THE SUPER POWERS TEAM: GALACTIC GUARDIANS
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Studio: Warner Bros.
BY KEVIN CARR
As a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember watching “The Super Friends” on Saturday mornings, and in reruns after school. These were the days of the non-superpowered side-kicks as well as the Wonder Twins later. There was a certain cheesy charm to the old series, but as I grew older, I did crave more mature stories.
In the mid-1980s, Hanna-Barbera took a step closer to the more grown-up versions of the Super Friends that we know today in the Justice League incarnations. It still retained some of the classic cheesiness, but they started to skew a little older and a little less cartoonish.
This new incarnation of the Super Friends was known as “The Super Powers Team.” While it featured the stand-by characters of Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, it also featured lesser classic DC heroes like Hawkman, Green Lantern and the Flash. Additionally, it mined some more modern, hip characters like Firestorm and Cyborg (an import from the Teen Titans).
“The Super Powers Team” is an excellent snapshot of the animated DC characters in their transition to the modern shows we have today. Without “The Super Powers Team” and its first steps into a bigger (and sometimes darker) world, we wouldn’t have “Batman: The Animated Series” or the recently released PG-13-rated “Superman: Doomsday” animated feature.
Ten episodes of “The Super Powers Team” has been released on DVD from Warner Bros. Dubbed the “Galactic Guardians” series, these tales follow the revamped heroes in battles – often in space – against more sinister bad guys like Darkseid and the new Brainiac.
While many of the themes and stories in these ten episodes had been dealt with for years in the comic books, they are put to celluloid for the first time, including Batman’s origin and one of the classic “Death of Superman” tales.
In addition to the ten episodes featured on two DVDs, there’s a special feature called “Super Friends Redux,” which chronicles Hanna-Barbera’s first steps into the more grown-up and realistic superhero cartoons.
For a long-time fan of DC comics and the Super Friends, “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians” isn’t just a chance to relive your childhood. It’s also a chance to watch the deft evolution of the animated characters.