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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 4

Episode 4: "The Time Trap"

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, Bizarro, is unhappy with his team's lack of success re: destroying the Super Friends, and threatens to go back to his home world. Luthor, tired of the grind apparently, simply tells Bizarro be quiet. Besides, Gorilla Grodd has a plan!

And what a plan it is! Grodd has created a machine (because big fat gorilla fingers are great for highly detailed technical work) that allows the LOD members to go back in time and steal some of the world's greatest riches. Grodd shows off the portal that will allow this to happen:
The first group of villains to go back in time are Black Manta and Giganta, who announce such plans to the Super Friends. This of course lures Aquaman and Apache Chief to try and stop them. Manta opens the portal, and the two heroes follow, finding themselves back in Prehistoric Times:
Manta and Giganta grab a pile of South African diamonds (not sure how this is a crime, per se), quickly skedaddling back through the portal. The sea creature attacks our heroes, and Aquaman lures the beast away from his partner by heading under the sea. The creature grabs then grabs Aquaman, but the Sea King calls his finny friends to help him escape:
Aquaman and Apache Chief arrive back at the portal just in time to see it close...which means they are stuck in the past! Oh no!

Back in the present, Part Two of the plan kicks into gear, with Sinestro and Captain Cold going back to Medieval England, luring Green Lantern and Samurai. Sinestro uses his ring to engage Green Lantern in a power ring-powered joust:
...so, Abin Sur's ring chose Hal Jordan because he was completely fearless, huh?

Anyway, the same thing happens: the villains get away, stranding the Super Friends back in the past. Despite all the missing heroes, later Batman and Robin are lured back to Ancient Greece by the Bull-In-A-China-Shop pair Gorilla Grodd and Solomon Grundy, who make off with priceless Greek art and sculptures.

The remaining Super Friends wonder where the heck everyone is, and are certain it's the work of the Legion of Doom. Meanwhile, Aquaman comes up with an amazing idea on how to be found: burying his JLA Communicator--which is nuclear-powered--in the same exact spot that the Hall of Justice will be built millions of years later! GENIUS!
Back in the present, the Super Friends pick up a distress call, which is...coming from underneath the Hall of Justice? What the what?

A quick search reveals Aquaman's communicator, dirty and covered in dust and rock. Superman gets a hunch as to what this means, and he and the Super Friends consult Dr. Steven Shin to confirm:

...yep, Aquaman's communicator has traces of rock that are millions of years old. It came from the past!

Superman doesn't hesitate to leap into action, by going back in time, rescuing the three pairs of lost Super Friends:
Members of the Legion of Doom, now reassembled in the present and not knowing when to quit, go back in time again, a just a few decades previous, to steal more loot. But this time the Super Friends are there waiting for them:
Captain Cold fires his freeze gun, and Aquaman swats the beam with a hunk of wood, bouncing the freezing water back at him and Grodd, trapping them. Aquaman takes a moment to lord it over them:
The other Super Friends do the same to Giganta, Sinestro, and the rest, seemingly defeated for good. But of course Grodd has a trick up his hairy sleeve, and hits a switch which beams them all back to safety, presumably the Legion of Doom headquarters.

So while the villains are free yet again, the Super Friends are confident that they will be around to stop the Legion of Doom wherever they might reappear:
...The End!

I guess The Flash was away on a case since, he's nowhere to be seen in this episode; his particular abilities would have really come in handy on this mission. It's this kind of laissez-faire attitude like this that drove Aquaman to disband the original League.*

Speaking of, this episode is probably Aquaman's finest moment on Challenge of the Super Friends; he gets a big chunk of the action, communicate with his finny friends, tangle with Black Manta directly, and of course come up with that completely insane solution to being trapped in time. And Batman thinks he's clever!

This episode's Aqua-Content: High

*Note: After re-checking this episode, I see that The Flash was present, he's seen standing around the Hall of Justice near the show's third act. His inaction re:letting Superman go back in time to rescue everyone now makes even less sense. You'll never earn a Mego doll this way, Barry!


Wings1295 said...

Could there have been a better way to spend a Saturday morning???

r duncan said...

So that's why he disbanded the League and moved it to Detroit! Good plan, Aquaman.

Earth 2 Chris said...

In my humble opinion, Aquaman's finest moment on the Super Friends. It's kind of nuts now, but as a kid that seemed totally logical. And not far off from a Gardner Fox-type solution either.

Russell said...

Rob, there's the Flash right there with Professor Shin...and Batman and Robin, too, who I thought you said were stuck back in Ancient Greece....?? Time travel stories make my head hurt. :-(

Andrew Glenn said...

Say what you want about the Super Friends ruining Aquaman's image, but it was very much like the 60's comic of the Justice League of America where Aquaman's main use would be the water. But from time to time, he'd pitch in for the team in other ways. His super strength and durability was i think first envisioned in the Silver Age Aquaman when Gerry Conway took the Justice League of America comic. But no, Hanna Barbera wasn't out to ruin the character, i feel it was pariodies and comedians and pop culture in response to the episodes that made so many mainstream audiences think he was useless. That and Super Friends is essentially the Justice League. It's a team. They gotta focus on everyone. :)