This should be a pretty good episode. We get treated to the animated version of the Legion of Super Villains who are renamed the Light Speed Vanguard. It also appears that we will see Triplicate Girl and Colossal Boy featured in this episode as the rotating Legion members. All right, it is time to blogcast this episode.
Episode Title: Episode 8: Lightning Storm
Synopsis: We begin with Bouncing Boy, Colossal Boy, Triplicate Girl, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Superman all brawling with a monstrous space squid. The giant space squid proceeds to beat up the Legionnaires. Lightning Lad is embarrassed at how bad the Legion is performing. Superman retorts that at least no one is watching them. Suddenly, the Light Speed Vanguard arrive on the scene. Tyr says that the Legion can relax now that the professionals are here. And cue snappy theme song. Cut to commercial.
And we are back. We see the Light Speed Vanguard kicking butt on the giant space squid. They free the Legionnaires from the grasp of the giant squid and then proceed to take down the space squid. Superman then flies down and thanks the Light Speed Vanguard for their help. Tyr tells Superman and the Legionnaires to make themselves useful and clean up the mess that they giant squid left behind.
Leave Colossal Boy behind to finish his patrol in the area. Lighting Lad is embarrassed. Lightning Lad thinks they looked like total kids. Triplicate Girl says that the LSV were stuck up. Lighting Lad disagrees as says that the LSV are cool.
The Legion then stop at a space diner to get something to eat. The Light Speed Vanguard are also there to get some food. We see the Legionnaires at a table. Bouncing Boy chows down on a platter of Jupiter burgers. Lightning Lad wants to go over to talk to the Light Speed Vanguard.
Lighting Lad gets up the courage and approaches the LSV’s table. Tyr tells Lightning Lad that he did a good job out there. Tyr says that Lightning lad seems too old to be a lad and too old to be a part of the Legion. We see Bouncing Boy with straws up his nose acting goofy as the other Legionnaires laugh. Tyr gives Lighting lad an LSV card and tells him to come by sometime.
We cut to Lighting Lad at the Legion HQ talking to Brainiac 5. There are tons of wannabe Legionnaires in the HQ. Brainy says that with Legion tryouts coming up, that Bouncing Boy decided to hold training seminars for potential Legionnaires. We see plenty of old Legion characters like Night Girl, Chlorophyll Kid, Invisible Kid (Jacques flavor) Polar Kid, Fire Lad, Infectious Lass, Color Kid, Antenna Lad, Double Header and Stone Boy.
Lightning Lad is mortified by this collection of dorks. One of the potential applicants approaches Lighting Lad and introduces himself as Porcupine Pete. Unfortunately, when he gets excited he shoots off some of his quills. A couple of quills shoot off and one ricochets off the wall and hits Lightning Lad in the butt. Garth sighs and excuses himself.
We cut to Lightning Lad goes outside on deck and takes out Light Speed Vanguard card and it transforms into teleportation gateway. Lighting Lad steps through it and comes face to face with his brother Mekt otherwise known as Lightning Lord and the rest of the Light Speed Vanguard.
Mekt tells Lightning Lad to calm down and listen to him. Mekt vouched for Lightning Lad and that is why the LSV invited Garth to visit them. Mekt asks Lightning Lad to join the LSV. That the Legion is for little kids. Tyr tells Lightning Lad to hang out with them and before he makes up his mind.
Lightning Lad then calls the Legion and tells Bouncing Boy, Superman and Saturn Girl that he is going to be hanging out with the Light Speed Vanguard for a while. Bouncing Boy asks Lighting Lad why he would leave the Legion. We see a potential Legion applicant who bounces by like a kangaroo bounce by. Lighting Lad sighs and then says he will talk to them later. That he needs a change of pace.
Saturn Girl said that Esper was shielding them from her. That she couldn’t read their minds.
We cut back to the LSV. Esper reads Lightning Lad’s mind and sees his origin where Mekt fought off a Lightning Monster in order to save Ayla and Garth. Tyr tells Esper to stop reading Lightning Lad’s mind.
