On the plus side, this episode didn't have a lot of the gaping instances of blatant moronity that seem to plague most episodes of Challenge of the SuperFriends. The Legion of Doom exhibits no fantastic time-travelling reality-altering überdevices that they've always had in their arsenal and have simply never gotten around to using before. The Justice League doesn't sit around like a bunch of drooling morons forgetting that they've got world-altering super powers of their own. The nations of the Earth don't tremble before a pathetically small army of toy soldiers just because the Justice League isn't there to wipe their butts for them. The threat to the world is even a pretty dire one this time.
On the minus side, it's got Hawkman in it.
Our dramatic stage opens, as always, with the Hall of Doom rising menacingly out of the swamp so that the Legion can, um, hold one of their meetings. This week, it's Solomon Grundy's turn to come up with a "foolproof" plan to defeat the Justice League, and Grundy's picked up a discount Cajun accent just for the occasion. He powers up the Hall of Doom's VCR and shows us a video of his own body lying lifeless in a swamp, until some mysterious energy comes out of the ground and turns him into an albino zombie. But wait, there's more! Not only has Grundy somehow managed to get hold of a recording of his own origin story — presumably made by the same Legion of Doom miracle video cameras that have previously shown us images of every point in the known universe — but Grundy also knows the "legend" of the evil energy that created him! It comes from an ancient monolith buried near the center of the Earth. Where Grundy got this legend from, or how it got started, is anybody's guess.
Now, if you told this cockamamie legend to a group of people with normal intelligence, their first response would be, "And how much money did the guy who told you this 'legend' con you out of, Grundy?" But this is the Legion of Doom we're talking about, here. Lex Luthor's response is that if Grundy's right — and that's a mighty big "if" there, O world's most brilliant mastermind — then the Legion could use the monolith to conquer the universe. Grodd says as much, too, being a superintelligent gorilla and all. (Poor Grodd. You just know he was driven to a life of evil by being forced to say "No, no, gorillas aren't monkeys, we're great apes!" once too often.)
Surprisingly, Grundy not only knows the Legend of the Evil Monolith, he knows how to get there. He grabs a lever on the wall marked, ambiguously enough, "Propulsion activator," and suddenly the Hall of Doom sprouts a bunch of oars that start to rotate around its perimeter really fast. The Hall of Doom then heads down through what I swear must be a couple hundred fathoms of swamp water, and we discover that the single ring of rotating oars around its perimeter is sufficient to drill a tunnel straight down through dirt and solid rock at over 30 miles an hour — a tunnel wide enough for the entire Hall of Doom to fit through. (Lex Luthor should just quit the supervillain business and sell the patent rights for such a drilling machine to the world's construction companies. He'd make a hell of a lot bigger fortune than he would by failing to hold the world's governments for ransom every week.)
And by the way, did I forget to remark on what a coincidence it is that the evil monolith they're looking for has been right underneath the spot where they've been parking their hideout all this time?
Anyway, the Hall of Doom continues to drill downward, and the background fades from black to red to indicate that it's getting, like, warm and stuff. Finally, the Hall of Doom comes to rest in a cavern "somewhere deep within the scalding inferno of the Earth's inner layers." I take it by "the Earth's inner layers" they mean mantle or the outer core. You know, where the pressure is hundreds of tons to the square inch, and the temperature is like nine thousand degrees? Nine thousand metric degrees?! How the hell can a big open space like a cavern exist under such conditions? Maybe they found one of those "giant geodes" from the movie The Core, except with a few fireplaces placed strategically around the edge of it to remind you that, darn it, it's an inferno.
Something else bugged me here, too. The Hall of Doom got to this improbable cavern by digging through the bottom of the swamp. A deep swamp. All the water in the swamp should have followed them down the tunnel. Yet when they broke through the cavern's ceiling, there wasn't so much as a drop of steam on top of that Vader-helmet of a headquarters. There was only air above them. I guess you can add a Water Disintegrator Ray to the Legion of Doom's gadget arsenal.
