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Challenge of the Superfriends:
The Time Trap

Plot: The Superfriends must stop the Legion of Doom from committing non-crimes throughout history.

During the previous three weeks, we’ve seen why the mighty members of the Justice League are rightly proclaimed to be Earth’s Greatest Heroes:

    • First, the Superfriends were hypnotized into stealing billions of dollars for their foes, the Legion of Doom. After this, they were fooled into surrendering to fake police officers and found themselves shot towards the sun in a rocket-propelled phony jail cell.
    • Next, they were tricked into radically altering the Earth’s climate so as to facilitate an alien invasion.
    • Lastly, members of team were lured into flying trillions of miles into space, whereupon they were sucked into a black hole.

Quite an admirable record, I’m sure we’ll all agree.

Of course, the Superfriends ultimately triumphed in each case and defeated their malevolent foes. Unfortunately, afterward the Legion managed to escape:

    • Apparently hypnotized, the bested villains were ordered to go to the authorities and surrender themselves. However, they weren’t really hypnotized and instead went home.
    • The vanquished Legion escape in the Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building, which they’d earlier strapped a rocket to, just in case.
    • The defeated Legion turn themselves invisible. Since the Superfriends are only allowed to capture them once per episode, they are basically just allowed to leave and go home.

We open our current adventure with the obligatory swamp footage that introduces the hideout of the Legion of Doom. This is already rather, er, familiar after three previous episodes, and wasn’t to get any fresher in the dozen or so chapters to come. 

Inside, Luthor is chairing this week’s Evil Plan meeting. For some reason, the gang is seated around a regular table this time, rather than the U-shaped one over which Luthor normally presides via his podium. Perhaps it’s out being repaired from all the claw marks and holes punched through it, as seen during the last several shows.

Per usual, the first item of business is the traditional Bitchin’ & Boastin’. Bizarro is engaging in some of the former. "Me tired always lose to Superfriends," he complains. "Me go home to Bizarro World, where everything backwards. There, losing equals winning." This gives Luthor the opportunity to use his favorite word. "Silence, Bizarro!" he commands. "Or you’ll be the only one that loses!" I’m not sure what they means, but anyway.

Whenever Luthor yells "Silence," it’s time on move on to Item #2, this week’s Evil Plan. The current scheme is courtesy of Grodd the Gorilla. (I’m not sure where he got the fangs, though.) Grodd, like Bizarro and Grundy, has a sort of speech impediment. Actually, that’s unfair. Grodd is an Evil Genius in his own right, and speaks impeccable English. However, he also makes sounds that indicate he must constantly slurp back his own saliva lest it drool down his chin. One can see how this would be a trifle embarrassing for somebody trying to get past the whole ‘gorilla’ thing.

"I have conceived a plan that will allow up to rob the Earth of its greatest historical treasures!" he slurps. Moreover, he boasts, they will rid themselves of the Superfriends…forever! The other Legionnaires look pleased at this, perhaps because it sounds like every other plan they come up with. As usual, the scheme is built around a hand-held doohickey, in this case an "interspatial time conveyor." Despite the lack of any apparent settings, the device opens portals into whatever time and place the user wishes.

At the Hall of Justice, Green Lantern announces a Trouble Alert. (The Superfriends have a lot more free time than the Legion, since they just sit around waiting for their opponents to do something. Kabuki dancing is less ritualistic than these cartoons.) Batman tells him to put it on the "big screen." Duh. That’s what they do with all the Trouble Alerts. In fact, they usually appear up there all on their own.

The screen shows a poorly animated ocean liner. "This is the HMS Scottsfield," the caller announces. He, naturally, speaks in a really bad Scottish accent. You know, for verisimilitude’s sake. "We’re being raided by Black Manta," he explains. Duh again. Crimes at sea are always the work of Black Manta. That’s his shtick. Joining him is Giganta, because, er, they really don’t have much for her to do.

Here Black Manta himself grabs the mike to do a little gloating, during which he calls the League members "Superfreaks." This takes a lot of balls, you’d think, for a guy who lives in a diving suit and funky helmet and spends his time hanging out with a giant albino zombie, talking gorilla, guy made of hay and chalky Superman knock-off.

