As should be obvious by now, the Legion of Doom's most tragic flaw is their total and complete inability to re-use their own inventions. If they invented a pill which, when dropped into a body of water, will turn all of it into chocolate pudding, they would use it to try to rob a bank or something and then immediately and completely forget about this pill later when Aquaman came chasing after them. If they have a gizmo that lets them travel through time, as they did in "The Time Trap", they would never think to use it to, say, travel back to 30 minutes ago to warn themselves about what the Justice League is planning.
And in this episode, they not only forget about their own Giant-Making Ray, they discard it inside the Hall of Justice so that even an incompetent nincompoop like Aquaman could pick it up and use it against them.
We open, as usual, on the weekly meeting of the Legion of Doom. Bizarro, taking the podium possibly because he challenged Lex Luthor to arm-wrestle for it, announces that he knows how to make a "ray device" that will turn anyone into hundred-foot giants. Not only that, but of the three "rare elements" that power this ray device, he's already picked up the first one (called "sorium," amusingly enough) from an asteroid. "Then," he tells us in that Tarzan breed of Pidgin English he foists upon everyone, "Me use Justice League computer to fuse elements into giant ray."
At first, when I saw this scene, I was thoroughly confused. This is Bizarro coming up with this plan? Bizarro? With the technological know-how to build a giant ray, and to program the Justice League computer to do it? Big, bumb, "Me Tarzan you Jane" Bizarro?! The whole idea behind Bizarro was that he was supposed to be the polar opposite of Superman. He is supposed to be as dumb as Superman is smart.
Then it hit me. On this show, it would logically be the SuperFriends version of Superman he's the polar opposite of. He's only as dumb as the SuperFriends Superman is smart. Now it all made sense. This is the Superman who thinks that sending Aquaman and Hawkman out to handle a tidal wave is a good idea. This is the Superman who lets the Legion of Doom get away at the end of an episode because they've turned themselves invisible. If that's the intellect that Bizarro's supposed to be the opposite of, it shouldn't surprise me if Bizarro whips up cures for cancer and strong-encryption-cracking algorithms in his spare time.
Giganta, however, is unimpressed with Bizarro's boasting. After all, she can grow to giant size without any high-tech help, and proceeds to demonstrate this fact right there in the Hall of Doom. (It's a good thing the Hall of Doom had that new 50-foot vaulted ceiling installed.) But Bizarro insists: "Me have plan, trick SuperFriends, get to computer; then me make giants twice your size." You can imagine that a guy who can't use indefinite articles or pronouns correctly, and who wears his chest logo backwards, probably didn't have many of his schoolmates believing in his untapped brilliance when he was growing up. A guy like that shouldn't be able to convince many people that his plans are foolproof. Or at least, his audience should be dubious enough that they'd want to hear the details of such a plan before making up their mind to follow it or not. But, apparently, Lex Luthor has lost all common sense, because he immediately votes to follow Bizarro's plan sight-unseen. Moron.
Bizarro then accompanies Sinestro to the moon, from whence they hope to harvest the second of the 3 elements they need for the giant ray. This 2nd element is called — I'm not making this up — "robalt," and according to the once-again infallable mind of Bizarro, it exists only in the moon's core. You'd think they could just use Sinestro's power ring to drill a hole to the core of the moon, or have Bizarro do that trick Superman does where he spins around really fast and turns his body into a drill. But why do things the easy way in a Challenge of the SuperFriends cartoon? Sinestro instead points his power ring at empty space, causes a huge yellow ray-gun to materialize, and boasts, "My atomic laser will split the moon open like an apple!" (Huh. I didn't realize that people typically cut open apples with an atomic laser.) And not only do they plan to cut the entire moon in half, the path that Sinestro chooses to sweep his laser beam over just happens to go right through the dead center of an inhabited moonbase. You know, just in case Bizarro and Sinestro weren't already drawing enough attention to themselves.
As the astronauts gaze in horror out their window, I suddenly noticed that the logo on the Token Black Astronaut's space suit looks remarkably like the comm badges on Star Trek: The Next Generation, with an extremely Star-Fleet-like emblem on top of an oval background:
But this cartoon was made in 1978, eight years before the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. I think Hanna-Barbera has the basis for a copyright infringement lawsuit here. Sign me up as one of the expert witnesses when you go to trial, okay guys?
