"Father's Day" is the 15th episode of the second season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 28th of the overall series. It depicts Kalibak coming to Earth, hoping to prove himself worthy of being Darkseid's son by attempting to kill Superman in battle. Superman proves stronger, but is distracted by the fact that his adoptive father is trapped in a crumbling building. Because of this distraction, Kalibak keeps coming back for more while the building gets weaker.
On the distant planet Apokolips, Desaad activates a machine that is watching over Metropolis Park. Lois Lane is out for a jog and finds it: a huge metallic sphere that sprouts arms and starts tearing the place apart. Lois calls it in to the newspaper and is overheard by Clark Kent, who then takes off as Superman to deal with the machine.
Superman arrives on scene just in time to save Lois. He then finds that the sphere is equipped with a variety of weapons such as a laser, a lightning generator, and a chain saw. However, none of the weapons are very effective. Observing this, Darkseid orders Desaad to transmit the self-destruct sequence. Superman manages to get the machine away before it explodes.
After the destruction of the machine, Desaad tries to cover up his failure by claiming the machine was only a way to gauge Superman's powers and asks for another chance. Darkseid refuses him, so Mannheim asks to be returned to Earth to restart Intergang. He too is refused. Kalibak then approaches and asks for the chance to destroy Superman. Darkseid refuses him as well, claiming that the destruction of Superman is too important. Mannheim asks how Darkseid can take Kalibak seriously and is put into a slave pit as punishment.
Desaad decides that Kalibak can cover his failure and convinces him to go to Earth to destroy Superman in spite of his being told not to. Desaad assures him that Kalibak will finally be accepted as Darkseid's son. Believing this, Kalibak heads to Earth.
Back on Earth, Clark's parents show up and invite Lois to lunch. Unfortunately, Kalibak shows up nearby them and heads directly to the restaurant that Ma and Pa Kent are going for lunch. Kalibak then starts wreaking havoc in order to draw Superman's attention. Pa Kent foolishly waits inside, believing someone should confront Kalibak. The roof caves in and Jonathan is trapped inside.
Superman goes to investigate and learns of his adoptive father's fate. He attempts to save his father, but Kalibak attacks him. The two fight and it seems that Kalibak may win, but Superman manages to force him out of the building. Superman attempts to leave Kalibak while he goes to save his father. Insulted, Kalibak attacks again. The fight goes into the subway and nearly causes a train wreck, but Superman manages to stop the fight without any damage. Kalibak is still not unconscious and attacks once more. He still fails to defeat Superman, but remembers Darkseid's lack of faith in him. He then redoubles his efforts. This time, Superman is nearly defeated. Kalibak claims that he'll finally prove himself to his father. Upon hearing the word "Father", Superman stops holding back and hurls Kalibak several miles away.
With Kalibak too far away to start any more trouble, Superman finally manages to save his adoptive father just before the roof caves in. With Pa Kent saved, Superman heads off to find Kalibak and finish the fight. However, Darkseid gets there first and blasts Kalibak with his Omega Beams and teleporting him away. Superman confronts Darkseid, but he too is hit by the Omega Beams, which merely hurt him. Darkseid then vows that Superman and Earth will swear allegiance to him.
Darkseid returns to Apokolips and explains to Desaad that Superman cannot be destroyed with only one stroke. He then promises that he will cause as many deaths as it takes to destroy Superman and take Earth.
Home video releases
- First meeting of Superman and Darkseid.
- First appearance of Desaad and Kalibak in this series.
- The maître d' at Minerva closely resembles G. Carl Francis from the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Laughing Fish". Conspicuously, both are voiced by George Dzundza.
- This episode expands on events from "Tools of the Trade" where Darkseid's minion introduced Apokoliptian weapons to Earth.
- Kalibak offers to kill Superman again in "Apokolips... Now!" but Darkseid refuses citing his defeat in this episode.
- The war between Superman and Darkseid grew into a major saga within the DCAU. This episode leads to the two-part episode "Apokolips... Now!" which leads to the two-part series finale, which leads to both the Justice League episode "Twilight" and the Cadmus story arc that plays out during Justice League Unlimited. Ultimately, everything came to a head in the Justice League Unlimited series finale "Alive!" and "Destroyer".
Kalibak: You see, Superman, life breeds death. Everything that lives must kill something to survive. And I am a survivor.
Superman: Whoever you are...
Ma Kent: (as Superman fights Kalibak) Clark, look out!
Lois: No matter how many times I see that, I'll never get used to it.
Kalibak: Please! Father!
Superman: What have you done to him? I asked you a question. Who are you? Answer me!
Desaad: You sacrificed your s--, ah, Kalibak?