This TV animated series follows the adventures of Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch and The Thing, otherwise known as Marvel's most famous family, the Fantastic Four. ... See full summary »
In this show, Superman leads a superhero team comprising of the greatest DC Comics superheroes against a team of 13 of the most notorious DC Comics supervillians called the Legion of Doom, led by Lex Luthor in a war that has the fate of Earth in the balance. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Legion of Doom was based on DC Comics Secret Society of Super Villians, a criminal counter part to The SuperFriends basis The Justice League of America. See more »
Banded together from remote galaxies are thirteen of the most sinister villains of all time, The Legion of Doom, dedicated to a single objective: the conquest of the universe. Only one group dares to challenge this intergalactic threat: The SuperFriends! The Justice League of America versus The Legion of Doom! This is the Challenge of the SuperFriends!
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"Challenge of the Superfriends" from 1978 was the best Superfriends show for the mainstream viewer who is not a big superhero fan, but nonetheless enjoys entertaining tales about them on occasion. Like the other two previous shows, the Justice of League of America were compromised of Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and led by Superman are set up in the Hall of Justice. Supporting superheroes like Hawkman, and the hilarious "minority superheroes" like Black Vulcan/Lightining, Samurai and of course the one everyone loves to laugh at---Apache Chief were there to help out. For whatever reason, the Mexican superhero El Dorado from the previous show didn't get the equal opportunity call back from Superman and Wonder Woman in "Challenge". The minority superheroes were just background extras, if they did something it was usually to simply advance the plot by screwing up and in need of rescue from the White heroes like Superman and Green Lantern. They were hilarious because of all the well intentions of having non-White members on the JLA back in 1978, it still reveals the deep ingrained bigotry and lack of sensitivity of the times with those superheroes stupid ethnic names, being nothing but minor role players on the team, and tendency to just mess everything up for the rest of the JLA. Aquaman and Hawkman could be useless at times, but at least they weren't so embarrassing as the non-White heroes.
Personally I think the two "Super Power Team" shows from the mid 80s were the most mature and best Superfriends TV series period from the various incarnations from the original 1973 to 1986 run, but with the Justice League constantly battling more comic book heavy villains like Darkseid and Dessad on those later two shows, I can understand why a non-comic fan would be less then enthusiastic about them. "Challenge" is my favorite of the non-Super Power Team incarnations. "Challenge" is the best one for mainstream fans that just want to be entertained by a good yarn. Compared to the earlier shows, "Challenge" was a bit more mature and had the Superfriends acting more like true DC comic book heroes, battling real DC villains in the Legion of Doom. "Challenge" took itself more seriously and finally got rid of annoying kid tag alongs and goofy animals that plagued the previous early-mid 70s incarnations like Wendy, Marvin, & Wonder Dog, and those teenage "wonder twin" idiots from the planet Exor that were Zan, Jana, and that damn monkey Gleek.
Every episode had the evil Legion of Doom, led by the ever scheming Lex Luthor, coming up with diabolical plans to rule the world and get rid of the Superfriends. The Legion all gathered together in their mobile Hall of Doom, shaped to look like Darth Vader's mask. The Legion was made up of a great cast of characters, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Bizzaro, Scarecrow, Captain Cold, Grod the Gorrila, Riddler, Brainiac, Black Manta, Toyman, and Cheetah. Then there was the dominatrix like redhead Giganta, a favorite of mine because she was barely covered up in an animal bikini and was running around barefoot with ankle bracelets. Giganta could become a 50 ft giant like Apache Chief, and they both suffered the same problem of wearing a skirt while becoming giants. Giganta had a very small role on the show but well, she turned me on as a little kid.
Of course the Superfriends would always win at the end, and the viewer knows this, but it's still always so fun to watch these episodes and see how close the LD comes to knocking the JLA off. I loved the background music on this show, especially the creepy music they played in the swamps when they showed the Hall of Doom. There was some pretty hilarious humour here too on occasion, like when Lex Luthor called Superman "Stupidman" or "Superfool". Or when Lex beraded one of the lesser LD members for saying something stupid the way Bizzaro often did. And just when the Superfriends think they have captured the LD, they would escape somehow or the Hall of Doom would fly overhead and beam them all back up. There were problems with this show for sure, for some reason whenever the script demanded it Flash and Batman had superhuman strength and could even fly like Superman. Wonder Woman didn't display her own superhuman strength nearly enough. The JLA characters didn't have much of a personality difference either, Robin was always a whiny little girl, but everyone else basically acted the same. For instance what difference was there between Green Lantern and Superman? They both acted the same. The animation was usually Saturday morning flimsy. Kids today will probably laugh at this show for the bad animation, miscues with the animated characters and the actors voicing them, and the sometimes hokey schemes of the Legion of Doom. But overall the stories on "Challenge" are still very entertaining. This is a fantastic and memorable show, I highly recommend "Challenge of the Superfriends", it's a Generation Xer favorite.
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