12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES: FROST FIGHT

CAST (VOICES)

Mick Wingert (The Princess and The Frog)
Matthew Mercer (Monsters University)
Travis Willingham (Super Hero Squad)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Troy Baker (Justice League Action)
Anthony Del Rio (Bunheads)
Trevor Devall (Batman vs Robin)
Kevin Micharl Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

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Loki and a Frost Giant are trying to gain more and more power, turning a tropical island into an frozen land, with only Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to stop them, The Avengers.  When The Avengers win the battle Loki and the Frost Giant try something else, they plan to find an ancient powerful cross between a Frost Giant and Elf known as Jolnir, but you and I know him as Santa Claus.

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I want all the adults here to remember back as far as they can, if they are close to my age they’ll remember the Saturday morning cartoons which started off our weekends, sadly these are mostly gone.  Remember the adventures of The Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, going back further X-Men, Batman the Animated Series, and the other great cartoons that brought our loved comic book characters to life.  This was long before the high level of cinematic adventures.  Now think about it logically, these were the precursors to our loving of the movies of today, the high adventures and great stories.  We wouldn’t drive these movies so hard without that basis.  So with that in mind, if you have children, you will get them Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight.  It’s films like this that will bring the next generation of comic fans to the cinema and fingers crossed to the books.
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Animation wise it’s very similar to the traditional animations that we came to love during the 90’s and early 00’s of this century, with a little bit of modernization to show they are not doing a tribute piece.  Character design is along the lines of the Avengers Assemble series that dropped in the past few years and it’s all very much similar to what we’d expect.   Bringing in Captain Marvel is a clever move, with the live action version coming in the near future, and will introduce those who haven’t heard of this character gently into her presence.  There are funny moments where Hulk and Thor go Christmas shopping, and Hulk explaining Santa to Thor made me smile.  Iron Man’s character here is the wise cracking role that you’d expect.5616cde899678
The Holiday theme of this animation is going to help this film but hinder it too, there is a limited amount of time that you’d play it through the year.  With other Marvel animations you can play them year round, always handy to put on when the kids are screaming and running around, but this one has that two month period where watching it is acceptable.  If this leads your children to read some of the all ages comics that are out there from any company then it serves another purpose.  If your children are interested in comic book characters then buy them comic books, using an entertaining animated film like this one would be another tool to get them to the pages.  A Saturday morning Holiday special from Marvel that the whole family can sit down and just turn off the world for just over an hour.

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REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1996)

CAST
Lou Ferrigno (Scorpion King 4)
Neal McDonough (Arrow0
Genie Francis (Roswell)
John Vernon (Batman: TAS)
Luke Perry (The Fifth Element)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Matt Frewer (Taken)
Mark Hamill (Star wars)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
Doran Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Cree Summer (Inspector Gadget)
Lisa Zane (Freddy’s Dead)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Simon Templeman (The Neighbors)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)

The 1996 Hulk cartoon started off great, the stories remained focused on the green savage Hulk, the army chasing the hulk, and Banner’s relationship with Betty Ross. The art style is pretty good but the animation is jerky which means it has a low frame rate. The 1982 Hulk cartoon had better art and animation. The second season introduced the Grey Hulk and She-Hulk which quickly turned this cartoon to garbage. I never liked the grey Hulk in the comics and I stop buying Hulk comics in the late 1980s because of it. The grey hulk wasn’t savage and talked way too much. The Hulk is supposed to be a brute savage, the extreme opposite of Banner’s personality and to hear the Hulk talk like he has a college education just doesn’t work.

The She-Hulk should have only appeared in one episode. The writers somehow got the impression that the Hulk couldn’t carry a show by himself (even though he carried a comic series by himself for thirty years). So they rename the show “The Hulk and She-Hulk”… big mistake. She-Hulk has the same problem the grey Hulk has, she talks way too much and gets too much screen time. A better idea (maybe) would have been to have a spin off cartoon for She-Hulk. Anyway watch the first season episodes and forget the rest.