Meanwhile, back in the Hall of Justice, the SuperFriends are lounging around like they always do between emergencies. The Flash lazily fiddles with a knob on that high-tech meeting table of theirs, not using his super speed for anything. Superman looks bored out of his skull, not having so much as a charity fundraiser to appear at. Thankfully, the screen flashes red with the words "EMERGENCY ALERT." This must be higher priority than the garden-variety "Trouble Alert" they usually have to deal with. "It's an emergency alert!" Batman announces, pointing out the obvious. Realizing that the moonbase is about to be cut in half in a matter of seconds, Superman declares, "We've got to get to the moon, fast!"
"Right," Batman agrees. "Robin and I will follow you in the Bat rocket."
Excuse me, what? The Bat rocket?! Okay, I can see how a gazillionaire industrialist like Bruce Wayne might have enough spare cash to build a space rocket in the Batcave. I can even see how he might be able to pull off a reusable space rocket that can make it all the way to the moon. But when we sent real rockets to the moon at the end of the 1960s, they were hundred-meter-tall, 3000-ton monstrosities that took 3 days to get from the Earth to the moon. This rocket of Batman's is little bigger than a typical modern fighter jet, bat wings and all. Okay, maybe Bruce Wayne had access to some kind of nuclear or antimatter rocket engine technology that didn't require him to carry 3000 tons of rocket fuel for an interplanetary journey. Stranger things have happened in the DC universe.
But I flatly refuse to believe that a "Bat rocket" could make it to the moon in the few seconds they showed it taking. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that accelerating fast enough to make it all the way to the moon — 380,000 kilometers away — in under 1 minute would require the Bat rocket and its occupants to undergo around 20,000 G's of acceleration, enough to turn human beings into crepes. Padded Bat seats notwithstanding.
This is probably why Superman and Batman & Robin don't make it to the moon in time to stop it from being cut in half; Superman would've had to take it really slow to let any kind of realistic Bat rocket keep up with him. And now, with the moon cut in half, the two halves begin drifting apart and the astronauts in the moonbase float away into space. Huh? The moon's only been cut in half. It's gravity wouldn't have gone anywhere. The moon should still have stayed in roughly one piece, and the astronauts still should've been able to keep their feet on the ground. Did the writers think that a planetary body has all its gravity "leak out" when it gets bisected or something? Morons.
Anyway, the drifting astronauts now give Batman and Robin something to occupy themselves with while, as usual, Superman does the real work. They position themselves over the astronauts, open a pair of bay doors on the bottom of the Bat rocket, and activate "the electronic Bat hoist," which looks like a yellow tractor beam. You know . . . if Bruce Wayne can get his hands on garage-sized moon rockets and tractor beams, why hasn't any of this technology made its way into the private sector? Why can't I order a tractor beam from the Sears catalog? They sound like they'd be tremendously useful for everything from construction work to closing my bedroom door without getting out of bed. Tow trucks could use tractor beams to clean up a freeway accident scene in a fraction of the time it takes today. Kittens could be rescued from trees far more easily. I could run a tractor beam in reverse and push myself up to my roof without needing a ladder. The possibilites are limitless. So why is Batman being such a selfish brat and hogging this technology for himself? Why isn't he at least selling it through Wayne Enterprises to bolster his fortune? Moron.
Meanwhile, Superman pushes the two halves of the moon back into one piece (!), then announces, "My heat vision will weld the moon back together." I swear I'm not making this up. He "welds" two entire halves of the moon into one solid piece with his heat vision. Never mind that most of the moon's interior is already hot enough to "weld" itself together. A few seconds of circumnavigating ol' Luna and looking at it with that hot gaze of his is all it takes to fix everything. In fact, he even welds the moonbase back together without damaging anything or leaving a welding seam:
Hmmm . . . you know . . . judging from that picture, this must be an awfully large moonbase. The curvature of the moon's edge, visible in the upper-left portion of that picture, implies that the whole moon is only about twice as wide as that picture is. That would make the size of the moonbase, from the left corner to the right corner, about 1/10 the moon's diameter, or 345 kilometers from corner-to-corner. Who builds moon bases this huge? And how come such an enormous structure is manned by only two people?
But I digress. "Now," Supes announces after completing this obviously simple task, "To take care of Bizarro and that sinister Sinestro!" Once again, we have a supposedly intelligent member of the Justice League who, when faced with the task of coming up with an adjective to describe Sinestro, can only think of "sinister." When he goes after the two Legion of Doomers, Sinestro tries to blast him with his power ring, but — again, I'm not making this up — Superman punches Sinestro's yellow energy beam, which sends the beam back at them and traps them in a yellow energy bubble. This defies all logic. Sinestro's ring is supposed to be every bit as powerful as Green Lantern's, yet here it can be thwarted with something as simple as a Kryptonian-strength thwack. (If Wonder Woman had deflected the beam with her bracelets, it wouldn't have seemed so far-fetched. Her bracelets are made of indestructible magically-endowed Feminium, after all. But deflected by a Superman punch? Come on.)
