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The New Super Friends Episode 1 Rokan: The Enemy From Space

The various incarnations of the Superfriends show get a little hard to track, but this appears to be from The New Superfriends which aired concurrently with Challenge of the Superfriends in 1978. In this episode Rokan, a pterodactyl-like creature that was thought to have been extinct for a million years on Krypton, finds it's way to Earth. Being from Krypton it develops the same powers as Superman. It was obviously influenced by Rodan, but to avoid being sued they made it look really goofy. I was thinking of it as a giant space turkey, so I had to chuckle when Aquaman called it a big turkey at one point.

Rokan's wings can devastate a town, and it has developed super strength greater than Superman's along with the heat vision. Rokan goes around the world destroying cities and laying eggs. The Superfriends seem unable to find a way to beat it, until Superman remembers that he is vulnerable to Kryptonite. Speaking of Superman, he seems a bit powered down in this episode. He can't seem to fly any faster than the Batmobile can drive. Wonder Woman's jet on the other hand has had a definite upgrade, as it can fly into space and tow a Kryptonite boulder weighing over 3 billion tons. 

Once the boulder has been split up, it is towed easily by not just the jet but the Batcopter and Aquaman's jet ski. In fact, the Batcopter and the invisible jet are apparently moving so fast that the boulder isn't hanging below them, but is trailing directly behind them despite the fact that it would still weigh several hundred million tons. By far the weirdest moment though, is Batman saying to Robin that he doesn't see any of Rokan's eggs, so they should leave. Robin says "Wait Batman, look" and we see two of Rokan's babies, who are already taller than a house, treeing some people. Apparently Batman didn't notice the 3 story tall purple space chickens in his reconnaissance of the area. World's greatest detective my ass! I also love when Superman says to Jayna "Don't worry about me" and Wonder Woman immediately says "Right!" She goes on to explain why, but there's a brief moment when it sounds like Wonder Woman doesn't give a crap if Superman dies.

Even with the cheesy elements the story still had some cool ideas, like the Kryptonian monster that, remember, predated Doomsday.  There was a heat vision duel that was unfortunately poorly executed and not played out like it should have been. This of course being a cartoon in the 70's they didn't really show the true cost of the devastation of Rokan, but it is hinted at pretty well. It's kind of a given that superhero cartoons of this era are going to be corny, and this is no exception. But it's still fun, and the Superfriends is a fountain of nostalgia for those of us that grew up watching the original run, or the reruns throughout the 80's. It may sound dumb, and it really is, but I still can't recommend it enough.


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