A few months ago we adjudicated the episode the
the Superfriends. In that chapter of The Challenge of the
Superfriends, the show’s writers had daringly diverged from
the program’s theretofore rigorously observed plot schematic.
(Although, as I then theorized, this might have been the result
of their awkwardly stitching two leftover half-plots into one
misshapen whole.) In any case, this apparently depleted their
reserve of narrative bravado. And so here they perhaps wisely,
if boringly, fled back to the safety of the series template.
Thus, our current chapter opens with the familiar pan shot of
the alligator-laden swamp in which the villainous Legion of Doom
secretes its headquarters. The opening voiceover is equally
generic. "Deep within their bleak and dismal bog," the
Omniscient Narrator orates, "hidden beneath its swampy waters [a
poorly timed remark, actually, as it’s directly here that we get
the staple ‘headquarters rising from the fetid waters’ shot],
lies the sinister headquarters of the Legion of Doom." As
aficionados of the program know, the adjective of choice for
anything involved with the Legion was ‘sinister.’
Inside their sinister sanctuary, the Legionnaires are
assembled at their sinister horseshoe meeting table. Those
familiar with TV series animation of mid-‘70s will not be unduly
shocked to learn that the only one of them seen to be actually
moving, and then in a pretty restricted way, is the miscreant
currently addressing his immobile peers. In all, the tableau
reminds one of the old stand-up comic jape, "Is this an
audience, or an animation cell?"
The speaker, no doubt relishing his limited animated glory,
is the nefarious—sorry, ‘sinister’—Toyman. "That’s absurd!"
cries the Prince of Perilous Playthings, as we join things in
mid-conversation. Given that we haven’t yet been apprised of
what topic they were discussing, I initially assumed he was
referring to his own membership amongst this sinister assembly.
On the other hand, compared to such teammates as Black Manta or
Scarecrow or Cheetah, I guess he wouldn’t really be all that
concerned about his own deficiencies.
Sure enough, the Mandarin of Malevolent Marbles is speaking
to another issue. "You’ll never convince me that there is one
single source of all evil power," he harrumphs, in his trademark
prissy fashion. (Shouldn’t that be, ‘one single sinister
source’?) I’ll give him this, the guy’s got balls, because the
dude he’s arguing with is the super-powerful zombie Solomon
Grundy. If Grundy gets pissed off, I don’t think a laser-firing
teddy bear or exploding hula hoop is going to slow him down
Despite Toyman’s reservations, a typically irate Grundy
maintains that this is, in fact, the situation. "If you don’t
believe me," he shouts, pulling himself up to his full,
eight-foot height, "maybe Grundy demonstrate it on you!" Uh, oh,
Toyman, you better get that Scrabble set with the deadly letter
As a side note, if you’re new to Challenge of the
Superfriends, you might be wondering why Grundy as portrayed
here sports a—sort of—Cajun accent. Apparently, somebody decided
that since Grundy’s comic book origin story involves a man who
is killed in a swamp and later resurrected as a zombie, he might
hail from Louisiana. However, as comic nerds will point out, the
specified location of these occurrences was Slaughter Swamp,
which is located outside of Gotham City. (Despite this, Grundy’s
was initially a foe of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern,
not Batman). In any case, few if any future versions of Grundy
went the Cajun route.
Anyway, back to the show. Fortunately for the Einstein of
Evil Etch-a-Sketches—ok, that gag just might be running out of
steam—Grundy goes no further than to lift his sarcastic
interrogator a few feet in the air and then dump him back in his
seat. (Toyman must be pretty thankful at the moment for the
show’s steadfast ‘no violence’ rule.) At this point the nearby
Sinestro, perhaps hoping to avoid the dry cleaning bills that
would ensue should he get Toyman’s blood and viscera splattered
over his supervillain suit, encourages Grundy to continue his
"Solomon Grundy do better than tell you," he avers. "Me show
you." Yes, he can’t master pronouns or articles, but he can
operate the Legion’s giant viewscreen. Oddly, at the touch of a
button, this portrays a truncated visualization of Grundy’s
origin story. "Grundy lie lifeless in swamp," he explains, and
sure enough we see his corpse, floating face-down in brackish
waters but glowing with a yellow light. "Come back to life with
strange energy come up through ground."
I have to admit, coming right out and explaining that Grundy
is an undead zombie is pretty scary stuff for this show. I
imagine there was some debate over whether this concept would
prove too frightening for their target audience of extremely
simple five year-olds. At least, that’s who I assume they were
going after, given the general level of the scripts.
Cheetah*, a woman in a fur jumpsuit who unsurprisingly isn’t
normally given much to do, decides to jump in. "But how would we
know where to look for this incredible power source?" she
inquires. And, I have to admit, anything that could resurrect a
corpse and grant it strength the equal of Superman’s would
probably be something worth pursuing.
[*As was often the case with this show, they here violate
continuity in order to reuse a preexisting animated shot. In
this case, the referenced close-up of Cheetah features Captain
Cold standing behind her left shoulder. This is strange, as in
fact it’s Grundy who is sitting to her left. Moreover, since
they are sitting at a horseshoe-shaped table, there shouldn’t be
anyone ‘behind’ her at all. Still, the oddest aspect of all is
that Cold was just moments earlier established as sitting at the
far end of the table’s other wing.]
"Grundy know legend about evil power," he explains. Given
that he’s Grundy, nobody decides to ask, ‘And then why is this
the first we’re hearing of it?’ In any case, according to these
tales, "It come from ancient monolith buried near center of
Earth." No explanation is advanced as to why it asserts so
particular an effect on one swamp, then.
Lex Luthor, presiding chairman of the Legion, consults with a
couple of his actually useful teammates, Brainiac and Bizarro.
(Although this is quite possibly just because they had a
preexisting still of these three conversing.) "If Grundy’s
right," Luthor suggests, "then the evil monolithic energy source
that helped spawn him will give the Legion of Doom all the power
we’ve ever dreamed of!" Yes, finally, they’d no longer have to
dabble with small potato projects like
planets inside of black holes, or
turning the entire population
of earth into Bizarro and Cheetah clones, or
using pocket time
travel devices to raid the treasure of the past. Finally, they’d
be in the big leagues.
With a consensus reached, Solomon Grundy avers, "Solomon
Grundy knows way to evil energy. We go now!" He then pulls a
level handily marked PROPULSION ACTIVATOR. This causes the Hall
of Doom to sink back down beneath the water, and, upon reaching
the swamp floor, to begin boring down into the earth. I’m not
sure any of that represents ‘propulsion,’ but whatever.
Soon the Hall of Doom reaches its strange destination deep
within the scalding inferno of the Earth’s inner layers.
