Super Friends! “The Giants of Doom” (part 5 of 5)

In the Egyptian desert, Captain Cold is declaring that the Legion of Doom now controls Africa. He freezes the Pyramids and the Sphinx, fulfilling our gratuitous landmark quota. Meanwhile in London, Toyman rides a gigantic toy tank (well, it’s a regular sized tank, but he’s sitting on it) through the city, naturally passing the Thames.

An army of toy airplanes appears, dropping a platoon of toy soldiers down into the city. The army surrenders faster than the French ever dreamed of, and Toyman laughs and gloats that he now controls Europe.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Our heroes reach earth, and Superman bumps right into the force field. Hilariously, they’ve animated him so that he looks larger than the goddamn planet. Nice sense of scale, guys. Hope you never design any homes.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Batman remarks about the force field (apparently, not only can he fly through space without a spacesuit, but he can also talk) and Superman tries again, this time with Green Lantern.

This fails as well, and Superman up and quits. I guess that’s why they call him the Man of Steel, eh? Batman exclaims that they’ll need to use the Justice League satellite. He wants to rewire the thing so they can turn off the force field, but Robin of all people gives a technobabble-laden excuse about how they can only turn off the field from the Hall of Justice.

And I have to say, I love how Batman just nods during all this, as if to say, “Keep it up, jackass. What, are your dolphin shorts riding up again?”

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Batman puts on a helmet, and it turns out they’ve been inside a protective field generated by Green Lantern the entire time. Really? Because you certainly wouldn’t have known it from the goddamned animation! What, was green an expensive color in the late ‘70s? I know there was an energy crisis, and the economy was in the shitter, but Jesus!

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

In all fairness, there is a brief shot of the group flying with a green field around them, but it’s only a few frames at most.

Batman fiddles around a bit and suddenly, Superman exclaims the force field is gone. Oh man, the tension was almost too much for me there. I thought I was going to pass… Oh wait, that was just gas. Never mind.

They get back to the Hall in no time and are looking at the monitor, where they see the villains have successfully taken over the world. Yep, all it took was some vague science, a purple alien, a retarded Superman, a goofball with a toy fixation in a jester costume, and the world’s number one Mr. Freeze impersonator, and the entire world was brought to its knees.

Hawkman says they don’t have a chance, but the computer corrects him, noting that Bizarro left traces of the elements in the computer. I like to think that after this, Hawkman was subjected to about a week of the other team members constantly screwing with him. Aquaman putting fish in his bed, Wonder Woman tying him up with the lasso and hanging him from the flagpole out front, stuff like that.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Batman reprograms the computer to duplicate the growth ray, and in no time, Superman, Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern are giants.

Caption contributed by Ed

Please enjoy this view of four superhero batches.

They head off to defeat the bad guys, beginning in Peking, where Sinestro has gotten the locals to make him a giant rickshaw, complete with soldier bearers.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Green Lantern interrupts, and they face off. Sinestro makes a yellow rope (well, it turns reddish brown for some reason) and ties Lantern up. Lantern responds by using his ring to create a bottle with a cork in which he traps Sinestro.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

In Egypt, Captain Cold is collecting ransom to defrost the desert, when Flash turns up. He melts the ice with his super speed and dodges a blast from Cold’s gun. The shot bounces off a pyramid and hits Cold, freezing him.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

After a lame joke about shipping Cold back in dry ice, it’s off to London, where Toyman is still gloating. Batman appears, standing on a boat which amazingly holds his weight just fine, and Toyman orders the tank he’s on to fire a ray at the Caped Crusader.

The shot misses, and Batman leaps in front of the toy soldier army, knocking them over like dominoes. Batman apprehends Toyman easily (I know, shocking), and then it’s back to D.C. as Superman confronts Bizarro.

Caption contributed by Ed

Batman’s favorite 007 film was The Spy Who Loved Me, and he wasn’t shy about reenacting the credits with his enemies.

As with the other “showdowns”, the fight between Superman and Bizarro is over fairly quickly, as Bizarro tosses the broken Washington Monument at Superman. Supes catches it and puts it back in place, before easily stuffing Bizarro in between the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

The other heroes show up and Superman declares victory. Suddenly, the Hall of Doom appears, hovering in mid-air, while Luthor taunts the good guys from inside. The Darth Vader Helmet then shoots a beam that transports the four captured villains away, and flies off.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Superman and Lantern fly after it, and Superman intercepts it like a football. After a bit of gloating, he lifts it up, only to find it’s empty and the Legion of Doom has somehow escaped.

