Thursday, July 31, 2014

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 12

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Episode 11: "The Final Challenge"

The Super Friends welcome new member Aquaman to their fight for justice!
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This episode of Challenge of the Super Friends opens like gangbusters, with an intergalactic chase between Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane and Black Manta's Manta Ship:
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Wonder Woman calls for back-up from Batman and Apache Chief, flying in the Bat-Plane. The two heroes show up on the Manta Ship and nab the Legion of Doomers, only to have Bizarro show up and grab them. This brings in Superman, which in turn causes Black Manta to call for help, which in turn again causes Green Lantern and Hawkman to fly from the Hall of Justice and get involved. It's a bench-clearing brawl!

Suddenly, however, some of the heroes and villains are sucked into a dimensional vortex, where they are greeted by Father Christmas:
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This is Vaartu, self-proclaimed leader of this universe, and he's had it up to here with all this petty squabbling between the Super Friends and The Legion of Doom (hey, both sides do it!) so he's going to end all this nonsense once and for all: one member of each time will face off, and whoever wins the most matches will get to go home. It's a real Contest of Champions!

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Green Lantern and Hawkman, having no common sense or accumulated memory, team up with the Legion of Doom to try and find their collective missing members. Of course, Luthor has a secret plan to destroy the Super Friends. But in the meantime, four of them travel to this super-cool atomic dimension that doesn't make a whole lot of sense but looks really rad nevertheless:
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Back on Vaartu's planet, Batman and Riddler are put in a giant maze, with each of them narrowly escaping death. But Batman ultimately makes it out, putting the Super Friends ahead.

Next is Aquaman and Black Manta, who are put on one side of The Lake of Terror (formerly known as The Cuyahoga) and have to cross it. Sounds simple enough, right?
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Aquaman is making good time, especially when Black Manta is grabbed by a giant clam. He calls for help like a little bitch, and Aquaman, being too nice a guy for his own good, help his old foe escape:
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The clam then grabs Aquaman, allowing Manta to win the race. Aquaman is beamed back to his friends looking dejected, and now the score is even.

Out in space, the remaining Super Friends learn the heard way (again) that the Legion of Doom cannot be trusted. Robin and Samurai end up in a weird geometric universe, where a Mxyzptlk-like imp helps the good guys escape when Sinestro and The Toyman pull a double-cross.

The next challenge involves Wonder Woman and Cheetah having to cap a erupting volcano, which the Amazing Amazon wins by sort of cheating. Cheetah can only whine, while the Super Friends are now up 2-1. The fourth event features Apache Chief and Scarecrow (because AC doesn't have any arch foes, other than litter on the highway), which is won by the Scarecrow. The game is now tied, so it's up to Superman to defeat Bizarro by overcoming a giant space robot!
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Luthor and some of the others learn where their fellow bad guys are, and head to Vaartu's planet, with the Super Friends close on their trail. Superman gets zapped by the giant robot's Kryptonite vision, but nevertheless wins, meaning certain doom for The Legion of Doom!

Despite pleas for mercy, Vaartu sends the five LODers into a river of acid, where they will slowly die. The Super Friends don't think this is right ("Even the Legion of Doom deserves a fair trial!"--Superman), so they grab Vaartu and rescue the Legion of Doom. Vaartu transmogrifies into the various creatures they saw during the tournament, enraged the Super Friends would dare question him:
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The Legion of Doom defeats Vaartu (using their recently-arrived HQ), which inadvertently saves the Super Friends, as well. This leads to an awkward moment, and Vaartu is sick of the whole thing, beaming everyone back home. Robin muses that maybe they should have allowed Vaartu to put the Legion to death. But Wonder Woman reminds the Boy Wonder this isn't Texas, and that Vaartu wasn't really dispensing true justice. Plus, the Legion of Doom have to live with the knowledge they lost...when they challenged the Super Friends!


This episode is over-stuffed with ideas, creatures, and set pieces, from the Star Wars-esque opening to the giant skeleton at the end. After several episodes of non-participation, it was great to see Aquaman get a solo spot, even if he does lose the contest against Manta. I guess it does make Aquaman look a little square, but I was happy to be reminded he's a solid, upstanding sort of fella.

This episode's Aqua-Content: High

 

3 comments:

Earth 2 Chris said...

"because AC doesn't have any arch foes, other than litter on the highway"

And he's also really Italian.

This was a fun episode. I remember the weird Mxy-jester-type character. They should have thrown Bat-Mite in there, but maybe Filmation had him sewn up at the time.

Chris

Earth 2 Chris said...

I meant to add this episode is clearly influenced by the utility Star Trek plot that has "good and evil" fight for the amusement and or education of some higher being.

Chris

Russell said...

I hated this episode as a kid. The very first time I saw it, and Vaartu rigged the challenge between the five good and bad guys, I KNEW that Aquaman and Apache Chief would "lose," and that The Big Three would win. Why couldn't Batman have lost to the Riddler!?! Would the world have exploded? Sonofabitch.