Fire & Water #227 – Super Friends: The Bride of Darkseid!

Shag and Rob take a look at the first episode of 1984’s SUPER FRIENDS: THE LEGENDARY SUPER POWERS SHOW, “The Bride of Darkseid” Parts 1 and 2 — the animated introduction of Firestorm the Nuclear Man!

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Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Closing theme by Hanna-Barbera.

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16 responses to “Fire & Water #227 – Super Friends: The Bride of Darkseid!

  1. This was great! I admittedly was phasing out of my Superhero phase when this series first aired. Between all the cartoons and Live Action TV series I was getting into…..well, I just kinda left Super Heroes on the shelf until after Crisis. As a result of all this, I only really watched a few episodes here and there.
    When I bought the DVDs back in the Mid 2000s I immediately started watching them all over again.

    It’s interesting to note. Batman talks about doing the gobbledygook examination of Firestorm’s photo and determines that he has Quadruple DNA Helix’s…It seems as if there should have been someone asking “Huh, Wha? what does that even mean?” Because when he says “It mean’s he’s literally two people in One” It’s clear there was a beat there where something might have been cut out.

    Firestorm’s flirting attempts with Wonder Woman were painfully awkward to watch. I’m really glad it wasn’t a recurring gag in the whole series because I don’t think I could’ve stood two whole seasons of this. I really wanted Stein to just say “Ronald, Stop! Just Stop. You’re way out of your League here!”

  2. Fun show!

    I first met Firestorm in the comics, but Darkseid was involved in that issue too:

    https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Justice_League_of_America_Vol_1_183

    I was reading the JLA before that issue, and I know I’d seen the cover of the issue where Firestorm joins (I think it appeared in many Whitman three packs), but I avoided that issue because Superman was acting like an imperious jerk on that cover. He pretty much ordered the team to accept Firestorm, and my reaction on that cover wasn’t that far removed from Green Arrow’s in the comic.

    But it was when Firestorm screwed up and then bonded with Red Tornado (favourite punching bag of the Fire and Water Network) a couple issues later that I truly fell in love with the character, and followed him over to Fury of Firestorm when that series started.

    I agree with your comparison to the Challlenge of the Superfriends. I had been watching the Superfriends (or Super Friends) since the original incarnation of the show. (I was a little too young remember if I actually saw it in 1973, but it was in reruns for a few years before they revamped it with the Wonder Twins and I was definitely around for that first revamp.) When they brought in genuine comic villains with the Legion of Doom — it blew my mind, finally it seemed a bit more like the comic. And I am pretty sure I felt the same way when Firestorm and Darkseid showed up too. “Hey, I know who these guys are!”

    The Superfriends also had a huge impact on my comic book reading. I think my mom had gotten wind of the old Frederic Wertham nonsense that comic books were a bad influence on kids. And so it was easier to negotiate buying comics that seemed insufferably kid-friendly and based on TV. That meant Spidey Super Stories (named for the Electric Company version of Spider-Man) and the Super Friends comics. Since those books didn’t turn me into the Napoleon of Crime, I was allowed to read other comics. But I kept buying both Spidey and Super Friends even after getting the *real* comics.

    Of course the Super Friends comic had some wonderful Ramona Fradon art. And I remember the multi-part storyline which introduced the Wonder Twins, saw Wendy and Marvin say farewell … and guest-starred the rest of the JLA long before many of them appeared on Challenge of the Superfriends. Oh and it also introduced the Global Guardians (with the Green Fury and Icemaiden).

    For that storyline, for E. Nelson Bridwell’s tireless efforts to tie it into DC continuity and for the gorgeous Ramona Fradon art, I’d have to say that my favourite version of the Super Friends is the comic book version. Even if they never got around to featuring Firestorm. (Then again, Aquaman did more than ride a seahorse in the comics.)

  3. How many megapixels does it take for a digital camera to actually record the subject’s genetic code in a photograph…?

    Never mind that there were no digital cameras in the 1980s…

  4. I remember being very excited for this episode when it premiered. I don’t think I knew about it until I saw the Super Friends in an ad for ABC’s Saturday Morning preview show that year in TV Guide. The SF had been off American TVs for a few years by then, so it was great to have them back!

    The introduction of Firestorm and the Apokolips crew were very welcome by this comic fan. I felt the show had matured somewhat too. Now, I don’t see as much difference between this and say, Challenge, but it is slightly less juvenile.

    I didn’t care for Wonder Woman’s voice in this season. I think I read Shannon Farnon wasn’t called back because this actress had an in with someone at the studio or network, but I’m sure Xum would know more about that than me. BJ Ward was fine next season.

    I hate to say it, but I never really cared much for Olan Soule as Batman’s voice. I give him respect for doing the job for years, but that’s not what Batman sounded like to me. Adam West being on board was something that me VERY excited, because he was MY Batman, and in many ways still is.