When the Hall of Doom settles onto the cavern floor, they open their doors and, miraculously, we discover that this center-of-the-earth cavern is filled with breatheable air at a tolerable temperature. Grodd and Grundy gape in astonishment at the molten center of the Earth, and the Riddler takes this opportunity to get fresh with Cheetah:
You can't really blame Riddler for trying here. I mean, it's not like he's the kind of guy who can easily get a date. If the tights and silly mask weren't enough to deter most women, he's also got the perfect contraceptive of a personality. Just imagine him trying to put the moves on a woman at a bar: "Hey, babe, What's green and purple and has a big schlong / And if you're not careful, will make you feel wrong? Me!! Ha ha ha ha ha!", and off he'd scamper, basking in the glory of delivering such a witty, Sphinx-like enigma, while the woman would just shake her head in dazed revulsion and then call security.
In any event, Cheetah is oblivious to Riddler's irresistible charms, and despite the fact that they're in the "molten center of the Earth," there's a convenient foot path leading right through all the molten lava straight to where the evil power source is. Grundy, Cheetah, Riddler, and Grodd all follow it on foot, oblivious to the heat of being right next to tons of incandescent liquid rock, until they're set upon by a fire-breathing dragon. That's right, a fire-breathing dragon. There are 20 hit die chaotic-evil red dragons inhabiting the Earth's interior. Didn't you know that? It has to do with that whole "scalding inferno" thing. Duh. Riddler immediately chickens out and wants to go scurrying back to hide in his bed, but Grundy bravely orders them forward, showing the kind of leadership that made him the top albino zombie in the country. Meanwhile, Toyman, who's been watching all this through one of those see-any-point-in-the-universe mystery cameras that the Legion of Doom seem to use, bleats "I don't think they're going to make it!" But the four of them, through Grundy's inimitable leadership, triumph over adversity by . . . um . . . walking around a corner.
Grundy announces that he "senses" something up ahead. (The sense he used must've been something other than smell, considering the putrid aroma his own decomposing corpse must be making.) And lo! There, before them, is the evil monolith they've been searching for. It looks like a cross between the Illuminati eye-on-the-pyramid logo and a deformed shark's fin. The Riddler, in a blatant attempt to cover over the scaredy-cat reaction he'd had to the dragon, boasts, "Let's cross this lava river and get it!", and proceeds to march right across a conveniently-placed landbridge.
Silly Riddler. Don't you ever play any video games? There's always a monster guarding the big point-scoring treasure. In this case, it's a 30-foot-tall, foppish lava monster:
And here's Cheetah's reaction to it:
I'm sure the animators intended her to be recoiling in fear in this shot, but it looks more like she's reverted to her Mime School training.
The poor foursome are disheartened. None of them stands a chance of getting past the lava monster. What to do, what to do? Have the Riddler sacrifice himself by making "Nyah, nyah!" gestures at the lava monster while the other Legionnaires sneak past it? Drive the Hall of Doom up to the lava monster's front door and open up with one of those Death Cannons they've got? Get Sinestro in there, and have him make a yellow-energy lava monster which the real lava monster will fall in love with? Get Bizarro in there, and have him beat the crap out of the lava monster? Pay the lava monster $3 in bridge tolls? Pee on the lava monster to cool it off?
Any of those choices would have been more sensible than the plan the Riddler actually came up with. He wants to trick the SuperFriends into snatching the monolith for them, by means of goofy riddles.
Cut to the Hall of Justice, where the big screen TV that dominates one wall blinks "TROUBLE ALERT" in huge letters over and over. Superman, perceptive Kryptonian that he is, comments, "We're getting a trouble alert!" The Legion of Doom is threatening to hold the entire United Nations General Assembly for ransom. (Personally, I don't know what they're so worried about. It's the Security Council, not the General Assembly, that has all the power in the U.N.. Threatening the world by kidnapping the General Assembly is like threatening the Dallas Cowboys by kidnapping the guy who usually washes their uniforms.) Suddenly, the U.N. channel goes dead. "Great Scott!" the Man of Steel exclaims, because it's his only trademark. "We've got to get to the United Nations before there's international turmoil," Black Vulcan comments. Ya think?
