"Feeding Time" is the sixth episode of the first season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the sixth of the overall series. It depicts the birth and subsequent rampage of The Parasite who steals Superman's powers and goes on a crime spree.
Superman worriedly looks at a large rock of Kryptonite, but is pleased to discover that his new Anti-Kryptonite suit is working perfectly. Its creator, Professor Hamilton, explains its composition as he stores the Kryptonite in a wall safe, commenting that it should withstand whatever trouble Superman may get himself into. As Superman takes off the suit for storage, he quips that Professor Hamilton seems to think that he goes looking for trouble.
Elsewhere, in Loading Bay 2, Rudy Jones clumsily operates a forklift to load barrels of an unknown substance onto his partner's truck. While Rudy works the forklift, a couple of security guards approach and ask what's going on. Rudy's partner, Martin Lebeau, pulls a gun on the guards and starts firing, despite Rudy's protests. The shots hit some barrels and starts a fire. Lebeau jumps into his truck and drives off, with Rudy jumping into the back with the barrels.
Inside of the lab, Superman can hear the fire and goes to investigate. He notices the duo escaping but chooses to save the trapped security guards instead. As he drives to freedom, Lebeau, fed up with Rudy's bumbling, speeds over a bumpy, winding road, ignoring Rudy's pleas to slow down. When he strikes a rock on the road, the canisters fall over and spill their contents onto Rudy. Briefly distracted by the mutating Rudy's pleas for help, Lebeau nearly hits the arch of a bridge - as he swerves back onto the road, he sends Rudy falling off the truck and into a patch of reeds near the river.
Later that night, a rat curiously sniffs at Rudy's body. The moment it touches the fallen man, some of its energy is drained into Rudy's body, allowing him to snatch up the rat. Nearby, a policewoman drives down the road and nearly runs into Rudy. Using the rat to distract her, he seizes her and drains her energy into himself. As he escapes in the policewoman's vehicle, Rudy notes that he was able to drain his victim's memories along with their energy.
As morning dawns, the newly minted Parasite sets out for revenge on Lebeau. He finds his old partner and starts draining his energy, only to be stopped by Superman, who was investigating the crime scene of the fallen policewoman as Clark. By faking cooperation, Parasite gets Superman close enough for him to grab and drain. Now possessing the bulk of the Man of Steel's powers, he easily defeats the weakened Superman and announces to Metropolis that he's the new power in the city.
Parasite proceeds to go on a crime spree, using Superman's powers to take whatever he wants without any true opposition. However, his powers soon begin to fade; elsewhere, the policewoman recovers from her drained state and Superman regains his strength and powers. Clark calls up Perry and tells him that his "cold" is getting better. However, before he can go out as Superman, Parasite attacks him, having gained his memories and knows his secret identity, retaking his powers. Now realizing that he can't keep the powers he takes, Parasite kidnaps Superman and keeps him chained up in an unrevealed location.
A week later, everyone is still unaware of Superman's location and how to stop the superpowered Parasite. Jimmy theorizes that Parasite is still using S.T.A.R. Labs, but no one believes him. When he goes to investigate himself, Jimmy finds Superman and attempts to free him, only to be attacked by a returning Parasite. Fortunately, Jimmy weakens the chains enough to enable Superman to escape - in turn, the Man of Steel helps Jimmy escape and runs into a weapons testing room. As Parasite looks for his prey, Superman emerges in his Anti-Kryptonite suit, which protects him from Parasite's powers. Parasite is still stronger and nearly drains Superman again, but the alien hero tricks him into accidentally grabbing a piece of Kryptonite. Having realized that Parasite must inherit the weaknesses of his victims as well as their strengths, Superman watches calmly as he falls unconscious from the Kryptonite's radiation.
As Parasite is locked up, Hamilton reveals that the Kryptonite drained his mind as well as his powers. Superman relaxes in the knowledge that Rudy Jones has been neutralized as a threat, and thus misses a cockroach crawling into Parasite's cell. As the insect approaches the cell's occupant, Parasite touches it and drains its energy. His eyes glow and his mouth slowly curls into a grin.
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Superman: Bumper Collection (VHS)
- Debut of Superman's Anti-Kryptonite suit and Space Suit.
- When Jimmy Olsen is informed about the police officer attacked by Parasite, he asks if the purple monster that attacked her was named "Barney". This is a reference to the titular character of children's TV show Barney and Friends, a dinosaur who, like Parasite, is purple.
Parasite: Good evening, dinner.