Later, at the Hall of Justice: Bizarro and "that sinister Sinestro" are safely ensconced within an "electronic detention cell," basically a really tenuous-looking energy cage that would never ever fail if, say, the power went out, no no no no. Batman taunts Sinestro by holding up his power ring just outside of the villain's reach and giving him a Bat Neener Neener. But their vitory is short-lived; a moustachioed policeman appears on the Trouble Alert and, in Casey Casem's voice with a bad French accent, announces that Captain Cold and Toyman have taken over the Parthenon. (Why a French accent, when the Parthenon is in Greece? Morons.) Aquaman immediately announces "Let's go!", because (A) he knows that if he gives his comrades time to think about whom to send on each mission they'd never let him go anywhere, and (B) this is only a normal-powered guy with a freeze gun and a normal-powered guy with a toy fetish we're talking about. Even so, there are no fish to talk to in the Parthenon, and this mission's only relation to the sea is that Athens is a coastal town, so Green Lantern wisely elects to go along with Aquaman to keep him out of trouble.
Meanwhile, Cap'n Cold and Toyman are sitting in front of the Parthenon gloating about how they're going to find the 3rd-and-final element for Bizarro's giant ray. I guess showing up outside a historical tourist site wearing a parka and a jester suit counts as "taking over" the place. Anyway, Cold announces, "Now to freeze this place and start our own mining operation", whereupon he freezes both the Parthenon and the hill it's sitting on. Toyman then drives a life-size wind-up steam shovel about 50 feet away from the frozen Parthenon and starts digging through the snow, looking for that precious 3rd element. But . . . why in heaven's name did they freeze the ground before digging it up in the first place? They now have a layer of snow to dig through that wasn't there before, and frozen dirt is a lot harder to dig in than the non-frozen variety. Morons.
Soon, Green Lantern flies onto the scene with the useless Aquaman in tow. The Parthenon, weakened by the weight of the ice on its roof and by the well-established DC Comics law that says that everything becomes brittle when frozen, is starting to cave in. After digging out one more scoopful of dirt with his steam shovel, Toyman discovers a white glowing nugget of the rare Third Element buried only a few feet under the ground. (If it's so rare, how come nobody else had bothered to dig it up yet? Does the Legion of Doom also posess some kind of secret rare-element-detecting technology that the rest of the world (Justice League included) lacks? The mind boggles.) Toyman mentions that the final element is called "introdium," which makes about as much sense as "robalt" and "sorium" I suppose. Remember, the Parthenon is still caving in here. So, what does does Green Lantern do? Melt the ice, or put the pieces of the crumbling Parthenon back into place? Nope. He lands right in front of the two villans, puts Aquaman down so that the King of the Sea can strike a laughably melodramatic pose, and announces, "You're going nowhere, Toyman!"
The Man of Toys, not to be outdone by a mere nigh-omnipotent member of the Green Lantern Corps of Oa, quickly sprouts rocket-powered ice skates and shoots away. And so, for that matter, does Captain Cold. We've never seen retractable rocket powered ice skates on Captain Cold before, but that would never deter a scriptwriter for The Challenge of the SuperFriends. Besides, the ice skates go with his whole "cold" theme. However, it should have occurred to the two of them that rocket-powered ice skates are not the optimal getaway vehicle, especially with a guy on your tail who can fly at nearly the speed of light and manifest giant green baseball gloves and tractors out of thin air. Green Lantern was never much for a vivid imagination, though, because with all the snow around he elects to trap Cap'n Cold and Toyman in a green energy igloo:
And, thus, as expected, Aquaman's presence here has been totally useless.
Back at the Hall of Justice, Toyman and Captain Cold have joined Sinestro and Bizarro inside the extremely tenuous-looking energy cage. Bizarro announces that the Justice League will soon be in big trouble. "I think you've got things backwards, Bizarro!" Superman retorts, making a cheap pun about the backwards S on Bizarro's chest. But lo! Brainiac and Lex Luthor suddenly show up at the Hall of Justice in some kind of aircar and begin battering the building with energy rays. How the Justice League's Trouble Alert could have failed to see them coming from a distance is anybody's guess. I'd conjecture that Luthor was using the cloaking device from "The World's Deadliest Game" to sneak up on them, but that would violate the once-only-ever usage rule for Legion of Doom technology. The Flash, supposedly the fastest man alive, now drones in a painfully slow voice, "The ... Hall ... of ... Justice ... is ... under ... attack! ........ It's ... coming ... on ... the ... monitor ... now!"
