Friday, June 24, 2011

Legion of Super Heroes: Man of Tomorrow

I love the intro to this show

I think I'll cover the rest of the Legion episodes in order. The series opens with the Legion getting curb stomped by the Fatal Five. Lightning Lad laments "Where's Superman when you need him?" and then it cuts to Clark Kent in a bathroom in Smallville. He's practicing his heat vision on a newspaper.

He has a heart to heart with his mom about his upcoming departure to Metropolis, and then heads to the local carnival. I noticed in the credits that the same guy (David Lodge) did the voices for both Carnival Barker and Tharok. I think that's awesome.

Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl and Bouncing Boy show up in Smallville and I like the screenshot I used in an earlier review so much that I'm going to reuse it here.

If you'll excuse the digression, I'm going to steal a theory from the excellent Legion Abstract site, which posits that Brainiac 5 didn't make a mistake when they went to the point in Superman's life when he was a teenager, but that it was a deliberate choice on his part. I'm inclined to agree with that. Whether it was to train Clark to be a hero or just because Brainy wanted someone to be his friend, and he couldn't get that with the Superman who already knew the original Brainiac is up to debate, but I think there is enough evidence to support the "not a mistake" school of though. As Brainy himself says, "I have a twelfth level intelligence, Bouncing Boy. I don't make mistakes."

When at the carnival, the Legionnaires take in the local flavor and Superman considers but rejects the idea of using his powers to show off.

Food on a stick, indeed! You're too good for Triplicate Girl!
 He does have to use them when the Ferris wheel starts collapsing. The Legionnaires assist him and then Saturn Girl wipes everybody's memory.

Brainy shows off his flight ring

Superman runs off, but the Legionaiires beat him home and persuade him to come to the future with them. He yells to his mom that he's going to the future and she yells back, "Take a sweater!", which was predictable, but obligatory.

Back to the future, everybody's excited about meeting Superman except for Lightning Lad. I like his portrayal here. He's a bit of a jerk, and maybe more cynical than the rest, but he's still a hero.

"Excuse me, Lightning Lad. Just passing through!"

We get a little bit of training and we see how much Superman can lift, which is helpful if I ever get around to statting out the Legion for DC Adventures. I already did Alexis and Wodehouse from the Legacy episode. Maybe I'll post the sheet here, because you know, blogging about an obscure and defunct kid's show isn't niche enough.

They get the alert that the Fatal Five are attacking the city, so they go to stop them. I really like Jennifer Hale's voice work as the Emerald Empress, and lauding the performance of the probably the most respected voice actress isn't really going out on a limb, I think she really deserves all the kudos she gets. The animation and character are really suited to her voice. Tara Strong takes over the duties for the second season, and she also does a respectable job, but I think the writing was a little sharper for the character in season one.

Superman runs off and the Legion puts up a decent fight for a while. Jesus, the Persuader is a a jobber. The same thing happens every time he runs into Phantom Girl. She phases through him, grabs his ponytail and uses it to pull him to the ground. Unless his hair gives him super-strength, he should really look into shaving it.

The tide starts turning against the Legion and the Emerald Empress is picking them off one by one. Lightning Lad is holding off Valdius, but he's keeping aware of the tactical situation too. When he sees the Eye positioning for a shot, he disengages. Tharok gets him as he's flying away, but he was outnumbered five to one at that point, and he made them work for it. I think that's why I like him in the cartoon. Even when Validus has him in those giant mitts of his and the Emerald Eye is blasting him full in the face, he's still fighting till the end.

So the Empress takes out the rest of the Legion, and just blasts Saturn Girl, who's too strong to brainwash, and then Superman comes in to save the day. He puts up enough of a fight against the Fatal Five that the rest of the Legion can get back into the game.

Very cool visual

Resisting Tharok

I'm usually pretty harsh on Triplicate Girl, because, let's face it, she sucks. But I do really like her fight against the Persuader.  It's very nicely imaged and extremely well animated.

Then she goes on to accomplish precisely dick for the rest of the series, except for one of her bodies dying in the season two opener. It's a shame it didn't get killed by Brainiac's creation Computo as had happened in the comics, because that would be another reason to love Brainiac 5.

The Fatal Five are routed, but they teleport away. The episode closes with Superman putting on his flight ring and joining the Legion in the sky. All things considered, a great intro to a great series.

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