And then, the worst thing in the world happens. Hawkman opens his beak and squawks, "The three of us should be able to handle it. Come on!"
That's right. The second most useless member of the Justice League has decided to tag along on a "real mission." He wants to play grown up. The rest of the Justice League are too spineless to object, as usual, so once again the fate of the free world is going to rest on the shoulders of a guy who thinks that having wings and a borrowed antigravity belt makes him a superhero. Moron.
When the two superheroes and Hawkman arrive in New York, they see Brainiac using his "proton shrinker" gun to shrink the U.N. building down to the size of a cereal box:
"Great Lightning!" Black Vulcan exclaims, because he's made out of lightning. Supes swoops down to stop Brainiac and Luthor, but the two dastardly villains outsmart the Man of Steel by picking up the shrunken U.N. building and switching on little rockets on their boots. Certainly, the Last Son of Krypton, with his Super Speed and supersonic flying ability, is no match for little boot rockets. Oh, and two seconds later, Luthor and Brainiac both vanish into thin air, along with the bite-size U.N. building. Almost as though they were . . . holograms. Hmmm. You'd think someone with a Kryptonian Super Brain would suspect that something might be amiss here. But, no, ol' Kal El is too busy standing still to do any actual thinking. Moron.
The next instant, right on cue, the Riddler hacks into their Justice League radio's emergency frequency, and leaves one of his self-proclaimed "clever riddles":
"If you follow the frogs and find the right spot,At this point, Hawkman does the completely unexpected. He actually makes a useful observation. "Sounds like the Riddler is trying to lead us into another trap." For a SuperFriends episode, that statement qualifies as a staggeringly keen insight. The Justice League are always getting led into traps by the Riddler, on just about every episode, and yet they keep falling for it! Caution and suspicion are completely alien concepts to the SuperFriends. The fact that Hawkman would even suggest that maybe the Riddler isn't being completely up front comes as a rather pleasant shock. But not to worry — Superman doesn't let the mood last for long: "You're probably right, Hawkman, but it's our only lead." Moron.
Just let gravity guide you, and you'll get very hot!"
So saying, the trio returns to the Hall of Justice, and — I'm not kidding here — feeds the Riddler's message into the Justice League computer decoder. The Hall of Justice's computer has a riddle analyzer. Ya gotta wonder why Batman didn't use this in any of the previous episodes. Maybe he got a rush out of trying to decode Riddler-speak by himself. In any event, the computer decoder — in an amazing feat of leaping to unjustified conclusions — declares that "follow the frogs" represents the swamp. Not just any swamp, but specifically, the swamp on the outskirts of Metropolis. Because, heaven knows, there are no other places on the planet that have large frog populations.
(By the way, along with the previous episode, this marks the second hint we've received that the swamp where the Legion of Doom hides its headquarters is near Metropolis. Again, I have to wonder why pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman never surveyed these swamps with his X-ray vision. The man can spot trouble half a globe away, but he won't look into a swamp right in his own back yard? Moron.)
"Of course!" Wonder Woman chimes in, so that she gets a line this episode. "And 'let gravity guide you' must mean to go straight down."
So reckoning, Superman, Black Vulcan, and — once again — Hawkman fly out to battle the forces of evil. They dive down to the bottom of the swamp, and Superman pummels his way straight down through the Earth. Again, none of the swamp water follows them down, which is a good thing because Hawkman forgot to bring any underwater breathing gear. Miraculously, they end up in exactly the same room in exactly the same underground cavern that the Hall of Doom drilled its way into earlier. They also, by complete coincidence, happen to follow exactly the same foot path through the lava lakes that Grundy followed before, because otherwise we'd be here all day.
