Monday, November 20, 2006

Episode 1.04: Fear Factory

Yes, they did run episodes 1.04 (Fear Factory) and 1.06 (Phantoms) out of production order. However, most people don't care and call them by broadcast number instead of production order. Sigh.

Why they ran this episode a week before Thanksgiving instead of around Halloween is beyond me. This was a perfect Halloween haunted house episode with everyone facing their fears. I'm far from the only person who thought that.

Your torrents du jour: hi-def and regular.

Anyway, here's my wrapup.

  • Rokk's Comic Book Revolution:
    We also got some drama to balance out the comedy with the relationship between Superman and Brainiac 5. I really like the chemistry between these two characters. Clearly, Brainiac 5 has some deep rooted guilt of being the decedent of one of Superman’s biggest villains: Brainiac. It was interesting to see how Brainiac 5 is determined to make Superman face his own fears so that he may become the hero that the world needs Superman to be.
    All in all, “Fear Factory” was another fine episode. The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series has been an absolute blast. There is plenty of humor, action and themes about friendship in each episode. The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series is obviously designed for kids, but I think the creators have done a nice job making these episodes entertaining for older Legion fans as well. Personally, I love the “young” and “bright” feel to the animated Legion. After being forced to read the TMK Legion and the DnA Legion, I have had enough of the dark and grim Legion to last me a life time.

  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract:
    The thing about this episode is that there's really nothing about it that required it to be a Legion episode. The main theme was that heroes need to be able to overcome their fears, which is perfectly standard not only for superheroes but for any adventure genre (and therefore quite appropriate as a plot for a kids' show). I thought we were going to delve a little more deeply into the complicated Brainiac 5/Superman friendship.... But it didn't happen. What we got instead was Brainy keeping information from Superman (again!) so that Superman would have to face his fears (in this case, fear of killing Brainy when he brought down the station's computers; if Brainy had told him that the disc he gave him was a backup disc of Brainy's self, he wouldn't have worried). Which actually supports Your Obedient Serpent's theory that Brainy recruited Young Clark instead of Veteran Superman in an effort to train him up so he'll better be able to deal with Brainiac back in the 21st century.

  • Jeffrey Bridges at the Superman Homepage:
    This felt like a Halloween episode, and according to the production schedule it was the fourth episode produced but the sixth one aired (had it aired in production order, it would have come out on Nov. 4). Clearly it was intended to be a Halloween episode, so why Kids WB chose to air it now instead of Nov. 4 makes absolutely no sense.

    And I'm sure, for little kids, this would have been a spooky Halloween episode. But the whole "it's a haunted mansion!" where we're supposed to believe that superheroes who regularly fly all over the place and battle aliens would be scared of roller coasters and... aliens is pushing things a bit.

  • Darren Kramble, apparently watching via download in England, at Nerdsville:
    Hooray! New Legion episode! The thing that I really like about the animated LSH series is how much it resembles a sixties 'Adventure Comics' story brought to life. There is just something about the bonkers nature of these old stories that lend themselves to a twenty-first century kids cartoon show. The necessary lack of depth (or maybe more accurately, hyper-depth) is a Legion tradition....

    But 'Fear Factory' (Adventure Comics title: The Haunted House of Space) was another enjoyable episode. The episodes early flirtation with sub-Scooby Doo haunted house cartoons was nicely subverted as the episode progressed, looking at each character's hidden fears. That being said, I don't believe that Saturn Girl's greatest fear is a roller coaster, nor that she is not mentally strong enough to resist Quavermass' powers. Doesn't Super Thought Casting count for anything?

  • From Cat-Scratched-Victim:
    The production team does appear to be taking the original “feel” of the old stories into play for this series. This latest episode, Fear Factory, seems to have fit in with Halloween, it being about a haunted house and our heroes having to stay there for the night, but it seemed to have come late instead. Oh well. It was cute episode that could have been an old story from the days when the Legion comic was being drawn by the late Curt Swan or perhaps even during the Cockrum era. It was nice to see that.

  • Lizard_SF at Bowling With Sisyphus:
    his is a difficult episode to review; when it was good, it was very good, and when it was bad, it was seriously cringeworthy.

    The bad: The Legionnaires broke down way too fast. These are heroes, after all, and should be able to confront the fairly trivial fears presented with a lot more gusto. A chance for interesting psychological examination (what scares a hero) was squandered badly in this episode.
    IMO, this episode was a misstep and a missed opportunity. Not utterly unwatchable, but it reeks of wasted potential.

  • Vincent J. Murphy at Spandex Justice:
    ...For the second week in a row, we get the "If I do this, I might die" speech (last week, it was Phantom Girl, this week, Brainiac 5). It starts to ring a little hollow when they play that card too often. That, combined with the rather pedestrian plot (and the solution, which is basically "wreck things"), didn’t thrill me. The episode was a clunker.

And now a dissenting review, from Ryu I's World of Inanity:
After prying myself away from FFXII I decided to download the first episode of the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon because it looked so incredibly, horribly bad that I figured it had nowhere to go but up (and I was cleaning; needed something to look forward to).

E. Gads.

They PAY people to design art like this?!

Brainiac 5 is a transformer?! (Dude, like...he turns into a Gundam)

Okay, really? Brainy is Data. Data who turns into a Gundam. And is really, really short.

And the themesong is so disco!


But really, so incredibly awful that it amused me somewhat. Hey, at least Clark's personality was all geeky and adorable.


Garth Ranzz said...

Just a word of warning on the hi-def torrent. It is missing the first minute or so of the show. It does not have any of the group watching the scary movie.

Terence Chua said...

Notice that Garth's bedroom has two beds, one decked in pink and having dolls on it, heavily indicating a girl's bed.

Guess this confirms that Ayla exists in this continuity.

Anonymous said...

That last reviewer sounds like either (a) he's an otaku of the highest order or (b) he's a kid whose mom forgot to fork over his Ritalin before he hit the web. When someone so fascinated by the shiny, plastic, trying-too-hard-to-be-realistic world of modern Final Fantasy games reviews something, it's always a recipe for disaster.