"Somewhere deep within the scalding inferno of the Earth’s inner
layers," the ON confirms, "the Hall of Doom finally reaches its
strange destination." Thanks for filling us in. Otherwise the
animation of the Hall of Doom reaching its destination deep
within the scalding inferno of the Earth’s inner layers might
have really proved confusing.
A door in the side of the Hall opens, and a team consisting
of Grundy, Grodd the Gorilla, Cheetah (?) and the Riddler (??!!)
look out with amazed expressions. "It’s incredible!" the Riddler
exclaims. "We’re somewhere within the molten center of the
Earth!" Even more amazing is that none of the four seem to be
having any problem breathing, much less evince any evident
discomfort at what one might suppose to be a rather inhospitably
high temperature range. Maybe they’ve just got the Hall’s AC
Grundy insists they get moving, and without pausing to don
any sort of protective clothing—and really, except for the
fountaining jets of lava that keep shooting up all over the
place, the presumably poisonous atmosphere and the no doubt
tremendous heat, why would they bother?—they head forth. (If you
freeze frame the quartet during their perambulations here,
you’ll see some of the show’s worst animation ever. Especially
in the long-shots, their body proportions are way the hell off.)
Soon the ground begins violently shaking. "It’s some sort of
underground earthquake!" the Riddler hazards. However, Cheetah
quickly notices the real cause, which proves to be a giant
fire-shooting insect/dinosaur beastie standing about fifteen
feet in front of them. "Look!" she cries, lest the nearby
emergence of the hundred foot-tall saurian had somehow eluded
her comrades’ attention. Which, given these mooks, isn’t an
entirely unreasonable assumption.
Needless to say, the dragon doesn’t unleash its fiery breath
directly at the villains, since none of them are charbroil
proof. Instead, it fires upon a rocky ledge over the fearsome
foursome, dislodging a shower of stones. Grundy, however,
manages to save their asses by plucking a nicely-shaped
rectangular of rock out of the nearby cliff face, which he and
Grodd brace on their backs to divert the falling boulders. Gee,
good thing Cheetah and the Riddler came along. They’re so
Escaping through a convenient tunnel, the quartet soon espy a
glowing stone. "A monolith of evil," Grodd dubs it, having
apparently read the episode’s title. The Monolith is situated on
a little island amidst a lake of lava, reachable via a slim
stone bridge. The Riddler immediately declares, "Let’s cross
this lava river and get it!" and begins heading across. Again,
and I want to emphasize this, he’s the Riddler. How exactly are
you going to help ‘get’ a multi-ton stone monolith, you putz?
Will asking it why the chicken crossed the road magically
transport it to the Hall of Doom? Show a little class, man. At
least Cheetah just stands there and tacitly admits that she’s
In any case, the Purveyor of Pernicious Puzzles has gone
barely ten feet when a humongous lava monster rears up from the
lake of molten rock. "It’s a lava monster!" Cheetah announces,
which although a rather extreme example of belaboring the
obvious, still makes her more useful than the Riddler. By the
way, if you’ve ever wondered if a beastie composed entirely of
lava could screech, well, yes it can.
In any case, the Legionnaires quickly decide a strategic
retreat is in order and beat feet. The Lava Monster then smashes
the stone bridge leading to the Monolith and sinks back into the
fiery depths. "That evil Monolith is protected by that
incredible molten monster!" Grodd announces. It’s good to know
that if Cheetah gets killed, someone else can take over the
‘explicating the evident’ chores.
Man, this is a tough situation, all right. It only leaves the
Legion with about two dozen different ways to procure the
Monolith. For example, previous episodes have established that
their mobile headquarters comes equipped with both teleportation
and tractor beam technology. How about employing one of those?
Or, I don’t know, how about sending for Bizarro. You know, the
guy who can fly, is super-strong, and indestructible? I don’t
know, maybe that particular mix of superpowers could, in some
mysterious fashion, be of use in this particular instance?*
[*Intrigued by how unlikely that seemed, I later used the
Justice League supercomputer to see whether Bizarro could, in
fact, aid in any way. After processing trillions of bits of
information, the computer announced that he could, in the
following manner: He could fly over to the Monolith, pick it
because he’s super-strong, and fly it back over without worrying
about the Lava Monster, because he’s indestructible. Of course,
I used a supercomputer to come up with this complicated, Rube
Goldberg-esque plan, so I can’t exactly fault a zombie or
gorilla for not formulating it.]
Grodd, however, gives up and declares the situation a lost
cause. Yes, these guys will be taking over the universe any day
now, I’m sure. Even more embarrassingly, it’s the Riddler (!)
who refuses to surrender so easily. Now, you might think they’d
call upon Captain Cold, who has previously frozen entire
metropolitan areas, and give him a shot at forestalling the Lava
Monster. Or, well, quite a few other options. Like that Bizarro
Instead, the Riddler declares that if they can’t get to the
Monolith, the Superfriends can. This, to my mind, seems a pretty
damning admission of their own inferiority. You’d think he’d at
least dress it up with something like, "Why should we risk our
own sinister necks when we can get those Super Fools to do the
job for us!" On the other hand, the Superfriends do have a
history of being pathetically easy to manipulate. I mean,
remember that time the Legion tricked them into radically
altering the Earth’s atmosphere so as to facilitate an alien
invasion? Meanwhile, the Riddler’s assertion that tricking the
Superfriends will require some "super riddles" is pretty lame. I
mean, ‘super riddles’? That’s just sad.
Later, the Hall of Justice main viewscreen begins flashing a
Trouble Alert. (Trouble Alert. Speaking of lame…) Luckily,
Superman is on hand to explain to his fellows what is happening.
"We’re getting a trouble alert emergency signal," he confirms.
Which, if I’m not mistaken, is super-redundant. Doesn’t a
‘trouble alert’ and an ‘emergency signal’ sound like pretty much
the same thing? Perhaps they could clear things up entirely by
calling it the Trouble Alert Emergency Signal Crisis Alarm
Switching on the video feed, they receive a plea for help
from the assembled United Nations. I initially assumed this
would be a routine request for the Justice League to support
this week’s U.N. declaration bashing Israel. Instead, the
situation is even less dire. "The Legion of Doom has threatened
to hold the entire United Nations General Assembly for ransom!"
the chairman notes, in what has to be the least threatening
threat in human history. It would be like criminals
‘threatening’ the World Series by holding the Chicago Cubs for
ransom. On the other hand, I’m sure the owners of New York’s
four star restaurants and strip clubs are in a panic.
Here the viewscreen image starts shaking, followed by the
picture cutting out entirely. "We’ve got to get out there before
there’s international turmoil!" Black Vulcan avers. Dude,
please. When isn’t there ‘international turmoil’? And, boy,
there sure has been a lot less of it since the U.N.’s been
around, uh huh, that’s for sure.