 

REVIEW: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)
Drake Bell (Sueprhero Movie)
Ogie Banks (Superman vs The Elite)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Matt Lanter (Heroes)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Caitlyn Taylor Love (I’m With The Band)
Logan Miller (Deep Powder)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Misty Lee (Killer Kids)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Tara Strong (The New Batman Adventures)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkam)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Kevin Michael richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Troy Baker (Lego Batman: The Movie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rob Paulsen (Teenae Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterpise)
Travis Willingham (Shelf Life)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Roger Craig Smith (Wreck-it Ralph)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Stan Lee (Avengers Aseesmble)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cameron Boyce (The Descendants)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Billy West (Futurama)

I recently watched  Ultimate Spider-Man and I can honestly say that I have never wanted to stop watching a Spider-Man cartoon before in my life… until now. I have been a big fan of the Spider-Man comic series for many years and have liked almost all of the cartoon iterations of him, but this one just hurts to watch. I understand that Spider-Man is supposed to be a smart-mouthed teen who likes to make jokes while fighting crime, which is my favorite part about the character, but this show just takes it to an extreme.


I think one of the biggest problems for me was how much the stories are broken up by all of the “cut away” scenes.  I understand that Spider-Man is a show made for children and I get that the characters aren’t going to be nearly as serious as they are in the comics, but I feel like this was just too far from the source material for me to enjoy it. Another thing that bothered me was how just a few years ago we had, in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man shows to date, Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was canceled in only it’s second season. I had really high hopes for Ultimate Spider-Man to fill the void that Spectacular Spider-Man left, but it just didn’t deliver at all.

As far as the voice acting on the show goes, they all seem to have done a really good job… with what they were given to read. So much of the writing in this show just seems so forced.why was Spectacular Spider-Man so much better and the most honest answer that I can give you is that it seems as though Marvel actually put a lot of work into Spectacular Spider-Man. I’m not saying that they didn’t put a lot of work into Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s much harder to see in this one. The character designs in Spectacular Spider-Man may not have hit all of the right points for some people, but I really enjoyed it. The action in the show looked really good and it was easy to follow exactly what was happening, because you didn’t have a bunch of blur that you had to try and see everything through. The story for Spectacular Spider-Man was your standard Spider-Man fare, but while it was a show essentially for kids, it also appealed to many adults as well.


I really wanted to like Ultimate Spider-Man, but I just didn’t. I feel like if this show was about just another teen superhero other than Spider-Man it would have been much more forgivable, but for it to take such a dump on such a beloved character, it is just really sad to see. Now all that I can do is hope that the new Spider-Man movie can really bring something good to the table.

REVIEW: FANTASTIC FOUR: WORLDS GREATEST HEROES

MAIN CAST

Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Lara Gilcrhsit (Defying Gravity)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Brian Dobson (Dragon Ball Z)
Samuel Vincent (Totally Spies!)
Paul Dobson (Transformers: Armada)
Sunita Prasad (Bates Motel)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mark Acheson (Elf)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Kavadas (Ninja Turtles: NExt Mutation)
Venus Terzo (Arrow0
Lee Tockar (Beast Wars)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)

This series, which started in September of 2006, features the four core characters of the series: Reed Richards (a.k.a. Mister Fantastic, a scientist whose body can stretch like rubber and the brains behind the operation), his girlfriend Susan Storm (a.k.a. The Invisible Woman), her younger brother Johnny Storm (a.k.a. The Human Torch), and of course, Benjamin Grimm (better known as the ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing), a rock encrusted strong man. These four live inside the mammoth Baxter Building in the middle of Manhattan where they also have their base of operations and a wide array of technical gadgetry courtesy of Richards’ incessant inventing. They use their powers for good, to protect the people of not only New York but of the world against many different antagonists, specifically their arch-enemy, Doctor Doom.

