It’s been a while since I checked out a Showcase Presents collection hasn’t it? Well, the Super Friends was one that I definitely needed to get and I was shocked to see it at the library. I loved the cartoon and still own one of the box sets, but I never really thought that I would see it in comic form. It certainly holds up well and the collection goes really quickly.
The Super Friends is mostly filled up with comics that act as stand alone issues. Typically, the adventure will be a multi part one so the adventure will last for 2-3 issues or more. That helps to make sure that each story isn’t rushed. The issues also tend to follow a very formulaic route. Each issue will have the Super Friends split up into 3-4 teams and then we see each of them try to stop a villain. Typically, you can guess what will happen to the other teams on the missions. If the first group succeeded, then the rest will, but if the first group lost, the rest of the heroes will lose. It does make each story a little predictable, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Figuring out how the heroes will lose it typically the exciting part.
There is a plot in the background that is around…slightly. The first half of the collection features a pair of kids and their dog. They are being trained by the super friends and they eventually graduate as they become full fledged heroes. They leave the series at that point and are replaced by the Wonder Twins. I can’t say that I missed the kids because they felt out of place here. They are just kids so how can they hope to keep up with the actual heroes when it becomes time for serious business? The plot hax was a little too heavy when they were around.
The Wonder Twins aren’t much better I’m afraid. They arrived on Earth because they ran away from their home planet, but they are eventually freed from their charges. The problem is that they save the Super Friends several times to show us that they have certainly earned a spot on the team. I don’t mind them joining, but they are certainly weaker than most of the heroes so I don’t see why they got so much hype. They are also not familiar with Earth customs and that’s a trope that I’ve never cared for. They make mistakes when trying to utter Earth sayings and that gets old very quickly.
Luckily, that’s one of the only things that gets old here. It should also be noted that the Wonder Twins aren’t good characters here, but they would probably be a lot more likable in comparison if the super friends weren’t so likable. The Wonder Twins certainly aren’t nearly as bad as the average unlikable character. The art looks really sharp here as expected. Unfortunately, the collection is in black and white so it’s a little hard to say exactly how good it looks, but the art is clear and you can always tell what is happening. The action scenes always look good and that’s one of the most important factors for a comic book. You really feel it when a characters punches Superman around.
This took place during an interesting time where the Justice League was around as well as the Super Friends. This meant that most members of the Super Friends had to juggle their responsibilities. Some members like Green Lantern basically decided to be with the Justice League and to ignore the Super Friends. This is the kind of thing that probably wouldn’t fly nowadays, but it gave us an excuse to have our favorite heroes have more than one adventure at a time with the various comics on the shelves,s which was pretty neat.
Showcase Presents may take away the colorful aspect of the art, but at least it also bundles together a good amount of issues. This particular collection was a little over 400 pages, which is certainly a lot. You’ll be having a blast so the pages will be over in no time, but at least you can definitely be confident that you are getting your money’s worth.
As for the adventures in question, there are a bunch of them, but I’ll quickly mention some of them. One adventure has a villain robbing people by making circus animals tiny and then bringing them back to normal size when it came time for a heist. A monster woke up from its slumber in another issue and proved to be virtually unstoppable as even Superman could not defeat it. The Mirror Master came closer than most of the other villains to winning as he trapped the heroes in a mirror world. Unfortunately for him, Superman’s FTL so he just dragged the other heroes back to reality.
Naturally, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of adventures and by the end of them, you’ll certainly have bonded with the heroes. They’re all in character for the duration, which is always good. One scene where I questioned Flash though was in the Mirror Master plot. With the Justice League trapped, the Wonder Twins would have to fend off the villain on their own. Flash knew that they were a target, but he decided to stay on Watchtower duty instead of going to help them. That felt a little out of character as his speed would have enabled him to help right away. I know that he trusts the heroes, but it was still a bit much.
It’s always nice to see the classic Batman here. Robin is around as well and he’s always got some puns at the ready. He is always paired up with Wonder Woman for missions, which is a little dicey for him since he never really gets to help out as a result of this. At least he still has some puns at the ready and he always fires a few off. This was back when Batman was very chipper so it’s nice to see him throw in a pun once in a while. Superman is at his best as he is extremely confident. He’s still a nice guy of course, but he realizes that he is the strongest. Unfortunately, almost all of the villains have kryptonite up their sleeve, but this doesn’t stop Superman from getting serious when the time is just right.
As far as the Showcase Presents go, this is easily one of the best ones. I definitely can’t say that it is the very best of course. As long as Justice League and regular Superman is around, that will be extremely difficult. Nonetheless, Super Friends puts up an admirable fight and it reminds me why I’ve always been a fan of the series. It’s essentially the Justice League series, but with more of a light tone and a roster that tends to include Robin on the team. You can’t go wrong there!
Now, this collection is practically a comedy and it’s meant to be cheesy, but it’s still worth noting that there is a lot of plot hax to be found here. It’s always a stretch when someone like the Riddler is able to take out Superman, but that’s why we have Kryptonite right? I just feel like Superman isn’t as susceptible to Kryptonite as the comics would have you believe. He can still melt it or just stay away. There are also quite a few villains who are able to just overpower Superman, which is certainly surreal. Almost every comic has a moment that is a little iffy like when Batman or Superman is defeated, but the scenes are typically funny so I suppose that we can live with it. Aquaman fans may be sad as his weakness of being away from water for too long becomes a liability for him more than a few times. It’s tough being a fish guy before The New 52.
Finally, the comic has fun showing off guest star heroes as well. The Super Friends have to team up with global heroes on more than one occasion. This includes another Batman who doesn’t seem to be as cool and a guy who uses objects from biblical times to help him fight. The guest stars are pretty cool and while they all seem weaker than their Super Friend counterpart, it’s nice to know that the other countries aren’t completely defenseless. After all, it seems like the US area with Gotham and Metropolis is extremely secure with so many heroes helping out.
Overall, The Super Friends is a really fun collection to read. The comics will certainly keep you busy for a while and the cast is filled with well known characters. Batman and Superman are regulars along with the other heroes and it’s always neat to see how the villains will try to win against such odds. The art is very good as well. The original characters certainly weren’t great and I didn’t miss them when they were gone, but it’s not like they really hurt the comic either. All’s well that ends well right?