So, of course, they also run into the same fire-breathing dragon as before. This 50-foot-tall dragon manages to sneak up behind all three of them — Superman's Super Hearing must've been on the fritz that day — and grabs Hawkman. Hawkman, living up to a standard of heroic behavior that only Aquaman can match, cries "Superman! Black Vulcan!" because he's completely incapable of rescuing himself. The dragon is just about to eat Hawkman and rid the world of his burdensome presence once and for all, but wouldn't you know it, Black Vulcan and those damned wraparound lightning bolts of his just have to intervene:
Having rescued their dead-weight comrade in arms, the three of them run into the next room, and see the same little island where Grundy had found the evil monolith a few scenes back. Only this time, there's no monolith; the miniaturized U.N. building is sitting in its place. Superman flies out to rescue the building from the surrounding lava, but our old faaabulous friend the lava monster rises up out of the lava lake and grabs him in his lava hand. "His grip is like an oven of liquid rock!" the Man of Steel observes. Really? If it's like liquid rock, then why are you trying to pry it open like it's a solid object? Why don't you just swim through his grip and escape? Moron.
Nevertheless, Supes manages to break free and save the shrunken U.N. building from certain conflagration. But the lava monster comes tromping back for another pass at the heroes (and Hawkman). Superman, once again carrying the other useless Justice Leaguers on his metaphorical back, inhales deeply and and lets loose at the lava monster with a blast of Super Freeze Breath. The monster promptly cools until it's frozen in place as a monster-shaped chunk of ordinary solidifed rock.
Now, think about what Superman has just done here. He's invaded another creature's ecosystem. He's threatened the little island the creature was sworn to guard. And when the creature reacts by defending the only thing in the world it cares about, Superman kills it. What did that poor lava monster ever do to you, Kal El, that it deserved the fate you dished out for it? It may have been the only lava monster on Earth, and you killed it as though you were swatting a mosquito. Doesn't the Endangered Species Act mean anything to you? Why, Superman? Why?!!
But lo! The Riddler, Grodd, Grundy, Cheetah, and the Hall of Doom are standing right behind the three Justice Leaguers. Their powers of sneaking up behind someone are second only to those of the fire-breathing dragon, apparently. The Riddler mysteriously thanks the SuperFriends for their help, to which Superman naturally replies "What help?" and tells him that, darn it, they've rescued the U.N. building, and you won't get it back again, so there, nyah.
"That's what you think, Stupidman!" the Riddler retorts, borrowing an insult I first heard on an old Popeye cartoon. And lo! What the heroes and Hawkman thought was the shrunken U.N. building is actually . . . the evil monolith disguised with a holographic mirage! (Dramatic chord.) The Legion of Doom never shrank the U.N. building in the first place! (Dramatic chord.) The U.N. building is still sitting where it's always been, but disguised with a hologram or made invisible or something! (Dramatic chord.)
Now, wait just a cotton pickin' minute here. A holographic mirage? And Superman never saw through it?! The man's got X-ray vision, ultraviolet vision, infrared vision, and probably neutrino vision, and he fell for a plain old hologram? And, furthermore, no one investigating the site of the supposedly "shrunken and stolen" U.N. building in the mean time ran into any invisible walls? Morons.
Superman then turns his attention to the evil power source he's accidentally retrieved, and tries to destroy it — but to no avail. The monolith hurtles him across the cavern the moment he touches it. "Evil power repel all goodness," Grundy helpfully explains, and picks up the monolith without being harmed.
Everybody got that? The monolith repelled Superman because it's evil and Superman is good. Remember that, because it'll be important later.
To make good the Legion's getaway, Grodd hauls out a kryptonite ball-and-chain he just happened to have lying around and throws it around Superman's right ankle, where it locks itself in place. "I can't get it off!" Superman exclaims, and in a display of self-control rarely matched in this day and age, Grodd resists the obvious innuendo and instead replies, "There's no need for exotic devices to stop you when kryptonite does the job so well!" Apparently, kryptonite is a common household substance in the SuperFriends universe. Everybody has some lying around in their cupboard, in case any unwanted Kryptonians drop by for a visit. You can probably buy little figurines from the Franklin Mint carved out of kryptonite for your knick-knack shelf. This, of course, makes Superman basically useless against all but the stupidest villains (*cough* Legion of Doom *cough*).
