REVIEW: ANT-MAN

CAST

Paul Rudd (The Shape of Things)
Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Evangeline Lilly (Real Steel)
Corey Stoll (The Bourney Legacy)
Bobby Cannavale (Paul Mart Mall Cop)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Judy Greer (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Martin Donovan (Insomnia)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Sebastian Stan (Spread)

 In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering their attempt to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives.In the present day, Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his company, Pym Technologies. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym. Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. While visiting his daughter Cassie unannounced, Lang is rebuked by his former wife Maggie and her police-detective fiancé, Paxton, for not providing child support. Unable to hold a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis’ crew and commit a burglary. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.At his home, Pym, who manipulated Lang through an unknowing Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Having been spying on Cross after discovering his intentions, van Dyne helps Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. While van Dyne harbors resentment towards Pym about her mother Janet’s death, he reveals that Janet, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm to disable a Soviet nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit’s regulator. They send him to steal a device that will aid their heist from the Avengers’ headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson.Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and hosts an unveiling ceremony at Pym Technologies’ headquarters. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the company’s servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he, along with Pym and Hope, are captured by Cross, who intends to sell both the Yellowjacket and Ant-Man suits to Hydra, led by former S.H.I.E.L.D officer Mitchell Carson. Lang breaks free and he and Hope dispatch most of the Hydra agents, though Carson is able to flee with a vial of Cross’ particles. Lang pursues Cross as he escapes, while the explosives detonate, imploding the building.Cross dons the Yellowjacket and attacks Lang before Lang is arrested by Paxton. His mind addled by the imperfect shrinking technology, Cross takes Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight. Lang overrides the regulator and shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross’ suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the quantum realm but manages to reverse the effects and returns to the macroscopic world. In gratitude for Lang’s heroism, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well. Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that Wilson is looking for him.

In a mid-credits scene, Pym shows van Dyne a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her. In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to contact Tony Stark because of “the accords”, Wilson mentions that he knows someone who could help.One of my favorite Marvel films. But in reality, one of my favorite films, period! It’s laugh out loud funny, with heart, and with good special effects! It is a film I definitely recommend! I really hope a second film is green lit as long as they make it fresh as this film was fresh
One of my favorite Marvel films. But in reality, one of my favorite films, period! It’s got great humor, with heart, and with good special effects!

 

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REVIEW: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – SEASON 1-5

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CAST

Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (The Good Witch)
Cathal J. Dodd (Goosebumps)
Iona Morris (Robotech)
Alison Sealy-Smith (This Is Wonderland)
Chris Potter (The Waiting Game)
Tony Daniels (Yin Yang Yo!)
Alyson Court (Elvis Meets Nixon)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
Lawrence Bayne (Highlander: TAS)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
David Hemblen (Earth: Final Conflict)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Len Carlson (Swamp Thing: TAS)
Susan Roman (The Racoons)
Dennis Akiyama (Pxiels)
Nigel Bennett (Andromeda)
Maurice Dean Wint (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)

 

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I recently watched through the entire 90’s x-men Animated Series for the first time. So does the show hold up for someone who didn’t watch it when it first aired? Is it still a good show? Overall, the show is really good. It was also revolutionary as it was one of the first animated TV shows to have a continuing storyline throughout the first few seasons.

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Rather than creating exclusively new story lines, the show based most of its episodes on well known events from the comics. Stuff like the ultra-famous dark phoenix saga all the way to a modified version of Days of Future Past that included the time traveling mutant Bishop. Most of the episodes changed details here and there to keep thing simple, but the basic premise remains the same.

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The animation is a mixed bag. On the one hand, still shots look very good for a 90s cartoon. Both characters and environments are finely detailed and even facial expressions are usually well done. On the other hand, it doesn’t look too good in motion. The frame-rate is often choppy and at times characters in the background are just standing still. There are occasional continuity errors as well, like characters swapping outfits between shots (the episode titled “Nightcrawler” comes to mind).