"Wait...you're sending me out with *Aquaman*?  **AQUAMAN?!**  You bastards!"

The Superfriends crowd around the viewscreen to frown their disapproval. "Black Manta and that evil villainess Giganta are up to their tricks again," Apache Chief notes. Piercing insight there. 

 

Then Aquaman speaks up. "Apache Chief and I will handle them," he proclaims. In case we wondered who the Superfriends would send against the Legion’s water guy and growing person. On the other hand, Aquaman’s probably glad to have something useful to do for a change.  Meanwhile, I'm sure the other Superfriends are pleased to get that fish smell out of the Hall of Justice for a while.

"Instantly," the Narrator narrates, "Aquaman and Apache Chief speed toward the distressed ship in the distant Atlantic." Yes, there’s a sound plan. I’m sure it’ll only take a day or two to reach the "distant Atlantic" on Aquaman’s jet ski. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Batman or Wonder Woman to fly them out there in one of their respective planes? Of course, it would also make more sense to just have Superman or Green Lantern fly out there and wrap the whole thing in about two seconds. Anyway, I hope Black Manta and Giganta brought along a deck of cards or something.

Cut to the two reprobates standing atop the Manta Ship. "Manta," Giganta shouts. "Aquaman and Apache Chief are approaching!" Boy, good thing he brought her with. Unfortunately, Black Manta’s rejoinder---"What the *~$%@?! They came by *%#> jet ski?! No wonder we’ve been sitting on our >@~%^ asses for the past three days!"---was apparently cut due to time constraints.

The miscreants climb into Manta’s craft. "Prepare Evasion Plan 6," Black Manta commands. I think this is another joke at Aquaman’s expense, as the ‘plan’ presumably involves using his ship to escape Aquaman’s jet ski. "They’re getting away," Aquaman is soon shouting. Yes, of course he is. Am I the only one seeing the whole problem with the ‘jet ski’ idea? If Batman arrived on the scene on a Bat Skateboard, would he be shocked to see Two-Face escape by speeding off in a car?

"You take the Aqua Scooter!" Aquaman tells his compatriot. Aqua scooter! Is it any surprise that third graders all over this land have annually voted Aquaman the Gayest Superhero Ever? For what it’s worth, though, the next line succeeded in making me laugh out loud. "I’ll swim after them and lead them into you!" So, Aquaman’s ‘plan’ is to swim at a turbo-powered ship, a tactic that will somehow force said craft to veer into a jet ski? Suddenly the Legion’s Evil Schemes are looking pretty frickin’ intelligent.

However, before Aquaman’s brilliant maneuver can, er, trap Black Manta’s ship—Run over him, you moron! He’s just swimming around out there!—Grodd activates his Interspatial Time Conveyor. This creates a large portal, though which the Manta Ship leads the two Superfriends 70,000,000 years in the past, according to the Narrator.

Apache Chief figures out the general situation when he and Aqauman are instantly attacked by a "water dinosaur." (That was fast.) "Quick!" Aquaman heroically shouts. "Try to make it to shore!" What a loser! Here the guy’s confronted by a sea menace, which is supposed to be his specialty, and his first thought is to retreat to land. By the way, since the "strange glowing field" that delivered them to this place is currently still extant, and since it’s a hell of a lot closer than the remote shore, you might think they’d try that first. Morons.

Of course, although the jet ski was fast enough to carry the two all the way out into the "distant Atlantic," the water dinosaur manages to stay right on their tail. Science! Meanwhile, Black Manta and Giganta, noting their foes’ predicament, continue on with the second part of their plan. This involves making it to land, where what will one day become the diamond mines of Africa are located. I’m not sure if there would have been diamonds there 70,000,000 years ago, so I’ll let that aspect go.

There are other problematic aspects, however. For instance, going back in time to harvest diamonds is in no way illegal. This quite evidently would have been millions of years before any legal claim to them was established. I guess bringing them into the future might result in some pretty interesting lawsuits from the current owners of the mines, but I’m not sure they’d have any valid judicial basis.

Another thing is why you’d harvest the gems on the same trip you used to bring back Aquaman and Apache Chief. Admittedly, they’re pretty lame, but so are Black Manta and Giganta. Why not dump the two 70,000,000 years in the past, return to the future and then travel back 69,000,000 years and get the diamonds then? Aquaman and Apache Chief would then be about a million years past the point where they could interfere with you.