Even more amusingly, Hawkman declares that "The three of us
should be able to handle it!" referring to himself, Black Vulcan
and Superman. That’s like me saying that I, the U.S. Army and
the Marine Corps should be able to take out the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Let’s see, that particular threesome would consist
A guy who can fly, and also transform himself (I
think) into pure electrical energy, and control,
manipulate and project that same energy in incredible
A guy who can fly and is also strong enough to topple
mountains, is physically invulnerable, has super-speed,
x-ray vision, heat vision, super-breath, cold breath,
and about a thousand other super powers, and…
A guy who can fly, and, uh, catch and consume field
This would have been a classic opportunity for the animators
to put in a brief shot of Superman surreptitiously winking at
Black Vulcan and saying, "Sure, Hawkman, you bet." Sadly,
however, the opportunity goes for naught.
"Moments later, at the United Nations," the Announcer
announces, setting the scene. Luthor and Brainiac, arriving via
some pretty fey ankle jets (ones that look like they would be
most efficient at burning off the twosome’s sinister feet),
arrive outside the U.N. Building. At Luthor’s direction—good
thing he came along—Brainiac uses a "proton shrinker" pistol to
reduce the U.N. Building and, presumably, its occupants, to a
portable size. Hey, why didn’t they just use that gun and shrink
the Lava Monster in the first place? Morons.
"Any second now, and we’ll be able to put the United Nations
in our back pocket," Brainiac chortles. (Hey, why not, Saddam
Hussein did.) Of course, this indicates that the proton shrinker
works like all comic book reducing and/or embiggening devices.
By this I that it sheds mass from objects that are shrunk and
adds mass to those that are enlarged. Otherwise, you’d have a
foot-inch tall United Nations center that would still weigh
hundreds of tons, which would probably rip out Brainiac’s ‘back
pocket.’ Assuming that he or Luthor actually had back pockets,
which they don’t. (And, actually, they stop shrinking the
complex while it’s about two feet tall. Why, I don’t know. It
still looks sort of cumbersome at that size.)
Moreover, the main building, the tower we see in movies
whenever they need a U.N. establishing shot, has a connected
annex. In a mind-bogglingly stupid attempt to be ‘realistic,’
they keep the annex attached to the main building, which just
look incredibly awkward and must have been a pain to draw.
Besides, buildings aren’t meant to be picked up, and you’d
really have to think that even at the reduced size, the
connection holding the two buildings together would just snap.
In any case, before Lex and Brainiac can flee, the
Superfriends away team lands nearby. Unfazed, the villains jet
back up into the air while the trio of superheroes—who, as I may
have mentioned, can all fly—just stand there and watch as the
two miscreants vanish, taking the UN Building with them.
Superman expresses amazement at this development, despite the
fact that the five previous episodes of the show have well
established that the Legion has teleportation technology. (And
time travel devices, and hologram projectors, and invisibility
Suddenly Superman’s Justice League belt beeper—a device that
oddly is never visible unless the script calls for it to be
buzzing—goes off. It’s the Riddler, continuing the tradition of
the Legion being able to hijack at will the League’s
communications equipment. Of course, since the League is almost
entirely reactive in this universe, they probably never would
stop the Legion if they weren’t contacted by them first. So in a
roundabout way, I guess it makes sense.
Sure enough, Our Heroes find themselves *cough, cough*
challenged with a "clever riddle":
"If you follow the frogs and find the right
just let gravity guide you and you’ll be very
Hmm, well, since we’re talking the U.N., "follow the frogs"
obviously means going to a place the French frequent. And since
it’s to a place that’s down ("let gravity guide you") and
sweltering ("you’ll be very hot"), presumably the clue is meant
to lead them to Hell. Well, that was simple.
Having listened to this crafty conundrum, Hawkman offers his
opinion. "Sounds like the Riddler is trying to lead us into
another trap," he suggests. Hmm, yes, given that this is what he
does every single time he gives you guys a riddle, you just
might be on to something. "You’re probably right, Hawkman,"
Superman replies. ("Probably"?) "But it’s our only lead!"
Seriously, guys, you’re allowing yourselves to be yanked around
by the frickin’ Riddler. It’s time you broke out of this circle
Back to the Hall of Justice. "I fed the Riddler’s message
into the computer decoder," Batman explains. First, you don’t
‘decode’ a riddle. Second, isn’t it cheating to have a computer
solve a riddle for you? Man, you people have really lost your
passion for the job.
"According to this analysis," Batman reads from the resultant
printout, "‘following the frogs’ represents the swamp on the
outskirt of Metropolis." Yes, because that’s the only place in
the universe with frogs, right? [Reviewer’s eyes roll painfully
far back into skull. This lends momentary relief from watching
the cartoon, but sadly, his vision soon returns.] I know they’ve
been trying to install computers with a capacity for ‘fuzzy
logic,’ but damn.
I mean, normally (assuming the reference to ‘frogs’ wasn’t a
moronic pun of some sort), Batman would have just read this
portion of the riddle and Robin would have cried, "Holy
Amphibians, Batman! The new frog exhibit at the Gotham
Aquarium!" I know I’m harping on this point a bit, but really,
that’s just really incredibly lazy writing. These guys made a
paycheck off this show, but they couldn’t spend five extra
minutes coming up with a clue that would actually lead to the
swamp? How about something about ‘getting bogged down outside of
Metropolis’? Look, that took me ten seconds. It’s stupid, but
it’s still better than an utterly generic reference to frogs.
Also, to be peevish, Solomon Grundy was resurrected in
Slaughter Swamp, which is outside of Gotham, not Metropolis. In
fact, in the previous episode, The Trial of the Superfriends,
Metropolis was explicitly shown to be surrounded by mountains.
(And then the same location became a small town. Again, were the
people who wrote these things just incredibly high?)
Finally, they attempt to cover this horrendous laziness by
having Wonder Woman refer to this ‘analysis’ by declaring, "Of
course!" Yes, it’s so evident when you think about it. What
other possible explanation for ‘follow the frogs’ could there
be? Moreover, she continues on by noting, "And ‘let gravity
guide you’ must mean to go straight down."
With the riddle now decoded, Our Heroes leap into action.
"Moments later," the ON explains, "the Superfriends streak over
the city." Don’t get excited, this just means they’re headed to
the swamp. Again, they only send Superman, Black Vulcan and
Hawkman, presumably because they’ve already proven how
startlingly effective they can be as a unit. (Actually, Superman
is probably pissed. He must have had a super brain fart to let
Luthor and Brainiac get away like that, and he’s presumably more
used to laughing at his underpowered comrades than being in a
position to be made fun of himself. Hell, even Aquaman is
probably having a chuckle at his expense.)
