|“||MEANWHILE, AT THE THE LEGION OF DOOM!||„|
|~ A popular phase from the Superfriends show about the headquarters of the Legion of Doom's lair.|
The Legion of Doom, originally created for the Challenge of the Superfriends TV series, is a vicious group of supervillains whose objective is the destruction of all superheroes and to rule all of Earth. While they have been so far unsuccessful, their power is undeniable and they remain a threat. Since their appearance in Superfriends, The Legion of Doom has appeared in multiple other cartoons, movies and parodies, becoming a DC Comics/Pop-Culture staple.
Challenge of the Superfriends
The original Legion of Doom is lead by Lex Luthor, and is manned by nearly all of the Superfriends' primary villains, such as Gorilla Grodd, Brainiac, Sinestro, Bizarro, Toyman, Riddler, Scarecrow, Cheetah, Black Manta, and Giganta. Typically, at the end of every episode, the Superfriends thwart the villains but fail to capture them, usually due to some kind of intervention or distraction created by one of the villains, and they retreat back to their swamp base.
They have made constant appearances in the Superfriends cartoon, with thirteen villains opposing the Superfriends, sometimes appearing as smaller groups in short cartoons. However, some of them were rarely used and others were abused in turn. They were said to be "gathered together from remote galaxies", but only one or two of them did not have their origins on Earth.
In each episode they develop a somewhat evil plan (being a kid show in its era meant little true super villainy was allowed) and at the end of each episode the Superfriends defeated the plan. None of the members of the Legion are ever punished, as they always find a way to escape back to their base. One exception is at the end of "Superfriends - Rest In Peace" wherein the heroes fake their own deaths and ambush the villains at the end. This episode also mentions, but never shows, a Doctor Natas, who Luthor describes as a "one-time member" of the LoD, and who invented the lethal crystal the villains thought they killed the heroes with. The final episode of "Challenge", "History Of Doom", had a group of aliens in a post-apocalyptic future destroyed by a Legion miscalculation view the origins of the Legion, which showed Luthor viewing the formation of the Superfriends and guiding the villains, who feared being picked off one by one, into their own group. This timeline perhaps indicates the LoD was a presence all along in SF adventures, but was not seen until "Challenge". The two groups very first encounter was never shown.
This version of the Legion Of Doom apparently ceased to be a problem for a long time, with the egos involved probably leading to their breakup, and the later interest of Apokolips' ruler making their ambitions pointless. Besides the earlier-mentioned short pieces set after "Challenge" (including one with Zan and Jayna showing almost uncharacteristic competence, while still failing due to the villains' power-class), one critical mention came during the "Super Powers" era. In "The Krypton Syndrome", Superman falls into a time warp and manages to prevent the destruction of his home planet, Krypton. Somehow ignorant of the consequences of such a change, Superman heads back to the Earth of his time and finds it in ruins, with a shattered Robin relating how the Legion of Doom destroyed the world. Superman sadly goes back and prevents his earlier efforts to save Krypton, restoring the timeline. Like the Challenge episode "Secret Origins Of The Superfriends", this episode ignores how at least two LoD members (Luthor and Bizarro) would also not exist in the same way, absent a Superman.
Major Story Arcs in DC Comics
A version of the Legion of Doom first appeared in mainstream continuity by Brainwave Jr., during his time as a villain. This Legion of Doom consisted of Houngan, Killer Frost, the Madmen, Major Force, and a robotic Gorilla Grodd. The team confronted Captain Atom's Extreme Justice team and were defeated. Also, in Alex Ross' series Justice, a form of the Legion appears. The supervillains around the world begin having shared nightmares of the destruction of the world. Believing that their ego and confidence is paving the way for their dreams of nuclear Armageddon to become reality, the supervillains band together to defeat the Justice League of America and protect humanity in their own twisted way. Some of the villains start solving some of the world's greatest concerns, like hunger, which starts fooling the public into believing the heroes are a threat to society.
After attempting to wipe out the heroes, Brainiac plans to turn Earth's inhabitants into robots using Mr. Mind-based mechanical worms. However, the heroes team together and prevent both the nuclear holocaust and defeat the villains.