Also, I should again raise the issue of why the Legion wants all the wealth of the world. Usually they’re stealing money and gold and gems, etc. These are bartering mechanisms however. If you steal all the money on the planet, it pretty much just becomes stacks of colorful paper again. Gold and diamonds are physical objects and have inherently useful qualities, but as ‘wealth’ they’re pretty useless if they’re owned by the same small group of people.

Besides, unless the central aim is just to evilly impoverish the world’s peoples, what do the Legionnaires actually need money for? Anything they want they could steal, or more likely, create themselves. In these first few episodes we’ve seen such Legion technological artifacts as flying ships, ocean craft/submarines, spaceships, freeze rays, mind control devices, mutation rays, cloaking guns that can make the entire Earth appear to vanish, artificial planets (ones constructed in black holes yet!), time machines, etc. If you have the funds and, more importantly, know-how to create all that stuff, stealing the physical manifestations of wealth seems a little prosaic.

With Our Heroes’ awesome Aqua Scooter about to be overtaken by a lumbering sea dinosaur, it’s time for some quick thinking. "If my aquatic telepathy works on these prehistoric fish," Aquaman notes, "I may be able to stop him!" So saying, Aquaman dives below the surface of the water. Proving even lamer than usual, though, he’s soon captured in one of the beasts clawed hands. (That’s right, hands.)

Needless to say, this is a moment of great joy for Aquaman haters everywhere, as we fantasize about him dying a particularly gruesome death. "As Aquaman is drawn closer to the dinosaur’s deadly mouth," the Narrator begins… What, man, what? He suffers a painful, debilitating, fear-induced stroke? His bones are pulverized by the creature’s fearsome grasp? He screams in terror like a little girl? He craps his Aqua Pants?

Instead, our hopes are quickly dashed. "…his telepathic Aqua Communication summons the strange prehistoric fish." Dammit. In one of those ‘We couldn’t think of what to write’ moments, the fish obscure our view of Aquaman and then he’s magically free and being whisked away by a giant fish. Well, that’s convenient.

Thus freed (dammit), Aquaman joins Apache Chief on the nearby shoreline. They decide to try to locate where Black Manta and Giganta have gotten themselves to. "Let’s try that plateau," Aquaman suggest. Amazingly, despite the landmass they’re on being fairly massive, this is the exact place the two villains are to be found. They’re using a flashlight—that’s what it looks like, anyway (and you can add it to the above inventions list)—to melt away rock and reveal diamonds.

Here Our ‘Heroes’ appear, again ignoring the fact that neither of the two miscreants is engaged in anything that could be considered illegal. "You’d better put those diamonds back where they belong," Apache Chief warns. Uh, under what controlling legal authority? Who’s to say the diamonds ‘belong’ there? Some guys due to show up seventy million years from now?

"We don’t take orders from Super Fools," Giganta replies. And with some justification, in this case at least. Anyway, she grows maybe forty feet tall and pulls up a tree. This she uses as a lever to break free a sizable pile of rocks and start a landslide. "It’s time to fight size with size," Apache Chief wittily notes, and grows himself equally tall. (Not bigger, though, that would be unfair.) He then blocks the rocks from crushing Aquaman.

Black Manta, by this time, has procured a pillowcase-sized bag of gems. With the two heroes momentarily distracted, the villains beat feet. Suddenly a time portal opens up and swallows the two. It closes, though, before Aquaman and Apache Chief can escape through it. They find themselves trapped in the past. "Enjoy your stay in 70 Million BC," Black Manta’s voice is heard gloating. Wherever that’s coming from.

By the way, I don’t know how much moolah it takes to create and operate a time machine. Even so, a single sack of gems doesn’t seem like much of a payoff for a trip 70 million years into the past. You could get more than that knocking over a Tiffany’s, and the diamonds would be refined, to boot. Getting rid of Aquaman and Apache Chief, of all people, would also seem to require less elaborate means. A couple of Chinese Finger Traps, for example.

"The really embarrassing part is that they're still more macho than Toyman or the Scarecrow."

