Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Avengers Cartoon Might Not Suck!

Accept no substitute

If you recall months ago I wrote what I called “Avengers Week” to celebrate the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show’s Avengers: United They Stand episode. I angrily tore that show apart in my SMCS Companion Piece. If you’re too lazy to look it up basically I was unhappy that it lacked the Big Three as regularly characters (Captain America and Iron Man showed up but Thor never did outside of the theme song) and instead focused on several lame ass C-characters like Bikini Tiger Barbie Tigra, included the unwanted addition of Power Rangers-like “Super Armor” complete with ridiculous transformation sequences, and started off with an unspectacular first episode. Being that the Avengers are Marvel’s answer to the Justice League of America its hard not to draw comparisons to the fantastic cartoon series Justice League/Justice League Unlimited and sadly the premier superhero team of the Marvel Universe’s first animated adaption was absolute garbage next to it.
But the good news was that, this fall, a new cartoon that on paper looked much more true to the comic was scheduled to premier on Disney XD. Judging by the early trailers the show seems to feature the original founders including the Hulk (!) and Captain America as the primary members with the likes of Hawkeye and Black Panther joining later on. On paper that sounded really awesome. Already it has shaken off the major problems I had with the original Avengers cartoon by going back down to basics, i.e. drawing from the classic Stan Lee and Jack “The King” Kirby stories from the 60s much like how the unjustly canceled Spectacular Spider-Man (Marvel’s best animated series, in my humble opinion) was based on the classic Lee/Steve Ditko stories.
Why the hell was this so hard to get right ten years ago?
Here were are in October and the show’s series premier is a mere weeks away. In a unique twist rather than having the story begin on that night Marvel and Disney have been releasing a 20-Part prologue that acts as introductions to all the primary characters both online and on TV. As of this writing I’ve managed to catch all of them so far (Parts 1-13) and they look amazing! The episodes (Clocking in about 5-6 minutes each) follow one of the future Avengers through an introductory adventure that showcases off their personalities and abilities. So far every hero (And many villains) shown comes off like a badass. Even Incompetent Scientist Supreme Hank Pym looks good and he’s a goddamn joke.
Hank Pym building a robot that will kill us all
Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man (being played very similar to his live-action movie counterpart), Nick Fury, and the others all are made to look like a big deal. The Wasp comes off pretty good too which makes me annoyed that Marvel Studios has opted to not include her in the upcoming movie, leading me to assume they’re allergic to strong females (And since self-proclaimed feminist Joss Whedon is directing that film it makes me even more annoyed).
Anyway these shorts are great. The writing it well above average, the action is great and the sheer amount of fanboy fan service in the forms of character appearances and cameos is enough to make any Marvel fan salivate. If the show proper continues this trend we may have a new contender for best comic animated adaptation in history. And since introductions are being handled in the shorts we will undoubtedly start the series out with a Bang/Wham episode that brings the characters together without a lot of padding. It’s like trying to replicate one of the main reasons Justice League was so good (Prior continuity) without having to wait four or five years to do it...you know, the opposite of what the film version is doing. In any event I cannot wait for the premier and I genuinely excited to see this show!
Now walk towards the screen in slow motion for extra awesome
On the DC Comics side of things it looks like Warner Bros. will not take this lying down as next month we’ll see the premier of Young Justice, based off the comic of the same name (Which, by the way, was one of the titles that brought me back to reading comics in High School). The show is being headed up by the man who created both The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles; none other than Greg Weisman. Combined with the fact that the comic featured some of my favorite characters DC ever created, Tim Drake the third Robin, Bart Allen as Impulse, and also cool (And unappreciated) newcomer Secret, I feel like this show will also deliver-
What’s that? Tim and Bart have been replaced by Dick Grayson and Wally West (As the lame sounding Kid Flash)? And Superboy is in fact the only character featured from the original comic to be included in this cartoon? And there’s a show created Blackqualad Black Aqualad shoehorned in to insincerely create diversity while in reality just revealing how little representation of minorities exists in comic books proper? Well I believe that doesn’t sound like a show I’d want to watch at all, sir.
Possibly the worst thing ever or the best thing ever
Stay tuned to find out

Check out the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes prologues here, but make sure you don’t accidentally watch that other Avengers cartoon that is also stored there.

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