The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series: Episode #6: “Fear Factory”

This week I have decided to Tivoblog this week’s episode. We start with Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Superman, Lightning Lad and Bouncing Ball aboard their space ship. They are all watching a horror flick. We see a girl following her cat into a dark tunnel. Bouncing Boy yells out that you never go back for the cat! That they always get attacked when the go back for the cat. Suddenly a monster appears behind the girl.

Brainy comments that he doesn’t understand the point of watching ancient classic horror movies. Suddenly, the Legionnaires feel a massive tremor. There is a huge cosmic storm in front of the Legionnaires’ ship. In the middle of the cosmic storm is a space station. Suddenly, Saturn Girl says she hears lots of voices on the space station. Brainy counters that their sensors are indicating that there are no life forms registering on the space ship. Bouncing Boy comments that this reminds him of a horror movie he saw.

The Legionnaires then board the space station. A creepy monster named Boris approaches the Legionnaires and welcomes them aboard and tells them that the master has been waiting for them. And cut to snappy theme song. I finally actually paid attention to the intro to the show and noticed that you see Matter-Eater Lad, Element Lad, Star Boy (current re-re-boot version), Shrinking Violet, Colossal Boy, and Cosmic Boy. Obviously, I can’t wait for Cos to appear on this show. I was kind of hoping to see old school Thom complete with beard and his costume that looks like the universe. It is by far the best costume design ever.

Boris tells the Legionnaires that his master will be happy to have them for dinner. Bouncing Boy comments that the creature probably means literally for dinner. We pass by the master’s painting collection. They enter a large dinning hall. The master introduces himself as Professor Planerus. The Professor tells the Legionnaires that they are well known even in this distant part of the universe. The Professor says that this space station is an intergalactic rest stop called Quavermass 12. This station was named after its creator. All the Legionnaires are served their favorite meals, except for Bouncing Boy who got a creepy bowl of soup with a bunch of eye balls in it. Brainy tells the Legionnaires that the scanner machines read the Legionnaires minds as then boarded the space station. Boris takes Bouncing Boy’s bowl and tells him he will have the kitchen cook something else and then whispers to him that Bouncing Boy is doomed.

The Professor tells the Legionnaires that the docking bridge is out and that they will have to spend the night. Boris leads the Legionnaires to their chambers. Boris tells Bouncing Boy that his room is the last one on the left, isolated and alone where no one will hear him when he cries out.

We see Bouncing Boy that night getting creepy phone calls and hearing strange sounds. Bouncing Boy then finds a little cat named Whiskers. Suddenly, Whiskers disappears and Bouncing Boy goes searching for the cat. On his search, Bouncing Boy recognizes all these different scenes from various horror movies that he has seen before. He finally finds Whiskers and then recoils in horror that he came back for the cat! Suddenly, a large monster attacks Bouncing Boy from behind.

Saturn Girl then alerts the other Legionnaires that Bouncing Boy is in trouble. We see the Legionnaires burst onto the scene and save Bouncing Boy from the monster. However a small portal opens up behind Bouncing Boy and sucks him up and then disappears.

Brainiac 5 then uses his scanner in the room and says that there are no traces of Bouncing Boy anywhere. The Legionnaires search the space station. They see this horrific painting of Bouncing Boy on the wall. The Legionnaires then enter a room that is the exact facsimile of Lighting Lad’s room back home. Superman says that they need to get back to their ship. Superman burns a hole in the ship’s hull only to have the space station automatically heal itself. Then the space station’s defense system attacks the Legionnaires.

Suddenly, a creepy toy clown comes from under Lighting Lad’s bed. It is Captain Howdy. Lighting Lad curls up in the fetal position and tells Captain Howdy to stay away. That he used to hide under Lightning Lad’s bed and would only come out during storms. Lighting Lad’s parents never believed him. Suddenly, another portal appears and Captain Howdy and Lighting Lad get sucked into it.

Brainiac 5 says that the space station knows each of their fears and is using that against them. It is just like how the space station knew what food they liked. The Legionnaires then notice that Saturn Girl is missing. We cut to Saturn Girl strapped to a huge space roller coaster. Saturn Girl says she hates roller coasters. Saturn Girl starts screaming in terror and a portal appears and sucks her up.

Brainiac 5 and Superman are the only Legionnaires left. Brainiac 5 tells Superman that they must not be afraid and that it is time to take the ghost out of the machine. We see more horrific paintings of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl on the walls. Brainy then gives Superman a small disc in case anything happens to Brainy. Brainy says that he must fight his demons on his own. Superman takes the disc. The two heroes enter a room full of Coluans. The Coluans tells Brainiac 5 to return with them. That Brainiac 5 is not human and he should rid himself of that foolish desire. The Coluans blast Brainiac 5 and we have a big brawl on our hands. Brainiac 5’s attack mode is pretty sweet.

Brainiac disables the hologram in the room and reveals the Quavermass 12 main computer. The Quavermass 12 and Brainiac 5 brawl. Brainiac 5 hooks into the Quavermass 12 main computer and downloads a virus into the Quavermass 12. The virus is Brainy himself. A holographic form of Brainy appears and tells Superman that the Quavermass 12 holds its victims in a permanent state of fear within the paintings. The Quavermass 12 uses fear as an energy source. We learn that the Professor and Boris are merely holograms generated by the Quavermass 12. Brainy tells Superman to shut down the Quavermass 12. Of course, Brainy is now a part of the Quavermass 12 and can’t be saved now.

Superman flies to the main system of the Quavermass 12 and tries to shut it down. The Quavermass then projects a hologram of Clark’s mom who tells Clark to stop immediately. Superman tells his “mom” that she is just a hologram. Clark then destroys the Quavermass 12’s main system. We then see the Legionnaires freed from their paintings. Saturn Girl then tells the Legionnaires that there is something wrong. That Superman is in great pain. We see Superman holding Brainy’s body. Superman is distraught and said that he wanted to save Brainy, but he couldn’t. Bouncing Boy nonchalantly asks where Brainy’s back up disc is.

We see Bouncing Boy loading up the back up disc that Brainy gave Superman. Brainiac 5 wakes up as good as new. We cut to later with Brainy talking to Superman. Superman is angry that Brainy didn’t tell him that it was a backup disc that Brainy gave him. Brainy says if he had told Superman then Superman wouldn’t have overcome his fear of losing the people he cares for. Brainy comments that he is afraid of what Bouncing Boy wants them to watch: some old TV shows called “Reality Television.” The two then walk off to join the other Legionnaires. End of episode.

“Fear Factory” was another good episode. We got plenty of action and humor in this episode. The best part about “Fear Factory” is that we got plenty of Chuck. Bouncing Boy was large and in charge. Bouncing Boy gets all of the best lines. The best line was right before Bouncing Boy gets attacked by the monster and he utters “Oh no! I just went back for the cat!” I absolutely loved the scenes between Bouncing Boy and Boris. Hilarious. I also liked how Bouncing Boy turns into his ball form whenever he gets scared. Classic. Bouncing Boy is by far the most entertaining character on this series. I hope that he continues to be featured in all the upcoming episodes.

I also enjoyed the scene with Lightning Lad confronting his fear: a clown doll. Seeing such a tough guy character curled up in the fetal position terrified of a clown doll was great.

We also got some drama to balance out the comedy with the relationship between Superman and Brainiac 5. I really like the chemistry between these two characters. Clearly, Brainiac 5 has some deep rooted guilt of being the decedent of one of Superman’s biggest villains: Brainiac. It was interesting to see how Brainiac 5 is determined to make Superman face his own fears so that he may become the hero that the world needs Superman to be.

I like all the additional features that the animators are giving the Legion flight rings. It is pretty cool that the Legion flight rings can be used as holographic communicators as well as flashlights.

My only complaint with this episode is that all the Legionnaires simply served as props for Superman to rescue. I hated it in the comic book back when Superboy was the big hero and made all the other Legionnaires irrelevant. I hate it in the current comic book when Supergirl hogs the spotlight and makes the other Legionnaires irrelevant. So, I certainly don’t like it when it happens in the cartoon. This is the first episode where Superman really hogged the spotlight and had to save all the helpless little Legionnaires. The animators have done a good job not doing that in the previous episodes. I hope that this is a one time event and doesn’t become a pattern for future episodes.

I didn’t find any Easter eggs in this episode unlike the last episode that was chock full of neat little Legion references and cameos. Maybe I missed them, so I’ll have to rely on those of keener eyes to point out any that I may have missed. I love it when there are tons of cool references and cameos. That is what made “Champions” so great. I hope that the future episodes have plenty more of them.

All in all, “Fear Factory” was another fine episode. The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series has been an absolute blast. There is plenty of humor, action and themes about friendship in each episode. The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series is obviously designed for kids, but I think the creators have done a nice job making these episodes entertaining for older Legion fans as well. Personally, I love the “young” and “bright” feel to the animated Legion. After being forced to read the TMK Legion and the DnA Legion, I have had enough of the dark and grim Legion to last me a life time.

1 thought on “The Legion of Super Heroes Animated Series: Episode #6: “Fear Factory”

  1. For some reason, episodes 4 and 6 were shown out of production order (“Fear Factory” is actually 1.04 and “Phantoms” is 1.06). I don’t know why, since this would have been a perfect Halloween episode.

    No Easter eggs, but now that you’re TiVo-blogging it, you should slo-mo through the opening credits to see all the Mission Monitor Board symbols. Not all of them will appear this season, one of the production guys told me that they just thought it looked cool to have all those symbols.

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