One thousand years from now, the Legion of Superheroes, a group of extraordinary teens, decides to travel back in time to recruit the greatest superhero into its ranks. But they overshoot and go back a bit too far in time. What they end up with isn't Superman in his prime, but, rather, a raw, untested teenager named Clark Kent who's about to embark for Metropolis. This animated series, then, follows Clark Kent's adventures in the far flung 31th Century as he helps the Legion do battle against a host of intergalactic menaces.
LEGION OF SUPERHEROES Vol. 2 stingily doles out four more episodes from this series' pretty good 13-episode inaugural season, as Warner Brothers again do us the dirty by releasing a season, bits at a time. Personally, I recommend that you wait for the complete season release before dropping your dollars. But it all depends on your waiting stamina. I'm not sure if the series's cancellation (sadly, after a mere two seasons!) will have any bearing on the promptness of its dvd releases.
As far as the four episodes included here, all in all, they're decent enough, for all that they aren't my favorites of the first season. As usual, a young Superman serves as the centerpiece. Two episodes focus muchly on Lightning Lad, not one of my preferred Legionnaires. Family dynamics surface as Phantom Girl is embarassed by her mom, who happens to be the President of the United Planets, and Garth Ranzz renews his sibling rivalry with his older brother Mekt. And if you thought Garth was cocky, wait 'til you get a load of Mekt. I like Bouncing Boy a lot, so "Fear Factory" was a treat for me as Bouncing Boy's fascination with horror films plays a hilarious and key role in the plot. With sensibilities catered to the younger bunch, LEGION OF SUPERHEROES consistently lacks that dark maturity and tortured complexity displayed by the various animated shows in the DC Animated Universe, a universe, by the way, with which this show shares no continuity. LEGION OF SUPERHEROES goes down light like a midday snack, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Despite its lack of impactful adult-oriented themes, it's solidly entertaining and action-packed and injected with frequent doses of humor.
On the segue tip, I believe that the best episodes of Season 1 happen to be the introductory "Man of Tomorrow" (see Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1), the laugh-out-loud funny "The Substitutes", "Chain of Command" and the two-part "Sundown" (these last four should be in the future Volume 3 release). Here's a breakdown of Volume 2's four episodes:
(Some mild SPOILERS now.)
- "Champions" - The 343rd Intergalactic Games pits Lightning Lad against his brother Mekt, even as the Fatal Five targets Phantom Girl's mother for assassination. By the way, the announcers of the Games are a hoot ("We've got a supervillain brawl brewin' here, folks, and it looks like it's gonna be a doozy. Uh, we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor.").
- "Fear Factory" - Their spacecraft buffeted about by a cosmic storm, the Legionnaires take refuge in an ancient, creepy space station and, one by one, find themselves succumbing to their inner fears.
- "Brain Drain" - When Brainy falls prey to an uploading glitch, Timberwolf and Superman must brave the most inhospitable planet in the galaxy for his cure.
- "Lightning Storm" - Lightning Lad resigns from the Legion to join a much hipper mercenary group, the Light Speed Vanguard. But then he's stunned to learn that his brother, Mekt, is already a member of the LSV. Meanwhile, Bouncing Boy holds auditions for new team memberships (aspiring members include the uninspiring Breath Boy, who can hold his breath really long).
Let's say, one star for the meager number of episodes on this dvd. And three, maybe three and a half, stars for the episodes themselves. So, rounded out, call it 2 and a half stars. And, because Warner Brothers haven't finished slapping their target audience around, no bonus features are provided; sorry, promos for other animated shows don't count. I think I'm about to have my mad on again.