"Now to seal the three of you in here forever!" the Riddler announces. So saying, the three of them slowly stroll over to the Hall of Doom, lug the evil monolith inside, close the front door, lower the curtains over two of the eye-looking ports on the Hall of Doom's side, and fire a Melt Ray above the only corridor leading out of that cavern room, sealing the hapless trio of Justice Leaguers in there with no way out. The Hall of Doom then turns on that same set of rotating oars we saw before, and this time it somehow propels the Hall upward and out of their side of the cavern. And the whole time all this was happening, I was screaming, "Black Vulcan! Why the heck don't you do something? They're just walking out of here! Come on, you're made of living lightning or something, you should be able to blast them into four little wet spots on the ground before they can take another step!"
(We can discount Hawkman's potential contribution here, because the most he could have done would have been to fly into the Legion's faces and moult all over them. But Black Vulcan should've taken them apart. Morons.)
Now trapped with Token Black Character and Uselessman, Superman weakly groans that the only thing that can cut through kryptonite is a "nuclear laser." A nuclear laser? You mean like one of those killer satellite weapons they were developing for the SDI program, where you set off a small nuclear bomb and it causes a bunch of X-ray laser emitters to go off before destroying themselves? Hmmm! Wow. Kryptonite sure has gotten tougher since I was a kid. Why, I remember an episode of the George Reeves Adventures of Superman show where Supes told a kid to destroy a nearby piece of kryptonite by throwing it into the fireplace and burning it. He burned up the kryptonite in a fireplace! No nuclear lasers, no atomic bombs, nothing more than a little burning wood. Bah! DC Comics and their Silver Age "continuity."
Unfortunately for the Man of Tomorrow, the underground recesses of the Earth are woefully lacking in nuclear lasers, so Black Vulcan and Hawkloser try to drag a whining Superman with them to the surface. Never mind that Superman is the only one of them who can tunnel to the surface, and then only without any kryptonite weighing him down. Maybe there's a convenient natural staircase hidden in the cavern that miraculously leads all the way back to the Hall of Justice or something, so by golly, they've got to try! They walk along a precipice and notice a tunnel. But lo! Instead of finding the thousand-mile-high ladder or left over robotic drilling machine that the trio were sure would be in there, they find a bunch of giant black tendrils that come out of the cave and grab Black Vulcan and the weakened Superman. Hawkman tries valiantly with his fantastic strength-of-a-normal-man powers to free Superman, but to no avail, so once again he does the only thing he's any good at: he wails "Superman! Black Vulcan!" like a little crybaby who can't change his own diapers.
Now, Superman's under the influence of the K-word here, so we can forgive him not being able to break out of the giant black tendrils. But what about Black Vulcan? Couldn't he just turn himself into lightning and shock himself free? I mean, come on, the man was able to assume, quote, the form of light back in "The World's Deadliest Game." He was nearly able to escape from a black hole under his own power. Escaping from some unseen monster's black tentacles should be a walk in the park. Or a piece of cake. Or a piece of cake taking a walk in the park. But instead, Black Vulcan must be trying to walk the cake on a leash or something, because he just sits there in the tendril's grip and gives up.
Meanwhile, the Hall of Doom emerges in New York harbor, and the Legion raises the evil monolith through a hole in the Hall's roof and uses its power to unleash a reign of terror:
First, using its inexorable Illuminati eye-on-the-pyramid, the monolith blasts one of the World Trade Center towers, causing it to lean at an angle. (This was 1978, after all. Oh, the irony!) Then, it blasts open a giant crack in the street, deep enough for the flames of Hell to leap out. Then, it blasts the sun, causing the sun to go out. Holy guacamole. They just extinguished the sun. The realistic implication of this would be that the weather all over the Earth would go berserk over the next few days as the whole Earth freezes — leaving the Legion of Doom in charge of a lifeless planet of ice. Brilliant plan, Luthor and Brainiac!
Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, Japan places an urgent call for help, what with the Legion of Doom having put out the sun and all. Suddenly, an Earthquake strikes Japan, and the line goes dead. "Holy cut communications, Batman!" Robin exclaims, because otherwise he wouldn't be Robin. "Wait a minute, Robin!" Batman warns, "If they're asking for our help, then where are Superman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan?"
Oh, Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. You just now thought of that?! You mean three of your teammates went off on a dangerous mission against the Legion of Doom, and it never occured to any of you to be in radio communication? Superman had one of those damned Justice League radios earlier in this very episode, fer cryin' out loud! What ever happened to "I'm keeping this frequency open so that I can describe what we find, in case there's trouble"? What ever happened to "I'll check in every ten minutes; if I don't, that means we're in trouble"? What ever happened to "If we're not back in an hour, home in on our locator beacon"?! Morons.
So reckoning, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman head off to the East Coast of the U.S. to fight off the Legion of Doom and their new evil toy, while Green Lantern, Apache Chief, and the Flash go to the swamp to see if they can find their three buddies. Huh?! Green Lantern and the Flash are the Justice League's two biggest guns, second only to Superman. Why are you sending your heavy artillery on a scouting mission, and a couple of your secondary bit-players off to tackle the entire Legion of Doom? Morons. Anyway, G.L., Flash, and Inekchok Man all arrive at the swamp, and the Indian — excuse me, Native American — uses his "keen tracking abilities" to find the exact spot where their three buddies drilled down through the Earth. Because he's, you know, a Native American, so of course he has keen tracking abilities. Green Lantern then drills down through the bottom of the swamp to the exact same cavern that Superman drilled down into earlier, and that the Hall of Doom drilled down into earlier still. And, once again, the swamp water fails to follow them down their own tunnel. Perhaps Green Lantern left a giant green energy bathtub stopper at the top of the tunnel.
Unfortunately, G.L. is smart enough to notice what Superman, Black Vulcan, and Hawkman all missed: that the caverns are huge, and it would take forever for them to find anyone or anything if they don't know where to look. Fortunately, they have Apache Chief and his keen tracking abilities with them, and the Injun promptly spouts forth some ancient Apache wisdom: "The caverns are large, Green Lantern, but their trail is a narrow one." (Sounds vaguely like one of Dungeon Master's vague clues from the old D&D cartoon show.)
As they begin to follow the narrowest trail they can find, we cut back to Hawkman who is still impotently shouting "Superman! Black Vulcan!" into the tunnel where his buddies were captured. Finally, he clears his birdbrain and decides that, despite being basically useless, he has to act. He breaks open the rim of a natural lava cauldron with a discarded stalactite — or maybe it's a discarded stalagmite — and sends a stream of molten lava into the tunnel where the unseen monster's got Supes and Token Black Guy. Sure enough, the monster emerges from its cave. It looks like a giant crab with black tentacles sprouting from its body for no appreciable reason. It also makes a sound like the Red Alert klaxon from the original Star Trek. Quickly, Hawkman swoops in and plucks both Black Vulcan and the weakened Superman from the monster's grasp, carrying them to safety and saving the day.
Boy, that'll chafe Superman's and Black Vulcan's tights when they get back to the Hall of Justice. They were saved by Hawkman. Hawkman! Can you imagine owning up to that? "You were saved by who?!" the other Justice Leaguers would gape in astonishment between bouts of roaring laughter. "Hey, Superman," Batman would still be taunting him the next day, "I hear Hawkman saved your butt!" You just know the Flash is going to sneak up behind Superman and tape a note to his cape saying "Help, Hawkman, save me!" Black Vulcan will never be able to look his homies in da hood levelly in the eyes again. If these two know what's good for them, they'll make a pact right now and swear to tell everybody that they rescued themselves while Hawkman was out cowering behind a rock.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman's invisible hypersonic jet, and the Bat Jet, fly into New York harbor to stop the Legion of Doom. Undaunted, the Legion trains the evil monolith on the water and creates a water monster. And here's how the "fearless" Dark Knight reacts to it:
"Holy H2O, Batman!" Robin exclaims, and you just want to punch him. Wonder Woman tries to disperse the monster by making a pass at it, but apparently the monster isn't into women. "Great Hera!" she exclaims, using the only exclamation she has, "It's going to tear up the bridge." Presumably she's talking about the Brooklyn Bridge, except that the bridge they show us more closely resembles San Francisco's Golden Gate. Of course, saving one bridge is much more important than, oh, the fact that the sun's gone out, so luckily for us the Bat Jet comes equipped with its own under-wing-mounted Bat Freeze Ray. Which of course we've never seen before and will never see again. (I'm guessing Batman didn't just use it in the first place, before the monster threatened the bridge, because he was too busy cowering in his cockpit.) Batman opens fire, and lo and behold, the monster freezes to solid ice before the freeze ray actually touches it:
Undaunted by this obvious gaffe in the animation, the Legion of Doom fires its monolith at the frozen water monster, thus turning it into . . . an ice monster. "Great Gotham!" Batman exclaims, because he's from Gotham City.
