The Challenge of the Superfriends, Season 1 DVD set has been my main television viewing as of late, or at least during those times that I have trumped my daughter's viewing choice. When she was into SpongeBob life was good. Dora the Explorer wasn't so bad, but lately she's been into that damn Elmo. Is it just me or has Elmo ruined Sesame Street? It used to be a hip show with an urban sensibility, aimed at educating kids without condescending to them. Elmo seems to be the antithesis of all that. Like the people managing the show after Henson's death decided that they would do better selling merchandise to the soccer moms rather than
Anyhoo, last night I was watching the Superfriends episode "Revenge of Gorilla City". I figured this would be Gorilla Grodd's moment to shine, but the real badass of the story was none other than Aquaman's archnemesis Black Manta. In one sequence he singlehandedly captures Apache Chief, Batman, Robin, and Flash. Apache Chief was no problem, just point evil ray gun and shoot. Hard to miss when your opponent is 50-foot tall and slow as molasses. But then he tricks the Dynamic Duo with a Manta Decoy. You read that right. Black Manta outwitted the Batman! Even more impressive he succesfully hits Flash with his ray gun by leading his target. In other words he manages to zap the fastest man alive by anticipating his movements! That's hardcore, my friends.
Most of the Superfriends episodes start with a single member of the Legion outlining a new evil scheme. Braniac and Luthor great good screentime in these sequences, but other villains come up with plans too. Captain Cold puts together the plan to enlist the Venusians to help conquer the world. Grodd and Toyman invent new devices that they propose deploying against the Superfriends. Heck, even Bizarro and Solomon Grundy come up with plans! They're bugfuck insane plans, but they both nearly work.
I believe I've seen the entirety of season 1 and I don't think Black Manta gets an episode where he proposes an evil project for the Legion of Doom to undertake. But he does seem to handle a lot of the villainous gruntwork. And he's not afraid to take on the heavy hitters of the Justice League, either. He'll try to zap Superman just as readily as he'll go after Aquaman. In the episode "The Final Challenge" we also see that Black Manta's submarine is space worthy and that his "space sonar" can detect Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet. How cool is that?
So now I'm rewatching the entire season, trying to pay more attention to Black Manta's role in the Legion of Doom.
Bonus Link: Seanbaby's Hilarious Superfriends Pages If you are a Superfriends fan do yourself a favor and follow this link. Seanbaby is one of the funniest guys on the internet.