Thursday, January 26, 2012

Legion of Super Heroes: Trials

Did I say in my review of Unnatural Alliances that there were no episodes in the Legion animated series that were straight up bad? I must have forgotten Trials. Gah, what the fuck was this abortion?

I always forget about this one. It must be some kind of defense mechanism.

This episode opens with young Zyx, the Mxyztplkian type kid from the first season episode Child's Play He was a petulant brat in that one, but at least he was an entertaining one. I wish I could say the same here. Boring and annoying is not an endearing combination.

He's being stripped of his powers by a bunch of rejects from Gallifrey

when suddenly Mordru shows up. I like Mordru as a villain, but his design for the series just doesn't work for me. (Though he does get some bonus points for saying "In the name of Yog-Sothoth, I will have my revenge.")

He was also stripped of his powers for trafficing in dark magic, but rather than undergo the trial that would remove the power-nullifying mystical bands, he sought out the Lamentation Pentacle, an artifact that gives him tremendous powers. He beats up the High Council, but one of them teleports Zyx away before he is overcome. We fade out with an image of Mordu's head hovering about their citadel, which is a cool visual, marred only by that WB logo.

Zyx appears on board the Legion Cruiser, laments that he's been sent to these losers, and Credits.

They land on the planet and the guy specifically vulnerable to magic offers to lead the delaying action against the evil wizard. Zyx mentions the trial to get his powers back and they decide to split the team. One Legionnaire will accompany Zyx and the others will join Superman against Mordru. Superman-X is the last one to say "Not it!" so he gets stuck with the kid.

Superman: We'll split up. I'll lead the team against Mordru and try to delay him, while one of you helps Zyx. Volunteers?
Star Boy: I'm no babysitter.
Bouncing Boy:
I'd rather fight the evil wizard.
Phantom Girl: Uh, I've been to the city before, so...
Timber Wolf: I say give it to the new guy.
Kell-El: What? Hey!
Superman: Done.
: I hate you guys

I'm done with bitching about X's inconsistent characterization at this point, so let's just move on. Zyx waves his hand over the bands and a projection of the White Witch begs him to get the plans for the Death Star to Obi-Wan gives him directions to his first trial, "the Cave of Lore" on the other side of the "Swamp Sea."

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

You know, I'm seldom embarrassed about watching and writing about kiddie cartoons, but hearing dialogue like that just makes me wince. Those two take off and a bunch of skeletons, gargoyles and orcs attack the other Legionnaires.

I like this fight scene. My favorite moment has to be when Superman is dropped to all fours from the impact of a magical mace, so he kneecaps a bunch of guys with his heat vision. I'm not sure why animated suits of plate armor explode when he does this, but it's still cool.

Meanwhile, in the swamp sea, the two most annoying characters in the show talk, until a monster shows up and eats Kell.

And there was much rejoicing.

Zyx notices the swamp monster is just trying to protect its egg sac, so he saves the eggs from a falling tree and the White Witch pops up like Clippy the Office Assistant and tells him that he has completed the first trial.

"It looks like you're trying to get your magical powers back. Would you like help?"

Meanwhile, Mordru shows up. Superman lances him with a blast of heat vision, bowls him over and goes to remove the amulet, but is shocked off by its energies. Mordru then takes out the Legion with one burst of magical energy, petrifying Superman, aging Timber Wolf and throwing a bunch of frogs at Phantom Girl.

Cut to the two stooges making small talk. Zyx tries to teach Kell a counterspell, but gives up, declaring Kell "a special type of idiot". No arguments here. They arrive at second trial, which is a stupid riddle out of a Dungeons & Dragons module. (I suppose it was that or a chessboard trap.)

Zyx gets his powers back, they teleports to Mordru, who turns the captured Legionnaires into monsters who attack Kell and Zyx. Kell holds them off as Zyx deals with Mordru.  Brief fight, then Kell tries the counterspell that Zyx taught him and this time it works. The Legionnaires are freed and restored to normal and everybody dogpiles Mordru.

They seal him with beams from the citadel, and then Star Boy entombs him in the center of the planet, which was a cool nod to comics continuity.

Zyx gets his ridiculous hat back and we end the episode with the Elders telling everyone how awesome Kell was. Blech.

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