Criminal mastermind Lex Luthor appears at a podium inside of a menacing headquarters known as the Hall of Doom. Gathered around him are twelve of the most sinister villains ever assembled - the Legion of Doom. Luthor introduces each villain in turn, several of
Appearing in "Wanted: The Superfriends"
- Alfred Pennyworth (as a Bizarro)
- Bat laser cutter
- Duplicate Ray
- Lasso of Truth
- Lex Luthor's Dream Machine
- Nth Metal Wings
- Yellow Power Ring
- Utility Belt
Synopsis for "Wanted: The Superfriends"
Criminal mastermind Lex Luthor appears at a podium inside of a menacing headquarters known as the Hall of Doom. Gathered around him are twelve of the most sinister villains ever assembled - the Legion of Doom. Luthor introduces each villain in turn, several of whom take the opportunity to demonstrate their fantastic powers for their peers. Luthor then declares that the first step in global takeover is defeating Earth's protectors – the Super Friends. To this end, Luthor has created a dream machine, which will force the Super Friends to commit various acts of crime.
The first victim of Luthor's invention is Superman. While dozing at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent suddenly rises from his chair, changes into Superman, and flies out the window in a daze. Enslaved to the hypnotic command, he breaks into Fort Knox and steals the entire Federal Gold Reserve.
The rest of the Super Friends suffer their own sleepwalking episodes as well. While Wonder Woman robs the Louvre Art Museum in Paris, Black Vulcan raids the pyramids of Egypt, and the Flash steals the Crown Jewels of England in London.
The following day, all of the Super Friends meet at the Hall of Justice. They tell each other of their dreams, until Wonder Woman opens a special vault containing evidence of their crimes. Superman suggests that the Super Friends should voluntarily turn themselves in to the authorities, and the rest of the team agrees.
They arrive at the police station, where they are promptly incarcerated. They soon discover however, that the "guards" are actually Bizarro and Cheetah wearing rubber masks and using voice disguisers. Their prison cell is booby-trapped with a force field and rocket thrusters. Bizarro and Cheetah subject their prisoners to a special ray which restricts physical movement. Lex Luthor maniacally preens over his victory and launches the prison cell into outer space with coordinates set for the heart of the sun.
With the Super Friends out of the way, Luthor embarks upon Phase II of his master plan. Using another of his fantastic inventions, he generates a wave of energy that stretches across the globe turning hundreds of innocent civilians into doppelgangers of Bizarro and Cheetah. The new Bizarros and Cheetahs begin to conquer the world.
In outer space, Superman uses his telescopic vision to notice a meteor heading on a direct path towards them. Wonder Woman telepathically commands her magic lasso to rope the meteor and angles it in such a way so that it disrupts the force field surrounding the prison cell. Superman flies out of the cell and begins pushing it back towards Earth.
Back on terra firma, the Super Friends are amazed to see multiple copies of Bizarro and Cheetah running amok. Even Batman's loyal butler Alfred has been transformed into a Bizarro. Batman recalibrates the bat-computer so that it can counter the effects of Luthor's mutation ray, returning all of the Bizarro and Cheetah mutated people back to normal.
The Legion of Doom meanwhile attempt to take control of the Hall of Justice. Now that the doppelgangers are out of the way, the Super Friends are prepared to face their true enemies. Superman manages to confiscate Luthor's dream machine and attempts to use it on the Legion. Luthor laughs heartily, boldly clarifying that the dream machine will not work against the Legion. The Legion of Doom is forced to flee from the Hall of Justice, but they also manage to escape custody.
- This episode first aired in the United States on September 9th, 1978.
- This episode is production number 128-01.
- This is the first episode of the Super Friends series under the new name The Challenge of the Super Friends.
- This episode is the first appearance of the Legion of Doom. Although Lex Luthor and Brainiac have each made previous appearances, this is the first animated appearance of Bizarro, Captain Cold, Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Scarecrow and Toyman. The Riddler has made previous appearances on the New Adventures of Batman animated series and Black Manta has appeared on the Aquaman animated series.
- This episode suggests that Gotham City may be located in close proximity to Washington, D.C.. In one scene, Batman and Robin are at Wayne Manor, and only "moments later" (according to the narrator), they are seen taking the Batmobile and Batcopter to the United States Mint. In Post-Crisis comic book continuity, Gotham City is actually located in Southern New Jersey.
- When Luthor introduces the Riddler he fans out a set of cards with the pictures of Gleek, Zan, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Batman, and Superman on them. This is the only reference to the Wonder Twins by the Legion of Doom.
- This episode is the first of three appearances of Alfred Pennyworth in the series. He appears only as a Bizarro in this episode. He later appears in the episodes Attack of the Vampire and The Fear.
- At the beginning of the episode, Lex Luthor introduces each member of the Legion of Doom. Several Legion members even take time to demonstrate their abilities. Captain Cold uses his freeze gun to destroy a ceiling lamp; the Riddler nearly starts a fire with an exploding deck of Super Friends playing cards; Grodd punches his fist through the conference table; Sinestro creates an animated yellow cobra and Cheetah rakes her claws across the table. Oddly enough, Luthor doesn't react to the arbitrary damage committed against his new headquarters.
- The Cheetah's voice is patterned after the dialect used by Julie Newmar (and later by Eartha Kitt) as the character of Catwoman from the live-action Batman television series.
- Bizarro has very little in common with his comic book counterpart. Whereas the comic Bizarro was more of a good-natured nuisance, the animated Bizarro is clearly a villain with evil intentions. The comic Bizarro also spoke with backwards grammar, lacking conjugated verbs. The animated Bizarro (while still speaking in the third person) simply uses a stilted pidgin dialect.
- Aquaman does not have a single line of dialogue in this episode.
- There are at least two references to the 1977 movie Star Wars featured in this episode. The Hall of Doom closely resembles the helmet worn by the film's antagonist, Darth Vader. Robin also uses a bat-laser cutter which closely resembles a lightsaber.
- The alarm claxon at Fort Knox utilizes the same sound effect used for the red alert signal on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original Star Trek television series.
- The Hall of Doom resides within a swamp close to the city where the Hall of Justice is located. A crocodile can be seen lumbering past the half-submerged headquarters. This crocodile appears every single time the Hall of Doom rises from the swamp (the behind-the-scenes reasoning behind this is that the animators used the same stock footage over and over whenever they needed to show the Hall of Doom).
- The actual quantity of gold held at Fort Knox is not particularly impressive. Superman manages to fit all of it onto a single piece of sheet metal.
- In this episode, Green Lantern makes two constructs with his power ring: a giant green hand, and a baseball glove.
- Bill Calloway and Casey Kasem, who usually provide the voices for Aquaman and Robin (respectively) also provide the voices for two of the Fort Knox security guards in this episode. Kasem in particular does little to distinguish this voice from the one he normally uses for Robin.
Bloopers & Inconsistencies
Even in a fictitious reality that accepts the notion of super-powered individuals, this episode still demonstrates several logistical improbabilities.
- The Legion of Doom manages to sneak inside of a jail cell and install rocket boosters beneath the floor of the cell without anyone ever noticing.
- After Wonder Woman manages to sabotage the runaway jail cell, the force field surrounding the prison dissipates, allowing Superman the ability to fly out of it. However, the open vacuum of space does not seem to affect any of the other Super Friends.
- Clark Kent apparently does very little work when he is in his office at the Daily Planet. He is seen lazing about, taking a nap with his feet propped up on his desk.
- When introducing the Legion of Doom members, Lex Luthor introduces himself last. The comic book Luthor would insist on introducing himself first.
- Lex Luthor uses his duplication technology to turn vast majorities of the world's populace into Bizarros and Cheetahs. While having an army of Bizarros at one's command is certainly advantageous, the episode fails to provide explanation as to the benefit of an army of women wearing Cheetah masks.
- The Legion of Doom uses the Dream Machine against the Super Friends in an elaborate attempt to frame them for criminal acts – all so that they can have them arrested, baited into a trick rocket-powered cell, and launched into outer space. It would have been easier for Luthor to use his machine to subliminally manipulate the Super Friends into exiling themselves into outer space, without all of the extraneous theatrics (observation courtesy of a TV.com reviewer).
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Links and References
- Super Friends article at Wikipedia
- Challenge of the Super Friends article at TV.com
- Challenge of the Super Friends entry at the Internet Movie Database
- Super Friends article at Don Markstein's Toonopedia