Superman launches himself at the hovering skycraft, only to get thwacked down again by its energy rays. (No mean feat, considering that this is the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman, who can bounce hydrogen bombs off his chest and swim around in the core of the sun for a relaxing bath.) So, since the most powerful member of the Justice League has just had zero luck with a frontal assault, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman now elect to charge after Luthor's skycar themselves. On foot. Morons. Luthor, merciful supervillain that he is, elects not to hit them with the same knock-'em-on-their-ass energy ray he hit Superman with, because that would be too violent for late 1970s cartoon TV. Instead, he shoots them with his "gravity scrambler", a device evidently designed to spin its victims in midair for maximum comic effect:
Meanwhile, with all the Justice Leaguers distracted, "that sinister Sinestro" unleashes the next step in Bizarro's foolproof plan. You see, they'd let themselves be captured on purpose! (Dramatic chord!) Bizarro, ineffable genius that he is in this episode, knew that the Justice League was too stupid to guard Sinestro's power ring with anything approaching the proper level of caution. In fact, the Justice Leaguers have just left the ring lying out on the counter. So, Sinestro has set his power ring to "go off" just about . . . (dramatic pause) . . . now! With a mighty blast of yellow energy, the hapless Green Lantern — the only one left inside guarding the Hall of Justice — becomes hypnotized and under Bizarro's mental control. (Has it ever been established anywhere in DC Comics history that Green Lantern's or Sinestro's power rings could control minds? Somehow I doubt it.) Sinestro orders him to deactivate the electronic detention cell, then orders him to go join his friends outside, then has a good old-fashioned villainous maniacal laugh. Because he's sinister, you see.
Thus freed, Bizarro whips out the three elements — it's a good thing for the Legion of Doom that the Justice League never performs cavity searches on their prisoners, I guess — and puts them "into Justice League computer." The Justice League computer is apparently equipped with a handy ledge from which strange chemicals can be inserted into the innards of the computer itself, complete with fume hood. However, not just anybody can use the computer to turn 3 rare elements into a Giant Ray, for the computer itself now informs us that "Circuits are not programmed to follow Legion of Doom's orders." But lo! Sinestro comes to Bizarro's rescue, announcing "My power ring hypnotizes computers as well as people, you stupid machine!" Thus helpless, the hypnotized Justice League Computer begins, um, crumpling up the 3 elements; or at least that's what it looks like:
When it's done, out pops a little yellowish doodad about the size and shape of a bottlecap. Bizarro places this in a ray gun that he also managed to smuggle into Justice League headquarters, and blasts the four of them. For a split-second, you can see something that looks remarkably like a full-sized Apache Chief standing behind Bizarro:
. . . but the background artists quickly regain their sanity, and we see the four villains growing to enormous size against an ordinary Hall-of-Justice-looking background. The Justice League, and the world at large, must now deal with a 100-foot-tall Bizarro, a 100-foot-tall Sinestro, a 100-foot-tall Captain Cold, and a 100-foot-tall Toyman.
And that's where I begin to question Bizarro's "brilliant" plan.
You see, the Legion of Doom could have chosen any of its members to get captured by the Justice League and subject themselves to the Giant Ray. Bizarro was an all-around good choice, because his main power is his Superman-like strength, and a hundred feet of that much musclepower is a terrifying thought. Sinestro had to get captured in order for his power ring to go off and hypnotize Green Lantern, so the Legion of Doom must've figured, eh, as long as he's there, let's let him get turned into a giant too as a kind of a reward for good behavior.
But ye gods, why Toyman and Captain Cold?!
I mean, both of those villains are defined entirely by the gadgets they use. Toyman has life-sized wind-up versions of everything under the sun, and Captain Cold has, um, a freeze gun. What good are giant versions of these two going to be? Even if Captain Cold's gun gets more powerful when grown to gigantic size, couldn't Bizarro just have hidden the gun in the same orifice where he hid the 3 elements and the empty raygun? He could have enlarged just the gun, without having to drag that useless Cap'n Cold along for the ride, and then let Lex Luthor mount the giant freeze pistol on the bottom of his aircar or something. Heck, if a giant freeze pistol is so useful, why not just build a big version of the gun to begin with, and not bother with infiltrating Justice League headquarters to build a Giant Ray? And Toyman?!? He doesn't even have a place in that skin-tight jester outfit of his to hide any toys. He would have to build giant-sized versions of all the toys he intended to use for world conquest. His only superpower as a giant would be the ability to use giant screwdrivers and giant hot-glue-guns. A giant Captain Cold and a giant Toyman are no more threatening than, say, a giant Jason Alexander and a giant Danny DeVito. Come on, Legion of Doom! Why not a giant Solomon Grundy, or at the very least, a giant Gorilla Grodd?