Back in the future, Captain Cold and Sinestro are up to no good at Mt. Rushmore. "This bust of George Washington will look great in our stolen art collection," Cap’n Cold sneers. He then freezes Washington’s visage, whereupon Sinestro uses his power ring to carve the artifact free. (Why he would need the head frozen remains unexplained. Seems to me it would be more likely to break apart this way, but then, I’m not a dastardly supervillain.)

Green Lantern and Samurai, watching this mischief on the Hall of Justice viewscreen, fly off to remedy the situation. Oddly, they arrive at Mt. Rushmore before the miscreants have moved two feet. With their adversaries lured to the scene, the head is superfluous, and the villains allow it to plummet. "That sinister Sinestro has purposely dropped the head!" Green Lantern exclaims.

Two things. First, since there’s no way Green Lantern could actually know why Sinestro has dropped the head—perhaps he was startled by the heroes’ arrival and lost his concentration—I think GL made this statement just to cover their butts should they fail to save the thing. Second, the power rings are the most powerful devices/weapons in the universe, limited only by the wearer’s will and imagination. I’d have to say it reflects poorly on the second half of that equation when you grope for an adjective to describe a guy named Sinestro and end up with "sinister." It’d be like Lex Luthor warning, "Watch out! It’s that super Superman! And he’s manly!"

In any case, GL whips up a giant set of green energy pincers and returns Washington’s noggin to its proper place. I guess there’s no reason to actually affix it in any way, since he just lowers it and leaves it there. That portion of their task accomplished, they fly off after their foes, who are hoofing it on foot. (?) Grodd, watching this on the Legion’s viewscreen, activates a time portal. The villains disappear into it, and Green Lantern and Samurai soon follow.

This delivers the foursome to "the time of King Arthur in Camelot." You can tell it’s the past, because, uh, the sky’s yellow. "Great Galaxies," Green Lantern exclaims. "We’ve been led through a warp in time!" I’m not sure how he knows that, since it could have merely been a teleportation field. Samurai, however, agrees. "I estimate the year at about 500 A.D." Didn’t castles last a long time? That’s the only thing nearby that would seem to provide any clue to their whereabouts. (Whenabouts?)

Back at the Hall of Justice, Robin and Batman are pondering why their teammates haven’t returned yet. Uh, shouldn’t they have been observing their buddies on the viewscreen? Those idiots. Whenever they’re got monitor duty they immediately turn on the latest Fox reality series.

Anyway, their episode of Paradise Hotel is interrupted by an emergency call from the police. It seems that Grodd and Solomon Grundy are breaking into the Gotham Treasury. The idea that Batman and Robin, particularly these versions of the characters, could effectively thwart those two seems a tad silly.

Cut to the treasury. Grodd and Grundy, the latter of which is suddenly sporting fangs—Continuity Error #742, for those counting—are making their exit. A cop orders them to surrender (yeah, that’ll work), and Grundy responds by lifting up their squad car and dropping it back on the ground. Which probably represents the most violent moment in the show’s run.

Batman and Robin soon show up. You’d think Grodd and Grundy would just crush them to death, but instead they whip up and enter another time portal. Sure enough, the Dimwitted Duo follow after them. Whereupon Our Heroes are surprised to suddenly find themselves in ancient Rome. "Quick, Robin!" Batman yells. "Into the alley!" Yes, that seems a much sounder plan than going back through the time portal you’re standing directly in front of. In any case, their quick, if not overly bright, action allows them to elude some passing centurions. Which isn’t that surprising, as the soldiers hadn’t apparently noticed the massive gorilla and ten-foot tall albino zombie walking around their town either.

Back to the Hall of Justice. Superman and Wonder Woman have called in the reserves. If I were them, I’d be planning on how to get rid of Hawkman and Black Vulcan, too. Sure, Green Lantern’s a bit of a lose, but the team’s really better off with just Supes, WW and the Flash anyway. Instead, Superman explains that they can find no trace of their comrades. The remaining heroes begin using the Justice League computer to track them down.

"Look, Captain, I'm a frickin' alien, so no, I probably won't 'get' ironic references to your American musical theater."