We shift to Superman and Timber Wolf on a stake out. They follow the Light Speed Vanguard’s ship. We shift to a bunch of Sand Raiders attacking a transport ship. The Light Speed Vanguard quickly take down the Sand Raiders.
Suddenly, a huge red crab-like monster appears. Tyr tells Lightning Lad that it is time for him to show the Light Speed Vanguard what he is made up of and take on the creature by himself. Lightning Lad gives it his best shot and gets knocked loopy by the creature.
Superman and Timber Wolf then show up and take down the creature. Lightning Lad gets angry with them and yells at them for making him look weak. Lightning Lad gets snotty and tells Superman and Timber Wolf to go on back to their little clubhouse. That he is staying with the LSV.
Tyr then bills the transport ship’s Captain for the LSV saving his ship. The Captain says they don’t have any money. That they are carrying decontamination units to a space colony and they need them soon. Lightning Lad is stunned that the LSV charge people for saving them. That is not what heroes do. Tyr responds that they aren’t heroes. That this is a business.
We cut to Lightning Lad reporting various emergencies that the LSV should be addressing. Lightning Lord says there is no money to be had in them so they aren’t going to bother. Tyr then tells Mekt that the captain of the transporter says that they aren’t going to pay. Tyr says it is time to go collect.
We cut to Bouncing Boy talking to the group of potential applicants for a spot on the Legion. Bouncing Boy says that the Legion audition is important and asks for a volunteer to demonstrate how they will audition. One character with a lung insignia on the chest of his costume steps forward. His codename is Breath Boy. His power is being able to hold his breath for days. Breath Boy takes a big gulp of air and holds his breath.
Superman then enters and tells Bouncing Boy that they have received a distress signal. We cut to Superman, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy heading to the transport ship that the LSV is hi-jacking.
We cut to the transport ship where the LSV are taking the decontamination units as payment for their services. The Captain begs them to not take the units since the colony can’t survive without that equipment. Tyr then tells Lightning Lad to take care of the Captain. Lighting Lad refuses. He says that all of this is wrong. Lightning Lad says that he sees all of the LSV for what they are. Lighting Lad then blasts Tyr.
We see the Legion arriving on the scene as Lighting Lad is blasted out of the transporter ship. Superman catches Lighting Lad. Garth says that he was wrong about he LSV. The LSV appear and Mekt tells Garth that he is being very stupid. Lightning Lad replies that he was being stupid all those times that he looked up to Mekt thinking that for once Mekt would do something right. Mekt tells Lightning Lad that he can’t beat him since Mekt absorbed more power from the Lightning Beast than Garth did.
The rest of the Legionnaires then lock horns with the members of the Light Speed Vanguard. Superman versus Tyr. Saturn Girl versus Esper. Timber Wolf versus Hunter. Wave and Ron Karr in the LSV’s ship take one Triplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy in their ship. Superman, Timber Wolf and Saturn Girl take down Tyr, Esper and Hunter. We see Bouncing Boy pulling off some fancy moves as he shoots down the LSV’s ship.
Lightning Lord takes down Lighting Lad and has him pinned under a piece of metal. Garth asks Mekt what he is waiting for. Why doesn’t Mekt finish him off. Mekt tells Garth that he likes it better when Garth owes him. Mekt tells Garth that if he ever gets in his way again, then Mekt will take him out. Mekt says that he has big plans. Mekt then leaves.
Superman then frees Lightning Lad. Superman tells Garth that the Legion wants him back. We see that the Legionnaires have Tyr, Hunter, Esper, Wave and Ron Karr captured.
We cut back to the Legion ship. Triplicate Girl sings the praises of Bouncing Boy’s flying skills. Superman says Triplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy make a good team. Bouncing Boy blushes.
Lighting Lad stands by himself staring out the window. Saturn Girl asks Garth if he is thinking about his brother. Lightning Lad says that he thought the LSV was so cool that it made him forget what being a hero is all about. Saturn Girl tells Lightning Lad that he is a good person and that will never change.
We cut back to Legion HQ to a now empty audition room where Breath Boy is still standing there holding his breath. The lights then turn off in the room. End of episode.
Legion tryouts next episode!! We see Matter Eater Lad as well as Infectious Lass, Color Kid and Chlorophyll Kid. Sweet!
Commentary: This was a great episode. Probably my favorite episode so far. It had everything that I want from a Legion cartoon. It had action, drama and plenty of very cool cameo appearances. “Lightning Storm” really captured the spirit of the Legion. That the Legion is not just a team. It is a family. And the Legionnaires act like your typical teenagers. Like the scene in the space diner showed, the Legionnaires are just a bunch of friends who enjoying each other and not trying to look “cool” for the sake of impressing other people. Everyone can remember doing pretty much the same thing when they were a teenager.
And Lightning Lad succumbs to what many teenagers fall victim to in wanting to seem “cool” and willing to do the wrong thing in order to be “cool.” And in the process Lightning Lad learns what it means to be a hero. That is the Legion to me.
Lightning Lad’s struggle with wanting to look up to his brother, Mekt, and to believe in him was well done. Poor Garth just wants a heroic older brother than he can be proud of. Unfortunately, that just isn’t going to happen. The relationship between Mekt and Garth is tragic and makes for some good drama.
And, of course, the lesson for this episode is what it means to be a hero. Lightning Lad is a hero. And despite his hot temper and his desire to always come across like the “big man on campus” he is a true hero whose place belongs with the Legion.
The action was excellent. And we got tons of it. The Light Speed Vanguard were excellent. I loved how they were nothing more than a bunch of money hungry jerks. I think the animators did an excellent job coming up with modern updated looks for leach member of the old Legion of Super Villains.
I also loved this episode because of all of the various potential applicants for the Legion tryouts. I always loved issues that centered on Legion auditions. It was always entertaining to see the various oddball characters that would try and get into the Legion.
This episode was definitely chock full of cameo appearances. In the Legion applicant scene I recognized Girl, Chlorophyll Kid, Invisible Kid (Jacques flavor) Polar Kid, Fire Lad, Infectious Lass, Color Kid, Stone Boy, Antenna Lad, Double Header and Porcupine Pete. The other characters I didn’t so readily recognize.
It was great to see all of these various characters that made up the Legion of Substitute Heroes in the comic book. I’m sure that out of the characters we saw, that only Invisible Kid and Polar Boy will make the team. The rest of them will probably go on and establish the animated series version of the Legion of Substitute Heroes
We also got to see a quick appearance by Ayla in the flashback scene of how Garth and Mekt got their powers. I’m sure that Ayla will be making an appearance at some point in the future.
We even got to see Colossal Boy! Even if it was only for about 30 seconds. That was a huge disappointment. I wish Gim would have appeared in the entire episode. I was also disappointed that Phantom Girl was a no-show for a second straight episode. On the other hand, it was great to see Chuck Taine back on the scene. And we also got some Triplicate Girl action which was nice.
The writers of this animated Legion have really impressed me with the little touches on these episodes. I loved the scene where Triplicate Girl was praising Bouncing Boy’s flying skills and Superman commented that the two of them made a great team. Bouncing Boy’s immediate blushing was spot on. It was cool to see the writers give a little nod to this long time relationship that existed between these two characters in the comic book.
But, the best part of this episode was Breath Boy!! What an absolutely hilarious character! I loved the lung shaped insignia on the chest of his costume. Classic! And his over the top exuberance and pride in his “power” reminded me of contestants from American Idol who are horrid singers, but fully expect to make it to Hollywood.
Overall: “Lightning Storm” was a fantastic episode. The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series has been an absolute blast. The creative team has done an incredible job making sure this incarnation of the Legion stays true to the principals and spirit of the Silver Age Legion while still giving this new version of the Legion a fresh look and properly updating it for the current generation of kids. The best part about this cartoon is that it is going to get a whole new generation of kids hooked on the Legion of Super Heroes. And that is very important to the longevity of the Legion.