Anyway, now taller than the Hall of Justice itself, the four giant "super" villains now miraculously appear behind the Hall of Justice and begin taunting the Justice League. "Great Krypton!" Superman announces, because he's from Krypton, "It's going to take all of our power to stop them!" So saying this, Superman ignores his own advice and immediately flies toward Bizarro — the most powerful of the four giants — completely on his own. Moron. But before the giant Bizarro flicks Superman away like a swatted fly, we get to see another animation goof in Batman's chest logo, just like in the previous two episodes:
Wonder Woman, who evidently has seen too many bad kung fu movies, decides that the Justice Leaguers should attack one-at-a-time. She tries to lasso the giant Toyman, what with her magic lasso being indestructable and all, but only ends up lassoing his index finger. Thus, Toyman, being Toyman, turns the Amazonian princess into a "super yoyo":
Ah, that wacky Legion of Doom humor.
Bizarro, tiring of his comrade's antics, begins stomping his foot in front of the Justice Leaguers and herding them into a little 10-person chorus line, Apache Chief evidently having forgotten that he can make himself into a giant too and the Flash mysteriously out of sight. Captain Cold then blasts the entire Justice League with his now-giant freeze ray, and encases all of them in ice, this time with the Flash plainly visible. Cut to a shot of the Justice League's icy prison being shaped like a giant bullet, and now the Flash is still there but Aquaman is now missing. The animators can't seem to make up their minds as to who's there and who isn't. Nevertheless, Toyman picks up the iced League, loads them into a gigantic slingshot he must have found lying around somewhere:
. . . and, announces, "I'm going to airmail you to a place where you'll defrost for a few million years!" He then slingshots them all the way to Saturn.
All the way to Saturn. From the surface of the Earth. Using only a slingshot that can't be more than 50 feet long.
Okay, a quick lesson in astrodynamics here. You've probably heard of a little thing called "escape velocity." That's how fast something has to be going in order to coast completely out of the gravitational influence of an astronomical body. If you start out coasting at any lower speed, you're eventually going to fall back to the place you started from. So, unless you have some kind of magical rocket that produces constant thrust without ever running out of fuel — which this giant ice bullet certainly does not have — you're going to have to be moving with at least Earth's escape velocity if you want to have any chance of travelling to another planet. Escape velocity from the surface of the Earth, assuming no air friction and ideal launch conditions, is about eleven kilometers per second.
I could see a giant-sized Bizarro throwing a football pass with that much velocity, sure, but a giant Toyman? With a giant rubber slingshot? Not gonna happen.
Having thus taken over the Hall of Justice, Lex Luthor decides to take no chances, and switches on the "Justice League force field" around the entire Earth. Nice to know that the SuperFriends have an impenetrable energy barrier they can throw up around the Earth at any time. You have to wonder why they didn't use it back in Invasion of the Fearians when the Earth was under attack by sinister Venusians. Meanwhile, "deep within the super-cold gaseous interior of Saturn" as the narrator puts it, the ice bullet containing the Justice League touches down and skids to a halt on solid ground. Somebody needs to tell him what "gaseous" means.
The giant Legion of Doomers now go on an international rampage. Bizarro terrorizes Washington, D.C., by chopping down the Washington Monument. Sinestro stomps around in Peking commanding his "Chinese friends" to surrender their country, and when the Chinese tell him (in English) that they'll fight him with their army of millions, he summons up a giant yellow energy lion, tiger, and bear. Oh my. Captain Cold takes over the Giza Plateau in Egypt by threatening to, um, cover the pyramids with snow. Toyman rides into London on a giant wind-up tank:
. . . and takes over the entire European continent by using 5 giant propeller-driven toy airplanes that drop 10 giant toy-soldier paratroopers. I really, really wish I was making this part up. I really do. And the sorry thing about it is, with the state of the NATO nations today, you probably could take over Europe with one tank, five planes, and ten giant soldiers.
"Meanwhile," the narrator reminds us, "Deep within the gaseous core of Saturn," the Justice-League-containing ice bullet is still resting firmly on solid ground. But not for long: Batman's utility belt is equipped with an infra-red defroster for just such an emergency. Now, instead of being cryonically frozen inside a giant ice bullet, the eleven Justice Leaguers are exposed to the toxic super-pressurized atmosphere deep within Saturn, which miraculously is both completely breatheable and at a comfortable, life-sustaining temperature, since none of them are asphyxiating despite the lack of space helmets.
"From the looks of it," Superman remarks, "I'd say were somewhere in the gaesous interior of Saturn." (Snicker.) "Let's try this way." And the entire complement of ten Justice Leaguers starts walking along the ground. Inside, I remind you, the gaseous interior of Saturn. Ignoring for the moment that there shouldn't be a ground to walk on in the gaseous interior of Saturn, what the heck do they hope to accomplish by wandering around? (In the gaseous interior of Saturn). Do they think they're going to stumble across a space ship, conventiently left behind by another visitor to the gaseous interior of Saturn? Do they expect to find an interdimensional vortex portal or something that leads directly to the surface of the Earth from the gaseous interior of Saturn?
Fortunately, they don't have to put up with this suggestion for very long, because they're soon attacked by gaseous monsters. From within the gaseous interior of Saturn, you see. Robin, Batman, and Green Lantern are soon rendered helpless by the clutches of one of these gaseous monsters, despite the fact that Green Lantern should still logically be able to command his power ring to turn it into a neutron star or something. Maybe his mind is fuddled from being in the gaseous interior of Saturn. But not to worry; the Flash does what he does best, that is, he spins around really really fast and creates a "super tornado" to evacuate everybody from the gaseous interior of Saturn:
Note the scale on that image. The Flash's tornado is about 1/3 as tall as Saturn itself. That would make it over twice as big across as the Earth. That would be enough to suck up not only the Justice League, but also the gaseous monsters and a huge portion of the gaseous interior of Saturn itself. It's also an amazing feat, even for the Flash; I'll bet the only reason he hasn't accidentally made one of those two-Earths-wide tornadoes on the Earth and wiped out all civilization in the process is only because the Earth doesn't have as much air to play with as the gaseous interior of Saturn.
Anyway, the Justice Leaguers all pop out the top of the tornado, including Aquaman, whom we haven't seen anywhere within the gaseous interior of Saturn but who is miraculously back together with them now. They all speed to Earth, even the ones who can't fly under their own power, and quickly discover the Justice League force field that Lex Luthor switched on in their absence. Superman and Green Lantern both try to break through the force field by bashing into it head-on, but to no avail. (You'd think those two would already know that their own Justice League force field is strong enough to keep them out. Maybe Batman built it and forgot to tell the rest of the League how strong it was.) I gotta admit, this is a pretty impressive force field. These are the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Green Lantern and Superman we're talking about here. I mean, Superman pushed two halves of the moon together and welded them shut with his heat vision earlier in this episode. I'd like to know how they managed to build a force field strong enough to keep him out and still wide-angle enough to cover the entire Earth. It must use almost as much power as all the power plants in the world put together can produce. I'm amazed that after taking over the world one continent at a time, the Legion of Doom can keep all the power plants running smoothly despite the risk of inevitable sabotage by some nation's grass-roots resistance movement.
But lo! Batman, whose utility belt heater has already saved them from being eternally frozen in the gaseous interior of Saturn, now comes to the rescue again. He spies the Justice League satellite, orbiting outside the force field, and decides to risk setting off its automated defense system to rewire it. (If they're worried about automated defenses kicking in, why not send Supes or G.L. to reprogram the satellite? Those two are practically indestructible. The only thing any automated defense system could do to either of them would be to give 'em a mild sunburn. Unless the defenses contained kryptonite. Or were painted yellow. But the Justice League would never put kryptonite-based weaponry in one of their own satellites, so Supes should have had no worries whatsoever. Morons.) So saying, Batman dons a transparent space helmet with holes in the top of it through which the bat-ears on his cowl can stick out, and the narrator helpfully informs us that he's "Leaving the protection of Green Lantern's energy field."
So, wait. Green Lantern's energy field has been protecting them all this time? Then how come we never saw any green force bubbles around any of them except for Green Lantern himself? Was Green Lantern's energy field also protecting them when they were in the gaseous interior of Saturn? Bah. Retconning at its worst.
