"Absolute Power" is the sixth episode of the third season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 47th of the overall series. It depicts the return of Jax-Ur and Mala previously seen in "Blasts From the Past". While studying a black hole, Superman discovers an alien planet that has been taken over by the two Kryptonian criminals. At first, he doesn't want to get involved, but he soon learns that turning his back on those that need help isn't such a good idea.
Out in deep space, Superman pilots his ship to a black hole. His mission: to send in a probe to study the black hole for S.T.A.R. Labs. However, he discovers a ship that is on a course for the black hole. He flies out to save the ship and its crew. Superman's efforts prove successful and he follows the ship's vapor trail to its home planet.
Back on the crew's home world, Superman releases them but the people are afraid, referring to Superman as "one of them". Superman talks to one of the crew members and is advised to run as well. Superman is soon attacked by a couple more ships, which he easily destroys. However, more battle vehicles and soldiers arrive. They are soon told to stand down by Mala.
Mala takes Superman to her palace where she and Jax-Ur rule. Mala explains their escape from the Phantom Zone: two meteors of lunar proportions were heading towards the black hole and on a collision course with each other. The released energy tore a rift into the Phantom Zone. They escaped through this rift, but nearly suffocated in the vacuum. Luckily, they were rescued by a science vessel sent to study the phenomenon.
After their rescue, Jax-Ur and Mala took control of the planet, which they saw as primitive and torn by petty conflict, "not unlike Earth". The pair insists that they have brought order and peace to the planet and made it better than it had ever been. They have been shaping the planet into Jax-Ur's vision of paradise on Krypton and the planet is now ruled by order. The people that Superman saved were criminals meant to be executed. They then warn Superman that they have developed their powers for a year and he should not interfere.
Jax-Ur takes Superman to his ship and assures him that there isn't anything wrong with it. The crew member that Superman spoke to earlier sneaks in and tells Superman that the "criminals" that he rescued were actually leaders from before Jax-Ur and Mala's reign. She begs for Superman's help, but he refuses on the basis that a fight between three empowered Kryptonians would be devastating to the planet.
The crew member, Cetea, shows Superman a factory where an armada of ships, piloted by drones, is being built. Superman checks the destination for the ships and discovers that it's Earth, which he isn't surprised by. Unfortunately, an alarm goes off, and a group of soldiers arrives. Superman and Mala fight, but Jax-Ur manages to capture him in a set of energy rings.
Superman and Cetea are taken to the black hole, where they will be thrown in and executed. Jax-Ur muses over his admiration of the black hole and gets set to send out his prisoners. The ship suddenly starts to shake, and a soldier, Alterus, arrives. He explains that the ship hit a gravity anomaly, and the navigation system has been damaged. Jax-Ur and Mala go to investigate, but find that it was a lie. However, the distraction was enough to allow Alterus and Cetea to escape in a pod. Superman confronts Jax-Ur and Mala, and destroys the ship's controls so that it gets caught in the gravity of the black hole and is pulled closer. The ship tears, releasing all the air, but Jax-Ur gives Mala a breathing mask. Superman, who doesn't have one, is at a disadvantage, and the pair decide to leave him.
However, Superman finds an escape pod, which Jax-Ur and Mala try to take from him. Unfortunately, the ship hits the pod, sending Jax-Ur and Mala careening towards the black hole. Superman enters the pod, and watches as the two evil Kryptonians are sucked into the black hole. He then flies off in the escape pod and returns to the alien planet.
Upon leaving the planet, Superman realizes that it was a mistake to refuse to help the aliens and vows never to turn his back on others again.
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: Superman - Worlds at War! (DVD)
- When Superman deflects the blast shot by Alterus, there's a full screen frame of a fire explosion, which is reused footage from "Where There's Smoke" when Volcana blasted Superman with a fire ball in the parking lot. This is used again three more times when Jax-Ur and Mala's ship start blowing up and three times more when it is pulled into the black hole.
- Likewise, when the control panel of the ship explodes it features an explosion that is reused footage from the gas canisters that Superman ignites in "The Way of All Flesh".
- Last appearance of Jax-Ur and Mala. Presumably, they died in the black hole.
- The names of the planet and the alien race are never revealed.
- Second (and last) episode to be told in flashback.
- Superman's quote about good people doing nothing is usually attributed to Edmund Burke.
- Sarah Douglas replaces Leslie Easterbrook as the voice of Mala; Douglas played Kryptonian villainess Ursa in the first two live-action Superman films. Mala is closely modeled on Ursa.
- Since time, too, is affected by a black hole’s gravity, slowing down as the gravitational pull gets stronger, it would theoretically take countless ages for Mala, Jax-Ur, and the ship’s debris to be sucked in as opposed to the seconds that it took in the show.
- Although Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD. and Koko Enterprise Co., LTD. were the animators for this episode, Tokyo Movie Shinsha Co., LTD. did the black hole effects, which were animated digitally.
|Tim Daly||Superman/Clark Kent|
|Michael Donovan||Additional Voices|
|Jennifer Hale||Additional Voices|
|Jennifer Jason Leigh||Cetea|
|Steve McGowan||Stormtrooper Guard|
Jax-Ur: Mesmerizing. Of all the phenomena of nature, none fascinates me more than a black hole. It is the one true force of absolute power. Everything it touches becomes its own.
Superman: Although Cetea's people were grateful for my help, I wondered if it wasn't I who should be grateful. They reminded me of a saying: "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing". I won't forget it again.