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Characters are generally portrayed well in the TV show. The main team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, and Jubilee. Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Gambit are all portrayed well in the show. I found some of their voice actors were a little off-putting at first, but as I watched they grew on me. Rogue probably has the best voice acting of the bunch.

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I wasn’t quite as fond with the portrayal of Storm or Jubilee however. Storm was alright, but having her constantly talk about what she was commanding the weather to do is annoying at times. Does she have to verbally command the wind every time she blasts enemies with it? I get that she’s a bit of a showoff and that’s part of her charm, but still.

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The show has a great spotlight of different villains as well. It features everyone from mega villains like Magneto, Mr. Sinister, and Apocalypse to smaller villains like Vertigo, the Juggernaut, and even the Brood. The show even mentions the Juggernaut’s relationship to Xavier (they’re step brothers). Mr. Sinister in particular is very well portrayed in the series, and we even get an origins episode in season five (heavily modified of course).

If you have any interest in the X-men and want to try out the comics, this is a decent show for finding out some of the franchises back-story. It’s rarely as good as the original stories it’s based on, but it’s easier to find and for the most part, it’s an easy watch.

REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1966)

CAST (VOICES)

Max Ferguson (Spider-Man 60s)
Paul Soles (The Score)
Peg Dixon (Strange Paradise)
John Vernon (Dirty Harry)
Bernard Cowan (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Paul Kligman (Spider-Man 60s)

1280x720-6ImThe Incredible Hulk. Initially aired as three seven-minute segments in the (weekly) animated Marvel Superheroes hour in 1966, this two-disc box set compiles all 39 Hulk episodes into one fantastic collection and provides a fascinating window into the cartoons of old. Lifted directly from the early Marvel comics in which he first appeared, most of what we know and love about the Hulk is already here. Following the classic origin story to a tee, Dr Bruce Banner, missile expert and genius scientist, runs out onto a missile test range to rescue wayward teenager Rick Jones. But in doing so, Banner is caught in a detonation of his own making and blasted with gamma rays. Waking in the infirmary sometime later, Banner feels a change coming on and is soon busting through clothes and turning a darker shade of green.hqdefaultCreated by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby four years earlier, it’s fair to say the character was still in development at this point and, playing more into the monster myth on which the Hulk was originally based, Banner’s transformations are initially triggered more by the sun going down rather than losing control of his emotions. Nevertheless, all the other character traits we associate with the green-skinned one are here – the lack of intelligence, the uncontrollable rage, and the complete disregard for his or anyone else’s safety (with the exception of constant love interest Betty Ross). Other familiar faces play their part, General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, Betty’s father, continues his life-long mission to capture and control Banner’s monster, while other Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Thor, The Wasp and Captain America, also make a guest appearance as The Avengers. It’s a shame The Avengers don’t feature more heavily, although a few of them do return individually in later episodes. That being said, this is Hulk’s show and it’s only right that he takes the starring role, and that he does.nick-furyAnd it’s not just the Marvel heroes who turn up, classic villains like the Gorgon, Leader and the Metal Master also take their respective turns as enemies of the Hulk and do their best to enrage the muscle-bound giant. Each of the villain’s are brilliantly voiced, lovingly drawn and serve as suitable adversaries for the Hulk, doing their best to either thwart, capture or kill our favorite beast. Another character to feature heavily, and of some annoyance, is the already mentioned Rick Jones, the Hulk’s guilt-ridden sidekick who blames himself for Banner getting caught in the radiation blast. And while, at first, Rick seems a welcome addition to the Hulk origin story, he soon begins to grate and becomes something of a boy wonder, and proves just as annoying. That aside, the characters, friend and foe alike, really make the journey from page to screen and make these episodes all the more enjoyable for being there. And at only seven minutes long, each episode is easy to watch and doesn’t ask too much of the viewer in terms of investment and commitment, making the stories easy to follow and extremely watchable.untitledIt’s also worth mentioning that while these episodes will hold fond memories for most Marvel fans, the series has received criticism in the past for it’s almost entirely static animation, save for the movement of mouths, eyes and the occasional arm or leg. But such criticism is unfair and unwarranted, especially when you consider the limitations of the time and the quick turnaround required for the weekly episodes. It goes without saying that, when compared to the animation standards of today, that the artwork here seems crude and almost basic, but again it was fitting with the times and served as an accurate representation of what many consider to be Marvel’s Silver Age of comics. So accurate, in fact, that the artwork was directly lifted from the comic books themselves and, through a process known as xerography, printed directly onto the animation cells. This process allowed for the series to act as something of a showcase for the wonderfully nostalgic artwork of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck, Marvel luminaries themselves and just as deserving of our adoration as Stan the Man himself.

