Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 3

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Episode 3: "The World's Deadliest Game"

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This episode of Challenge of the Superfriends opens, as they usually do, with the Legion of Doom. Inside the giant Darth Vader head, one of the members, Solomon Grundy, is unhappy with his team's lack of success re: destroying the Super Friends, chiding them on their "stupid plans." This is Solomon Grundy saying this.

Anyway, Brainiac has a plan, the first step of which involves Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan, who are in space helping NASA repair one of their busted satellites. Brainiac shoots a beam into space, which "cloaks" the Earth, making it appear invisible! So when the trio of heroes tries to go home, they find the Earth...gone!
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The heroes then get a "message" from Superman (actually Toyman throwing his voice) telling the three Super Friends to find them in a far, far away sector of space. There's a momentary bit of confusion as to how the other heroes got there, but the Super Friends are a "can do" bunch, so they head out into deep space.

After traveling trillions of miles(!), Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and Black Lightning get caught in a black hole, and end up deposited on a crazy toy world, built by Toyman, where toy-related death traps await them at every turn:
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Back on Earth, the rest of the Super Friends learn what has happened (thanks to oh-so-clever clues by the Legion of Doom), and try to find their friends. Various false leads take them to the Grand Canyon, where Captain Cold and Scarecrow are waiting to unleash their own death trap.

The mine shaft the Super Friends are in is flooded, but Superman and Green Lantern help everyone escape--including Aquaman, who meekly follows along:
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Back on the toy planet, Wonder Woman and the others face new dangers, including a giant-sized dollhouse and its wailing inhabitant. This is where Hawkman gets to utter the immortal line, "That's no baby!":
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The rest of the Super Friends learn where the others have gone--inside a black hole! In a cringe-inducing moment, Aquaman warns that entering a black hole means certain death, leading Flash to bravely suggest they have to follow anyway. Thanks Aquaman, you big fraidy-cat:
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While on a planet inside the black hole, the Super Friends meet a race of women who attack and turn them all to stone. Flash, being the only one not affected, manages to free his friends and the search continues. Its a weird little sequence, since it doesn't have anything to do with the plot. Superman, for his part, is very tan:
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(I guess Hal took Kal for some trips around the sun).

Finally, all the Super Friends meet up in deep space, and escape the black hole. They find the Legion of Doom back on Earth, where they are robbing the countries of the world blind. A fight ensues (sort of, since we never see any punches thrown), leaving the Legion a crumpled mess:
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The Legion of Doom seems utterly defeated, but of course they have a back-up plan: Brainiac shoots a beam at himself and the others, transporting them away. This leaves the Super Friends to, once again, vow that the next time they meet, the bad guys won't get away:
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...not The End!


I really wonder why the Legion of Doom bothers with these cockamamie schemes to get rich, which always lead to the Super Friends putting a stop to them. The inventions they come up with have such practical, money-making potential they could make each of the Legion of Doom into Steve Jobs. Heck, the tourism income alone from Toyman's Toy Planet would be more than whatever they could get by stealing all the world's gold, or whatever. Maybe they should listen to Solomon Grundy.

On a separate note, I've generally never bought into the theory that Aquaman's lack of use in the Super Friends caused him to get the reputation as lame. But I have to say, this episode certainly goes far towards proving that theory: Aquaman gets nothing to do except tag along, and the one time he says something its to try and get the rest of the heroes to chicken out, only to be corrected by The Flash. Yeesh.

This episode's Aqua-Content: Low


Post Script: We're all familiar with the occasional animation mistakes that cropped up in 70s and 80s cartoons. Most are easily ignored, but occasionally they make you laugh--like this shot of the three Super Friends in space. A little somethin' for the ladies:
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Hey Katar, do fries come with that shake?

I'm going to send this over to the two Hawkman blogs I'm aware of, Being Carter Hall and Hawkman and Hawkgirl Fans. I think they'll enjoy it--I know I did.

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