The low-budget remake of the Challenge Of The Super Friends intro doesn’t measure up.

Super Friends volume 6 #41

(I think at this point they just upped the volume number every year.)

DC Comics (February, 1981)

COLORIST: Jerry Serpe

EDITOR: Julius Schwartz

Super Friends: “The Toyman’s Tricky Thefts”

WRITER: Bob Rozakis

PENCILER: Ramona Fradon

INKER: Vince Colletta

LETTERER: Milt Snapinn

The Seraph: Dry Earth…Stolen Waters”

WRITER/ARTIST: Bob Oksner

LETTERER: John Costanza

In our main feature Toyman decides to rob a toy fair, tricking the Wonder Twins with a fake version. After announcing more toy-related crimes, the Super Friends head off to two likely attacks, but they’re all done without Toyman himself, who tries to get one up on the Super Friends again by stealing from the toy fair again. Only this time Robin and the Wonder Twins are there to defeat him.

What they got right: I like seeing the other Super Friends actually teaching the Wonder Twins, who are supposed to be there to learn from the more experienced heroes. The show didn’t really do that enough. They learn from their mistakes and it’s nice to see Robin interact with his fellow teen heroes. We wouldn’t see that in the show until Super Powers Team with Firestorm and Cyborg.

What they got wrong: They used the wrong Toyman for one thing. Winslow Schott is not the one used in the show, Jack Nimball was. I kind of like the secret identities for the Wonder Twins (we saw them in the previous issue I reviewed but they didn’t do with them…here they actually do stuff as John and Joanna Flemming) that is not from the show. The art style and writing are more in line with regular DC rather than the cartoon this is supposedly based on. It might as well be a Justice League Of America comic at this point. Sadly, as we saw in the DCAU, the only difference was that the Adventures comics at least tried to mimic Bruce Timm’s art style. Poor Alex Toth got the shaft. And where’s Gleek in these comics? Wonderdog got to show up but Gleek doesn’t?

The back-up doesn’t help. While some episodes focused on one or two DC heroes part of the Super Friends section of the Justice League, the Seraph was never on the show. This is at a time when DC put some of their lesser heroes into back-up stories. For example, Firestorm ended up as a back-up feature in The Flash for a while. The Seraph is an Israeli superhero who gets his powers from the Staff Of Moses, the Mantle Of Elijah, and a magic ring supposedly owned by Solomon. It’s about as accurate to the Torah/Old Testament as Marvel’s Thor is to Norse mythology.

The story has Chaim Lavon, who doesn’t seem to maintain a secret identity, taking a trio of American kids to visit a desalination plant on the Red Sea, used to help irrigate the land and give fresh drinking water. Criminals looking to steal the plant’s secrets and hired to also blow up the plant (the comic doesn’t say who but I could hazard a guess or two) take the kids hostage after the Seraph tries to stop them, but thanks to a miracle from God the Seraph manages to defeat them. It’s a nice little back-up story, religious misunderstanding aside. I’ve seen worse in that department, frankly. It is nice to see an Israeli superhero.

Recommendation: As a tie-in to the show, the comic is terrible. As a regular superhero story in the main DC universe it works well enough. If you don’t mind the former you might enjoy this issue, even though it’s basically a story for kids…that mentions Toyman has committed murder.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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