As with the other episodes in this version of the show, the Super Friends are strangely accepting of the escape of villains who split the moon in half and briefly took over the world. I guess when stuff like this happens every single episode, you just roll with it after a while.

Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom" (part 5 of 5)

Superman says that “the giants of doom are no match for the giants of justice” and the episode ends. And no, we never see the Super Friends shrink themselves back down to normal size. As far as I can tell, they plan to just be giants forever.

Wow, that was both awesome and stupid at the same time. Admittedly, the addition of the “classic” villains really helps the show, though it does nothing to diminish the outlandish stupidity of the plots. Still, I can see why this iteration of the show is the most popular: it’s the most amazingly insane.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Super Friends! "The Giants of Doom"

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  • AndyK

    Watching the Superfriends these days is something that, to me, is so awful it’s funny. I mean, it’s not that it’s an absolutely bad cartoon – I watched the hell out of it as a kid – but these days, I think Batman: The Brave and the Bold has been doing a better job at a Silver Age cartoon, because it knows it’s dealing with silly plots and runs with it (that one with the hero vs. villain baseball game in the opening cracks me up, seriously).
    It seems to me that Superfriends was constantly taking the silly stuff that happened a bit too seriously for its own good, even as the comics were starting to move on from the Silver Age. Besides, even as a kid, the whole “politically correct” angle of minority characters was pretty stupid to me – the only originals I liked were the Wonder Twins, because they never looked like token characters in my perception. They were morphing aliens, and I was okay with that. As for the others, I always felt they were just there to fill out the roster, that they were never too important to begin with other than a way for the writers to say “hey, we’re ahead of our time, we even have a racially diverse team and stuff!” Seriously, the X-Men comics handled the whole “racially diverse cast” thing much better than this gratuitous shoehorning. Or Batman’s Outsiders in the 80s, keeping the comparisons within DC.
    That said, I still catch reruns when I get the chance, because I just can’t resist the pull of the incredible corniness within this cartoon. The cartoon, from a technical standpoint, did suck, but it’s just so damn memetic it’s hard for me not to see.

    • Bruce Grubb

      I remember jokes about Apache Chief being on par with Minnesota President but when you look at what DC had at that time (Super-Chief from 1961) it could have been worse. Of course when you look at the Legion of Doom’s line up even through the eyes of 1978 it came off as very weird.

      It didn’t help that you had what amounted to 22 characters in a what was about 22 minutes.

      The Challenge of the Superfriends could have worked if the line up had been
      different and smaller for both the Superfriends and the LoD, the focus had
      been on natural powers of the groups rather than high tech gadgets, and the
      show had been an hour rather than half hour. Here is my personal view of
      how the Challenge of the Superfriends *should* have been set up:

      Superman Lex Luthor, Brainiac
      Batman & Robin The Scarecrow
      Wonder Woman The Cheetah
      Green Lantern Sinestro
      Flash Professor Zoom
      Aquaman Black Manta

      Apache Chief, Gianganta, Hawkman, Samurai, and Black Vulcan were so underused in Challenge… that removing them IMHO would not really change things in any relevant way.

      Bizarro is real problem as he had been largely used for laughs in the ‘Stories from Bizarro’ world segments in the Superman comics. He wasn’t really evil and by this time contact with a strange meteorite had caused his powers to be the opposite of Sueprman’s In other words Bizarro had flame breath instead of freeze breath, ice vision rather than heat vision, had X-ray vision which could only see through lead, and so on.

      Soloman Grundy is a Golden Age GL villain who had a Earth-1 counterpart that caused a few problems for Superman but never was a regular villain. Another problem was that AFAIK the Earth-1 Soloman Grundy never faced Silver age GL.

      The Riddler had been a joke ever since the Adam West Batman had aired and he hadn’t improved squat by 1978. He is basically a waste of space compared to the Scarecrow who was a professor of Psychology and used a fear gas and projectors to commit his crimes (an ability not used in the cartoons until the Galactic Guardians series nearly a decade later)

      The Toyman used (Action #432) is a joke. AIUI he was supposed to be a Superman villain but he dresses and acts more like a Batman villain. In fact DC eventually decided that the comic version was worthless and had the original Toyman aka Winslow Schott (Action #64) kill this idiot for trying to frame him using his name and gimmicks.

      In retrospect Professor Zoom (1963) would make a much better foe against the Barry Allen Flash than Grodd or Captain Cold.

  • Aierdome

    I think for me, the most bizzare thing about this episode is that it got incorporated into LEGO Justice League game as one of its bigger sections… I mean, in LEGO case, it was Earth that got shrunk, IIRC, but the combat sequences were pretty much the same, with even the same places appearing.