Thursday, November 14, 2013

Marvel's Animated Abundance

After seeing Thor: The Dark World this weekend, I thought I'd finally type up a post I've been tossing about in my brains.  Reviewing Marvel's current crop of cartoons.  (Thor 2 was a lot of fun by the way, go see it!)

First up, I'll talk about the first of the new cartoons, Ultimate Spider-Man:
The past Spider-Man cartoons have their own ways.  I remember enjoying them at their respective times, but they are all pretty difficult to watch now.  So that was part of why I didn't bother getting into Ultimate until well into the second season, unfortunately for me.  This is actually a really fun show.  Paul Dini is a large part of the show, Mr. Dini is notable for creating Batman: The Animated Series, which is the high water mark for all cartoons, at least in this humble blogger's opinion.  It's a positive indicator that Marvel is really trying to step up and make shows worthy of their characters.

USM mainly follows teenage Spider-Man (Peter Parker and his social life is a very very minor part of the series), who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. as he trains his team of fellow young heroes:
Spidey, Iron Fist, White Tiger, Power Man and Nova

Agent Coulson is stationed as the groups high school principal and SHIELD contact and Stan Lee often pops up as the school janitor, who is more than he appears.  The show can be goofy at times, as a Spider-Man show should be, (usually Spider-Man shows get bogged down in the Parker drama so this is kind of refreshing) but it also tries to teach kids about working together and overcoming differences.  Peter spends as much time trying to help his villains turn over a new leaf as he does stopping them from doing the villain stuff.

The one down side is that this takes place in the Ultimates universe, mostly, it's a kid friendly version, so the Hulk is the Hulk, not some rapey cannibal like in the Ultimates comics (ugh), which means that the Green Goblin is not the Goblin that I love but some big green hulk like thing and Venom was created in a lab instead of being an alien.  I guess it all simplifies things, but I prefer my Goblins in pink wizard hats, thank you very much.
Overall, it's a great show and one TinyDoom and I always look forward to watching.

Next up, Avengers Assemble:

I have to say, TinyDoom and I were really enjoying Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes before it was cancelled (To be fair, it did take a good 20+ episodes to really start to get good).  Fortunately, Avengers: EMH is in continuity to Assemble, so the new show is a bit of a reboot without completely starting over.  This is another show that TD and I look forward to watching and I often have to calm The Tiny One down as she frets that we may be missing episodes, since it's not on regularly (WTF Disney XD?).  Avengers Assemble pretty much follows movie continuity and brings in Falcon, so kids can get to know him before he appears in the new Captain America movie.  It's a fun show and they showcase some fun villains, I just wish it was on more than once a freaking month, otherwise I might have more to say about it!

Next up, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.:

L to R: She Hulk, Skaar, Hulk, A-Bomb and Red Hulk

Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is a bit of an odd ball.  It's definitely more slapstick humor and they can go pretty heavy on the "Knowing is half the battle" kind of lessons, but the writers dig deep for some unusual villains for the Hulks to smash, we've seen Annhilius, Blastaar, Mole Man, Wendigo and Sauron plus the obvious guys like the Leader and Loki.  One last note in the unusual column, they picked up a pet while in the Savage Land fighting Sauron: Devil Dinosaur!

The voice cast is notable here too, the always amazing Clancy Brown is Red Hulk, Seth Green is Rick Jones/A-Bomb and Eliza Dushku voices She Hulk.
The show follows the Hulks as kind of a reality/web show.  Rick has a couple of robot cameras that follow the group around on their adventures in an attempt to show the public that the Hulks are not monsters but are on the side of good.  It follows a similar template as Ultimate Spider-Man, as the Hulk is trying to get his team to work together, so there are lessons, so many lessons.

The ham-fisted lessons are the drawback of the show, it can be going along all entertaining and everything then blam, they hit you in the face with a lesson of some kind over and over.  Often it's the same damn lesson in each episode, the Hulks need to work as a team.  I GET IT.  Do you have anything else to share with us S.M.A.S.H.?  No, okay, back to the funny and the punching.
So it's not a perfect show, often times it's a very uneven feeling show, but when it's working it's pretty funny.  Also, Devil Dinosaur.

So in conclusion, I think Marvel is working really hard to make some fun shows.  Agents of SMASH seems to show that they are taking some chances in order to do something different.  They are getting people excited about the characters they have to offer and they aren't afraid to showcase all corners of the Marvel U.  All I have to say is, "Finally!".

1 comment:

  1. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends will never be difficult to watch. So much early 1980's goodness that it hurts. Of course, nothing comes close to Challenge of the Superfriends in my humble opinion.