    This is most definitely a transitional season. Burnett’s touch is truly felt here, but the look of the show will greatly improve next season, especially Darkseid. Although I prefer Kalibak’s and Desaad’s looks in this iteration.

    My favorite SF would be Challenge and then Galactic Guardians overall, but I do love the 79 “World’s Greatest Super Friends” season with my favorite OG SF episode, “Universe of Evil”. It also contained that “Middle Earth” story you talked about Shag.

    Oh, and if you guys do “The Fear”, you better point the Bat-Signal my way. It’s stipulated in my F&W contract any discussion of that episode must include me. Go look for yourself!

    Great show guys! Just what I need on a rough Monday morning. Thank you.

    Chris

    1. If you cover the “The Fear” — you’ll see a pre-Dark Knight Returns answer to which film the Waynes saw on that fateful night. Hint: Douglas Fairbanks Sr. is associated with both Zorro and the hero of this other film.

  5. Like many of you, this episode was my introduction to Firestorm, and I was captivated by him pretty instantly. I was pleased to discover this season available on DVD for a mere $5 at a Big Lots in my area some years ago, and although I don’t really plan on picking up the rest of the series (despite being glad for the opportunity to rewatch the episodes on DC Universe), this season holds a special place of honor for introducing Firestorm. To this day, Olan Soulé is the voice that I hear in my head when I read Professor Stein in the comic books (FYI, not all places where his name appears include that accent, but it helps remind that the pronunciation of his name is “Soo-LAY.” He was a pretty important player in the Golden Age of Radio, and his name well-attested in shows that actually bothered to give the names of the actors… which was admittedly less common than might be desired in that era), although I confess that my headcannon-Firestorm alternates between Mark L. Taylor and “random youthful voice,” despite recognizing Taylor from many of his other credits.

    Thanks for finally covering this episode!

  6. I was reading Firestorm at the time so was pumped to see one of my faves getting some screen time. And Darkseid was an added bonus.

    I totally remember the episode Shag talks about with them as gnomes in a mind. It was a bad riff on LOTR where the heroes had to put a magic ring onto a giant statue to kill some magical despot. Sadly,it all turned out to be a dream by Gleek!

    Is it too easy to say Challenge of the Superfriends is my fave with its deep dive into the DCU? Loved all the iterations!

  7. September 1984, I was in college. My penultimate semester. Watching cartoons on Saturday mornings had long ago been abandoned, especially once I got a morning paper route. I was still buying comics, though! I probably had no idea that this series was on. I had already dismissed Super Powers as a toy-selling marketing gimmick. I know that I watched Super Friends in the early days, because I remember being confused and upset that Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog had been replaced. Nevertheless, it was one of the sparks that ignited my comics buying, although not as immediate as Shag’s! I liked listening to your discussion about the acting and the story!

  8. The Wonder Twins were in this season, including one where they team with Robin and Firestorm in attempts to control Superman, who had been turned into a bratty child by red Kryptonite and looked up to Mxyzptlk as his uncle!

  9. Impressive pod cast. Most impressive. I remember collecting Fire Storm comics a bit before this cartoon. . Mostly as a bit of rebellion. My birth Father (long story) got me into comics, but he was a Marvel guy. So silly gal that I am I bought DC as a rebel move…yeah know sad. But, it was what it was. For years I read them…save Thor, FF and Spidey. Then got into the others, I loved these cartoons. My fav became Galactic Gardens…though I started with the Super friends. Me and my cousin Christy would watch them on Saturday when I went to visit. This was a fun one. Yeah Ronnie was just flirting. He struck out. But, he did nothing wrong.

    The cartoon had a good look. And was cool to hear Odo voicing Decade.

  10. Great discussion, gentlemen. I know I watched this season of Super Friends when it first aired, and I know this would have been my introduction to the character of Firestorm, but I’ll be darned if I remember much about this era of the show, other than the fact that Darkseid served as the main antagonist. As a result, I really enjoyed this reintroduction to The Legendary Super Powers Show. I still have one or two more seasons to pick up for my Super Friends DVD collection before I get to this one, but I am looking forward to reaching it. Hopefully, a good rewatch will be all I need to shake some of the cobwebs from my childhood memories.