As I watched the trio arrive at the swamp, I realized I was
being overly kind when I commented earlier about how useless
Hawkman’s presence was. In fact, he actually represents a
detriment to his teammates. Superman, of course, can fly at
super-speed. Black Vulcan, presumably, can travel at the speed
of lightning. Meanwhile, what can Hawkman’s top speed be? A
couple of hundred miles an hour? (To be generous.) For these
two, having Hawkman come along must be like bringing one’s three
year brother with you, forcing you to slow down to a crawl so
that he doesn’t get left behind.*
[*On the other hand, that sort of thinking is too
sophisticated for this show. In an earlier Superfriends piece, I
commented on how all the super-strong characters, meaning
basically Superman, Bizarro, Gorilla Grodd and Solomon Grundy,
seemed about equal in what they can do strength-wise.
Admittedly, Superman’s powers of flight allow him—and Bizarro—to
do things like fly off with a dam, which neither Grodd nor
Grundy could do. Still, in terms of grappling, for instance, all
four would generally be roughly equivalent. The idea that Grodd
as a gorilla would be stronger than, say, Batman or Luthor but
not nearly as strong as Superman or Grundy was probably just too
Similarly, if you could fly, that’s probably as far as they
took it. The idea that Superman could fly faster than Hawkman
perhaps wouldn’t even have struck them. This is probably lucky
for Hawkman, since appallingly this means he’s even lamer than
Aquaman. At least the latter has a couple of unique abilities,
and is in theory handy to have around if going underwater is
involved. Moreover, if one of goldfish in the Hall of Justice
aquarium is ailing, hell, he can just ask it what’s up.
However, Hawkman is, as argued here, worse than useless. As
defining characteristics, he lacks both the military fighting
skills and the power mace given Hawkgirl in the recent Cartoon
Network Justice League cartoons. The first would, in any case,
be useless on a show where nobody can even throw a punch.
Meanwhile, the energy mace was presumably provided Hawkgirl for
exactly this reason, to amp up her power levels to the point
where her presence on the team doesn’t inspire laughs every time
she shows her beak.]
Anyhoo, they land at one spot in the presumably enormous
swamp—given that it lies directly outside the country’s largest
city and yet hasn’t been drained—whereupon Hawkman pronounces,
"This must be the spot." Well, obviously. Only a madman would
think it could be, oh, fifteen yards over to your left. "Now to
dig straight down," Superman agrees. "I’ll lead the way." Well,
duh. You mean Hawkman isn’t going to tunnel miles through the
Actually, it’s worse than that. Superman dives underwater and
begins drilling himself down. Wouldn’t the tunnel fill with
water, assuming it didn’t just collapse? How could Hawkman keep
from drowning? And I don’t think his wings fold up that much, so
I’m not sure how the Superman-sized tunnel would even be wide
enough for him to follow.
Of course, all goes well, and the heroes end up arriving in
front of the same background stills, er, location, as the Legion
of Doom did earlier. Looking around at the lakes and fountains
of molten lava, Hawkman observes, "This must be the ‘hot spot’
the Riddler was talking about." Yes, good thing they brought him
along. "We’ve got to find the Legion of Doom and the U.N.
building," Superman replies. Yes, because obviously this is
where they probably stashed it. I mean, where else would you
stick the U.N. building after you had shrunken it down to a
couple of feet high?
And so they set off. Oddly, despite the fact that each can
fly, they decide to walk. Personally, I’d have had either
Superman or Black Vulcan scope the place out at superspeed and
get the lay of the land, but what do I know? In any case, as
they amble along, they are soon incepted by the same dragon that
attacked the Legionnaires earlier. I will say, they are a little
better equipped to handle it. (Well, at least two of them.)
In a bit that inspired a pretty good belly laugh after all my
carping about Hawkman, the unwitting Avian Avenger finds himself
plucked up by the dragon. "Superman! Black Vulcan!" he cries.
What a dweeb. Black Vulcan responds by materializing a static,
Zeus-like lightning bolt (!!)—good grief, what can’t this guy
do?—and hurls it at the dragon. Assuming it delivers a massive
electrical charge of some sort, that doesn’t seem like it would
be doing Hawkman too much good either. On the other hand, maybe
that’s the point. ("Too bad, Hawkman didn’t make it. Oh, well,
we’ll just have to try to muddle on without him.")
Oh, my mistake. The lightning bolt remains solidified (??)
and wraps itself around the beastie’s jaws. That’s what you love
about this show. You think you’ve seen it all, and then it gets
even more retarded. In any case, the confused monster drops
Hawkman, and the threesome scamper off (again, on foot) before
it can retaliate. However, we do see the monster tear the
restraint off, just in case the kiddies would worry about how it
could eat with its mouth tied shut.
Of course, the Superfriends end up in the spot where the
Monolith lies on its little islet, although now it’s disguised
as the missing U.N. building. (When last seen, the miniaturized
edifice was roughly a fifth the size of the Monolith, but never
mind.) Needless to say, they forgot that they had the Lava
Monster destroy the stone bridge to the island, and so now it’s
back again. Morons.
"It’s surrounded by a lake of molten lava!" Superman
helpfully notes, in case his comrades should not perceive that
the islet is surrounded by a lake of molten lava. I mean, that’s
the sort of thing I personally would notice, but, you know,
tomato-tomahto. In any case, and for no real reason, the islet
is now in imminent danger of being flooded over by lava.
Therefore the building must be gotten to immediately.
Needless to say, Superman is the one who flies out after it.
(The script presumably had him flying instead of walking over
because the bridge was destroyed, even if the animators forgot.)
However, he’s intercepted by the towering Lava Monster, which
erupts out of the burning lake. I know that probably sounds
cool, but sadly, the lackluster execution robs the sequence of
any pizzazz it might have had. "His grip is like an oven of
liquid rock," Superman grunts, and Hawkman is probably really
glad right about now that he didn’t volunteer to fetch the
building. This dazzlingly suspenseful situation ends when
Superman flies out of the creature’s grasp. Wow, that’s quick
thinking there, Man of Steel.
In any case, Superman latches on to the U.N. Building about
half a second before it was inundated with lava (wouldn’t it
have burst into flames by then?), and flies it to safety. Oddly,
when he picks up the building, it’s the same size as when
Brainiac had it before, despite the fact that the establishing
shot we got of it about thirty seconds ago portrayed it as being
maybe ten feet tall. Again, the animation on this show was
Superman returns to his comrades, and then takes care of the
Lava Monster by using his super-freeze breath on it. Meaning
that, as I suggested before, Captain Cold could have vanquished
the monster just was easily, and all this rigmarole with
involving the Justice League could have been avoided. Or,
conversely, they could have just sent Brainiac out, who could
have done everything Superman did here. Or, again, about a
hundred other things.
