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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians - 1985

Today the Shrine finishes its look at the last Super Friends show, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians!

As we saw last week, TSPT:GG featured all but Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Firestorm, and Cyborg in minor roles--in some cases they are merely background elements as the main characters get all the action.

This second disc of the show's DVD release features the final four episodes: "The Wild Cards", "Brainchild/The Case of the Stolen Super Powers", "Escape From Space City" and the probably-misleadingly titled "The Death of Superman."
Aquaman doesn't make any appearance at all in the first two--not even as a background character--when someone on staff must have realized they were paying Aquaman a weekly salary to show up, he might as well do something!

(Side note: the episode "The Wild Cards" features The Royal Flush Gang, in a plot very reminiscent of a three-part JLA story that ran in #s 203-205 of their book!)
In "Escape From Space City", the Super Friends get a message from your prototypical mad scientist--in this case, an ornery computer genius who has built a mechanical paradise in space that he promises delivers a life free of crime, want, and worry--all you have to do is submit to him as total and complete ruler. There's always a catch.

The Super Friends contact the man and his daughter, who live full time in the city. Mr. Moko(!) claims he sent no such message, and basically tells the Super Friends to kiss off. They ask if they can tour the city, just to see if they can find any trouble, and Mr. Moko reluctantly agrees.

They don't find anything amiss at Space City (other than Mr. Moko is totally batsh*t crazy, of course), and prepare to go home. Just then, they get a message from some guy named Aquaman!
Having discovered a tiny island that he has never seen before, Aquaman investigates, only to find that the "island" is a base of operations for Darkseid and his minions! Turns out he wants to take over Space City, and plans to do so via a robot army--one of whom was the fake Mr. Moko. The real one was the one who sent the distress message, before he was apprehended and jailed by Darkseid.

When Aquaman is attacked by a giant robot, he calls for help to his finny friends, the last time we'd get to see this classic, iconic effect:
As the robot blasts away, a giant whale comes shooting out of the water, carrying the robot with it underwater, crushing it. Advantage: Aquaman!

Superman and Wonder Woman arrive and, along with Aquaman, investigate the island, while Batman, Firestorm, and Samurai are on Space City. Suddenly, both teams are the victims of surprise attacks: the former by Darkseid himself, the latter by his team of killer robots!

Eventually, Batman and the rest escape the robots, and find their way to the island, where Darkseid is off to a great start on his Super Friends collection:
Samurai helps Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman get free of Darkseid's tubes (a story Samurai dined out on for years), while Darkseid runs away back to Apokolips, rock tail between his legs.

In "Death of Superman", Aquaman appears (as do all the Super Friends, even Flash and El Dorado, who previously hadn't shown up at all) as one of his friends' pallbearers.
Turns out of course Superman isn't really dead (Spoiler Alert!), and its all a ruse in a plot to trap Darkseid. Aquaman appears a couple more times, as part of the background gang, but he doesn't get involved in the action in any real way.

Kind of an ignominious end to one of the core Super Friends run on the show; of the five original heroes, only Aquaman's presence was scaled back over the years; to make room for Hanna-Barbera's own creations (Black Vulcan, Samurai, Apache Chief, El Dorado) and newer, flashier DC creations like Firestorm and Cyborg--something Aquaman was more than used to at this point.

Its too bad
The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians lasted only eight episodes; like the Sea King, the show kind of went out with a whimper instead of a bang. The Super Friends in its many incarnations was a staple of Saturday Mornings for over a decade; an amazing run for any TV show, animated or not (Rubik The Amazing Cube, anyone?) and it would have been cool to end it with a really spectacular finish--maybe one last donnybrook with the Legion of Doom?

One more thing to mention before we wrap up: on the DVD sleeve and on the main menu, the little Super Friends icons feature a notable substitution, as one last kick in the pants to the Sea King:
I know, I know--for most of the 80s through the 2000s, DC was pushing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern as their main properties. But come on, Flash wasn't even in this show! Did having his head up there result in a single extra DVD set sold? When people think "Super Friends" we all know who that is. Sheesh.

This episode's Aqua-Content: To be honest, this really needs to be rated as "Low"--only one decent appearance in four episodes--but since I want to go out on a positive note, let's say "Medium" and call it a day!


JD said...

Yikes, this show really didn't do Aquaman ANY favors. Only one sort of featured episode for him, really bad messy hair for him, and they made his gloves and tights more of a turquoise than the traditional green. (Plus that bizarre Darkseid has the hots for Wonder Woman bit that still bother me.) File this show under "please avoid." :(

Wings1295 said...

I suppose we are lucky Aquaman at least got to appear below the logo instead of Robin!

Love that telepathic screen cap, Rob. Just awesome!

David J. Cutler said...

"Samurai helps Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman get free of Darkseid's tubes (a story Samurai dined out on for years)"--Got a good chuckle out of me.

rob! said...

Got a good chuckle out of me.

Thanks, David--I was kinda proud of that one...

Orin's dad said...

"other than Mr. Moko is totally batsh*t crazy, of course" is the one that made me laugh out loud. Quality post and review, as always, rob!.