Warner Bros. // 2006 // 111 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // August 20th, 2008
Long live the Legion! -- Superman
I read a few Legion of Super-Heroes comics as a kid. They detail Superman's (or sometimes Superboy's) 31st-century adventures alongside a team of second-tier heroes like Lightning Boy and Saturn Girl. I never understood the point. Watching Legion of Super Heroes, an animated retooling of the comic book, did nothing to clarify the intended appeal.
That said, I'm not the target demographic for the show. Produced for Kids' WB, Legion of Super Heroes reformulates the comic book as a punky teen adventure series. As a show for kids and tweens, it's not bad. Superman is fresh from Smallville and still discovering his purpose in the world. Not having seen Volumes One or Two, I'm not sure how he found his way to the 31st century, but this cluster of episodes ends with his return to the Kent farm only moments after he left, having gained experience in heroics that he'll take with him to Metropolis. During his adventures in the future, the young Superman teams up with a bevy of Legionnaires. The primary players include Brainiac 5 (a descendent of the original, evil Brainiac), Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy, and Triplicate Girl. Scores of additional mostly nameless costumed crusaders chip in to fight evil.
Volume Three of Legion of Super Heroes contains the last five episodes (in broadcast, not production order) of the series' first season:
* "The Substitutes"
* "Child's Play"
* "Chain of Command"
* "Sundown, Part 1"
* "Sundown, Part 2"
The set kicks off with a light-hearted episode called "The Substitutes." The Legion is auditioning new members. Among the rejects is a group of sad sack misfits with lame superpowers -- Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Infectious Lass (with a name like that, I bet she doesn't date much), Porcupine Pete, and Stone Boy -- who prove their limited mettle and become the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Matters are slightly more serious in "Child's Play" and "Chain of Command." The former episode involves Superman's battle against a youthful alien wizard, during which the Young Adult of Steel discovers that magic can kick his butt. In "Chain of Command," the Legion must unite to help Lightning Lad save his home world just as former Legion leader Cosmic Boy returns and starts throwing his weight around.
The two-parter "Sundown" is the highlight of the set. Tensions are high as the Legion must team with their enemies, The Fatal Five, in order to protect the Earth's sun from a devastating weapon called the Sun Eater. Of Volume Three's five episodes, these two find the best balance between kid-friendly silliness and compelling action.
The show's character design is in keeping with the WB's other kiddy superhero show, Teen Titans. The animation is smooth and articulate for a television production. Colors are vivid and fully saturated in a pleasing full frame transfer.
The stereo audio track is flawless but unimpressive.
There are no extras.
Legion of Super Heroes is faithful enough to its source to satisfy most fans of the comic book. Its self-conscious silliness and odd futuristic conceit are less likely to appeal to adult fans of classic DC animated universe shows like Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. The gentler, less violent storylines make it a homerun for young children.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated