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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 6

Episode 6: "Monolith of Evil"

This episode of Challenge of the Superfriends in the murky swamp that is the home of the Legion of Doom. Tired of being defeated again and again, Solomon Grundy, that brilliant tactician, has a plan!

Via a recap of his origin (which apparently was filmed), Grundy reveals that the energy that created him comes from a stone monolith that is the source of all evil power. It resides deep under the crust of the Earth, so they all have to do is retrieve it--easy-peasy!

The Legion of Doom likes this plan, and decide to head into the center of the Earth. It's not especially related to the story, but I like this oddly-staged shot of the Superman-centric villains having what looks like a private meeting:

"Don't you think we should be concentrating more on killing Superman? I think we should be concentrating more on killing Superman."

Anyway, the Legion uses its headquarters to drill through the Earth's crust (because it can do that) and go on a search for the monolith. The search team consists of Grundy, Grodd, Cheetah, and The Riddler, who you think would be wee bit uncomfortable in this heat. Nevertheless, they navigate danger after danger, including a giant dragon and a lava monster:
The lava monster seems to be guarding the monolith, and is too tough for the Legion to get past. So Grodd comes up with a plan--let the Super Friends get it for them!

Back at the Hall of Justice, a message comes in--the United Nations is under attack from the Legion of Doom (say, when did John Bolton join?)! Luckily all the Super Friends, lacking any furniture or recreation, are just standing around waiting for a message to come in:

Luthor and Brainiac appear to shrink the entire U.N. building (!) and carry it off with them. Superman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan give chase, which leads to the same spot under the ground that the monolith resides. The Super Friends, thinking they are rescuing the U.N., defeat the lava monster, only to be told by the Legion--who could still lose at this point, they really shouldn't be taking a victory lap so soon--that this was all a ruse! And now that they have control of the monolith, they are unstoppable!

Using it to create a ball and chain made of Kryptonite, the Legion incapacitates our heroes long enough to escape. While trying to free Superman, Hawkman and Black Vulcan also have to deal with all sorts of crazy monsters that reside under the Earth's surface:
The Legion of Doom, now controlling the Monolith, attack new York, blasting buildings (including the Twin Towers, yeesh) and people. Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman take off to stop them, while Flash, Green Lantern, and Apache Chief head below to rescue their fellow missing Super Friends.

Using the monolith, the Legion creates a giant water monster which begins to tear up a nearby bridge. Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman seem helpless to stop it...if only there was a member of the team with water-specific powers! Oh well.

Superman, Black Vulcan, and Hawkman are rescued, and the water monster is turned to ice and shattered thanks to Batman. They all head back to the Hall of Justice, where Aquaman has been playing crunching numbers:

It turns out that the monolith isn't evil! It's merely the instrument of whoever is using it, so if the Super Friends can get it away from the Legion of Doom then all their problems will be solved!

The Super Friends (well, most of them) take on the Legion of Doom, who are still busy blasting away. The Toyman uses the monolith to create a giant toy robot, which is about to grab the Super Friends. Superman flies off, grabbing the monolith, using it to take control of the robot, telling it to instead grab the Legion!

As the Legion are stuck in the robot's arms, Luthor instructs the monolith to blast them all away, leaving the Super Friends to clean up New York (good luck) and vow that, one day, they will stop the Legion of Doom for good:

The End...for now!

Once again, poor Aquaman is left behind to check his Facebook status (he's not on Google+) while the rest of the Super Friends get to do stuff...like taking on a giant water monster!!

The bulk of the episode is concerned with the chamber of horrors which is the center of the Earth; a conceit as old as Jules Verne (probably older), but given a dusting of
Hieronymous Bosch here, what with all the horrific monsters that lurk around every corner. In particular I loved the oogy crab monster that grabs Superman and Black Vulcan; Hawkman rescues them fairly easily but I could have seen a whole show just of that!

I'm guessing the Legion of Doom never followed Solomon Grundy's advice on anything, ever again.

This episode's Aqua-Content: Low


Richard said...

Well done on "when did John Bolton join?" Made me laugh out loud!

This episode became the center of a mini-controversy a little more than ten years ago, due to the scene of the World Trade Center being attacked by the Legion of Doom. Remembering that scene, someone at Cartoon Network quickly placed it on a list of cartoons not to air in the days following September 11, 2001. There were some who considered this overreaction, a knee-jerk response, and they were pretty vocal about their complaints. For once though, I was on the side of the people who pulled the cartoon! Kids needed to be able to watch cartoons without being reminded of the horrific images on all the other channels. I'm usually very critical of Cartoon Network, but that was IMHO the right call.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Fun recap, rob!

I like how in the shot where they're all standing around staring at the blank monitor, Black Vulcan decided to get comfortable and walk around in his bare feet.