DVD Review: DC Comics Superheroes: The Filmation Adventures, Volume 1: A Peppy Blast from the Past

Watch the Flash, the Green Lantern, and the Atom battle evil-doers in this collection of animated adventures from 1967.
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DC Comics Superheroes: The Filmation Adventures, Volume 1 contains nine animated adventures from The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, which ran on  CBS-TV for the 1967-68 season. It's a truncated version of the two-disc DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures that featured all the show’s supporting superheroes - including Hawkman, Teen Titans, and the Justice League of America.. This volume has three adventures each from three other superheroes - Green Lantern, the Atom, and the Flash. Radiation, evil aliens, mad scientists, robot monsters, and giant insects are the bad guys in these short adventures, which run about seven minutes each. 

The Green Lantern (aided by his sidekick, Kairo) battles against an evil alien queen and her henchmen in "Sirena, Empress of Evil." An outer space fugitive kidnaps Kairo in “The Vanishing World” to distract the Green Lantern from a breakout of prisoners on a penal colony. The Guardians of the Universe enlist Green Lantern to thwart supervillian Evil Star in "Evil is as Evil Does."

The Atom, the alter-ego of scientist Ray Palmer, shrinks himself into  a tiny crime-fighter, throwing rocks and test-tubes at an assortment of bad guys (and gigantic beetles) out to rule the world. In “The Plant Master” he stops an evil scientist from using plants for nefarious purposes. In “The House of Doom”, an alien warlord uses a mad scientist to hinder future space exploration by earthlings. And giant alien beetles set out to destoy a nuclear plant in "Invasion of the Beetle Men."

The Flash, the world’s fastest human, thwarts enemies with his blinding speed. Along with his sidekick, Kid Flash, he stops the evil alien Blue Bolt from destroying the Sphinx, the Netherlands, and the world in general in “To Catch a Blue Bolt.” In “The Chemo-Creature” he fights a giant ant created by a radiation mishap, and in “Take a Giant Step,” a mad scientist unleashes an army of robots against Flash and Kid Flash.

 If you’re a DC comic completist or a dedicated all-around fan of animated superheroes, you’ll appreciate this collection for its historical value. Casual viewers who have an interest in kitschy retro animation (or who want to relive childhood memories) will enjoy the episodes. As retro animation goes, though, these episodes aren’t the cream of the crop. There’s no backstory, plot, or character development - it’s all villain-thwarting action from the get-go. The animation can be endearingly plain at time, and the dialogue is full of “Holy Smokes”, “We’re jet-setters now” and other corny phrases. Still, it’s a peppy blast from the past.

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