Super Friends was Hanna Barbera’s take on DC Comics Justice League of America. It aired in various incarnations between 1973 and 1986 on Saturday mornings on ABC and on weekday afternoon in syndication. The series was cancelled from ABC for a second time in 1983, but was brought back for the 1984-85 season, its penultimate, as The Legendary Super Powers Show. The return was motivated in part, if not entirely, by a new Kenner toyline called “Super Powers” featuring DC Comics characters. Sixteen cartoons, two of which comprised one episode, were made.
The roster was a combination from previous versions of the show. The DC heroes consisted of Superman, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman. Aside from the Wonder Twins, the Hanna-Barbera heroes, Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, Samurai, and El Dorado, presented an unusual cultural diversity at the time for both superheroes and Saturday morning cartoons. New to the series was DC hero Firestorm, whose powers included an ability to change matter into whatever he wanted. His essential omnipotence makes him a terrible character. There is no suspense in the stories because he is undefeatable. Now that is understandably a good thing when you have stories that are 11 minutes long because he can take care of any problem, but then it makes no sense how the Super Friends get into any trouble in the first place.
The line-up may seem larger because more Super Friends are shown than actually appear in this particular set of episodes. The opening credits tease the viewer with Super Friends Aquaman and Flash, yet they don’t appear in an episode. This may be a result of the season not being finalized before the animation work, but then neither do Hawkman and the villain Black Manta, who only grace the DVD packaging. Green Lantern has a brief cameo in one episode on his way to an off-screen adventure.