Meanwhile, in the depths of Hell, Superman is still hanging from Black Vulcan's and Hawkman's shoulders, groaning under the weight of his kryptonite ball-and-chain. Suddenly, for no reason that is ever explained in this episode, the three of them start turning to rock. Huh?! What, is it because they're surrounded by molten lava, and molten lava is melted rocks? Sure. That makes sense. (Incidentally, the kryptonite chain around Superman's right ankle is also shown to be turning to rock.) Hawkman, helpful as always, whines "There's no way to get free! We're finished!"
But lo! Just when it looks like we'll finally be rid of Hawkman, Apache Chief, Green Lantern, and the Flash show up just in time. Now the Flash, as we all know, can cause just about anything in the world to happen with his super speed, provided he either (A) runs around in a circle really fast, or (B) vibrates. He elects to do the latter. "Some high-speed molecular action should free you up," the Fastest Man Alive helpfully explains as he shakes his hand back-and-forth like Parkinson's disease on steroids. Sure enough, the vibrations magically propagate from the Flash's hand to the three hapless statues-to-be, turning their hardening bodies back into flesh-and-blood again. Or the Kryptonian equivalent of flesh-and-blood. Or living lightning. How this little bout of whole-lotta-shakin'-goin'-on can accomplish such a startling transformation, much less without shaking Hawkman's internal organs loose, is anybody's guess.
Unfortunately, the Flash's also turned the petrified ball-and-chain attached to Superman's leg back into kryptonite. Superman slumps to the ground and moans, "I . . . can't make it . . . it's . . . too late." Whiner. Not to worry, though, because Green Lantern uses his power ring to create . . . a nuclear laser! (An unbelievable coincidence that he can make one out of thin air, to be sure — but given how this show works, if it had been Batman instead of Green Lantern, you just know he would've had a Bat nuclear laser in his utility belt.) After a little trumped-up fake drama about Superman's weakened condition and the laser being able to kill him, G.L. deftly slices through the shackle on Superman's right leg. Okay, he doesn't so much slice through it as make it glow green and then suddenly appear on the ground sliced in half. This was produced on a cheap Saturday morning animation budget, after all. The Flash then picks up the kryptonite ball-and-chain and throws it through the far cavern wall — he can throw things really hard because his arms move fast, or something — and Hawkman takes the opportunity to bawl "Superman! Superman!" one more time before Superman recovers.
Back in New York harbor, Batman decides to break up the ice monster by getting up close to it and blasting it with Bat radar set to just the right frequency to break up its "ice molecules." (I hope Bats realizes that ice is a crystalline lattice made of multiple water molecules sticking together. If he really breaks up the "ice molecules," he'd be breaking down the frozen H2O into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which would be a lot worse than an ice monster.) Dramatically closing in on the monster until he's right at point-blank range, Batman fires an awfully visible-looking radar beam at the monster, causing it to shatter into several pieces:
Note that one of the pieces the ice monster breaks into is its open mouth. I thought its mouth was supposed to be a hole on its surface where there wasn't any ice, but in the picture above, the mouth-hole-piece appears to be nothing more than another chunk of ice colored slightly darker than the other pieces. Methinks the animation staff and the storyboarder must've been having a little spat that week, because they obviously weren't talking to each other. In fact, in the next shot of Batman, his logo has its colors reversed again, just like in the previous episode.