"Thanks for your help, Superfriends!" Our Heroes are shocked
to hear. They turn to find the Riddler, Cheetah, Grodd and
Grundy all standing nearby, with the Hall of Doom sitting
prominently just behind them (!!!). Because this made my brain
hurt, I’m just going to pretend that they’d all been cloaked by
the Legion’s invisibility device and let it go at that. That’s
giving the show waaay too much credit, but there’s only so much
gross incompetence the mind can behold before it explodes in
Calling Superman "Stupidman," the Riddler (really, talk about
balls) reveals that the ‘U.N. Building’ was in fact the
Monolith, disguised with a hologram. Hilariously, Grodd explains
that they never took the U.N. Building in the first place. The
appearance that they did was a hologram, too. I have to admit,
there is reason to argue that the Legion involved the
Superfriends not because they couldn’t get the Monolith
themselves, but because who wouldn’t want to take advantage of
adversaries this stupid? When even a semi-articulate zombie like
Solomon Grundy has grounds to mock you—"We trick you to get evil
power source for us," he gloats—you know you’ve made an ass out
Astoundingly, Superman actually decides to respond
proactively, by attempting to destroy the Monolith to keep it
out of the Legion’s hands. However, the Monolith casts him off.
"Evil power repel all goodness!" Grundy chuckles. Hey, how about
dropping a boulder on it, Supes? That’s a pretty neutral object.
Or you could used your heat vision and free the Lava Monster and
let it take care of the Legion for you. Or…well, I don’t want to
be here all day. Let’s move on.
Grundy must be right, because he’s able to pick up the
Monolith (which is quite evidently smaller than it was before)
and cart it off without incident. "Quick, we’ve got to stop
them," Superman shouts, probably because he’s noticed that
neither of his teammates has done jack up to now.
However…man, this so dumb, I can hardly even describe it.
Grodd has a ball and chain attached to a prisoner’s manacle.
Only it’s all green. He swings the ball around on the chain, and
then casts it at Superman, and the manacle snaps shut on his
ankle. (???!!!) "That kryptonite ball and chain will stop you,"
he slobbers. Actually, exposure to that much kryptonite—cripes,
they must have used thirty pounds of the rare element making
this thing—would quickly kill him. Except on this show, that is,
so here he’s only catastrophically weakened.
"There’s no need for exotic devices to stop you," Grodd
sneers, because you can’t get more mundane than a kryptonite
ball and chain with Auto-Locking Manacle Action™. "Now to seal
the three of you down here forever!" the Riddler concludes,
although actually containing Black Vulcan might require a bit of
work. (And BV isn’t bothered by kryptonite. Why doesn’t he just
blast it off of Superman’s leg?) Humorously, it turns out that
what the Riddler meant by this statement was, ‘We’ll just go
back into the Hall of Doom and leave, and assume that you guys
won’t be able to escape.’ Which, to be fair, was their plan
whenever they had the Superfriends at a disadvantage, even if it
So a laser shoots out from the hall and closes off the one
tunnel the Superfriends entered through. "They sealed up the way
we came in!" Hawkman elaborates for the slower viewer. Of
course, you’d think the Hall would leave a pretty sizable tunnel
itself when it drills its way back to the surface, but I guess
nobody thought of that. In any case, they cut to commercial on
this supposedly ominous note.
Returning, we find a weakened Superman explaining, "The only
thing that can cut through kryptonite is a nuclear laser." Well,
that’s a new one on me. And really, that must have made
fashioning the ball and connected chain links, not to mention
the manacle’s kryptonite lock mechanism, a real bitch. Now, I
still think that Black Vulcan should be able to blast his way
back to the surface and get help. You’d have to think the Hall
of Justice would stock such lasers for just such an emergency,
assuming that Batman doesn’t carry one in his magical utility
belt to start with.
Instead, his two comrades help their comrade to his feet, and
they head off walking at a slow pace. (????) They decide to try
another tunnel, presumably looking for a passage that contains a
handy corridor leading all the way back up to the surface.
However, a monstrous cry is heard, and inky black tentacles
emerge from a cave to grab Black Vulcan and the nearly catatonic
Superman. "I can’t hold on!" Hawkman cries as the beast grabs
Superman from his grip. No kidding. I wouldn’t rely on that guy
to hail a cab.
Meanwhile, the Hall of Doom has relocated itself in New York
Harbor, overlooking the city. (The WTC towers are seen on their
viewscreen, and still remain a jarring sight.) "Now that we
control the source of all evil," Luthor declares, apparently
referring to a five foot hunk of rock, and…nothing. He never
finishes his sentence. Toyman wonders what to do with all this
"pernicious power." Sinestro inevitably suggests a "small
demonstration of our sinister strength." Yes, wow, that plan is
perfect, right down to the last detail! Then he Mwahaha’s.
With the Legion apparently happy with Sinestro’s complex
scheme—the one about demonstrating their sinister strength—we
see the Monolith emerge from a portal at the top of the Hall. In
an appalling moment, a beam fires from it and begins to knock
over one of the World Trade Towers. Obviously you can’t blame
the guys behind the show for writing this in 1978, but it still
raises the hackles. We never see the building fall over the way
over, but given the angle we last see it at, you’d have to
assume that that’s what happens to it.
More destruction follows. Another beam fissures a busy
street. (But only between the standing cars, of course. Can’t
imply that anyway is actually imperiled.) "The street’s breaking
open!" one shocked driver helpfully notes. At this point flames
erupt from the fissure, and we cut away. We then get a shot of
the errant World Trade Tower leaning over at a pronounced angle,
yet still somehow standing. It’s hard to do mayhem on a show
that has a rigorously observed ‘nobody gets hurt’ policy.
Then the Monolith sends out a beam that flies to the sun and
causes a huge solar flare. Then the sun disappears. (???!!!)
"The sun!" a street cop exclaims. "It’s gone out! It’s
doomsday!" And yes, so you’d think. "That’s right, fools,"
Luthor boasts as he listens to this cry over the Legion
viewscreen. That’s a brilliant scheme by the Legion of Doom, by
the way. With sun out, they’re really in the driver’s seat.
Besides, as C. Montgomery Burns once piquantly observed, "Since
the beginning of time, Man has dreamed of destroying the sun!"
By the way, where are the rest of the Superfriends during all
this? You’d think they’d at least show up. Oops, spoke too soon.
For we now cut to them gathered around their master viewscreen
back at the Hall of Justice. "We need your help desperately!" a
vaguely Asian-looking (?) man is telling them. It’s true; once
things get to the ‘putting out the sun’ phase, it’s time to call
the big guns in.
However, they lose the video feed. "Holy cut communications,
Batman!" Robin yells. "We’d better act fast!" Yes, indeed.