Nevertheless, Batman manages not to trip off the Justice League satellite's defenses by, um, floating up to it and ripping a panel off its side. Such wonderfully flawless defense mechanisms are doubtlessly one of the many reasons why the Justice League is always getting its collective butts kicked by the Legion of Doom. He then "rewires" the satellite by turning one knob and switching a large, clearly labelled "ON/OFF" switch up and down a couple of times. This somehow terminates the force field encircling the entire Earth. With such simple controls, I can't imagine that this "Justice League satellite" is capable of doing anything other than controlling the Earth-girdling force field. (Then again, maybe I'm too harsh. Maybe Batman was flipping the ON/OFF switch up and down in a precise sequence, sending ASCII commands through to the Hall of Justice computer on the ground one bit at a time. At that rate, it would only take him, oh, three minutes to tap out "COPY C:\WINDOWS\BACKUP\FORCE_FIELD_OFF.EXE ..\FORCE_FIELD_ON.EXE," assuming he didn't make any mistakes.)
Moments later, the Justice League arrives at the Hall of Justice, which the Legion of Doom has conveniently left abandoned for them. They turn on the big monitor, and see a 100-foot-tall Bizarro straddling the U.S. Capitol. "Great Scott!" Superman exclaims, because he's Superman, "The Legion of Doom has taken over every continent." This upsets Supes so much that the colors on his cape logo spontaneously reverse themselves:
At this point, Hawkman moans "There's little we can do to stop them." This is his only line of dialog in the episode. It's an appropriate and poignant line, though, because it highlights Hawkman's total and complete lack of useful talents. You just know Green Lantern is thinking 'What do you mean we, beak nose? All you can do is fly, and you can't even do that without wings and an anti-gravity belt.'
But lo! In his haste to take over the world, Bizarro left traces of his three elements — named, I remind you, sorium, robalt, and introdium — in the Justice League computer analyzer. Batman quickly reprograms the computer to duplicate the growth ray, this time by pressing only two buttons. Wow — first he programs a satellite to drop the Justice League force field with one knob twist and two switch flips, and now he programs a computer to duplicate a growth ray with two button presses. That must be one very concise programming language they use there at Justice League headquarters. In any event, the reprogramming takes hold immediately, a little area above the computer analyzer spits out a zap-ray, and Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, and the Flash all grow to gigantic size.
And just in case you thought the reverse-colored logo woes were over for this show, look at what Batman looks like mid-way through the growth process:
Yep, Batman's logo has its colors backwards for a second time this episode. Must be a side effect of the growth ray.
Anyway, once the four of them are fully grown, a 100-foot-tall giant Flash announces in that oddly-slow voice they always seem to give to the Flash, "Now to put an end to the Legion of Doom's plans for conquest!" Whereupon the four of them speed away from the Hall of Justice and — I'm not kidding here — the giant Flash miraculously turns into a giant Robin. This wouldn't be the first time the animators had forgotten, or just didn't care, what characters they were supposed to be drawing in an action scene.
Meanwhile, in China, the giant Sinestro is being pulled in a giant rickshaw, because, hey, it's China. The giant Green Lantern, being Sinestro's natural enemy, quickly shows up, and the two of them have one of those ridiculous duels with their power rings that makes this show so . . . I was going to say "so quaint," but that would be too kind. Sinestro uses the opportunity to call Green Lantern "Green Fool," thus fulfilling his quota for the week. He summons a yellow energy bola whip of some sort (which turns back-and-forth between yellow and dark orange), gives a long-winded soliloquy, and then lazily throws it around Green Lantern, who just stands there stiffly and lets it entwine him. Green Lantern, not to be outdone in the roll-your-eyes department, uses his own power ring to create a giant green glass bottle — with cork stopper — around Sinestro, at which point Sinestro's yellow energy lariat is miraculously forgotten by both scriptwriter and animator alike. Green Lantern now gloats, "Sorry to bottle up your plans, Sinestro!", and it's at times like these where you really have to wonder if you're not already in Purgatory right now.
Meanwhile, in the Giza Plateau in Egypt, the giant Captain Cold is demanding another hundred million dollars in ransom before he'll defrost their desert. What a 100-foot-tall Captain Cold expects to do with money is anybody's guess. But soon enough, a giant Flash-colored tornado sweeps through the area and melts all the snow. Panic-stricken, the giant Cap'n Cold points his giant freeze ray pistol at the Flash and fires. The Flash, being the Fastest 100-Foot-Tall Man Alive, ducks out of the way. The freeze ray then deflects off the pyramid behind the Flash, like so:
. . . and bounces back and freezes Captain Cold solid. Now, mind you, Captain Cold is supposed to be one of the Flash's mortal enemies. His only power — his only power — is that freeze ray pistol. And yet, the Flash is fully capable of dodging out of the way of the cold ray. Captain Cold can't even hope to use his one-and-only "super" power against his arch-nemesis. So, what the hell kind of villain is he? The Flash should have rounded this loser up and hauled him off to jail long ago, the same as with any of the other two-bit crooks he's dealt with in the past. And yet Captain Cold gets a spot on the Legion of Doom? And gets to be among the elite chosen Legionnaires subjected to Bizarro's giant ray? The mind boggles.