In an issue of the Teen Titans, Superboy-Prime returns and forms a new Legion of Doom consisting of Sun Girl, Headcase, the newly resurrected Inertia and Indigo, Persuader from the Terror Titans, and Zookeeper.
Appearances in other mediaAn updated version of the Legion appears in Justice League Unlimited. The roster of this version is much larger, holding over a hundred members of different supervillains. Its members treated that version much like a a supervillain union, whose leaders, Gorilla Grodd and Lex Luthor, lent members and offered support in different types of heists and criminal activities in exchange for a cut of the profits or even augmentation of powers in exchange for a hefty fee. Originally, Grodd led the Legion, and inducted Luthor as a normal member. However, Luthor rebelled and shot Grodd when it was revealed his master plan had been to transform humanity into apes all along. Not too fond of the idea, most of the Legion accepted the shift in leadership unquestioningly and allowed Luthor to use the Legion for his own plans. Later, during a phase when Lex Luthor was accidentally mind swapped with the Flash, Doctor Polaris tried to mount a similar coup against Luthor, but he did not count upon Luthor's plans-when he'd upgraded most of the Legion, he'd installed fail-safes in provision of such an eventuality, and Luthor remained leading the Legion. In its final adventure, Luthor converted the Hall of Doom into a star-ship with the intent of recovering the last Brainiac pieces so he could again merge with the super intelligent android and recover his godlike form. Another riot broke out when Tala released Grodd to recover the leadership mantle, and the Legion was split into the side that followed Luthor, and the side that preferred Grodd altogether. Grodd was defeated and the dissenters frozen by Killer Frost, earning her a place at Luthor's side. Despite warnings by Metron of the New Gods, Luthor used Tala as a magical conduit to force Brainiac's rebirth. Instead, this brought Darkseid of Apokolips back. He destroyed the Hall and only the energy fields maintained by Sinestro and Star Sapphire saved the Legion until Lightray of the New Gods reached them, and Evil Star stole his Mother Box, enabling the Legion to return to Earth to warn the Justice League. The Legion remnants fought valiantly against Apokoliptian forces, and as a sign of goodwill, Batman granted the surviving members five minutes of head start before the League gave pursuit.
A variation of the Legion of Doom appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold appears in the teaser for the episode Triumvirate of Terror. This version of the LoD is lead by Lex Luthor and is composed of Joker, Cheetah, Felix Faust, Weather Wizard and A.M.A.Z.O.
In Smallville a version of the Legion of Doom appears in the episode Prophecy. Toyman talks with the Legion of Doom through a TV screen. He tells the group to check the files of various team members of the Justice League so that they can hunt them down.
In Legends of Tomorrow, the Legion of Doom make their debut appearance in their own self titled episode. This version of the LoD is lead by Eobard Thawne and is composed of him, Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn.
The Legion of Doom has been referenced in an episode of Family Guy, and Solomon Grundy in particular has been parodied. When Quahog mayoral candidate Lois Griffon lies and says that some of her actions were taken on the belief the Legion was about to attack Quahog. Lex Luthor, observing the broadcast, wonders how could Lois know about their apparently real planned attack, and Grundy shyly confesses he "had let that one drop". In another episode, a sudden cutaway had the Legion's base rising from the swamp, only to be shouted down with "Not Now!" and withdraw, not to be seen again.
The Legion of Doom was referenced in the animated series South Park episode "Krazy Kripples" featured Christopher Reeve (who portrayed Superman in the movies) forming his own version of the Legion of Doom, complete with the Hall of Doom as their headquarters; its main goal, according to Reeve, was to kill Gene Hackman (aka Lex Luthor in the movies: as a news reporter said "if irony were made out of strawberries, we'd all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now"). It included both parodies of actual LoD villains (Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, and Black Manta), at least two Marvel villain parodies (Doctor Octopus and Doctor Doom) and villains from the South Park universe (such as Professor Chaos, General Disarray, David Blaine and Saddam Hussein, as well as Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il).
The first episode of Season 3 of Duck Dodgers titled "Till Doom Do Us Part" featured the Legion of Duck Doom, led by Agent Roboto and was composed of various villains from the earlier seasons made up of Crusher, Fudd, Catapoid, Count Muerte, New Cadet, Black Eel, Nasty Canasta, Commandante Hilgalgo, Baby-Faced Moonbeam, Long John Silver the 23rd, K'chutha Sa'am, and Taz. Black Eel (a parody of Black Manta) makes his first appearance in this episode.
