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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Series'
(Michael Cornacchia, Adam Wylie, Kari Wahlgren, Andy Milder, Yuri Lowenthal, et al / 3-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (2006-2008) 2020 / Warner Archive Collection)

Overview: One thousand years from now the legendary Man of Steel inspires a group of emerging young heroes from the 31st century to band together and defend the newly formed United Planets.

That is, if they don't kill each other first!

Blu-ray Verdict: Taking it from the top, 'Legion of Super Heroes' was originally developed because of Cartoon Network's desire to have a Superman-centric series to coincide with the movie 'Superman Returns' (2006) and Superman as part of the Legion worked for them.

When Cartoon Network passed on the show, Kids WB! stepped in and they, too, wanted a Superman-centric series with Superman fresh out of Smallville, learning to be Superman.

Add to that the early promotional literature noted that Clark Kent would be called Superboy, as in the comics, and I assume that you also felt that shiver go down your spine!

However, a court ruling awarding copyright to that specific character to creator Jerry Siegel's family and thus prompted Warner Brothers to change the premise by having Clark's superhero identity be simply a young Superman.

All that aside, and with both the cancellation of the 'Teen Titans' (developed by Glen Murakami and Sam Register) and then the reveal of the not-so-great (on oh-so many levels) direct-to-video animated film 'Superman: Brainiac Attacks' reigning down in 2006, I was personally fearing for the future of intelligently-written and superbly-drawn DC superhero cartoons.

But then, and with a bulk of Legion's animation having been done at Korea's Dong Woo and Lotto studios (which, founded in 1991, has produced many wonderous animated series and films), something different came along.

Whereas 'Teen Titans' had both its very dark story lines (come on, at times it did, you know it did) and its uber-comedic moments (which we all loved, even to this day still quoting), 'Legion of Super Heroes' stuck to a more straight-forward, rigidly classic superhero feel.

Throw into this whole scenario of wicked excellent, and at all times uber colorful nostalgia, a bunch of Easter Eggs and homages for fans of all things DC (especially Superman, but no, I will not reveal them here for you), the team's aim was to, simply put, save the world (or rather, the galaxy) at all costs.

In Season One, Legionnaires Bouncing Boy (Michael Cornacchia), Brainiac 5 (Adam Wylie), Saturn Girl (Kari Wahlgren) and Lightning Lad (Andy Milder) travel back in time to convince an awkward teen named Clark Kent (Yuri Lowenthal) to join their Legion of Super Heroes and battle their arch nemeses, the Fatal Five.

The insecure teen is, in turn, inspired by his new friends and, with their help, begins his journey to become the galaxy's greatest hero.

Catching up two years later, Season Two presents Superman and the Legion with an even greater challenge: Kell-El, the Superman of the 41st century!

Originally titled, 'Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes' (as aforementioned above), what we have here is a very rich girl named A-LEX-is, who has a special interest in Superman, and later gets all her hair burnt off (but settle down, it's not permanent!)

Any guesses who she turns out to become, perhaps? No? Seriously! OK then, moving right along and we also come across a being called Drax, who escapes from the Phantom Zone, and then pulls out some unexplained weakness of Clark's (a green rock of some kind!) - oh, and who answers to some supreme being that appears to want out of the Phantom Zone!

The animation is highly stylized, though not distracting, and the themes are surprisingly deep for a children's cartoon - but, believe me, this is a very good thing!

That doesn't mean it's violent, though. While the characters get knocked around fairly often (I mean, this is a super hero show, after all), there's no more violence than one could expect from any other rated show of this ilk.

The characters are very realistic and not only do they speak like real people, but they're constantly growing, changing, and capable of error.

OK, I said I wouldn't reveal any of the Easter Eggs, but I will let this slip, as I think it's just so damn brilliant! As we know, 'Legion of Super Heroes' also gives some nods to the comic books and Superman mythos, in general.

For example, in a bout of insanity, Brainy exclaims, "Red ants! Red ants! Superman shouldn't play with red ants" (which I'm sure all Superman junkies will understand immediately), so it's enjoyable for kids and comic book fans alike.

Unfortunately, and wrongly in my book, it was cancelled after season two and some 26 episodes, and even though I don't think I would have personally taken Brainiac 5 the route they did re: being a "transformer" who may, or may not be an upgrade of the original Braniac, the psychic rings of Saturn emanating latitudinally from Imra's head is a quite brilliant visual (even for animation levels back some 14 years ago!). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

We Are Legion (9:05) - This 2007 promotional featurette was originally included on Warner Bros.' Legion of Super Heroes Volume 1 DVD collection.

Commentary on Series Finale: Dark Victory, Parts 1 and 2 - This exclusive new commentary track features producer James Tucker, director Brandon Vietti, and voice actor Kari Wahlgren (Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet), and is moderated by the Warner Archive Podcast team of D.W. Ferranti and Matt Patterson.

Warner Archive Collection continues its proud tradition of distributing the best of Warner Bros. Animation’s robust library of DC-based productions with the release of 'Legion of Superheroes: The Complete Series' on Blu-rayTM starting July 14th, 2020.

Official Purchase Link