23 minutes ago
Monday, May 23, 2011
Earth's Mightiest (Animated) Heroes
While I found Thor merely adequate, I have been getting my Marvel media itch scratched by The Avengers: Earth’s Mightest Heroes, an animated series on Disney XD--and now partially available on DVD. This series and anticipation of the Captain America film have been sorely taxing my gamer ADD with the siren’s call of superheroics.
Anyway, season one of A:EMH tells the story of the formation and early days of Marvel’s premier team. Actually, it starts before the formation of the team, giving us background on the major characters and setting up all dominoes that will get knocked down over the course of the season. Not only does this give the Avengers-to-be a chance to shine individually, but it gives their world a more “lived in” feel like the comic book Marvel universe.
The version of the Marvel universe presented borrows from the Ultimate universe and the Marvel film universe, as well as good ol’ Earth-616 (as the kid’s call it). Anthony Stark, in particular, is inspired by the movie version; the voice actor practically channels Robert Downey, jr. Coming before the release of their film debuts, Thor and Hawkeye are more like their comic book portrayals.
Though it takes five episodes (sort of--three were aired divided up into shorts) to get the team together, the rest of the season covers a lot of heroic ground. There are breakouts from supervillain prisons, the formation of the Masters of Evil, Loki’s usurpation of the throne of Asgard, and--oh yeah--the creation of the Cosmic Cube. All that still leaves enough time for the origin of Wonder Man, the awakening of a Kree sentry, and a struggle for the throne of Wakanda.
The production values of the cartoon are good. The writing and voice acting are roughly comparable to the Warner Brothers Justice League series. The designs are the melding of traditional cartoon styles and a touch of Japanese influence (but not enough of that to bother anime-haters, I wouldn't think) like in most animation for the U.S. market is these days. The animation itself has an occasional rough spot, but is overall pretty good, too.
If you enjoy animated superhero action, or just need something to bridge the gap to next superhero summer blockbuster, check it out--ignore Kang's dubious look.