A Cartoon Network bumper featured The Powerpuff Girls saving Aquaman and Wonder Woman from the Legion of Doom's clutches. As the girls enacted 90's-level violence on the 70's-era villains, the Super Friends closed their eyes. In another bumper, Luthor dealt with a whiny membership who demanded bizarre requests.
In the mid to late 1990's, the Philadelphia Flyers forward line of John LeClair, Eric Lindros, and Mikael Renberg was nicknamed the Legion of Doom.
Professional wrestling manager Paul Ellering named his wrestling stable The Legion of Doom after the supervillain group, eventually using the name to refer to his chief – and later sole – protégés, the tag team of The Road Warriors. When the Road Warriors arrived in the World Wrestling Federation in 1990, they changed their team name to The Legion Of Doom.
An episode of the Drew Carey Show featured Drew and his friends getting in trouble being a "gang". Drew gets sent to a counseling session for gangbangers and enters the room to see a group of imposing bikers and gang members sitting around a large table. He quips, "the reason I've called you all here is to destroy Superman" as Lex Luthor would do when leading a Legion meeting.
In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "The Last One," the Mooninites tried to organize a league of every single villain that was from Season 1 to 3. Among its members are the Mooninites, Rabbot, Mothmonsterman, Happy Time Harry, Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future, Travis of the Cosmos, Randy the Astonishing, the Brownie Monsters, Romulox, MC Pee Pants's worm, the Trees, Frat Aliens, Oog, Dumbassahedratron, Ol'Drippy, and Major Shake. However, almost all of them got foolishly killed leaving only a small force led by the Mooninites. Afterwards, the Rabbot called the team "Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday."
In Johnny Test, The Evil Johnny Stopping Force Five have a secret base in a swamp that closely resembles the Legion of Doom's secret headquarters.
Legion of Doom appeared several times in Robot Chicken, most notably in the three Robot Chicken: DC Comics Specials. This version of the LoD is heavily based on the Superfriends version, retaining all it's original members as the leaders of the team, while adding many other Supervillains to expand it's membership, such as Joker, Harley Quinn, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Catwoman, Black Adam, Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Killer Croc, Professor Zoom, Icicle, Chill-Blaine, Bane, Darkseid and Mister Banjo.
In the first special, the LoD's plans and members rotate from skit to skit, although every villain showcased in each skit returns for the final brawl at the end.
In their first appearance, Luthor discusses a plan to destroy the JLA and then forces everyone to indulge in Secret Santa, creating a new rule that prevents Toyman from giving out exploding presents. It is then shown that the LoD has an intern named Glen who has a terrible B.O causing glandular condition, and that everyone avoids him because of it, which ends up motivating Glen to kill himself during the commercial break.
In their next skit, Luthor proposes that they should just go to the Hall of Justice and blow it up with a Nega-Bomb and Riddler suggests that they give the heroes riddles instructing them how to defuse the bomb, only for the rest of the LoD to instantly turn down his idea, causing him to quit and try to defeat the JLA himself, fail miserably and return to the Legion.
Connecting to the main story, Aquaman, furious about how the League always treats him, goes to the Legion's headquarters and attempts join the team and succeeds (only because he has the password to the Watch Tower Service entrance). During the final scene, Aquaman brings the LoD into the Hall of Justice using a Trojan Horse cake for Robin's bar mitzvah, only to realize that they were actually throwing a party for him. While cutting the cake, Aquaman stabs and supposedly kills Toyman, causing the frightened villains to panic and fall out of the cake. The LoD and the JLA then ensue in a lengthy battle that leaves only Superman and Luthor standing. Luthor tries to get Aquaman to give him kryptonite so he can kill Superman, but Aquaman realizes that the heroes were his friends all along and throws the kryptonite away and knocks out Lex, although he accidentally kills Superman with the kryptonite anyway.
The second special now primarily focuses on the Legion instead of the JLA, specifically on their boring everyday activities and desire for a vacation.
