Superman on Television

Legion of Super Heroes: Episode Reviews

Season 1 - Episode 2: "Timber Wolf"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

I was a bit let down by this episode, to be honest.

It now seems Superman already has full control over all his powers. He was using heat vision normally and flying perfectly, and even used x-ray vision for the first time that we've seen (on this show) without a single problem. Perhaps expecting that story to run longer in an animated show was foolish, but I was hoping it was something that would play out more throughout the season.

I had a few other problems with this episode, too. I'm not incredibly familiar with Timber Wolf as he is in the comics, though I know they certainly made some big changes to him for this show. The changes aren't what bother me, though. More than that it's the treating it like "there's a monster inside him he doesn't know if he can control", and that being manifested in him actually turning into a sort of monster.

Yes, it's a wolf-like monster with appropriate abilities, but that's far too much of an Incredible Hulk clone for my tastes. Now the Hulk has merit as a character, absolutely, but it just feels to me like Timber Wolf, as he was introduced in this episode, is nothing but a wolf version of the same character. He doesn't exactly turn into the monster when he gets mad, but... well actually, he might, we haven't seen that yet. Once he turned to his pseudo-human form in this episode he never turned back. So we'll see how they handle that, but still it's something that bothers me to a degree.

What bothers me even more was the way Saturn Girl was handled in this episode. She was knocked unconscious no less than twice. The only other person knocked out was Timber Wolf, while in his monster stage, and it took Superman and Lightning Lad to take him down in a somewhat lengthy fight.

Not only was the only female in the episode the one who got knocked out twice, she was also kidnapped for no real reason that I can discern, and then naturally needed rescuing. I can buy her teammates going looking for her after she's been kidnapped, and no, she didn't technically need to be rescued.

But she was rescued, and there was never any reason for Timber Wolf to kidnap her in the first place. I mean, if I was a feral beast and I had my choice of people to kidnap, yeah, I'd go for the pretty girl. But he clearly didn't want her for, uh... mating purposes. He was trying to communicate with her, and if you're going to pick someone to try to communicate and you can't talk, the telepath is certainly the way to go.

Except that he had no way to know she could read minds when he kidnapped her.

That's not the only senseless act of the episode either. When Brin's father shows up at the end and sends his squad of robots and beasts at the Legion, he clearly expects to win. Except that it was clearly shown (and stated) that he could do nothing against Brin by himself, which was why he called the Legion in the first place.

So all his robots and crazy monster pets can't stop Brin alone, but they can stop Brin plus FIVE Legion members?

Do I expect too much from a cartoon? I don't know, maybe. But I've seen plenty of good cartoons that don't have problems like this. Ultimately I think what it boiled down to is that this episode was far more kid-oriented than the premiere episode. Kids wouldn't have noticed the problems I did, but as an adult who expects coherent storylines (devoid of helpless females and damsels in distress, no less) it just failed to deliver for me.

The Bouncing Boy/Brainiac 5 improvisation/by the book bit was really on overkill, too. They hit you over the head with "improvising is better!" about three or four times, and in 22 minutes of show, by the last time (which is quite easily the coolest, with Superman carrying the ship off the planet) I was sick of hearing it and it sort of ruined that moment a little.

The animation was still very slick and exciting, though, and all of the fight scenes were very energetic and entertaining to watch. I just hope in future episodes they get back to some better storytelling, because this episode was weak at best.

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