Super Friends first aired on ABC on September 8, 1973, featuring well-known DC characters Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and was based on the Justice League of America (JLA) and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics.
The name of the program (and the JLA members featured with the Super Friends) have been variously represented (as Super Friends and Challenge of the Super Friends, for example) at different points in its broadcast history.
After single-handedly capturing Superman's perennial nemesis Lex Luthor, the bionic Cyborg is invited to join the Justice League of America—but surprisingly turns down the offer. Anxious to have someone his own age as a fellow Team member, the nuclear-powered Firestorm seeks out Cyborg to learn the reason for his reticence. But it will take the intervention of Darkseid and his Parademons, to say nothing of some horrific-looking sea pods, to make Cyborg change his mind.
With Darkseid and his minions in hot pursuit, Superman, Firestorm and Cyborg temporarily take shelter in a huge derelict space vessel. It turns out that the three Galactic Guardians have boarded a ghost ship, controlled by a fugitive princess who uses hologram images to ward off pirates and to protect the people of her planet—who live in miniaturized form in a locket around her neck. Darkseid hopes to exploit the princess, and to take sinister advantage of Superman's weakened state!
Bizarro #1, the weird yet funny Superman doppelganger from Htrae (Bizarro World), uses his duplicator ray to create Bizarro versions of Wonder Woman, Firestorm and Cyborg. These "opposite clones" are then called upon to protect Bizarro World from its many enemies. Unfortunately, the prankish Mr. Mxyzptlk plans to harness the powers of the three Bizarro superheroes in order to wreak havoc upon the earth, in an endless series of nasty pranks and practical jokes specially designed to drive everyone as crazy as HE is! Until the Real Wonder Woman uses the duplicator ray on Mr. Mxyzptlk to create Mr. Kltpzyxm, causing the Bizarro Super Powers team to go back to Bizarro World and stop him, and making Mr. Mxyzptlk accidentally say his name backwards and go back to the 5th dimension.
Little does Wonder Woman suspect that the man she assumes to be her mortal boyfriend Steve Trevor is actually the evil Darkseid, who has rearranged his molecular structure in order to impersonate Steve. It's all part of a master plan to steal the deadly TC7 satellite and transform everyone on earth into hideous mutants. The Galactic Guardians set out to rescue the real Steve and thwart Darkseid—a task made doubly difficult when Wonder Woman herself is kidnapped!
Gotham City is literally held in the grip of terror by The Scarecrow's arsenal of Fear Transmitters. Scouring Gotham in search of Scarecrow, Batman is himself paralyzed with fright when he finds himself in the middle of Crime Alley, where years earlier the parents of Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne had been murdered in cold blood. Taking advantage of the situation, Scarecrow intends to keep Batman trapped in Crime Alley forever by using a captured Robin and Wonder Woman as bait—forcing the Caped Crusader to purge himself of his lifelong fears once and for all!
There's a new supervillain in town, and his name is The Ace. Gathering together a gang of four hardened delinquents, the Ace decks them out in sinister playing-card costumes, and thus the Royal Flush Gang is born. In their efforts to defeat this scurrilous quintet of no-goods, Robin and Cyborg discover that the Ace is taking his orders directly from their perennial enemy Darkseid—while Robin's sidekick Batman learns to his astonishment that the Ace is not a "new" nemesis at all, but instead a very old one... The Joker!
While enjoying a day off with Firestorm, Cyborg is captured by the robot minions of supercomputer Brainiac, who intends to use the bionic dogooder for one of his typically evil "mind-blowing" experiments. To save the life of his fellow Galactic Guardian, Firestorm enlists the aid of Superman and rushes to Cyborg's rescue. But it may already be too late: The two superpowered good guys are confronted by a gigantic killer robot... with Cyborg's brain and intellect trapped inside its power source!
While languishing in prison with the Penguin as his cellmate, evil necromancer Felix Faust conjures up a spell which enables him to steal the special powers of Superman. No sooner has this happened than the Penguin appropriates these powers for himself, and as result the Super Powers Team now works for him! In order to thwart the Penguin and emerge as the real villain of the piece, Faust absorbs all of Superman's powers, but Firestorm creates a kryptonite crown on Faust's head, weakening him and Wonder Woman uses her Magic Lasso to force him to give up Superman's powers and return them to the man of steel!
The evil Darkseid's latest project involves the capture and takeover of Star City, a gigantic orbiting earth colony. To this end, he replaces the satellite's kidnapped inventor Mr. Moko with a robot lookalike that even fools Moko's daughter, Kiri. Meanwhile, Batman, Firestorm and Samurai must steer clear of Darkseid's minions Kalibak and DeSaad and their robot army, long enough to allow Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman to seek out and destroy the control equipment hidden in Darkseid's headquarters!
The unthinkable has happened: Superman is dead, the victim of Kryptonite poisoning. Injured in the mishap which felled Superman, a weakened Firestorm is captured by Darkseid, who wants the Galactic Guardian to reveal the details of the Man of Steel's demise. Meanwhile, several members of the Super Powers Team gather at the Fortress of Solitude, where they come across evidence indicating that Superman is still alive—but if this is true, why has he allowed the other Team members to fall into Darkseid's clutches?