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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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:

      SUPERFRIENDS: LEGION OF DOOM:
      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.