Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Episode 1.10: The Substitutes

This episode (OK, I'm late, so sue me) brought out the smiling Legion fanboy in me (yeah, like writing this blog doesn't!). It wasn't just the "spot the cameos" but the whole thing was just fun. And it showed that even with not-so-great powers still comes great responsibility. (I thought a great gag that was missed was Fire Lad being accidentally affected by Infectious Lass and sneezing a huge flame that toasts someone.). Did anyone else hear Infectious Lass channeling the spirit of Lisa Loopner?

Here's the regular torrent. For some reason the hi-def version doesn't seem to be around. I'll link to it later if/when I find it.

It's interesting how this series can pick and choose images, events, characters, and characterizations from all the different Legion stories and continuities over the years. In this one alone, we had a Starfinger with powers like the first one (1965), a costume like the second one (1987), and a personality that was new. The Subs' first adventure in the show was based on their first appearance in Adventure (1963), while their appearances and personalities came from the v2-era Levitz/Giffen stories (1985). Matter-Eater Lad's image and personality are from the TMK Legion (1993), and Star Boy is from the current version (2005).

We even got cameos of Blok, Sun Boy, Element Lad, Tyroc, and even Shrinking Violet. That makes a total of 17 Legionnaires we've seen in some fashion this season.

On to the review roundup:

  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract:
    Fun episode. Like last week's, a lot of the appeal comes from seeing old friends for the first or second time, but some of the characters were characterized in a particularly enjoyable way...

    There's no significant character development here, as most of our time is being spent with characters who have just freshly been introduced. The action scenes are up to their usual standards, but that doesn't mean much because Starfinger and the Subs are both kind of incompetent, so there aren't a lot of cool things to show in the first place. It was a good episode, but it doesn't leave me with a lot to analyze.

  • Rokk's Comic Book Revolution:
    This was another excellent episode. Last week’s episode on this one are the best back to back episodes that we have gotten on this series. I knew I’d love this episode because of the Legion auditions. And I was certainly not disappointed...

    I liked the character designs that the animators gave the Legion of Substitute Heroes. They retained enough of the original costume designs, but gave each character a more updated look for the cartoon. What was neat was that the animators used the fat Chlorophyll Kid from Giffen’s Substitute Heroes rather than the skinny Silver Age version.

    This episode captured the playful essence of the original Legion. The Adventure Era Legion offered up plenty of silly heroes and villains. And we also got treated to a Legion comprised of optimistic teen heroes who through teamwork, heart and courage were able to defeat any evil no matter how powerful. The creators of this Animated Series have clearly done their research and are delivering an incredible modern version of the Adventure Era Legion.

  • Jeffrey Bridges at Superman Homepage:
    I don't say this often, because I personally find shows that don't tie into a mythology or over-arcing story to be something of throwaway episodes. But if they were all this good, I wouldn't mind as much.

    This episode was everything I love about this show even though it didn't touch on Mekt, The Fatal Five or Alexis Luthor. There was a lot of good comedy here, a lot of imaginative, light-hearted action, and Starfinger may be the best character I've seen in a cartoon in a long, long time. He's comedy gold.

  • The Third Estate Sunday Review:
    On the most recently aired episode, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Bouncing Boy, Timber Wolf, Superboy, and Braniac 5 played like Randy, Simon and Paula as they auditioned Legionairre wanna bes. Five didn't make the cut. Like the five judges, the five contained four males and one female. The five rejects decided to prove that they were worthy. A storyline that played out about as interesting as a Super Friends subplot involving the Wonder Twins finally merged in the last minutes with the main battle going on in outer space where the characters floated around and Lightning Lad shot bolts of lightening while Clark Kent's character punched a lot. Humor was supposed to be in abundance but we'd argue when you're relying on the very tired line "Tastes like chicken," you're neither as funny nor as original as you think you are.

  • Read the reviews in the Superman Homepage, Toon Zone, and Legion World forums. Ironically, some of the posters (except those on LegionWorld, of course) accuse the Legion of ripping off things like "Mystery Men" and "The Tick", without realizing that open tryouts have been a Legion staple since 1962.

SuperDickery hosts this page from the original Subs story. Who knew that the Subs had their own oath?
"I take oath that this super-power that I am now using will be used only for the good of all peoples of Earth and the Universe! And that I will always try to help the Legion of Super-Heroes in their great deeds!"


Anonymous said...

Starfinger 31C sounded like Folgore from Zatch Bell. Cheesy Italian egoist. :)

Matthew E said...

Hold on. Seventeen Legionnaires? More than that, surely. We know that the following Legionnaires are on the team: we've seen them onscreen, or they've been mentioned, or something:

Lightning Lad
Saturn Girl
Phantom Girl
Brainiac 5
Bouncing Boy
Triplicate Girl
Timber Wolf
Colossal Boy
Cosmic Boy
Dream Girl
Element Lad
Matter-Eater Lad
Shrinking Violet
Sun Boy
Star Boy

So that's eighteen. But, in addition, we've also seen these characters, who've been Legionnaires in the past:

Ultra Boy (seen as Jo Nah)
Wildfire (seen as Drake Burroughs)
Spider Girl (seen as Wave)
Light Lass (seen as Ayla)
Polar Boy
Fire Lad
Stone Boy
Chlorophyll Kid
Color Kid
Porcupine Pete
Infectious Lass
Invisible Kid

That's thirty Legionnaires! Not bad for nine episodes.

Michael said...

You're right, I forgot about Dream Girl when counting. She's only appeared in a holo-screen, I was thinking of ones who had actually been present.

As for your others, I was referring to 17 (18) of the animated Legion's members, not the total number of people we've seen who have ever been Legionnaires. (And Drake Burroughs only appeared as a name on the Galactic Games board, we never even saw a person).