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.

12 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

I must say I've seen some of this and it wasn't too bad, looking forward to the Captain America movie more so.

Ka-Blog! said...

Wow -- this series kinda lost me in that initial 5 ep 'get everyone together' bit. But if it's gotten better it's worth a look.

I mean, it has all the classic members and they don't look like they're all wearing armor (like the prior incarnation of cartoon Avengers), so why not?

wallysfreethoughts said...

I definitly like this cartoon. With it and Young Justice as well as netflix I'm getting my comic fix. I think Captain America is going to be a great movie.

Aos said...

I love this show. It is just about all available on itunes, I think, except for the last few episodes. I was lucky enough to come in about half way through the season, so I was able to watch the first 13 episodes marathon style. I've stolen a ton of stuff from it for my SHRPG.

Justin S. Davis said...

The Woman has ZERO interest in the comic source material, but really loves this show. We've had a blast watching it together.

So if that ain't an endorsement, I dunno what is.

Matt said...

The trick for me has been finding when it airs.

Risus Monkey said...

I've watched a few episodes with the kids and I've been very impressed. Now that I know they are available on iTunes, I'm going to have to make an effort to watch the eps that I have missed.

BigMike said...

Me and my kids LOVE this how... To date my 4 year olds favorite part is the end of Break out when Gravitron says "I am the most powerful one there is!" And hulk lands on a building right next to him and says "You sure about that"
To this day the love saying "You sure about that" to people ;)

Meowlissa said...

I wondered if this was worthy of some good ole time or not :)

Trey said...

Hey, this much consensus in the blogosphere gives you your answer. ;)

Malkavian said...

Since Marvel is now a part of Disney, i dont care much for its Cartoons i mean, Disney + Wolverine not a good combo. They are going to kill all his berserking rage and make him a grumpy guy instead of an insane animalistic creature. Its things like that that kill the original concept of things in my opinion at least.

Matthew Slepin said...

Yeah, it's been really, surprisingly good so far. Possibly my favourite versions of Hank and Jan ever; Ant-Man actually comes across as cool for probably the first time in history (I have a soft spot for Pym, so that's done my heart good). Also, excellent version of the Hulk. I don't care for Tony's voice (he's got Downey's snark, but not his charm), but still, that's pretty minor.