 

 

REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA (1966)

CAST (VOICES)

Sandy Becker (The Beagles)
Paul Kligman (Spider-Man 60s)
Paul Soles (The Score)
John Vernon (Dirty Harry)
Bernard Cowan (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)
Peg Dixon (Strange Paradise)
Chris Wiggins (Babar)

The graphics during the cheesy but patriotic and memorable opening theme tune are a clue to what to expect from this 1966 cartoon series. Basically it is a cartoon version of several tales involving Captain America taken from the early years of Tales of Suspense and The Avengers.


It was great to see animated versions of several of Cap’s early triumphs, well animated in the sense of moving comic book images. Included here are several tales set in WWII involving The Red Skull who wears a sanitised version of the costume he wore in the original comic and Adolf Hitler’s role in the Skull’s origin has oddly been replaced by some generic Nazi figure. These tales also feature Cap’s sidekick Bucky Barnes. From the 1960’s C.A. takes on Batroc and the Red Skull again with his Sleepers and the Cosmic Cube, featuring A.I.M.


It also includes several tales from The Avengers. There is an edited version of Cap’s silver age re-appearance in Avengers #4 (minus the Sub-Mariner’s role) the other tales involve Zemo and his Masters of Evil (The Black Knight, Radioactive Man and the Melter), the Commissar, Super Adaptoid, Enchantress and Power-Man and ending with the Sworsdman and the Mandarin. Several versions of the Avengers are seen with Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man and The Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch….. even Rick Jones and Jarvis. The only downside of the Avengers tales is the daft voice given to Giant-Man. Just watch how the Wasp’s costume changes over even this short period of time. All 13 episodes are included here and I highly recommend it, just don’t expect Pixar quality animation

REVIEW: ULTIMATE AVENGERS 1 & 2

 CAST (VOICES)

Justin Gross (Texhnolyze)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Michael Massee (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Marc Worden (Batman Beyond)
Nan McNamara (7 Films, 7 Weeks)
Nolan North (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Andre Ware (The Banger Sisters)
David Boat (Frozen)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Jim Ward (Wall-E)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

In the North Atlantic in 1945 a squadron of B-24 Liberators transport the 101st Airborne Division. The radio announces that Berlin has been taken and Nazi Germany is expected to surrender. However, there are also claims of a Nazi superweapon that is aimed at Washington, D.C.Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America, leads the mission on an island near Norway where the superweapon is believed to be held. Rogers storms through the fortress and is confronted by his nemesis Herr Kleiser, who is revealed to be an extraterrestrial shape-shifter. The superweapon is launched, leaving Rogers the choice to throw himself onto the rocket and harmlessly cause it to self destruct, while having a final confrontation with Kleiser. The missile is destroyed, but Rogers falls into the ocean and the world believes he is dead.Sixty years later, Rogers’ body is recovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury and thawed out into modern day. Gamma scientist Bruce Banner is working on a super soldier serum for S.H.I.E.L.D., while on medications that keep him from transforming into the Hulk. S.H.I.E.L.D. sends a sattelite into space to track the three ramaining alien ships, but is ultimately destroyed by the invaders, forcing Nick Fury to reluctantly initiate Project: Avenger.Fury and Rogers try to recruit the Norse god Thor, who rejects the offer to continue environmentalist protests. The resulting recruits are Captain America, Bruce Banner, Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp, Natalia Romanov and Betty Ross. Fury briefs the team about the aliens, named the Chitauri, and the use of the metal vibranium, while Banner struggles to repress the Hulk persona and Rogers is hesitant of leading the Avengers.

