BHOC: SUPER-FRIENDS #7

The new series of SUPER-FRIENDS hadn’t premiered yet–the show had been in constant reruns since it debuted in the fall of 1973. But over at DC, they knew what was happening, and writer E. Nelson Bridwell took the opportunity to introduce the new characters who’d be featured in the show ahead of time in a big three-part adventure in the SUPER-FRIENDS comic. He also took this opportunity to introduce a score of other new heroes from around the world, many of whom would eventually be grouped together as the Global Guardians.

When this issue came out, I wouldn’t have been aware that new SUPER-FRIENDS episodes were being made, or that changes in the show’s line-up (and, indeed, its outlook–the new SUPER-FRIENDS episodes were similarly issues-oriented, but not quite so action-adverse or mono-focused as the earlier season. In some ways, while trying to grow closer to the comics it was based on, the show traded a way a bit of its own particular activist viewpoint. But then, we were far more removed from the 1960s by this point.) But Wendy, Marvin and Wonderdog, the three ersatz Scooby Doo kids were out, and the super-powered Wondertwins Zan and Jayna were in, along with their space-monkey, Gleek. 

Bridwell was the keeper of DC’s continuity, he was a mastermind with a photographic memory when it came to this stuff (as well as any number of other fields, including literature and mythology.) He thoroughly plumed that love of continuity all throughout his tenure as the writer of SUPER-FRIENDS. The issue opens with Wendy, Marvin and Wonder responding to a crashed spaceship, whose occupants, the aforementioned Wondertwins, have come from their home planet Exor with a dire warning. Superman’s old foe Grax, looking for revenge on the Man of Steel, has hatched an overly-complicated scheme involving a dozen super-explosives planted across the world. It’ll take more than just the Super-Friends to locate and disarm all of these weapons in the scant time remaining.

And so the assembled Justice League (except for the Phantom Stranger, as Marvin points out) splits up, traveling out to the trouble spots all across the globe, where they will join forces with local heroes. And so, in Israel, Superman is aided by the Seraph, a hero whose long hair gives him Samson’s strength, and who carries a variety of artifacts that once belonged to religious or mythological figures, such as the staff of Moses and the ring of Solomon.

In London, the Elongated Man teams up with Godiva, who can manipulate her long, living hair in a variety of ways–and whose quasi-Cockney accent is ridiculously exaggerated. They’re able to disarm bomb number two. 

In South Africa, the Flash pairs with Impala, a Zulu hero, to deactivate the third device.

And in Oklahoma, Hawkman and Hawkgirl join forces with the native American hero Owlwoman to eliminate the fourth device. The story is really not a whole lot more than a very basic showcase for the powers and personalities of these new heroes, as each one alongside a Justice League member overcomes a puzzle situation with their own special skills in order to deactivate their bomb. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, Zan and Jayna are made welcome by Wendy and Marvin. But there are still 8 more devices that need to be dealt with–and eight more international heroes to meet. So at this point, we are To Be Continued. And in my case, I never got SUPER-FRIENDS #8, so I skipped over the middle installment of this tale entirely. We’ll get to the wrap-up in a few weeks.

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