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>
Alex Toth had submitted a different roster for the Legion of Doom that included villains from the rogues galleries of both Batman and Captain Marvel, assuming the latter would be in the show. In the original proposal the Legion Of Doom consisted of: Dr. Sivanna, Abra-Kadabra, Captain Cold, Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd, Heatwave, The Joker, Mr. Atom, Oggar, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Sinestro, and Beautia Sivanna (the Dr's daughter). Filmation Associates held the rights to Captain Marvel and related characters (featured in "Shazam!" (1974)) and most of the Batman villains were being used on The New Adventures of Batman (although HB and Filmation shared rights to Batman and Robin), so the group had to be retooled. The Captain Marvel villains were dropped and the Batman villains replaced, as were most of the Flash villains. 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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Yes, this is easily the best of all the different visions of Hannah-Barbara's "Super Friends" shows. The first with Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog was quaint but unless you were under the age of 9 just too friendly. The second version with Zan, Jayna (rrrowr!) and Gleek the Space Monkey had a darker, more edgier tone with actual destruction, but would always stumble at the last minute and go for cuteness.
This one was the essence of why kids love super hero cartoons distilled down into a raw, somewhat darkly toned vision where the VILLAINS are the key. The Super Friends were the squares here, with Lex Luthor and his 12 partners in crime stealing the show episode after episode. My favorites were always Black Manta and Solomon Grundy: They were both somewhat frightening characters with pretty nasty background stories. Solomon Grundy was some guy who died face down in the swamp and was infected by an evil energy field or something like that -- an overgrown swamp weed.
You can get the entire series on an excellent DVD box set that has the magical ability to transport you back to the age of 11, hunched in front of the set on Saturday morning with your bowl of Crunchberries. One almost finds themselves rooting for the forces of darkness in this, realizing the adage about action/adventure superhero tales that you need a good villain. The show also had some pretty morbid story ideas, my favorite being the "Swamp of the Living Dead" episode where the Legion makes a pact with a devilish sort of being who unleashes a horde of zombies to battle the Super Friends.
You also get time travel, inter-dimensional travel, background stories of both the good and bad guys, peril and destruction and doom in every episode. The lack of cuteness in the form of juvenile superhero wannabees is replaced by a sense of urgency to hurry up and save the world & you won't miss it. And the hand-drawn animation style has a kind of warmth and humanity to it that is annoyingly absent from more modern day equivalents. You only get to be 11 once, might as well do it right.
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