  11. Stop me if you had seen this one:

    [SCENE: A far shot of the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park Parachute Sky Jump ride. “Weird Al” Yankovic is screaming as the platform on which he stands is continuously dropping and lifting at super (sped-up camera) speed. Wipe in…]

    [Various clips from the SUPER FRIENDS: THE LEGENDARY SUPER POWERS SHOW title sequence, with “energy wipe” sound FX throughout]

    CUT TO: Superman stands in center of frame while Wonder Woman and Batman, Green Lantern and Robin, and Black Vulcan and Apache Chief leap into the scene

    CUT TO: Flash, El Dorado, Batman, Robin, and Apache Chief land onto the floor of the villains’ lair

    CUT TO: Wonder Woman throws her lasso while El Dorado and the Wonder Twins look on

    CUT TO: Apache Chief enlarges

    CUT TO: Superman throws giant robot into foreground while a hovering El Dorado and Black Vulcan look on

    CUT TO: The Super Friends (Superman, Wonder Woman and Black Vulcan, plus Batman and Robin in individual Whirly-Bats) fly out of the main room of the Hall of Justice via an opening in the ceiling (on their way to the erupting Mount Jupiter)

    Narrator (Bill Woodson): They are the most powerful beings in the universe…

    CUT TO: Batman, Robin, Superman, and Firestorm are blasted by DeSaad’s mind probe

    Narrator: …and the greatest heroes of all time.

    CUT TO: Batman, Firestorm, Robin, and Wonder Woman (waving behind her) run through a Star Gate

    Narrator: Super Friends. (read as: “see-YOOP-er Friends”)

    CUT TO: The Hall of Justice main room, Firestorm flies circles over Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin, Black Vulcan, and Superman

    Narrator: And now they have a new crimefighter.

    CUT TO: Wonder Woman in invisible jet as Firestorm flies in frame alongside.

    Wonder Woman: Who in Hera’s name…

    CUT TO: Close up of Wonder Woman at the invisible jet… (the scene in which she actually says, “Firestorm?”, but in this preview she says…)

    Wonder Woman: … are you?

    CUT TO: Close up of Firestorm flying alongside

    Firestorm: Firestorm!

    CUT TO: Ronald Raymond and Professor Stein transform into Firestorm; Firestorm stands in Stein’s classroom as the Professor’s astral head appears

    Narrator: His two identities combine into one of superhuman power and strength.

    CUT TO: Super Friends (Superman, Black Vulcan, Wonder Woman in invisible jet, and Batman and Robin in individual Whirly-Bats) flying in daytime sky as fiery volcanic rocks stream past. Black Vulcan points downward offscreen.

    Narrator: Together, these Super Friends battle…

    CUT TO: Pan of villains from the title sequence: Kalabak, Darkseid, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and DeSaad.

    Narrator: …the most fearsome villains.

    CUT TO: Superman logo in center of frame surrounded by shimmering outline of the man of steel, who quickly fades into view (tail end of the first scene in the title sequence)

    Narrator: “Super Friends…”

    CUT TO: Wonder Woman kisses Firestorm on the cheek

    Narrator: “The Legendary Super Powers Show.”

    CUT TO: Close up as Wonder Woman pulls away and Firestorm touches his cheek. Wipe in…

    [SCENE: “Weird Al” Yankovic, Scooby Doo, and Scrappy Doo at another area of the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park…]

  12. Since I had already discovered the DC heroes prior to watching Super Friends, I’ve never been able to embrace it like you guys. I know it was a product of its time, but the neutered action really ruins it for me. I was the only DC reader among our little cadre of nerds in junior high, and the Marvel fans often used Super Friends to ridicule just how “lame” they thought the DC characters were.

    That said…Frank Welker’s Darkseid voice really fits the character and still hear it in my head, along with Michael Ironside’s when reading a comic with the Fourth World characters. I also was thrilled that Adam West was back as Batman. He was my first Batman and without him I wouldn’t have started collecting comics. Nothing against Olen Soule personally, but I always thought his voice was too high and nasally for Batman. The fact that I immediately recognize his voice as the Mayberry choir director didn’t help. Oh, a bit of Bat-trivia….Olan Soule played Yvonne “Batgirl” Craig’s father in the Elvis Presley movie It Happened at the World’s Fair, before either of them entered the Bat-verse.

    As for this episode of Super Friends, I was a bit bothered that Wonder Woman spent most of it captured and as the damsel in distress. The idea of Darkseid falling in love seemed so alien to me at that time, that I didn’t know what to make of his crush on Wonder Woman. Darkseid only seems to love power and destruction….On the other hand, how can any man NOT fall in love with Wonder Woman? I forgot Firestorm got a kiss on the check from WW. Is it wrong that I’m jealous of a cartoon character? (Just to be clear, I jealous that Firestorm got a kiss from Wonder Woman and not the other way around.) Sigh*Wonder Woman*Sigh.

  13. I don’t think I’ve actually never watched this episode before. I was getting on the older side by then, or maybe its air-time conflicted with Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends. (Sorry, Spidey’s gonna win.) But glad I could give it a try now on the DCU app. That was peak Firestorm, right in a cartoon. Most excellent. Thanks, guys!

  14. I love the Super Friends probably more than any sane man should.

    Thanks for covering this episode with the usual witty repartee I always associate with this network. Please cover more Super Friends in the future.

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