Super Friends #3
DC Comics (February, 1977)
“The Cosmic Hit Man?”
WRITER: E. Nelson Bridwell
ARTISTS: Ramona Fradon & Bob Smith
EDITOR: Denny O’Neil
Two villains fail to defeat the Super Friends before being transported to by an alien scientist who wants to use them and other intergalactic villains to create World Breaker, a fusion of each of the villains’ abilities…though it means killing the villains to do it. He sends World Breaker to Earth where he manages to defeat the Justice League on their satellite and the Super Friends in the Hall Of Justice. However, the Amazon’s magic globe thingy insists the junior Super Friends can beat him, and Marvin is the one who comes up with the plan of using one of the villain’s stolen powers that is also a weakness of one of the other villains, causing World Breaker to basically beat himself.
What they got right: Yeah, that’s the only way Wendy and Marvin can defeat a supervillain. As I joked in the cover caption most of the villains in the show’s first seasons were well-meaning dips who wanted to make the world better through extreme means and while the Super Friends would foil their plans it was up to Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog to convince them they were going too far. Here we have an actual supervillain who’s actually evil, something the comics and later seasons would start doing, replacing the junior Super Friends with the more fitting Zan, Jana, and Gleek. Here we get to see Marvin, who usually isn’t the smart one of the kids, get to have a good idea for a change so it’s not just Wendy. (Nothing against Wendy but it’s nice to see Marvin get to be smart for once.) And using the weaknesses of the combined villains against their powers is a good bit of storytelling.
What they got wrong: There were a few good villain ideas in this story…at least for the time. Instead they get killed off–already kind of strange for something based on a Saturday morning kids show in the 1970s–to be replaced with a villain who only gets by on his powers. World Builder in the end is not that interesting a villain, and I’m not saying that because he was beaten by two normal teens and a dog. I’m also trying to figure out if the Super Friends are supposed to be a separate team from the Justice League, when through most of the show the Super Friends are shown using JLA branded equipment.
What I think overall: An improvement over what the show was doing, and it’s interesting to see some of the heroes who at best got cameos and others who would be actual members of the show by season two. Overall though it’s not as good as it could have been and gets by on my personal curiosity and nostalgia alone.