Monday, June 13, 2016

The Super Friends meet The Time Trapper!

Hey Legionnaires! It's your old pal the Kord Kid, back with another tale that has a unique tie to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Remember back when I covered that Wonder Woman story that featured the Time Trapper? No? Well, here it is...Wonder Woman #101. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait here. 

You may have needed that refresher, but Wonder Woman didn't. Keep reading and you'll understand what I we look at The Super Friends, issues 17 & 18, written by E. Nelson Bridwell, with art by Ramona Fradon and Kurt Schaffenberger.

The Super Friends are on the scene at Professor Nichols’ lab. The Professor, guardian of Zan and Jayna, called the heroes after the Wonder Twins disappeared following an explosion in his lab. At first he thought it was an accident…but now, he believes it’s sabotage! 

His security camera caught a picture of a shadowy hooded figure tampering with his equipment who both Wonder Woman and Superman recognize…the Time Trapper! Superman has fought the villain before, with the Legion of Super-Heroes. He thinks that the Trapper is trying to eliminate the heroes who’d oppose him....which is why he took out the Wonder Twins. (Really? The Wonder Twins are a threat to the Time Trapper?) Wonder Woman contacts her mother, Hippolyte, who uses the Magic Sphere of Paradise Island to find the super teens, lost in time.  

Jayna is on Krypton, the day before it explodes, and Zan is on a water planet in the future, whose sun is about to turn into a red giant! The team decides to split up and, using some time-ships Superman just happens to be working on, rescue the Twins. Sups will lose his abilities no matter which planet he goes to, due to the red suns, so since her powers are magic based, Wonder Woman heads to Krypton with Batman and Robin, while Aquaman takes Superman to the water planet.

On Krypton, Wonder Woman leaves Batman and Robin to guard the ship while she runs to the spot where the Magic Sphere indicated Jayna would be---but the girl is gone! After asking around, she finds that Jayna is with Lyla Ler-Rol, a Kryptonian actress Superman once travelled back in time to meet and fall in love with. 

After meeting with the actress and Jayna, Wonder Woman wants to bring Lyla back to the, uh, future with them, but when they get to the time-ship they find themselves chased by Kryptonian Police investigating the “alien” ship. A fight ensues, and Lyla sacrifices herself to allow the others to escape…just as Krypton explodes, and baby Kal-El rockets toward Earth.

On Neryla IV, the water planet, Superman and Aquaman luck into finding Zan, who just happens to be waiting near their landing spot. Unluckily, though, a giant monster made of hard water is there too, and smashes at their ship before Aquaman uses his telepathy to send it away. 

They are soon approached by another water creature who asks for their help. He knows his planet will soon be destroyed by the red giant star, but with their assistance he hopes to use a projector to transport his people safely to another dimension. Since his wife hails from another dimension Aquaman is something of an expert on the subject, so the heroes agree to help. Soon they find that they’re the ones in danger as their own ship can no longer fly. Superman stumbles onto the idea that they can still use the ship’s time controls, when Gleek suddenly shows up out of nowhere, and sends them into the planet’s future. 

The red giant has collapsed into a white dwarf star restoring Superman’s power and giving the others super strength too, (wait, what?). Their new powers enable them to push the ship through a space warp and back home. 

Once home the Super Friends decide to track down the Time Trapper. He would expect them to use the time-ships, or even Superman’s super speed…so they’ll catch him off guard by travelling through time via…hypnosis!

The second issue opens with Tuatara, New Zealand’s hero from the Global Guardians, using his abilities to help locate the Time Trapper. They manage to spot him in 3 different times and places, so the group splits up once again, and travels through time and space…via Prof. Nichols’ hypnosis techniques. (No, really...look)

Aquaman and Superman head to Atlantis in 59,600 B.C., arriving to find that Time Trapper is trying to destroy Atlantis with a device that will cause a massive earthquake. If that wasn’t enough, he built in a fail-safe: the device is surrounded by wires that if touched will set off an explosion with the force of a hundred H-bombs! No problem…Aquaman summons a pipefish that slips between the wires and deactivates the device. 

Before they can search for the villain responsible though, they fade back into their own time.

Wonder Woman and Robin go to Spain and quickly recognize their surroundings. They’re outside the home of Princess Isabella, who is all set to marry King Ferdinand, but her brother Henry IV wants to stop the union. Interestingly, when a troop of knights on horseback show-up, they’re not led by Henry…they’re not even human! They’re empty suits of armor animated by the Time Trapper. 

The duo manages to defeat the metal minions, paving the way for the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand and, subsequently, the voyage of Columbus to the New World before they, too, fade back to 1978.

Batman and the Wonder Twins show up in a train yard in 1860 Michigan just in time to overhear the telegraph man and a young boy discuss Abraham Lincoln’s upcoming speech in the presidential race. The Twins think that’s why they’re there, but Batman says it's actually because of the boy! 

Young Tom tells them he sells candy, prints papers, and does experiments when he has time. There’s no time now though, as the Time Trapper, intent on crashing the train, has taken out the bridge! Using their powers, Zan and Jayna rebuild the bridge with ice tracks and an alien dinosaur bridge…saving young Thomas Edison.

Then like the others…they fade before they can go any further.

Back in 1978 though, things have gotten worse! Time Trapper is waiting! He’s frozen Prof. Nichols, so the heroes are powerless and unable to return to their bodies. 

It seems he’s won…until Gleek shows up out of nowhere, again, and tangles the Trapper in his tail! The space monkey then frees the Professor, releasing his friends and allowing Superman to call the Controller Universe to collect the villain for trial.

Wow! That was…wow! I loved the Super Friends as a kid, and not until recently did I realize how much the comic book version reflected not just the animated series, but the DCU of its day as well. I mean, we got the Global Guardians, a reference to Aquaman’s wife Mera, the Time Trapper and the Legion, and even a throwback to an old Wonder Woman story! Of course we also got Gleek randomly showing up and being the one responsible for the defeat of the Time Trapper…that’s got to be a slap in the face to the villain, and the Super Friends, and the Legion. I mean, really? A space monkey can do what all of them have struggled to do? Ouch! Still, it was fun…and definitely interesting!


  1. I used to have this story on Viewmaster reels.
    (Remember Viewmaster?)

    1. Really? I thought those went out of business before the Super Friends came along....?

  2. ^I think that's where I remember this one from, because the covers weren't ringing any bells.

    E. Nelson Bridwell tried his damnedest to make the SF comic tie into Earth-One continuity...even if the rest of DC considered it a non-canon, licensed comic! So many of the stories are chock-full of little obscure bits of DC lore.

    Bridwell is kind of like the anti-Bob Haney. Where Zany Haney aschewed continuity, Bridwell wallowed in it. But they both wove some truly whacky (but very entertaining!) stories!


  3. There was a Viewmaster version of this?! I wish I'd known, that would have been a cool way to cover the story!

  4. Thank you for this! I've been looking for those scans for decades now! I always thought it was just a superman comic. I didn't realize I had looked at a superfriends comic back when it was new!
    But true to DC style, they threw in a super important science fact randomly. White dwarfs give all people from yellow suns superpowers. It also charged up superman's powers so much, he didn't trust himself to touch anything so everyone else had to do what he normally would have. He didn't even trust himself enough to let himself use is Super-Ventriloquism to talk to them in space.