Marvel, in conjunction with Moonstone Animation, has done a very good job with this series. While the animation is obviously very influenced by Japanese manga and anime, the show is very much in the spirit of the early Lee/Kirby comic book masterpieces and it turns out to be a lot of fun. The fact that the Fantastic Four do more than just square off against Doctor Doom each week leads to encounters with familiar villains such as The Mole Man, The Puppet Master, and even the Super Skrull! Guest appearances from instantly recognizable heroes such as The Hulk, Prince Namor The Submariner, and Iron Man add to the fun but what makes this series work is the way that the writers have nailed the team dynamic so important to the comic book’s success. The stories may be a little simple by some standards and you could make the argument that they’re geared towards a young audience than they maybe need to be but they really are in keeping with the early episodes of the comic books that inspired them and for that reason they turn out to be quite enjoyable doses of action and escapism.

As mentioned, the animation has been inspired by Japanese culture and so the characters don’t always look as Kirby-esqe as purists will probably want them to. Likewise, some of the CGI used in the backgrounds doesn’t blend as flawlessly as it could. That said, Kirby’s sense of grandeur and design is apparent throughout the series in the gadgets, the villains, and many of the backgrounds in the series. The voice actors suit the characters well with Brian Dobson as The Thing really standing out/p>
Ultimately this material isn’t going to blow your mind. It isn’t deep or particularly Earth shattering in any way but it does feel in tune with the source material and as far as superfluous bits of animated entertainment go, it’s just a lot of fun.

REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1982)

CAST (VOICES)

Michael Bell (Tangled)
Susdan Blu (Transformers)
William Callaway (Annie Hall)
Hamilton Camp (The Little Mermaid)
Victoria Carroll (In Wax)

6jzYThe Incredible Hulk is an animated television series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The series ran for 13 episodes on NBC in 1982, part of a combined hour with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man).1280x720-6ImUnlike the previous live-action The Incredible Hulk television series from Universal in the 1970s, this series was based upon the Hulk comic books and was able to portray the more fantastical elements of the comics as sticking to his true name and origin as well as featuring the return of the original characters in his life, all of which the live-action series refused to show. It featured stories faithful to the source material from Marvel. In addition, new recurring characters were created for the series including the Hispanic family of father Rio and his youthful daughter Rita.hqdefaultThe series focused on Dr Bruce Banner’s attempts to cure himself of his transformations into the Hulk, and the Hulk defeating various monsters and villains whilst fending off the army’s attempts to subdue and capture him. This was the second Hulk animated series: in 1966, the Hulk appeared in 39 seven-minute segments as part of TV’s The Marvel Super Heroes. The 1982 Incredible Hulk series featured accompanying narration by Hulk co-creator Stan Lee. Some of the same background music tracks were used for Dungeons & Dragons. Boyd Kirkland, who became a writer/director for Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution, was one of the layout artists for The Incredible Hulk.nick-furyOut of all the Hulk series ever to hit television, this is the best one. This series usually followed up Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Saturday mornings, making for a fantastic viewing hour. It had quality animation, great music.  It was faithful to the comic this series did a great job of showcasing the Hulk.

REVIEW: THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW – SEASON 1-2

CAST (VOICES)

Charlie Adler (Wall-e)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and the X-Men)
Dave Boat (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck)
Grey DeLisle (The Fairly Oddparents)
Mikey Kelley (Gravity Falls)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Travis Willingham (Dragon Ball Z)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
A.J. Buckley (Disturbing Behavior)
Ty Burrell (Muppets Most Wanted)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Taye Diggs (Private Practice)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Suisan Eisenberg (Justice League)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Nika Futterman (Futurama)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Cheryl Hines (The Ugly Truth)
Josh Keaton (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Wayne Knight (3rd rock from The Sun)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Phil LaMar (Free Enterprise)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Marsters (Smallville)
Jennifer Morrison (Urban Legends 2)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Michelle Trachtenberg (17 again)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Jim Ward (Danny Phantom)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)

When I saw a preview of The Super Hero Squad Show back in February of 2009, I thought it looked pretty interesting, but certainly aimed at the kiddies, and as it aired on Cartoon Network, I never saw an episode. In fact, I forgot all about it, and when I got my hands on this disc, I thought it was an animated take on the old Fisher-Price Marvel kiddie figures. So I had no expectations coming in. Well, my only expectation being that it would be bad. So it was with a good deal of shock that I found it to be a pretty entertaining action-comedy series, if you don’t mind the cheese-level of many of the jokes.

