DC Animated Universe

"Tools of the Trade" is the 12th episode of the first season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 12th of the overall series. Mysterious technology is given to Intergang so that they might destroy Superman. Superman fights back but finds that the terrifying weaponry can hurt even him.


Things are peaceful in Metropolis until a tank rolls up to the Metropolis Gold Exchange and attempts to break in. The SCU shows up and attempts to stop the robbery but is unsuccessful, partially due to the recklessness of Dan Turpin. Fortunately, Clark and Lois are nearby. Clark changes into Superman and foils the robbery. After the end of the chaos, Angela Chen makes the statement that Superman is the real power behind the SCU, upsetting Turpin.

Elsewhere, Bruno Mannheim angrily curses his weapons, as they were worthless against Superman. Just then, Mannheim and his henchmen hear a loud explosion and see a strange man walking into their warehouse. They pull out their guns on this man, but he assures them it's unnecessary. Mannheim insists that the man explain himself. The man introduces himself as "Kanto" and destroys Mannheim's guns with a strange staff he's holding, then offers the staff as a "gift". Kanto continues to demonstrate more weapons, including a ray gun capable of easily melting tempered steel and a pair of gloves making energy hands of greatly amplified strength. When Mannheim asks what they'll cost, Kanto tells him that they're free right now. Mannheim is wary, but decides to use the weapons, Turpin sneaks over the fence and observes the weapons. He tries to follow Kanto, who uses a small device that causes an explosive flash of light, forcing Turpin to look away. When he looks back, Turpin finds that Kanto has disappeared.

Hands attack

The Armature attacks.

Later, Intergang makes a shot at a train transporting money. With their new weapons, the gang manages to easily capture the train and get rid of the guards. News of the train robbery quickly travels to both the SCU and the Daily Planet. Both Superman and the SCU go to stop the robbery, but both fail. Turpin insists that Mannheim is behind the robbery and they should go after him, but Maggie Sawyer refuses. When she tells Turpin that she wants to bring Superman in on the investigation, he turns in his badge.

In spite of his resigning from the force, Turpin goes to Mannheim's house and attempts to make his own investigations but is captured by Kanto. Kanto tells Mannheim that his employer is pleased enough to give him a new weapon powerful enough to destroy Superman. After hearing about Turpin's resigning and his disappearance, Superman heads out confront Mannheim. However, Mannheim is ready for him.

Superman shadows

Superman emerges from the shadows.

Superman is confronted with thugs using the new weapons which do give him a lot of trouble, but in the end, he is able to overcome them. However, Superman finds that it's a trap. Mannheim attacks him with his new gun and severely injures his enemy. He then points out that the gun isn't even at full power and adjusts it. Thinking that he can finally rid himself of Superman, Mannheim prepares to fire the gun at him, but Turpin tackles him. Superman uses his heat vision on the gun and forces Mannheim to drop it. Mannheim runs out after Kanto, only to learn that he is no longer considered "worthy" of new weapons. However, rather than be captured, he follows Kanto into a strange portal.

Mannheim apokalypse

Bruno Mannheim follows Kanto through Apokolips.

Later the police have arrived to secure the mansion, and reporters. Superman explains how Turpin saved his life, and he seems a little more comfortable around the Man of Steel. When asked where Mannheim is, Turpin notes that he's out of the Metropolis SCU's jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Mannheim is in a hellish land, where Kanto, now dressed in a bizarre Renaissance costume, takes him to meet his "new lord and master": a tall figure with a deep voice, gray rock-like skin, and red eyes - Darkseid.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]


  • The tank used by Mannheim at the beginning of the episode appears to roll over a bystander.
  • This episode boasts the second largest introduction of major characters from the series (second to "The Last Son of Krypton") to the DC Animated Universe. It introduces primarily the DC Comics contributions by the renowned comic book artist Jack Kirby, such as Intergang, Darkseid and the other New Gods of Apokolips, as well as Dan Turpin, Maggie Sawyer, and the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. The design of Turpin was modeled after Kirby as well.
  • Darkseid's introduction is similar to that of Ra's al Ghul in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Off Balance", as they both appear at the very end and become very serious threats to their enemies later on.
  • Dan Turpin mentions "Mannheim's ugly mitts", a reference to Mannheim's nickname in the comics, "Ugly".
  • The shot of Superman catching Turpin and Sawyer's car is highly reminiscent of the cover of Action Comics#1, Superman's first appearance in comics.


Actor Role
Tim Daly Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany Lois Lane
Lauren Tom Angela Chen
Dispatch (uncredited)
Bruce Weitz Bruno Mannheim
Joanna Cassidy Maggie Sawyer
Joseph Bologna Dan Turpin
Michael Ironside Darkseid
Michael York Kanto
Kevin Michael Richardson Al
Hot dog customer (uncredited)
Phil Hayes Blaine


Bruno Mannheim: What's your boss want in return?
Kanto: Nothing... for now.
Bruno Mannheim: It's my experience that 'nothing' can be very expensive...

Superman: Think he'll come back?
Maggie Sawyer: If I had a dime for every time Dan Turpin threw in his badge, I'd make Lex Luthor look like a pauper!

Superman: You don't think he tried something foolish, do you?
Maggie Sawyer: I'd count on it!

Mannheim: Do you know what having this gun means, Turpin?
Dan Turpin: I can take it off your Christmas list?

(Lois rushes into the elevator and starts frantically pressing the button.)
Lois Lane: Coming through! Big train wreck, five miles north, someone was standing on the tracks and right now I wish it was the guy who built this STUPID ELEVATOR!

Mannheim: Where in God's name are we?
Kanto: That depends. Which 'God' are you talking about?

Darkseid: Welcome to Apokolips, Mr. Mannheim.
Mannheim: Who are you?
Darkseid: Your new Lord and Master. You may call me... Darkseid.