Oh — and not to be outdone in the pun department, the giant Flash quips, "Now to ship you home in dry ice!" Groan.
Meanwhile, in England, the giant Toyman is riding around on his giant toy tank, accompanied by his 10 giant toy soldiers, gloating over his, um, conquest of Europe. But soon enough, the giant Batman shows up and, stealthy Dark Knight that he is, stands there and announces his presence. Toyman fires his "tank ray" at the Caped Crusader, but we never find out what it is this tank ray is supposed to do because Batman leaps out of the way — accompanied by, of all things, the same sound effect they play when Superman takes off and flies. (The Foley artists would have done well to heed the label found on children's Batman costumes, which reads: "Warning: Cape does not enable wearer to fly.") After super-leaping over the tank ray, the giant Batman lands in front of the giant toy soldiers and, with one stiff push, knocks them all over like dominos:
These were the same soldiers, mind you, that forced the surrender of a tank battallion earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the giant Bizarro gloats, "Government of Bizarro, by Bizarro, for Bizarro!", perhaps because he's picking up vibes from the Lincoln memorial or something. But soon enough, the giant Superman shows up and tells him to pick on someone his own size. Bizarro throws the Washington Monument at him, but Supes deftly catches it and puts it back on its severed perch. He doesn't bother to weld it in place with his heat vision, though, like he did with the moon. We can only hope that it topples over later and lands on some congressmen. The Man of Steel then grabs Bizarro and places him inside the Lincoln Memorial as a makeshift prison cell:
Now, I've gotta ask: What the hell good does Superman think that's gonna do? Bizarro is every bit as strong as Superman. Even at his normal size, Bizarro could easily break through a couple of stone columns. At 100-foot-tall giant size, he should be able to shrug off the entire building, layer-cake roof and all, without breaking a sweat. And yet, Bizarro just sits there accepting his fate. Maybe it's one of those backwards Bizarro-world definitions of "winning" he mentioned in "The Time Trap".
Now, with the four giant Legion of Doomers rounded up, it's time for the episode's inevitable oh-gosh-they-got-away ending. So, naturally, the Legion of Doom headquarters appears in the sky over the four giant Justice Leaguers and the four giant Legionnaires, and hits the latter with a teleportation ray. (This ray, by the way, breaks the cardinal rule of Legion of Doom technology: they've actually used the teleportation ray in an earlier episode and are re-using it here. Lex Luthor better hope his union boss never hears about this breach of protocol.) Superman flies after the fleeing Legion of Doom headquarters and, being 100 feet tall, manages to catch it — only to discover that it was a hollow Legion of Doom headquarters decoy and that the real Legion of Doom headquarters is long gone. (However, I hasten to point out at this juncture that this "decoy" must have been the same flying building that fired the teleportation ray in the first place, since the latter was never out of Superman's sight. Lex Luthor sure knows how to equip his decoys well.) Superman responds to this latest bit of chicanery by putting his fists on his hips in his standard Jolly-Green-Giant pose, and announcing, "The Giants of Doom are no match for the Giants of Justice!" The end.
This ending left me somewhat unsatisfied. There were just too many unanswered questions. How do the four now-giant members of the Legion of Doom, not to mention the four giant members of the Justice League, shrink back down to their normal size? Do they ever shrink back down? If not, will they have to get new giant-sized furniture for the Hall of Justice? And speaking of the Hall of Justice, will the Justice League ever fix those security holes in its computer? And why are there gaseous monsters in the gaseous interior of Saturn? What do they eat when there aren't any Justice Leaguers around? Will the Washington Monument ever get cemented back onto its base securely? How much damage did the Lincoln Memorial sustain when Superman crammed a 100-foot-tall Bizarro into it? Why isn't snow and ice a good thing for the Giza plateau, considering that it would melt into fresh, drinkable water after a few days of exposure to the tropical sun? Where did Bizarro come up with the formula for a giant ray in the first place? And what about Scarecrow's brain?
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