Back at the Hall of Justice, Aquaman tries to make himself useful by programming the Justice League Computer to give them The Answer. (The answer to what? The great question of Life, the Universe, and Everything? Everybody already knows the answer to that is 42. But I digress.) Sadly, the computer informs them that the Legion of Doom's energy source is more powerful than the SuperFriends. But lo! The computer also informs them that Legion of Doom has miscalculated, because the evil monolith isn't really evil! It's merely misunderstood. It's just an ordinary, sweet and innocent power source, like any other, whose goodness or evilness depends only on the will of whoever's using it.
And, thus, we get our moral lesson for the week. Power sources don't have alignments. There is no such thing as an evil energy source. So go ahead, build a power plant that generates electricity by burning kittens, free from any pangs of conscience! Except for two little details. Earlier in the episode, we saw a pre-recorded video of the monolith's energy seeping through the ground and turning Solomon Grundy into an albino zombie. An evil albino zombie. And we also saw the monolith repel Superman the instant he touched it, even though the monolith let Grundy pick it up and carry it around a few seconds later. Grundy explained that this was because the evil monolith repelled all goodness. But if the monolith isn't really evil, this scene makes no sense whatsoever! Morons.
Unfazed by this gaping hole in continuity, the Justice League heads back to
New York harbor. The Legion of Doom tries to distract them by using the
monolith to knock over both the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State
Building. But lo! Wonder Woman is ready for them, and uses the
never-adequately-explained telepathic powers of that gold headband of hers to
take control of the monolith. She quickly puts the Empire State Building
back upright, then returns the World Trade Center tower to its upright and
locked position, then rights the
Golden GateBrooklyn Bridge, and
then finally remembers "Oh, yes, the sun got put out, didn't it?
Silly of me. It's so easy to forget the little things" and reignites old
"I'll stop those super fools!" Toyman exclaims, fulfilling the episode's minimum quota for calling the Justice League "super fools." He takes control of the monolith — somehow; they never show you how the Legion supposedly controls it — and uses it to create a giant yellow toy robot. Because he's Toyman, you see. Superman promptly flies up to the monolith and picks it up. Miraculously, it forgets to repel him this time. Ol' Kal El of Krypton then aims the monolith's eye-on-the-pyramid thingy at the giant yellow toy robot and fires some kind of change-of-programming ray at it, causing it to turn around and grab all thirteen of the Legion of Doomers at once. (As usual, none of them even tries to get out of harm's way.) "That'll teach you to leave your toys lying around!" Superman gloats, getting in his one cornball comeback for the day.
"I don't understand!" Grodd whines, giving Superman and Batman an excuse to regurgitate this episode's moral lesson with an even bigger sense of hitting you over the head with it. But lo! Now that Lex Luthor knows the monolith isn't really evil, he also knows it's safe to use it on himself. (Uh, right.) He presses a button on a remote control that's miraculously appeared in his hands, and makes the monolith shoot its change-of-programming ray at the robot again. This causes the robot to release the Legion of Doom and drop them through a hole in the Hall of Doom's ceiling. The release point for this drop appears to be about 20-30 feet above the Hall of Doom's floor, so I'd think the non-super-tough members of the Legion would all have broken bones afterward.
The Hall of Doom then fires its rockets and lifts into the sky at all of 10 or 20 miles per hour. But it's the end of the episode, so none of the guys in the Justice League who can fly are allowed to chase after it. Instead, Green Lantern just comments that "they'll be back with another sinister plan," and as we pan across the Justice League to see a rather flirtatiously-posed Wonder Woman, Batman promises that the Legion's next plan will fail too, because of . . . the SuperFriends! The end.
This episode was brought to you courtesy of OPEC, who would like to remind you that energy sources are not evil. Nope. Nosirree. Not evil.
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