Super Friends #2
DC Comics (December, 1976)
“Trapped By The Super Foes”
WRITER: E. Nelson Bridwell
ARTISTS: Ric Estrada & Vince Colletta
EDITOR: Joe Orlando
From what I can tell, in the previous issue the team of Penguin, Poison Ivy, Cheetah, The Flying Fish (yes, an actual Aquaman foe for maybe two stories), and Toyman (the original, not the version seen in Challenge Of The Super Friends onward) tried to steal a large powerful robot but the Super Friends defeated them and separated the robot parts. These “Super Foes” also have their own sidekicks, two of which pretend they want to reform. As Wendy and Marvin show them around in this issue Kitten and Chicken get them to open the doors of the Hall Of Justice, and the Foes prepare emergencies to distract the Super Friends while they steal the robot. Batman, Robin, and the Junior Super Friends manage to track them down and Superman proves even that robot is no match for the Man Of Steel. The villains are stopped by their own sidekicks, who aren’t really the killing type. The tale ends as Wonder Woman’s mother, Queen Hippolite, looks into her magic sphere to find the heroes she needs for a new threat to Paradise Island…and it’s Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog.
What they got right: Marvin actually gets to do something to save Batman and Robin. Didn’t see that coming. I like how the villain sidekicks end up reforming at the end and Superman promises the Super Friends will put in a good word with them. Also, just having the villains puts the comic one up on the first season of the show, where this story takes place. Krypto has a cameo, as does Flash, who did appear in one episode of season 1.
What they got wrong: Or would if this comic took place in the cartoon timeline. Like the DCAU tie-in comics it’s some strange hybrid of the comic and the show. (Some things never change I guess.) As for the “Junior Super Foes”, Kitty is okay since she’s just a teen version of Cheetah, but the other kids…Human Flying Fish (who like everyone not Penguin or Cheetah) does pretty much nothing in this story while Cheetah is rather embarrassingly defeated by Wonderdog, but he named his sidekick “Sardine”. I wish I could say that was the worst, but Penguin calls his “Chicken” and even dresses him up in a chicken costume. Terrifying. Toyman’s sidekick is Toyboy, which is more a “doesn’t age well issue”, but the creepiest is Poison Ivy’s sidekick. Putting her in a smaller plant bikini than Ivy is drawn with this issue is bad enough given that this girl is at best 16 and I’m not even sure about that, but she names her “Honeysuckle”. Even in 1976 that just sounds wrong!
Recommendation: This is one of those issues where you have to be a fan (or at least morbidly curious) to really enjoy, and even then the tone is somehow lighter than the show even with the words “die” and “kill”, which would never have been allowed in a Saturday morning show. Still, it’s season one with actual supervillains so…there’s that I guess.