Back at Camelot, Captain Cold and Sinestro are raiding King Arthur’s treasure. "Now to make a withdrawal," Sinestro gloats, "and deposit it in our 20th Century bank accounts!" (Bank accounts?!) Seeing a fountain of gold coins, treasure chests and gems shooting up from a tunnel, Green Lantern makes a trenchant observation. "Now I understand what Sinestro and Captain Cold are doing in 500 A.D.!" he explains. Gee, what gave it away?

The Heroes confront the two before they can make their escape. Sinestro responds by whipping up a yellow stallion and lance. Green Lantern, of course, manifests their green counterparts. Of course, his green energy fields are totally defenseless to anything colored yellow, so you wouldn’t expect him to do extremely well here. And, indeed, Sinestro’s superior jousting skills soon have knocked him on his emerald ass. Sinestro goes around for another pass, as if we believe they’ll let GL be impaled. I kept waiting for GL to save himself. Instead, Samurai jumps in to save his associate. Which means in a fair fight Sinestro would have ended up wearing Green Lantern’s head for a hat. How inspirational.

Captain Cold, meanwhile, freezes the now much smaller pile of treasure into a congealed hunk. Whereas before the treasure was clearly heaped upon a flat plain, now it’s mysteriously on a steep incline. A shove sends it sliding down through the time portal. "Enjoy your stay in merry old England, Super Saps," he laughs, and the malefactors make their escape. Moreover, three knights show up to arrest Our Heroes for the theft of the treasure. (That they don’t instantly attempt to hack the two to death, especially given their odd dress and Samurai’s obvious foreignness, indicates that Arthur’s regime was rather more liberal than scholars have led us to believe.)

Cut to the two in a cell. I’d have thought catching two dudes would can fly would have been an unlikely proposition, but apparently not. This is so silly even this show thought an explanation was necessary. "There is no purpose in escaping," Samurai muses, "until we can figure a way to get back to the 20th century." Yes, that logic is inescapable.

Moreover, they have Green Lantern note that the 24-hour charge on his power ring has worn out. This is meant to explain why he hasn’t used it to warp them back to the 20th century. (For this to work, the Legion would have to know when he charges up every day so as to time their trap correctly. You’d think maybe GL would vary his schedule so as to keep this from happening.) Personally, if I had known I was going to run out of juice at any second, I’d have zapped back to the future for a recharge and tracked down Sinestro and Captain Cold at my convenience. But what do I know?

" "Blend in?"  You're kidding me, right?"

Back to ancient Rome. Batman and Robin are lurking behind a stone pillar. (Because, you know, there were a lot of stone pillars in ancient Rome.) "Solomon Grundy and Grodd are around here somewhere," Batman cautions. I still find it funny that nobody’s noticed those two. Until now, that it. "Holy statue nappers!" Robin exclaims. "There they are!" Sure enough, right out in broad daylight we see Grundy hefting a statue of Caesar and Grodd a treasure chest full of gold coins and strings of pearls. As were often to be found in ancient Rome, I suppose.

Suddenly the rapscallions find themselves confronted by the Dynamic Duo. (Yeah, that must have ‘em quacking in their boots.) "You’re wasting your time, Batman," Grodd slurps in amusement. At this Grodd opens a portal back to the present, through which he and Grundy quickly convey themselves. The Caped Crusaders, of course, aren’t so lucky.

Suddenly, in a rather lazy replay of the Camelot thing, the two find themselves arrested by members of the Praetorian Guard. Who, oddly enough, turn out to speak English. "Grodd did a masterful job of framing us," Batman concedes as they’re marched off. You know, I’m not a professional historian, but I have the feeling guys wearing Batman and Robin suits would have drawn official notice in ancient Rome in any case. They are taken before the Emperor, who is Caesar, inevitably enough. (Per tradition, he’s been given an extremely prissy voice.) He orders them taken to the Coliseum. "The lions will enjoy them!" he smirks.

"Meanwhile," the Narrator narrates, "at the Hall of Justice." Actually, I don’t think ‘meanwhile’ is quite the correct word, there. Anyway, Hawkman is examining a radar screen on the Justice Computer. "The other Superfriends are nowhere in the galaxy!" he declares. A perplexed Superman announces that he’ll check the "perimeter of the Milky Way." (!) The Narrator also mentions that the Flash is at the same time leaving to do a spot check of the globe. I guess they didn’t have a preexisting shot of both Superman and the Flash leaving the Hall of Justice, however, so we don’t actually see any evidence of the latter.

