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Friday, April 10, 2015

Challenge of the Super Friends, Episode 16

Episode 16: "History of Doom"

Well, we've arrived at the final (*sob*) episode of Challenge of the Super Friends!
This episode of Challenge of the Super Friends opens with a series of shocking images of destruction: The Statue of Liberty half submerged in water, The Eiffel Tower a creaking wreck, the Golden Gate Bridge wrecked and broken, the streets of the world empty and trash strewn. What has happened, a third Bush Administration? No! As we'll see, unbelievably, the Super Friends are at least partially to blame for this cataclysm:
The Hall of Justice is destroyed as well, and hovering over it is a space ship. Three mysterious beings emerge and make their way into the Hall:
While most of the once-great building is in ruins, the computer still at least partly works (must be a Mac). The three beings play back a recording of what has happened, which started a few days earlier.

Lex Luthor has yet another plan to destroy the Super Friends--this time, it involves sending a rocket into the sun and exploding it, which will cause a giant solar flare to be created. The flare will be aimed, with amazing precision, right at the Hall of Justice!
The Super Friends watch all this occur, and Superman volunteers to head out into space and knock back the flare. The Legion of Doom watches this occur, and it's here that Luthor initiates the second part of his plan: he converts the sun into a red sun, thereby removing Superman's powers!

Superman immediately begins to feel weak, and returns to the HOJ. With the flare endangering all of Earth, Green Lantern activates the planetary "force field." That protects the planet from the solar flare, but unfortunately has a series of catastrophic side effects: the flare's massive heat envelopes the Earth, causing untold environmental destruction: we see some of the planet's great landmarks crumble and fall. Back the Hall of Doom, the rest of the Legion are furious at Luthor: sure, his plan worked in that it defeated the Super Friends, but it also doomed them as well!

The three alien beings (named Deus, Ex, and Machina) go back in time to prevent this from happening, stopping at the time line point right as the solar flare has been launched. Green Lantern prepares to do the exact same thing he tried before, so the aliens step in again, moving the moon out of orbit so it blocks the sun and its destructive flare:
Superman and the rest of the team mock Luthor for not checking his calendar, but Lex insists he did, and cannot understand how this happened. With the Legion defeated once again, and history having been changed, the three aliens' work is done. Their ship takes off from Earth, heading back into deep space. The End!

Considering how great the previous Challenge episode ("Rest in Peace") was, this show is especially disappointing. Sure, the opening is a grabber, but the middle consists of the aliens watching previous tussles between the Super Friends and the Legion of Doom, which means footage from previous episodes are shown. This is a clip show!

The Super Friends are terribly incompetent, dooming the planet not once but twice. Only Superman gets to do anything--Aquaman and the rest literally just stand around watching all this happen on the viewscreen. The three aliens, who look like The Mod Squad if they were Jedis, come in, fix everything, and leave. Sheesh.

Even with this episode being a clunker, Challenge of the Super Friends remains a high water mark for the HB Super Friends series, which ran in various iterations for twelve years, an amazing run for any Saturday morning cartoon. It was, for many years, the closest DC Comics ever came to having their books translated into another medium. I still find these shows a blast to watch, even if Aquaman ended up getting very little to do most of the time.

And that wraps up our look at Challenge of the Super Friends! Hope you all enjoyed these recaps.

This episode's Aqua-Content: Low


1 comment:

NealP said...

Reading your recaps remind me of watching these shows when they first aired with my best friend. Amped up on doughnuts and cherry Kool-Aid, we would goof on these stories mercilessly, MST3K style. The stories were ludicrous, but they were a lot of fun. Thanks for bringing back the memories.