Having the sun go out is one thing. However, losing your
communications feed, man, that raises things to a whole new
level. Batman, however, is looking at the bigger picture. If
they in the Hall are being contacted for help, he muses, "then
where are Superman, Hawkman and Black Vulcan?" In other words,
the Superfriends on duty in the Hall of Justice were not only
unaware that New York City is in ruins and that the sun itself
has ceased radiating, but haven’t bothered to wonder what
exactly their comrades, sent out to retrieve the shrunken U.N.
Building, are presently up to.
"Batman’s right," Green Lantern agrees. They might be in
danger beneath the swamp." Of course, their thinking this now
makes no sense. Those Superfriends still in the Hall of Justice
know (roughly) where the away team is, i.e., somewhere down
under the swamp. In other words, Superman, Hawkman and Black
Vulcan are the ones out of action, not the members left at the
Hall, who in fact presumably remained there to handle any
concurrent emergencies. Yet they now act like getting a call for
aid at their public headquarters must mean that something’s
happened to the isolated away team. Which it has, but the one
has nothing to do with the other.
They decide, naturally, to split up. "Batman, Robin and I
will head to the coast to intercept the Legion," Wonder Woman
offers. The geography of this show really makes your head hurt.
Where the hell is the Hall of Justice supposed to be located? Is
it in Metropolis? You’d think so, since a reference to frogs
draws them to the Metropolis swamp.
But where is Metropolis, then? "Head to the east coast"
certainly makes it sound like it’s either in the Midwest or
towards the west coast. Yet earlier Superman, Hawkman and Black
Vulcan left the Hall and arrived at the U.N. Building "seconds
later." Meanwhile, where is Gotham, and how is that situated to
both Metropolis and the real cities? Both New York City and
Washington D.C., for instance, are mentioned in episodes. When a
mesmerized Batman robbed the National Mint in Washington (Wanted:
The Superfriends), for instance, he drove there.
Yet, if the Hall is located in Metropolis—and I’m only
guessing—why would Batman and Wonder Woman, the heroes who rely
on using mechanical transport, be the ones to "head to the east
coast"? This means that the heroes who can fly under their own
power, as both Green Lantern and the Flash (at least on this
show…some times) can, and thus move more quickly, are instead
delegated the local situation. Admittedly, Apache Chief can’t
fly, but Green Lantern could always ferry him out in an energy
As well, there’s a certain obvious power discrepancy. Neither
Batman, Robin nor Wonder Woman (this version, anyway) have
superpowers, and yet they are going off to confront the entire
Legion of Doom. Meanwhile, three characters with superpowers,
including two of the League’s powerhouses, are put onto another
team. It seems to me that a little more mixing and matching
might be in order.
For the uninitiated, the writers of Challenge of the
Superfriends were instructed to create some minority members,
ones that didn’t originate in the comics, to mitigate the team’s
general whiteness. (This aspect of the original Justice League
membership isn’t too surprising, considering that most of the
members were created back in the late 1930s and ‘40s.) Hence
Black Vulcan, Apache Chief*, Samurai—whose powers indicate that
he was actually a Japanese redo of an established, if obscure,
comic book character, the Red Tornado—and El Dorado.
[*Anyone who digs riffing on these cartoon simply has to
visit Seanbaby’s profane yet hilarious Challenge of the Superfriends
website (which he lamentably abandoned before it was
. His take on these affirmative action team members is
some of his best stuff. As he notes of Apache Chief’s
strenuously generic moniker, "Now that I mention it, I don't
think he was Apache or a chief. His name doesn't make any damn
sense. That's like putting a white guy on a team of Native
Americans and naming him "Minnesota President."]
Keeping this supposedly progressive ‘minority outreach’ idea in
mind, it’s hard not to let fly a pretty good horselaugh when we
cut to Green Lantern’s team arriving at the swamp: "With the
help of Apache Chief’s keen tracking abilities…" the Narrator
begins. Holy cripes! "Keen tracking abilities"!! I wonder what
his superhero weakness is. Firewater? And when will Black
Vulcan’s suburb basketball playing come to the fore? Will they
someday require El Dorado’s amazing skills in getting a buttload
of superheroes into one car? Perhaps Samurai’s photographic
expertise will prove essential to their survival?
Green Lantern quickly has them down in the now familiar
underground caves. "These flaming caverns are enormous," he
exclaims. "It could take us hours to find them." Er, it could if
you didn’t have the frickin’ Flash with you, you moron.
You know, the guy that moves at superspeed? Yeesh. Also, since
the Superfriends carry communicator devices—we’ve seen Superman
using his—don’t you think it would be a good idea to put a
homing device in them?
Luckily, they don’t have to rely on the man who can run
around the frickin’ globe in a second flat, because they still
have Apache Chief’s ‘keen tracking abilities’ at their disposal.
"The caverns are large, Green Lantern," Apache Chief agrees.
"But their trail is a narrow one."
So the three head up the same path that we’ve seen both the
Legionnaires and the missing Superfriends use before. Meanwhile,
we cut over to Hawkman, who is still just standing outside the
shadowy cave that Superman and Black Vulcan got pulled into. (By
the way, how exactly does one grasp someone who can turn into
electricity? That’s what Black Vulcan can do, right? Or is it?
Dammit, I could really use a sourcebook here.) The unseen
monster is still roaring, for what that’s worth.
"I’ve got to figure a way to get them out of there before
it’s too late!" the Winged Wonder decides. Yeah, there’re no
flies on you, Hawkman. Rather conveniently, there’s a raised
lava pool standing right nearby. "This hot lava should chase
that creature out of the cave!" he deduces. Yes, and scald Black
Vulcan and the weakened Superman to death. Still, you can’t make
an omelet and all that.
In any case, he breaks open the thing with a handy stalagmite
and the lava flows out just like he wanted. Sure enough, this
draws an admittedly creepy-looking giant crab/octopus monster
out of its cave, and Hawkman is able to fly up and snatch both
of his captured teammates from its tentacled grasp. It’s a good
thing none of the giant mutant beasts down here can grip
anything for crap.
Meanwhile, the Batplane and Wonder Woman’s invisible jet have
arrived in New York. Robin soon has spotted the Hall of Doom in
the waters of the harbor, and Batman radios Wonder Woman as to
their discovery. He then calls for "Attack Plan Seven."
Actually, the idea that the Superfriends have one ‘attack plan’
is surprising, much less over half a dozen of them.
Inside the Hall of Doom, Luthor, Cheetah and Sinestro are
looking at a radar display. "Radar Computer indicates the Bat
Jet and Invisible Jet on attack approach!" Cheetah rather
pointlessly explains to her substantially brighter colleagues.