Meanwhile—and I’m using the term accurately—the Legionnaires are indulging in the usual mid-episode gloating. "Not only do we posses the world’s richest historical treasures," Grodd boasts, a claim that seems more than a tad debatable, "but we no longer have six of those blasted Superfriends to contend with." I think it’s a little lame to be counting Aquaman in that total, but whatever. Luthor notes that the remaining League members will be so tied up looking for their missing comrades that they won’t have time to interfere with the Legion’s next move.

Which, we learn, will be one last historical escapade. "We’ll return to Sutter’s Mill before the gold rush," Grodd expositories, "and mine out all the gold!" Wouldn’t it be easier to send a lacky back there to claim the gold legally? Imagine what you could organize with millions of dollars and a working knowledge of how history will play out. You could invest the money in the real estate that will become modern day Los Angeles and San Francisco and become billionaires a hundred times over by the present. Then you could invest it all in Krispy Kreme stock and make a real killing. Moreover, I’m not even sure how any of that could be considered illegal. So you could tell the Superfriends to kiss your asses.

"Don't worry, people step on dinosaurs without realizing it all the time."

Back to 70 Million B.C. Aquaman and Apache Chief are standing on a brown, spotted hill. I don’t want to amaze the hell out of you, but it turns out they’re atop the back of a dinosaur. (Yes, I can certainly see how you wouldn’t notice that.) Moreover, it’s a giant Brontosaurus-type deal, only one whose fangs proclaim it to be a meat eater. Hmm, that’s a new one on me.

As the impossibly gigantic beast pursues them, Aquaman formulates a desperate plan. "Quick!" he yells. "To the Aqua Scooter!" That’s the plan I was talking about. The scooter soon outpaces the raging, if shabbily animated, behemoth. Aquaman then informs Apache Chief that they’re heading for "the future site of the Hall of Justice." Yes, that should be easy enough to find. I’m sure the world seventy million years ago is geographically exactly similar to the one we know today.

Cut to them standing somewhere. "I’ve tracked it down," Apache Chief asserts. "This is the precise location of the Hall of Justice." And he’d know. He’s an Indian. (Albeit one who doesn’t notice he’s standing on the back of a fifty foot tall dinosaur.) However, he remains in the dark as to Aquaman’s intentions.

"My Justice League mini-radio," the latter explains, "is powered by a tiny nuclear battery, which will last well over a hundred million years." Here his idea becomes a little suspect. He notes that Black Manta indicated they were stranded in 70 Million B.C. "All we have to do is add 1978 years, plus 252 days, and set the mini-radio to give off a trouble-alert signal at that time," he notes. There are so many fallacies with this that I’m not even going to bother. Even in terms of the goofiest comic book logic, this idea is a bit of a stretch.

So saying, they set the device—well, actually, they don’t, but we’ll assume they did—and then Aquaman scoops up a tiny hole and buries the device all of four or five inches deep. Back in the future, the remaining Superfriends sudden hear the signal. (Yeah, from under this tremendous building. Whatever.) Wonder Woman tracks the mystery signal with the "satellite direction finder." She bewildered to learn that it’s coming from beneath the Hall.

Superman uses his X-Ray Vision to locate the device. Punching through the floor, he produces the radio unit, which is in pretty good shape, all things considered. They take the artifact to the Geological Resarch Center for a little carbon dating (!), which proves a lot more precise than you would normally expect. (By the way, you apparently carbon date something by putting it on a metal tray and shining a spotlight on it.) "Carbon 14 dating of dirt on Aquaman’s radio," reveals A Scientist—who is, I swear, drawn as an Asian, "indicates it was buried in the Cretaceous Period, exactly 70,001, 978 years ago."

The Heroes realize that their buddies are trapped in the Past. Superman announces, "with my super-speed, I can handle the situation." (C’mon, you know he just says crap like that to bug the Flash.) So saying, he flies off into space. "Increasing his speed to beyond the barrier of light (??)," the Narrator explains, "Superman passes through a warp in time." Again, I’m amazed at how accurate this sort of thing is, for Supes quickly arrives at the exact, er, time spot where Aquaman and Apache Chief are waiting.

