Legion Of Super-Heroes: The Complete Series (2005-2007) (blu-ray review).

After viewing the pilot episode of the 2005 double-season series, ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes,’ I felt compelled to delve deeper into this rendition of the LSH. This group of legionnaires is quite stylized, with some notable distinctions: Brainiac 5 is a robot, Lightning Lad is arrogant, and Bouncing Boy is, well, peculiar. Given that even in the comics, Bouncing Boy was attributed an odd power, his characterization here continues to offer comic relief.

Clark Kent can press 380,000 tons, making him formidable even before his transformation into Superman. The characters’ faces are more unusual than their comic book versions, particularly their eyes and noses. Their costumes hint at Cockrum’s designs, with their names and symbols displayed in Interlac.

The second episode introduces the rest of the legionnaires, although Mon-el or Ultra Boy don’t seem to be included. The animators tend to maintain the group at about a half dozen, rather than overloading the scene with too many characters, though the audio commentary in season two reveals that this was a studio insistence.

The pilot episode unfolds on the eve of Clark Kent’s departure to Metropolis to work as a copy boy at the Daily Planet. Still experimenting with his powers and far from becoming Superboy, Clark is visited at the county fair by Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, and Bouncing Boy. They arrive via a time bubble and persuade Clark to journey to the future to assist them in combating the Fatal Five. Clark only begins to believe in this Superman myth after he visits the Superman Museum in future Metropolis.

As the series progresses, there’s an unexpected appearance from both Ultra Boy and Matter-Eater Lad in the ‘Champions’ episode, though they aren’t part of the team. Intriguingly, Phantom Girl’s powers have evolved to enable her to render other people, as well as parts of buildings, intangible.

While the Fatal Five are the primary antagonists, there haven’t been many other recognisable Legion villains. The Dominators could have been incorporated, although they only appear in the second season. A trip to a magicians world in the seventh episode, ‘Child’s Play,’ doesn’t hint at Modru or the White Witch – it seems they are saving these characters for unexpected appearances.

The tenth episode, ‘The Substitutes,’ presents some surprising member additions and omissions. I wholeheartedly agree that Stone Boy’s power is fairly useless, though I’m surprised that neither Night Girl nor Polar Boy, who appeared in episode eight, are included. Star Boy and Matter-Eater Lad are also introduced to the team during their annual recruitment drive.

From episode eleven onwards, the series features more legionnaires and introduces new members like Ferro Lad. An animation error, however, shows Ferro Lad using his strength while in his flesh form. Notably, episodes twelve and thirteen are a two-parter, ‘Sundown,’ introducing the Sun-Eater, a variant of the original story by a young Jim Shooter. However, no credit is given to Shooter or Dave Cockrum for his costume designs, a significant omission considering Colossal Boy’s outfit is an exact replica.

Moving to the two-part ‘The Man From The Edge Of Tomorrow,’ members of the LSH are brought to the 41st century by a cloned Superman, leading to a series of time-warping battles. This narrative brings more legionnaires into the fray and increases the focus on characters like Chameleon Boy.

Despite some inconsistencies and noticeable absences, this version of the ‘Legion Of Super-Heroes’ remains entertaining and engaging. It offers a fresh perspective on the LSH, making it a worthwhile watch for fans, even though it’s nearly 20 years old. Given the enduring fanbase and success of superhero team films, perhaps Warner Bros. might surprise us with a live-action version in the future. This animated series shows that it can indeed be done.

GF Willmetts

June 2023

(pub: Warner Bros, 2006. 3 blu-ray disks 579 minutes 2 seasons 22 minute 26 * episodes. Price: about £33.00 (U). ASIN: 83929-71546-6)

check out website: www.warnerbros.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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