(I mean, ‘radar computer’? Please.) You’d think the Hall would
come equipped with a force field, but apparently their newfound
power has gone to their heads. "They won’t be so eager to bother
us after they get a taste of the Monolith’s power!" Luthor
sneers. By they way, is the sun still out of order? I don’t
know, you’d think that would be kind of a big deal.
Luthor throws a switch on a control panel, whereupon the
Monolith fires a beam into the harbor and creates a
Godzilla-sized Water Monster. (Man, they really had monsters on
the brain this time.) Is that what Luthor intended for the
Monolith to do? I mean, that’s a pretty esoteric function for a
switch, don’t you think? What does that nearby button do? Whip
up a gigantic laser beam-firing emu? I don’t know, wouldn’t it
have easier to just have the Monolith shoot the planes down?
"Holy H2O, Batman!" Robin blurts upon seeing the creature,
and I sincerely wanted him dead at that moment. "I may be able
to disperse it with a high-speed pass!" Wonder Woman radios.
Yeah, sure, whatever. So both jets fly through the monster, but
with little apparent effect. "It’s too strong," the Caped
Crusader helpfully notes.
Undeterred, the monster walks over to the Brooklyn Bridge and
makes to tear it down. "The Bat Freeze Ray should stop him!"
Batman notes. First, this thing is like five hundred feet tall,
and undoubtedly made up of millions of gallons of water. So that
better be one fine-ass freeze ray. Second, if you had another
option available, was it really the best idea to try flying your
plane smack through the creature first? Third, Superman already
froze one monster, so this solution seems a bit lazy. Fourth, I
couldn’t help noticing that, due to an animation miscue, the
monster is turned to ice before the freeze ray even hits it.
That’s some good quality control there. (Also, it’s a water
monster, standing in a harbor, but only the monster is frozen
and none of the water it’s knee deep in? How does that work?)
Sadly, this doesn’t really change things much. The monster is
briefly forestalled, but then another beam erupts from the
Monolith and animates it again. "Great Gotham!" Batman exclaims.
"That strange monolith changed the water creature into an ice
monster!" Well, sort of. Actually, you changed it into…oh, never
Back in the caverns, Black Vulcan and White Hawkman, er, I
mean, Hawkman, are carrying the semi-conscious White
Superman—no, that doesn’t sound right at all—around.
"It’s getting cooler!" Black Vulcan observes. "We must be
getting closer to the surface." Uhm, OK, if you say so. However,
that doesn’t mean that their travails are over. "Great
Lightning!" he continues. "We’re turning to rock!" Boy, it’s
always something, isn’t it? "There’s no way to get free!"
Hawkman adds. "We’re finished!" Nice stiff upper lip, there,
However, it conveniently turns out that the Flash, along with
Apache Chief and Green Lantern, has just made the scene. "Some
high speed molecular action should free you up," he asserts, and
since this worked when his teammates were in exactly similar
straights in the episode The World’s Deadliest Game--that’s
right, the Superfriends have nearly been turned to stone in two
of the show’s first five chapters—there’s no reason to think
In most cases, for the Flash to do anything, he has to run
around something very, very fast. By doing this he can do pretty
anything whatsoever he wants. Here, however, he merely vibrates
his hand, which results in it projecting what I can only assume
is a Molecular Action Speeding field, which engulfs his three
endangered comrades and returns them to normal.
"Hurry!" Hawkman says once this is done. "We’ve got to get
Superman back to the Hall of Justice to get him free of the
kryptonite!" Huh? Look, even if Black Vulcan can’t get the
manacle off for some reason, Green Lantern is standing right
there. There’s about three hundred ways his power ring could be
used to get the chain off, of which the simplest would be to
just materialize a green key for the lock.
Well, that’s not really fair. Only Hawkman is a complete
moron, and really, we already knew that. Even though Superman
protests that it’s too late to save him, Green Lantern argues,
"No, there’s still one chance!" Luckily, one chances always work
on this show. And so it proves in this case, in which the one
chance involves GL materializing a green "nuclear laser" rifle,
with which he hopes to blast the manacle off. Black Vulcan notes
that this might kill Superman, given his weakened condition, but
of course it doesn’t. Seconds later, Supes is freed and back up
on his feet. Then, it’s to the surface, where…
…Oh, no, you don’t. Before we move on, may I inquire as to
whether there was some reason Black Vulcan, Hawkman and
Superman started turning to stone? Is that just an occupational
hazard when one is roaming the corridors deep beneath the
I ask again, did the guys who wrote this show feel any
embarrassment when they cashed their paychecks? Couldn’t they
even have written in a basilisk or something, even if only to
pretend they gave a rat’s ass? Moreover, why weren’t the just
arriving Superfriends so affected? They were standing all of
maybe five feet away from their petrifying teammates.
Anyway. Back topside, Batman and Wonder Woman are still
buzzing the gigantic ice monster, which the Omniscient Narrator
helpfully describes as "strange." Just so, you know, we ‘get’
that it isn’t one of those utterly mundane giant ice monsters.
The monster has succeeded in tearing free the suspension bridge
it was menacing before. Luckily, though, it’s just cradling the
structure, which is rather fortuitously still in one piece (!) ,
in its frigid grasp.
"There’s still one thing we haven’t tried," Batman notes.
(See previous note re: ‘one things.’) "If I can alter the Bat
Radar frequency to the right signal, it should break up the ice
molecules!" he posits. So saying, he adjusts a little dial on
the Batplane dashboard, and they dive at the creature—who still
is holding its arms crooked, as it was before, although here the
animators forgot to draw in the bridge its supposed to be
carrying (!!)—and the radar signal shatters the monster into a
See, this is what I mean about the turning-to-stone thing.
Look how lazy the writing is normally, when the Flash can
do anything required by running around in circles, or where, as
in the prior episode, Batman gets out of trouble by employing
the never before indicated "Bat Invisibility Ray" on his utility
belt. I mean, functionally, they might as well just say that the
Superfriends have magical powers and stop pretending that
there’s any ‘science’ involved. Yet even so, they couldn’t be
bothered to whip up even that lame a fig leaf to explain the
Back at the Hall of Justice, we hear perhaps the most
terrifying phrase uttered during any episode of the The
Challenge of the Superfriends: Aquaman saying, "I’ve
programmed the Justice League Computer." Aquaman!! I wouldn’t
let that guy make toast, much less screw around with the world’s
most sophisticated computer.
However, oddly, everything goes well—I guess—and the computer
soon vocally delivers its analysis of the Monolith (based on
what, I’m sure I don’t know, since they don’t have a sample of
it or anything): "Data indicates that energy source is more
powerful than Super Friends. [Apparently the Computer’s speaking
programming was assigned to Apache Chief, given the way it drops
articles and such.] However, there is a flaw in the data. The
power source is not evil."