Of course, they have to explain how they intend to find the rest of their teammates. "This Geiger Counter," Superman asserts, "will react to the radioactive batteries in our radios." Yeah, I’d want to be carrying those things on my belt. Apparently having kids isn’t a priority for any of the Superfriends. Anyhoo, this will allow Superman to locate the others as he flies through the time barrier. Whatever.

Back in Camelot, Superman smashes down the door to Green Lantern and Samurai’s cell. That seems a little excessive to me, but you, smashing stuff is one of the benefits of the superhero trade. Then it’s on to ancient Rome, where Caesar is presiding over the gladiatorial games. With Batman and Robin down on the field, he orders the lions released. Well, OK, one lion. 

"Hey, Batman!  I'm the 'mane' man!  Get it?  Get it?"

Just when things look to get interesting, however, Superman appears and whisks the beast off. You’d think this episode would show up in some historical chronicles, but apparently not. You might also expect Superman to free some of the slaves due to get the lion treatment later, but nope, he just grabs his pals and flies off.

With everyone safely back in the present, Our Heroes ponder their next move. "I"ll program the computer to calculate the Legion’s next plan of attack," Batman explains. I’d have thought even a super-computer might need some, you know, data to make such a calculation, but apparently not. In fact, it not only figures out that they’ll go back to Sutter’s Mill, but predicts the exact date. Which is, as the Flash notes, "the day before gold was discovered!" Uh, OK, so they went back 70 million years to collect diamonds, but to get the gold, they’re giving themselves an entire twenty-four hours. Whatever.

Green Lantern uses his now recharged ring to transport them all into the past. "Later," the Narrator narrates, still not getting this whole ‘time’ thing, "at Sutter’s Mill…" Our setting established, we watch as a time portal appears and disgorges the Legion. However, the villains find themselves confronted by their adversaries.

Captain Cold fires his freeze ray, but Aquaman splashes up some water with a stick—it’s his most impressive superpower—which intercepts the beam, turning the liquid into ice spears, which then fall in a circular pattern and imprison Cold and Grodd. Really. "Looks like I’m got you two in the ‘cooler,’" Aquaman japes. Wow, his wit is as impressive as his super-abilities.

"Oh, no!  I can only see forty-seven possible ways for us to get out of this one!"

We’ll ignore the fact that Grodd, often seen smashing and bending metal objects, fails to batter his way out of the seemingly fragile enclosure. For that matter, couldn’t he just clamber over the barrier? He is, after all, a gorilla. Or Sinestro could melt the ice. Or Solomon Grundy could shatter it. Or Giganta could grow large and lift them out. Or…

Instead, Giganta hurls a small amount of logs at the Superfriends. A blast from Green Lantern’s power ring catches them and uses the logs to construct a stockade around Giganta and Black Manta. Here Giganta is seen to be the same size as Manta. If she hadn’t grown, who was she able to throw the logs? This seems to be another example of the writers forgetting what their character’s various powers are. Also, as the stockade lacks a ceiling, why doesn’t she just grow and step her way to freedom?

"Superfriends not get away so easy!" an enraged Solomon Grundy growls. As usual, he doesn’t seem to have been keeping up on current events. Then…man, this is a tough one. OK, he charges Batman and Robin. They cast their "bat cables", er, up somewhere. Then they’re magically drawn up from the ground. However, Grundy gets a grip on their ankles. (Whatever is lifting them must be pretty strong, as Grundy must weight a good half a ton.)

Man, I'm not saying nuthin' about this.

Then, and I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, Batman orders Robin to "Use your Bat Lube!" This substance spills from their utility belts, and somehow causes Grundy to lose his already established grip. He hits a massive pile of gold—wherever that came from—and is knocked out. And Sinestro is half-buried in the gold, which doesn’t seem like it would stop him from using his power ring, but it’s the end of the show, so it does.

Of course, we must also maintain the status quo for next week’s episode. And so Grodd announces that the time conveyor has been programmed "with an emergency escape activator." Sure enough, the villains escape, and follow the rules by never using their time machine again. Green Lantern gives the obligatory "They’ll never win as long as the Superfriends…" blah blah speech, and that’s that.

 

-by Ken Begg