Featured Screen Shot
Synopsis "Speed Demons"
Crowds gather in Metropolis ahead of the “The Fastest Man Alive Race”, a charity race between Superman and the Flash. Superman is the first to arrive, neatly and quietly descending on to the start line from the skies above. The Flash, by contrast, arrives is a blur of speed and loops around the plaza before joining Superman on the start line. The cocky, young speedster tries to upstage the older hero, but the Man of Steel refuses to rise to his antics. The rules of the race are simple, the winner will be the man who first circles the Earth one hundred times. The progress of the racers will be monitored by satellite tracking bands attached to each contestant’s arm.
Red and blue blurs race away from the starting line the instant the starting gun is fired. They zig zag through Metropolis, past the Daily Planet building, across the toll bridge and then away across the middle of America. The blurs continue out over the ocean, moving so fast that they’re able to run on the surface of the water. The two heroes are evenly matched and by the fifteenth lap the Flash has only a narrow lead.
Unknown to either hero the seemingly anonymous official who gave them their tracking bands was actually the disguised extortionist Mark Mardon. His mild-mannered scientist brother, Ben Mardon, had been experimenting with weather manipulation, but he had never generated enough “high velocity ionic energy” to power his equipment. However, the Flash and Superman’s race is creating a massive reservoir that he can tap into using devices hidden in the heroes tracking armbands. Mark is annoyed to find that Ben has already made it snow outside their house as he has more ambitious plans for their technology and does not want to draw attention to their hideout.
Mark Mardon adopts another disguise and announces himself to the authorities as the Weather Wizard. He demonstrates the power of his new weapon by creating a violent storm off of the northern coast of Australia. Luckily for the sailors caught in the storm, it is directly in the path of the super-speed race. Superman and the Flash are soon on hand to save a stranded oil tanker that is leaking below the waterline. Superman seals the ship’s hull with his superstrength and heat vision, while the Flash uses his super-speed to create a vortex to suck up the escaping oil. The Weather Wizard’s storm then passes as quickly as it was created.
When the heroes watch the Weather Wizard’s latest communication the Flash recognises him as Mark Mardon. The Flash and Superman divert their race to look for Mardon. He is ready to kill them, but Ben intercedes and argues that killing is going to far. Ben had agreed to let Mark use his machine first as he had paid for its development with proceeds from his last extortion, but he had never agreed to using it as a murder weapon. Mark brushes his arguments aside and throws a blizzard into the heroes path. The Flash is barely able to stand upright and even Superman is held in place by the accumulated ice. Superman melts the ice with his heat vision while the Flash vibrates his molecules until the ice melts around him. Once they’re free the heroes realise that the Weather Wizard has been targeting them via their tracking arm bands. They ditch the armbands and restart the hunt for Mardon.
The Australian storm had been just a demonstration to prove the Weather Wizard’s power. He now demands that ransom of a billion dollars otherwise he will unleash a massive hurricane against Metropolis. Ben pleas with his brother again and refuses to go along with threatening an entire city. Mark pretends to let Ben leave, but then tries to kill him with a storm of boulder sized hailstones. The weather anomaly is spotted by the weather satellites and pin points the Weather Wizard’s hideout. Superman and the Flash arrive in the nick of time to save Ben, but he warms them that his brother has gone mad and will kill them all.
Savage winds lash Metropolis as the impetuous Flash races ahead of Superman to the Weather Wizard’s hideout. He’s stunned by bolt after bolt of lightning until Superman pulls him clear. Superman circumvents the lightening shield surrounding the hideout by tunnelling under it, but even he isn’t immune to a point blank blast from the Weather Wizard’s hand held controller. The Flash follows the Man of Steel into the hideout. He knocks the controller from the Wizard’s grasp, but in going so creates a feedback that causes the weather control equipment to release all its stolen energy. The feedback destroys the hideout, but Superman manages to fly the Flash and the Weather Wizard to safety.
The Weather Wizard is deposited at the Metropolis prison. His scheme had interrupted the heroes race and had left the outcome unresolved. In a more friendly manner than before, Superman and the Flash line themselves up on the prison threshold to start a friendly race just between themselves.
For me, the highlight of this episode is the banter between the Flash and Superman. Especially Superman’s calm versus the Flash’s showboating. It foreshadows the relationship between Green Lantern and the Flash in the cartoon Justice League.
It’s not really something that is unique to this episode, but the rate of ice accumulation in superhero cartoons is rather ridiculous. The Flash and Superman are nearly instantaneously encased in a large block of ice, but one would have thought that the Flash should have been fast enough to out race a growing ice crystal.
The Flash is one of the first guest stars in the Superman cartoon. He is brash and over confident and their race pretty much opens as the classic Tortoise and the Hare set-up. In the comics the Flash and Superman have raced several times, but it surprising how few of the those races actually go the distance without some supervillain or other interfering. I must admit its not one of the classic storylines that I particularly like and it has been some what over done. However, the animated series does manages to make it feel fresh and dynamic. I think I prefer the Green Lantern guest appearance as they do more with the character’s mythology, but this episode doesn’t do too badly.
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