The team’s first mission is to capture a Chitauri spy which has breached a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. The Avengers disregard Rogers’ orders and follow their own egos, resulting in failure which allows the alien to escape with all sufficient information about S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fury fires an arrogant Hank Pym, who is followed by his wife Wasp. Iron Man, now revealed to be Tony Stark, resigns immediately. Rogers also chooses to leave Fury, feeling unready to fight the Chitauri.Desperate for soldiers to combat the coming assault on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s New York facility, Fury demands that Banner applies his super soldier serum to all of his candidates, only for Betty Ross to learn that Banner was only using the serum as a diversion to find a way to control the Hulk. Banner steps into a “rebirth chamber”, which transforms him into the Hulk, while still maintaining his own mind. Fury and the Black Widow lead a failing attack against the alien invaders, but each Avenger shows up, now joined by Thor, to send the three ships crashing into the ocean.Banner loses control of his thoughts and the Hulk retains his own childlike and violent personality, brutally killing every last Chitauri and then lashing out against the Avengers. The Hulk proves strong enough to knock out a full-size Giant Man, damage Iron Man’s suit and even, with effort, to lift Thor’s hammer Mjollnir. The Avengers manage to inject the Hulk with a high dose of Banner’s medication, and Betty Ross calms the Hulk long enough to let the drug render him human again. Banner is kept in a glass cell for breaking Fury’s trust, and the Avengers celebrate their success against the Chitauri and praise a wounded Captain America for leading them as a team.The action is spectacular and the storyline keeps you riveted from start to finish. This movie grabs with its cinematic lead in and flashback to World War Two. (Complete with throwback radio broadcast) From there, it’s one big roller coaster ride to the pulse pounding finish. The battle sequences are some of the best ever animated. I think the PG-13 rating really helps. Soldiers die and heroes bleed, that completely draws the viewer in to the feature. I think movie fans of all ages will be stunned at how many levels this movie delivers upon. This is a smart and surprisingly interesting film that really delivers.

CAST (VOICES)

Justin Gross (Texhnolyze)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Michael Massee (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Marc Worden (Batman Beyond)
Nan McNamara (7 Films, 7 Weeks)
Nolan North (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Andre Ware (The Banger Sisters)
David Boat (Frozen)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Jim Ward (Wall-E)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Jeffrey D. Sams (Soul Food)

In the fortified African nation of Wakanda, the inhabitants of the small city-nation welcome home T’Challa, the son of king T’Chaka. Members of the extraterrestrial Chitauri race attract the attention of T’Chaka’s alter-ego, the Black Panther. T’Chaka is murdered by Herr Kleiser, their commander who continues to adapt the form of a Nazi commandant. T’Challa inherits the throne and Black Panther technology, swearing vengeance against Kleiser.In the United States, Captain America has become reckless in his missions due to the trauma of his 60-year deep freeze. Bruce Banner remains locked up in his cell after his Hulk incident, tormented and frequently drugged by a disgruntled ex-employee of his who acts as his interrogator. Betty Ross discovers that the wreckage of Chitauri ships has become mysteriously brittle. Hank Pym begins developing sickness for his overuse of his Giant-Man formula, leading to tension in his relationship with the Wasp. Thor sees a possible future where the Avengers are dead and seeks to consult Odin. Finding out that a Chitauri mothership is speeding towards Earth, