Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Out of His League: The Original A Team of Evil

The Evil League of Evil—who does not tremble at the name? Who dares defy the nefarious likes of Bad Horse, Dead Bowie, or Fake Thomas Jefferson? Dr. Horrible wants in so badly he can taste it, while a mere henchman like Moist can only dream of a life in crime in the Big Show. Was there ever before such a vile den of bloodcurdling villainy?

Yes.

 

 

In 1973, Hanna-Barbera produced the animated series Super Friends, an adaptation of DC Comics’s iconic Justice League of America, which included such mainstays as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. For comics fans, the show left much to be desired, as it ignored beloved characters such as the Flash and Green Lantern in favor of the insipid likes of teen sidekicks Marvin and Wendy and depicted the remaining champions of justice in a uniformly bland and saccharine manner.

But Super Friends contained a true stroke of genius (and the inspiration for the ELE): the concept of the Legion of Doom, a dark cognate of the Friends that gathered thirteen of the world’s worst supervillains in a cooperative effort to take down the heroes that had so consistently foiled their plans. Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Scarecrow, Brainiac, and the Riddler were the marquee names, but the Legion also contained the lesser-known Giganta, a feral, oversize woman artificially evolved from an ape(!); Aquaman’s undersea nemesis Black Manta; the unstoppable zombie Solomon Grundy; the Salvador Dali look-alike rogue Green Lantern called Sinestro; Grodd, the talking gorilla; Cheetah, an insane socialite with a severe hate-on for Wonder Woman; the chilling (if one-note) Captain Cold; and the creepy Toyman, a mad scientist/inventor type with toy-themed weapons. All in all, a much more colorful and intriguing group than the corny, cookie-cutter Friends.

Best of all was their hangout, a sinister clubhouse bearing a marked resemblance to Darth Vader’s faceplate that would inexplicably surface and submerge at random intervals in its remote swampland location.

The Legion always lost, of course, because, though they outnumbered the Super Friends, the members’ villainous, petty natures precluded them from working effectively as a team. Despite this, the Legion of Doom remained a compelling concept, its concentration of power and evil intent strangely thrilling in the Super Friends’ otherwise anodyne universe. Besides, where would a kid rather hang out: in “The Hall of Justice,” a boring midtown building that looks like a fancy bank, or a creepy flying saucer that hides in a swamp?

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Photo credits: all Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog images: Amy Opoka; The Legion of Doom from Super Friends: Warner Bros.

 

 

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