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Case Number 12298

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Legion of Super Heroes: Volume 1

Warner Bros. // 2006 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // October 31st, 2007

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Kent Dixon used to fight crime as "Haggis Man," but being Scottish, he got hungry and ate his own costume.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Legion of Super Heroes: Volume 2 (published February 13th, 2008) and Legion Of Super Heroes: Volume 3 (published August 20th, 2008) are also available.

The Charge

Teenage angst. Superhuman powers. 'Nuff said.

The Case

The Legion of Super Heroes has a proud legacy with DC Comics, dating back to 1958 as the first Silver Age comic-book superhero team. The flexibility of the concept allowed new writers to come on board every few years and incorporate their own take on the team and create new characters. As you can imagine, though, without an iconic and recognizable superhero figure to anchor the concept, it would be difficult to hold readers' attention. Enter Superman.

What happens when a group of teenage superheroes from the 31st Century return to the past to search for a leader? Despite having the best of intentions in their search for Superman and his peerless leadership abilities, the Legionnaires overshoot their time target and find themselves faced with a young Clark Kent who is aware of his powers, but hasn't yet decided his destiny. So as you can imagine, teenagers, a proto-Superman, and futuristic villains set the stage nicely for Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1.

Let me get two things out of the way at this point:

First, I loathe the "let's release a handful of episodes, instead of a full season, and fleece consumers a bit at a time" approach. With only 13 episodes in Season One, couldn't Warner Brothers just have released all of them at once? Sure they could have released a full season, but for some reason they chose not to, but I can forgive that, due to the quality of the presentation on Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1.

Second, I love superhero cartoons in almost any form. Superfriends, Batman the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Teen Titans and now Legion of Super Heroes. Bring. It. On!

Whether it's the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Teen Titans, or any other legendary superhero ensemble, every solid team needs a good blend of strengths and skills to fight evildoers, and the Legion of Super Heroes is no different. So let's meet the central characters that make up the Legion team, shall we?

Superman
The Man of Steel, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, yada, yada, yada, Superman is an iconic hero recognized around the world. Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1 shows us Superman at the very beginning of his crime fighting career, as he is planning to move from Smallville to Metropolis.

Lightning Lad
Given his name, the revelation of his powers may be shocking (sorry!) I know, but Lightning Lad is endowed with the ability to generate electricity in the form of lightning bolts, adding his charged personality (sorry, again) to the Legion team.

Saturn Girl
An extremely powerful telepath, Saturn Girl is able to call people from great distances, "push" weak minds, and even directly control the thoughts and emotions of others.

Brainiac 5
A little like Inspector Gadget, Brainiac 5 has the ability to transform his robot body in a variety of different ways. In a similar fashion to Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Pinocchio, Brainiac 5 longs to be a human and to fit in with his human teammates.

Phantom Girl
Somewhat of a spoiled princess type (see Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton), Phantom Girl is full of attitude. With the ability to make objects, other people, and even herself intangible, Phantom Girl is like nothing we've ever seen (still sorry).

Bouncing Boy
He's big, round, and, some might say, fat, but that don't mean he ain't tough! Bouncing Boy is pretty much just as his name implies…a boy who bounces. He's really the epitome of the chubby primary school kid who sat on people to break their will, and he generates the majority of the comedic elements in the show.

Timber Wolf
After being rescued by the Legionnaires early in the season, Timber Wolf formally joins the Legion as a core member. Imagine the Wolf Man with some teen attitude and you've got Timber Wolf. He's super-strong, covered with hair, and just plain cool. He's also my five-year-old son's favorite character, next to Superman, of course.

I've always wondered if there is any rhyme or reason to the episodes the studios decide to include in these less-than-full-season releases. In the case of Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1, it seems that, thankfully, some thought went into the selection of the four episodes that are included in this release. The selected episodes, "Man of Tomorrow," "Timber Wolf," "Legacy," and "Phantoms," do a nice job of introducing us to some core villains, while also familiarizing us with the central League characters and letting us in on their relationships.

Typical for Warner Bros. animated DVD releases, Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1 looks downright amazing. Colors really pop and the overall image is clean and crisp. Let me just say, I love the theme for this show! Simply put, it rocks! The impressive audio mix doesn't stop there. I noticed solid use of both my surround speakers and subwoofer during the episodes…not bad for animated TV.

Aside from a few trailers, the main extra feature is "We Are Legion," a quick primer on the show from the creative team, starting with the concept's origins with DC comics in the '50s, and ranging through the development of Season One and plans for the future. More than just a fluffy promo piece, this is a nice appetizer for the show itself. I can only hope that more thought will be given to additional supplementary features and extras with the inevitable full-season release.

Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1 is an excellent introduction that will undoubtedly leave fans of the show wanting more. Although Warner Bros. could be criticized for milking fans with this four-episode release, there's enough here to hook the uninitiated and to satisfy hardcore fans for the time being.

Not guilty. The Legion is free to go about its business, whether it be in the 31st Century, or right here in the plain old 21st!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 60
Acting: 85
Story: 80
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Animation
• Family
• Superheroes
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• "We Are Legion"
• Trailers

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Wikipedia: Legion of Superheroes








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