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DVD Review: Super Friends – The Legendary Super Powers Show

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Anyone who’s read my past reviews knows that I’m a comic book fan. I hold a special place in my heart for The Super Friends, it may not be as sophisticated as the more recent Justice League/Justice League Unlimited series; but I grew up watching the show and am very happy about the current release, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show – The Complete Series. This series originally ran from 1984 to 1985 and is the second to last series in the Super Friends line, with the final series being Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, which ran the following year and which is being released on DVD in October.

This series included the introduction of Firestorm the Nuclear Man to the team, a character who is actually made up of two people (Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein) and can change items' molecular structure. A handy power when, say, you’re in a situation where there’s no oxygen present and Firestorm does his thing and then there is plenty of breathable air. The series also sees Adam West reprising the role of Batman for the second time in an animated series, (the first being in 1970’s New Adventures of Batman).

While there were new episodes in the form of “shorts” from 1980 to 1983, this was the first time there were regular length episodes since Challenge of The Super Friends in 1979. The format of these shows were two episodes per half-hour. This series bears the distinction of introducing Darkseid to the Super Friends Universe, and highlights of this season include the aforementioned Firestorm joining the team, Lex Luthor stealing the Super Friends' powers, the Wonder Twins accidentally exposing Superman to red Kryptonite which causes him to de-age into “Super-Brat” and Mr. Mxyzptlk taking advantage of the situation. In another Kryptonite episode, Darkseid learns of gold Kryptonite (which has the ability to take Superman’s powers away permanently) and the galactic auction of the last piece of it; this forces several of the Super Friends to go undercover to stop Darkseid from acquiring it.

As with past Super Friends releases, there is the inclusion of special features. The special features on the DVD include: Evolution: New Heroes, Viler Villains, and Ethnic Additions which is a featurette on the impact of the Super Friends era of cultural diversity in animation; The Super Powers Collection — this featurette explores the relationship between the Super Friends and the toy industry.

The final special feature is commentary on five key episodes by experts, including Mark Waid, who has written for the title Justice League, many of the characters featured in Super Friends, and has a vast knowledge of DC Comics history and trivia.
This wasn’t my favorite of the Super Friends series, but it’s highly enjoyable and a worthy addition to the Super Friends collection. Fans of past releases, DC Comics, or animated series based on comics will enjoy this release.

Grade: B+

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