Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series: Episode 9: “The Substitutes”

This should be an excellent episode. It should certainly be a hardcore Legion fan’s wet dream. We get Legion auditions this episode which means cameos by tons of minor characters from the Legion’s storied history. Let’s go ahead and blogcast this episode.

Episode Title: Episode 9: “The Substitutes”

Synopsis: We begin with the Legion holding Legion Auditions for membership. First up is Chlorophyll Kid. Unfortunately, his powers only let him make plants grow fast. He can’t actually control them. The plant he grows goes out of control and starts damaging the audition room. Lightning Lad sighs and says “And so it begins.” And cue commercial.

We cut back and see Bouncing Boy getting himself swallowed by the monster plant and then exploding it from within. Chlorophyll Kid leaves and says he has a really good feeling about his tryout.

Next up is Stone Boy. He turns into an immobile stone statue.

Next up is Color Kid. He shows off his ability to change the color of anything. To the beat of some disco music, Color Kid proceeds to turn Superman a bunch of different colors.

Next is Porcupine Pete. Lightning Lad immediately remembers him and doesn’t want him to waste their time with his tryout. Porcupine Pete shows off his power against a robot. Unfortunately, he can’t control where his quills go so he shoots them at the Legionnaires as well as at the robot.

Next is Matter Eater Lad. To display his powers, Matter-Eater Lad eats a bomb.

Next is Star Boy (The three-boot version). Star Boy displays his powers to make things either super light or super heavy.

Next is Infectious Lass who demonstrates her ability to make people sick by giving Bouncing Boy a cold. During her tryout, Infection Lass puffs on her inhaler.

The Legionnaires then face all of the candidates. The announce that Matter Eater Lad and Star Boy have been chosen to join the Legion. We then cut to Stone Boy, Color Kid, Porcupine Pete, Chlorophyll Kid and Infection Lass all sitting together bemoaning the fact that they failed to get into the Legion.

Bouncing Boy bounces over and tells the Legion hopefuls that Bouncing Boy failed his first couple of auditions and didn’t get in until his fourth try. That being a hero isn’t about what their power is. Instead it is how they use their power. Bouncing Boy is then radioed to report to HQ for a mission. Bouncing Boy tells the Legion hopefuls to never give up.

We cut to the Legion locking horns with a creature eating the ozone layer of the Earth. Superman says that the new Legionnaires should handle the creature. Star Boy makes the creature super heavy causing it to fall toward Matter Eater Lad. Matter Eater Lad opens his mouth wide and eats the creature in one bite. Suddenly, we see a bunch more of these creatures heading toward the Legionnaires. And go to commercial.

And we are back. We see Porcupine Pete, Chlorophyll Lass, Stone Boy, Color Kid and

Infection Lass helps an old lady across the street. Unfortunately, she makes her sick. Stone Boy tries to stop some robbers by holding out his hand for them to stop and then turning into stone. The robbers run right past his immobile form.

We see Chlorophyll Kid grow a plant to help a firefighter reach a fire in a building. Unfortunately, the plant keeps growing and the firefighter passes the fire.

We see Color Kid see a poster for a missing white dog. He sees a brown dog that looks the same. Color Kid turns the dog white and then returns him to the owner of the missing white dog. We then see a little girl put up a poster for her missing brown dog.

We then see Porcupine Pete save a girl from drowning in a pool. She regains consciousness and then screams because she is full of quills from where Porcupine Pete touched her.

We cut to a villain named Starfinger who has a different power in each finger. Starfinger shows off his various powers. The power from his pinkie finger allows him to create small furry creatures who steal things for him. Starfinger makes a bunch of these creatures and lets them wreak havoc in the area.

The Legion of Substitute Heroes then arrive to put a stop to Starfinger. Starfinger proceeds to easily take down the Substitute heroes. Starfinger then takes off and tells his furry creatures to follow him.

We shift to the Legionnaires outside of Earth battling with the ozone eating creatures. Brainiac 5 cannot figure out where these creatures are coming from.

We shift back to Starfinger at his secret hideout. The Substitute Heroes track the small furry creatures back to Starfinger’s hideout. Porcupine Pete then radios Brainiac 5 and tells him that Starfinger is on the loose. Brainiac 5 responds that they are dealing with a matter of global importance. That Starfinger is a third rate villain. That the Legion doesn’t’ have time to deal with him. Brainy says that he is sure the Substitute heroes will think of something.

We cut to the Substitute heroes breaking into Starfinger’s hideout. The heroes begin brawling with Starfinger. Starfinger shoots a bunch of his furry creatures at Stone Boy. The creatures create a sphere around Stone Boy and float off into the sky with Stone Boy.

We cut back to the Legionnaires still battling with the endless number of ozone eating creatures. Brainy tells Superman that he has created a cannon that may be able to stop the creatures. Unfortunately, there is a 14% chance the cannon will incinerate the sky over the western hemisphere. Brainy said they would have a better chance if they could figure out where these creatures were coming from.

We then see Stone Boy surrounded by Starfinger’s furry creatures float past the Legionnaires. Once they pass through the atmosphere, the furry creatures turn into the ozone eating creatures.

We come back from commercial. We see Element Lad, Sun Boy, Tyroc and Blok all in action taking out a bunch of the ozone eating creatures. We see Stone Boy falling back through the atmosphere. Brainy then appears with his cannon to take out the ozone eating creatures. .

We cut back to Starfinger fighting with the Substitute heroes. Starfinger gets the upper hand and is about to take out the Substitute heroes when Stone Boy comes crashing back to Earth and lands on top of Starfinger and takes Starfinger out.

Stone Boy then tells the Substitute heroes that the furry creatures are turning into the ozone eating creatures that the Legion is battling in the atmosphere. The Substitute heroes realize that Starfinger’s glove is the key to stopping the ozone eating creatures. Unfortunately, the Substitute heroes can’t get Starfinger’s glove off his hand.

We cut back to Brainy about to fire his cannon. Superman hopes that they don’t destroy the world with Brainy’s cannon. Brainy says that they have no choice. Suddenly, the Substitute Heroes appear in Porcupine Pete’s mom’s car with Starfinger strapped to the hood. They tell the Legionnaires that Starfinger’s glove is creating the ozone eating creatures. Brainy doesn’t believe them. Bouncing Boy says that he believes them. Lighting Lad says he believes them too. Lightning Lad tells Brainy to check the glove.

Brainiac 5 takes off Starfinger’s glove. Brainy then says that the Substitute heroes were right. Brainy adds the glove to his cannon and blasts the ozone eating creatures. The world is saved.

We cut to the Legionnaires talking with the Substitute heroes outside of Legion HQ. Lighting Lad tells the Substitutes that they did a great job. That they should come back for the next Legion auditions. The Substitutes decline saying that the five of them make a good time. That they could fill in for the Legion when they need help.

Bouncing Boy asks them if they are going to be a Legion of Substitute Heroes. Porcupine Pete says yes. Superman tells the Substitutes that he would be honored to work with them. Porcupine Pete swells with pride and says that nothing could ruin this moment. Suddenly, Porcupine Pete’s mom drives up and honks the horn and yells that it is time for his nap. End of episode.

Commentary: This was another excellent episode. Last week’s episode on this one are the best back to back episodes that we have gotten on this series. I knew I’d love this episode because of the Legion auditions. And I was certainly not disappointed. We got to see the core of the Legion of Substitute Heroes in Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Stone Boy, Porcupine Pete and Infectious Lass. I do admit that I wish they would have added Night Girl, Polar Boy and Fire Lad to the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

I guess that adding those three long time Subs would have ruined the gimmick of a team with really goofy and useless powers. Night Girl’s super strength when it is dark may be limited, but it isn’t a joke. Polar Boy’s power is definitely not a joke as evidenced by the fact that he eventually made it onto the Legion’s roster. And Fire Lad also has a pretty threatening power. So, since the animators were going for a bunch of dorky heroes with goody powers, I understand why these three long-time Subs were left off the roster.

I loved the personalities that the writers gave the Subs. Color Kid’s over the top drama queen personality was perfect. He reminded me of the blonde guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Chlorophyll Kid was hilarious! He reminded me of the contestants on American Idol who are horrible singers, but honestly believe that they are going to be invited to Hollywood.

Stone Boy was perfect. I chuckled out loud when he motioned for the robbers to stop, turned to stone and then the robbers just ran past him. Stone Boy certainly has one of the weirdest powers I have seen in the Legion’s history.

Porcupine Pete was a riot. The writers actually delivered a better animated version of this character than what we ever got in the comic book. I loved his exuberance and optimism despite the fact that he continually screwed up.

Infectious Lass was perfect. I loved that she had an asthma inhaler that she continually had to take a puff from.

I liked the character designs that the animators gave the Legion of Substitute Heroes. They retained enough of the original costume designs, but gave each character a more updated look for the cartoon. What was neat was that the animators used the fat Chlorophyll Kid from Giffen’s Substitute Heroes rather than the skinny Silver Age version.

All of the auditions were entertaining. It is great to see these strange powered heroes completely bomb in their auditions. My favorite audition was Color Kid’s because he performed his audition to the beat of a disco song. Classic!

And Lightning Lad played the role of Simon from American Idol. Lightning Lad was just horrified at these heroes who he most definitely considered to be huge losers. Lightning Lad’s reaction to the various auditions were the best.

It was no surprise that Star Boy and Matter Eater Lad made the team. Other than Polar Boy and Invisible Kid (Jacques flavor) there were no other likely candidates to make the team. I was bummed that the animators went with the three-boot version of Star Boy that Waid gave us. I much prefer the look of the real Thom Kallor complete with the most bitchin’ beard you will ever see in comics. Plus, he had the best looking costume in the DC Universe. But, I understand that the move was made to increase diversity on the team.

Matter-Eater Lad absolutely rocked!! I’m afraid he is close to replacing Bouncing Boy as my favorite Legionnaire on this Animated Series. I just totally dig his cool self confident personality. His costume design is excellent right down to him wearing shades. We definitely need more Tenzil on this cartoon.

I love the version of Starfinger that the creators gave us. This version of Starfinger is drastically different from the comic book version, but that is a good thing. Starfinger’s over the top and totally outrageous character was a perfect fit for this story. Starfinger was extremely entertaining.

I really liked how the creators handled the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Yeah, they are a collection of goofy powered characters. But, they all have that heroic spirit and big hearts. Unlike how Giffen reduced the Subs to nothing more than a punch line to a continual joke, the creators of the Animated Series showed that the Subs are true heroes. That the type of powers a hero has is meaningless. All that matters is a hero’s heart. And we got a very funny yet still heroic Legion of Substitute Heroes in this episode.

We also got several cool cameo appearances by Sun Boy, Blok and Tyroc. Sun Boy and Blok pretty much look the same as their comic book versions. However, thankfully, the animators decided to leave Tyroc’s hot pants and ankle boots in the 1970’s where they belong.

This episode captured the playful essence of the original Legion. The Adventure Era Legion offered up plenty of silly heroes and villains. And we also got treated to a Legion comprised of optimistic teen heroes who through teamwork, heart and courage were able to defeat any evil no matter how powerful. The creators of this Animated Series have clearly done their research and are delivering an incredible modern version of the Adventure Era Legion.

Overall: The Substitutes was a playful and enjoyable episode. We got a great mix of action, humor and cool cameo appearances. This Legion Animated Series has delivered exactly what I was hoping we would get when I first heard about this new cartoon. This cartoon is definitely a wonderful way to cultivate a new generation of Legion fans.

2 thoughts on “Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series: Episode 9: “The Substitutes”

  1. You’ve got the wrong Starfinger. The one in the cartoon was based visually off of the LSH v3 version, as seen here. The powers are more reminiscent of the first Starfinger, though, crossed with the Mandarin.

  2. HeeHeeHee!!!
    I absolutely LOVED this episode! I was laughing almost constantly throughout it!

    Best quote of the episode? Tenzil (M-E Lad): “Hmmm… Tastes like chicken.”

    I continue to really enjoy how the artists on the series use differences in the characters eyes to indicate aliens among the humanoids.

    Interesting how Star Boy merges both his and Light Lass’s powers. (Wonders if we’ll see Ayla other than in flashback?) It makes sense. The splitting of making stuff heavy and light has always been a bit of a puzzle to me…

    Voices in this were absolutly wonderful! Different enough that you would be able to tell the different Subs instantly with eyes closed.
    Star Finger and Color Kid: LOVED their voices!
    CK has become a bit of hero among some gays, mostly because of his rainbow.
    Drura using an inhaler and sounding like she always has a cold.

    In the scene where Tenzil and Star Boy are welcomed as the new members, rejected applicants aside from the Subs are:
    Night Girl, Polar Boy, Fire Lad, Antenna Lad, Double Header, Lung Boy, Invisible Kid (Jaques), (don’t recognize one in front of ME, screen left of Double Header), someone who has GOT to be Quake Kid (miners helmet, Q below Fire Lad’s ear, top of a K over Star Boy’s shoulder). I wonder who that is behind QK, screen left of Color Kid. I would almost guess Lyle Norg Invisible Kid, if Jaques Foccart wasn’t in the same shot. Black with white stripe in center, don’t see head…

    SQUEE! Blok! Element Lad in pink (though I prefer his green/black uniform), Sun Boy w/ long hair! Tyroc, I can take or leave. He was never one of my favorites, but never actively disliked him.

    I agree with your earlier review on the LSH31 comic. This series really captures the essence of the Legion. Something that has been missing since CoiE.

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