the Phantom Zone. Mala is eager to kill Lois, but Jax-Ur wants her alive, to spread the word that Superman is gone. To make sure he's gone for good, Jax-Ur destroys the projector with his new heat vision. He and Mala leave to take over the world. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Lois watches a report on disasters caused by the Kryptonian renegades. Professor Hamilton asks her if the Superman's suit was intact when she last saw it, and explains that it was treated with a traceable energy signature. Using the trace, Hamilton manages to bring Superman back. With Lois, they inspect the remains of the destroyed projector, and Superman retrieves the dimension-specific crystal they need.
At the U.N. Security Council, the decision has been made to surrender the planet to Jax-Ur and Mala. Superman intervenes before the treaty can be signed. Again Superman does battle, this time with both Jax-Ur and Mala. The team proves to be more than a match for Superman and nearly kill him. However, Superman prolongs their battle and then feigns an escape attempt. The pair gives chase but are lured into a trap: Lois and Hamilton use the completed projector to send them back to the Phantom Zone.
Superman takes the projector to his Fortress of Solitude and decides that it's best that he remains the only Kryptonian on Earth.
- Tim Daly as Kal-El/Superman/Clark Kent
- Dana Delany as Lois Lane
- George Dzundza as Perry White, the Robber (uncredited) and the Journalist (uncredited)
- Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
- Victor Brandt as Professor Hamilton
- Corey Burton as Brainiac and the Secretary General (uncredited)
- Ron Perlman as Jax-Ur and the Robber (uncredited)
- Leslie Easterbrook as Mala
- Ron Glass as News Anchorman
- Keri Tombazian as Female Correspondent
Home Video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- All-Star Superman (2DVD, Blu-ray only)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: Superman - Worlds at War! (DVD)
- Although his portrayal in the series is closer to that of General Zod, Jax-Ur is in fact an original character from in the comics, a mad Kryptonian scientist; in one of his appearances, he co-engineers (with Zod) one of Superman's races with The Flash.
- Mala seems to be an amalgamation of two female villainesses from Superman's universe, Ursa and Faora.
- Perry's insistence that the Daily Planet staff find Jax-Ur and Mala just before they come into the building is a tribute to the movie Superman II which has Perry talking about Zod, Ursa, and Non just before they attack the Planet building.
- According to this episode, although Superman has used the cavern in the North Pole since "Stolen Memories", it is Professor Hamilton who first coins the term "Fortress of Solitude".
- The battle suits of Jax-Ur's soldiers are similar in appearance to those later used by Derek Powers' security guards in Batman Beyond.
- The music played during Superman's brief battle with the mysterious creature in Part I would later be remixed and used for the battle against Felix Faust in "Paradise Lost".
- When aired on Toon Disney, Jax-Ur's order for Mala to "crush his skull!" while holding Superman down was edited out.
- In part I, in a fit of rage Mala uses her heat vision to blow up a TV set. The ensuing explosion is reused footage from the gas canisters that Superman ignites in "The Way of All Flesh". This footage is used again on part II when Superman electrocutes Mala, and again when he throws a car at her.
- During Brainiac's exposition about Jax-Ur's coup, several of his charging soldiers pop off the screen at the bottom rather than move out of frame gradually.
- Superman is wearing the "anti-Kryptonite" suit while in the Phantom Zone, but when Hamilton asks Lois about that very fact, the suit is in its alcove behind him, next to Superman's space suit.
- Lois says, "Yeah right, and I'm Wonder Woman" in an interview with Mala. This statement is made inconsistent by the subsequent Justice League series, when Wonder Woman does not appear as a hero until the Imperium invasion, in "Secret Origins". This seems to have been meant originally as a mythology gag. In similar fashion, Lana Lang referred to Big Susan as "amazon" in "My Girl".
- Though referred to as the United Nations Security Council, there are multiple things wrong with its portrayal:
- The Security Council is seated well inside the U.N. Headquarters; it is not accessible by punching a hole in one wall.
- The Security Council does not have a raised dais. The General Assembly does, but it is also not located near an outside wall.
- It remains ambiguous whether the scene takes place in New York. None of its iconic landmarks are shown (save a bridge that remotely resembles the Queensboro Bridge), and after a short chase, Superman is back in Metropolis.
- In later episodes, such as Justice League's "The Enemy Below", the U.N. is replaced with the Metropolis-based World Assembly. That organization did not yet exist (production-wise), so it is unknown whether the two operated side by side. No further mentions of the United Nations occur in the DCAU.
- This is the first time that Superman has been shown to use both the Brainiac Orb ("Stolen Memories") and the Kryptonian message projector ("The Last Son of Krypton, Part I") together to use a Kryptonian computer.
- In "The Last Son of Krypton, Part I," Jor-El suggests sending everyone to the Phantom Zone and later releasing them on another planet. This may be why there is a Phantom Zone projector in Superman's ship, hoping that Kal-El would be the one to release them eventually.
- Superman still has the menagerie of creatures that he salvaged from the Preserver's ship in "The Main Man".
- Jax-Ur and Mala return in "Absolute Power".