The Super Hero Squad (sort of a loose version of the Avengers) is made up of an assortment of Marvel heroes, including Iron Man (as the leader), Captain America (who provides aid on a regular basis), Wolverine (adding the X-Men’s popularity,) The Hulk, Thor, a spacey surfer-dude version of the Silver Surfer, and Falcon (obviously added to bring some diversity.) Joining them is the mostly unknown Reptil (a dinosaur-powered bit player from the Avengers comics) who is both a young guy and Hispanic, helping fill out the P.C. scorecard a bit more and give younger viewers a stand-in.  They go up against Doctor Doom and his legion of bad guys (and ineffective henchmen), as he searches for the Infinity fractals, shards of the Infinity Sword (which seems connected to the Infinity Gems of the Infinity Gauntlet. Infinity.)


Though the storylines are pretty solid and offer big action-packed battles, the bulk of the show is comedy, with the character’s out-sized personalities carrying the jokes, be it Thor’s overwhelming concern about his appearance or Captain America being stuck in the ’40s. Maybe I don’t give kids a lot of credit, but I can see a large portion of these gags flying over their heads, which will make the show far more enjoyable for adults than one would have expected. There was more than one joke that got a genuine laugh out of me, though many of them rely on bodily functions or pratfalls for the punchline. The wordplay and character-generated jokes are much more entertaining and fun, especially Thor’s Asgardian versions of modern language, the Silver Surfer’s alien view of Earth life, and anything involving the always-ridiculous floating head known as M.O.D.O.K. (voiced hilariously by Tom Kenny.) One joke about the Hulk swallowing a yo-yo is technically genius. The only thing about the show that doesn’t really work is Reptil, who feels like the Poochie of the show, coming off as a bone tossed to kids, with his dino-focused power, youthful role and extreme behavior.


This version of the Marvel Universe smartly keeps the same look for its characters, giving long-time Marvel fans an in for the series, but presents them in a super-deformed style (squat bodies, large heads and feet, four fingers) that’s kid-cartoon friendly and which easily separates it from any other version of the Universe you’ve ever seen. That way, there are no issues with continuity or previous incarnations, and the show can be enjoyed on its own merits (allowing them to do something like make Dr. Strange a complete lunatic.) That’s a good thing, because the show is loaded to the gills with fan-service goodies, like the episode titles (which reference famous comic titles) and title cards which replicate memorable cover art. The show also pulls characters from the depths of the Marvel roster, like Screaming Mimi and the Melter, and having silly cartoon fun with them. Taken simply as a silly, almost What The–?! treatment of the characters, it’s well worth a look for comic-book fans out of grade school.

On a non-story note, the theme song, provided by Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder, is an energetic blast, while the voice cast for this series has to be one of the best for a non-prime time animated series, with tons of veterans of the cartoon industry, like Kenny, Tara Strong, Jess Harnell, Grey DeLisle, Cree Summer and Charlie Adler, along with plenty of genre stars, including Robert Englund, Tricia Helfer, Jennifer Morrison and Adrian Pasdar. It’s rare to see a show like this pull this kind of voice cast.

the overall plot of the cycle will feature the villain Thanos seeking the six stones of the Infinity Gauntlet, a powerful cosmic weapon. Opposing him will be the titular Super Hero Squad, which is made up of goofball takes on Iron Man, Thor, Falcon, Wolverine, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, original character Reptil, Scarlet Witch, and sometimes Captain America. While the first two shows focus specifically on the Thanos plot, other episodes detour into one-off excursions. For instance, “World War Witch!” takes the heroes back in time to when Cap was fighting the Red Skull alongside the Invaders in WWII, while “Support Your Local Sky-Father!” pits Olympus vs. Asgard, and it features the Marvel Universe rendition of Hercules.