Everyone greets this conclusion with some stupefaction. Not,
however, for the reasons you’d expect. For instance, computers
analyze the data they are given. Hence the venerable maxim,
Garbage In, Garbage Out. How, exactly, a computer could then
blithely decide that the data provided it was faulty is quite a
conundrum. I suppose if it were sufficiently well-programmed, it
might come to the conclusion that the data it’s been provided
with is inherently contradictory.
However, nothing the Superfriends could have told it about
the Monolith would intrinsically conflict with the notion that
the object is independently malign.
In essence, computers weigh facts against the data it’s been
programmed with. For it to reach a judgment that the Monolith is
morally neutral, it theoretically must have been fed a
definition of ‘evil’ that the data about the Monolith
However, given the sheer paucity of what the Super Friends
could have possibly told it—that it can animate huge amounts of
water and ice, etc.—it again seem grossly unlikely that many
conclusions at all could be drawn about the Monolith, much less
that particular one. Ah, well, perhaps its programming is just
atheistic on spiritual issues.
In any case, the justification for the Superfriends’
bewilderment is summed up when the Boy Wonder blurts "But that’s
impossible! Look at the destruction it’s caused!" On the basis
of that thinking, a car that runs over a pedestrian must be
possessed by demons. Luckily, the computer is able to think a
bit more clearly than Robin. "The Monolith is just a source of
energy like any other," it clarifies, "good or bad, according to
intent of user."
Amazing, this notion hasn’t crossed anyone’s mind up to now. "Of
course!" Batman says. "The reason it appears to be evil is that
the Legion of Doom is controlling it!" Well, duh. Less obvious,
however, is Wonder Woman’s subsequent assertion. "Then I should
be able to control the Monolith the same way I control my magic
lasso! Telepathically!" Uh…what now? What the hell does that
even mean? Are they maintaining that Wonder Woman can mentally
control anything that isn’t ‘evil’? Seriously, I have no idea
what they are getting at here. Nor do the writers, I suspect,
whose best stab to supporting this ludicrous notion is to have
Superman reply, "Wonder Woman’s right!" Well, that proves it.
[By the way, there’s a good story reason for the Monolith not
to be "the source of all evil". If it were, than all the Justice
League would have to do is destroy it, and there would be no
more evil in the world. Aside from being theologically
problematic, this would also put the Superfriends, and the
makers of any cartoons about them, out of business.]
Cut to the Legion. Perhaps seeking a spot of fresh air—after
all, their company includes a woman in a cowled fur jumpsuit, a
guy who lives in a helmeted wetsuit, a massive gorilla and a 10
foot tall zombie, so you know the Hall of Doom can’t smell very
good—the Legionnaires have assembled at the base of the Statue
of Liberty for the requisite period of gloating. Personally, I’d
have left somebody back at HQ to guard over their super new
power source, not to mention all their over crap. But then,
hubris is what always does these guys in.
Looking up, they spot the Superfriends flying over their
position. The three heroes seen doing so under their own power,
amazingly, are Superman, Green Lantern and Black Vulcan. In
other words, all ones who actually can fly, unlike the
Flash, who the show often shows flying anyway. I guess I could
really nitpick and point out that Black Vulcan’s legs haven’t
turned to lightning, the way they normally do when he’s flying.
Still, for this program to get things 90% right is quite a
triumph, so let’s just move on.
"Solomon Grundy show them it futile to try and stop us!"
(‘Futile’ seems like a pretty big word for someone who can’t
employ pronouns and suchlike, but anyway.) On cue, the Monolith
raises from the Hall of Doom—we’ll just say they brought a
remote control for it and keep going—and fires a blast at the
Statue of Liberty, which begins to teeter over. Actually, it
would have been a lot funnier to have brought it to life to
menace New York, so that the Superfriends would have had to
destroy a national monument in order to save lives. Instead,
Superman just flies over and pushes it safely back onto its
Sneering that Superman can’t be in two places at once, Luthor
hits a button and the Empire State Building starts toppling
over. However, Wonder Woman’s rather convenient ability to
control the Monolith telepathically comes in play, and another
blast from the Monolith sets the skyscraper aright. You’d still
have to think all this would have caused a lot of stress to its
superstructure, but maybe the Monolith magically fixed it. Sure,
Soon other blasts have restored the rest of the damage done
earlier. Even the bridge, which the Ice Monster had entirely
ripped loose and then carried some distance away, somehow now
returns to its proper position. Finally, a last beam shoots out
into space and reignites the sun, or whatever the hell the
writers were thinking it would be doing.
"I’ll stop those Super Fools!" Toyman cries. Then he
remembered he was the fricking’ Toyman and sheepishly said,
"Never mind." No, wait, actually he—somehow—makes the Monolith
fire another beam and create a giant killer toy robot. Oh, and
the Superfriends are now also standing in a group, mere yards
from where their foes are massed. That’s a little odd,
considering that Wonder Woman and Batman were flying around in
their respective planes (which are nowhere to be seen) about
thirty seconds ago.
Before anything else stupid can happen, or, I guess, possibly
something exciting, Superman flies over and just grabs up the
Monolith. "I hate to disappoint you, Toyman," he says, although
he probably doesn’t mean it. At his apparent command—or so I
assume, which means that at this point pretty much anyone can
make the Monolith do whatever they want—the Monolith fires
This one makes the Giant Toy Robot turn and grab up twin
fistfuls of the Legionnaires. Assuming it could do this, this
would actually constrain Bizarro or Solomon Grundy from busting
loose, at least to the point that they wouldn’t want to turn
their teammates into a yucky paste before they managed to break
the robot’s metallic grip. "That’ll teach you to leave your toys
lying around," Superman quips. Yeah, well, when you’re Superman,
you don’t really have to be funny.
These latest developments have Grodd confused. "How could the
Superfriends control the forces of evil?" he slurps. "It wasn’t
an evil power source," Batman smugly explains, although the only
reason he knows it is because their computer told them so. Lex
thanks them for this info. "In that case, it shouldn’t harm us
to use the Monolith’s power against ourselves," he responds.
So saying, he pushes a button—using again the control box
with but a button, and yet the Monolith always does the one
thing he wants it to do—and the Robot drops the villains back
into the Hall of Doom. (It actually drops them through the top
of the several story-high structure, so you’d expect at least
the more human members to be sporting a broken bone or two.)
The Hall then flies off, and as usual, the Superfriends just
stand around and let it go. Hey, you morons, you have the
Monolith. Just have it disable the Hall of Doom’s jets or
something! Oh, never mind. "They’ll be back, and with another
sinister plan," Green Lantern declares. Yeah, probably so, since
you Superfriends never bother to actually, you know, apprehend
Of course, this leaves the Superfriends with the Monolith.
Needless to say, we’ll never hear about it again, or learn what
the heck they did with the thing.