In the opening, it is shown that all the Legion members from the previous special were imprisoned inside Arkham Asylum (now wardened by Robot Chicken's original characters) after their defeat, until Lex, Riddler, Gorilla Grodd, Bizzaro, Sinestro, Scarecrow, Penguin, Captian Cold and Mister Banjo staged a successful prison break that resulted in the death of Mister Banjo.
Their next skit focuses on the boring everyday routines of the members, such as Scarecrow's arrival to the LoD's base, Sinestro's attempts to use his card to enter the base and Brainiac's frustration with the base's terrible WiFi. In the same skit, Lex brings his teenage daughter Lena Luthor in the Hall of Doom because "the court says I get you on weekends and holidays", and forces her to work at the Legion's Starbucks, ruining her Spring Break. The knowledge that Lex is forcing his daughter to work at the Hall on Spring Break starts to get the other villains to desire a vacation.
In their next short, during one of their meetings, Scarecrow discovers Lex Luthor's performance for the 1987 Smallville talent show and shares it with the rest of the Legion and Grodd makes it his ringtone.
Next, a bored Legion demands Luthor to give them a vacation, to which he refuses. However, when Lex realizes that Lena had disobeyed him and went to the beach with her boyfriend, he angrily decides to fly the Legion to the beach. The Legion then indulges in various beach activities (Sinestro and Mr. Freeze try to get a tan, Clayface hits on a sand-sculpture and Penguin, Brainiac, Scarecrow, Black Manta, Riddler and Joker go into a "nude beach") until Luthor and Superman discover that Lena is dating Superboy and force them to split up. After the two sing a Summer Nights parody, Robin enrages Luthor and Grodd by calling Lena a slut, getting the LoD and the JLA into a battle that is quickly stopped when Starro (who Captain Cold had previously flushed down a toilet) rises from the ocean in giant form and attacks them. The two teams try to fight the beast, however, due to their lack of cooperation and incompetence, both teams are easily defeated by Starro, leaving only Lena and Superboy standing. After Starro is killed by Batman in Green Lantern's boat construct, both teams attend the wedding of Grodd and Bizzaro.
In the movie, Lego Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, Lex Luthor teams up with Black Manta and Sinestro to form the Legion of Doom. They sign the recruits up for an obstacle course, which they all fail in, except for Deathstroke, as he passes, impressing the judges. However, Lex Luthor rejects him for believing that he could take his place as leader. They recruit Captain Cold, Cheetah, and Gorilla Grodd and show them a holographic image of Area 52. There, the Legion of Doom fights the Justice League while Lex Luthor tries to break in the facility. After struggling to open the facility, Darkseid appears and gives him a mother box, which teleports him inside. He sees a cradle, containing an alien and takes it. He and the other Legion of Doom members then retreat to their hideout, where they are ashamed at their defeat. Lex, however, congratulates them as he revealed the alien to them as their purpose of their job. The alien is known as Martian Manhunter, which Luthor sends to the Justice League headquarters. There, he places a device on their computer, making them believe that the Nuclear Core is having a meltdown. As they discover that there was nothing wrong with the Core and they had completely destroyed it by accident, the world banishes the Justice League. After seeing this, Lex Luthor sends Sinestro with a mother box that he uses to open a portal to a black hole. Meanwhile on Earth, it was revealed that Cyborg stayed behind to figure out the misleading of the core. As he bangs on the computer in frustration, the device that Martian Manhunter installed revealed itself. Just then, Sinestro flies in and attacks Cyborg. As he chases him outside, he was shocked to see the Justice League mysteriously alive. It actually turned out to be a distraction, created by Martian Manhunter after he overheard
Members (Justice League Unlimited)
- Lex Luthor – successor and leader
- Gorilla Grodd – founder & original leader
- Angle Man
- Atomic Skull
- Black Mass
- Blue Llama
- Devil Ray (based on Black Manta)
- Doctor Cyber
- Doctor Destiny
- Doctor Natas
- Doctor Polaris
- Doctor Spectro
- Evil Star
- Gentleman Ghost
- Heat Wave
- The Key
- Killer Frost
- Lady Lunar
- Major Disaster
- Mirror Master
- Neutron (DC comics)
- Queen Bee
- Silver Banshee
- Star Sapphire
- Tattooed Man
- The Top
- Weather Wizard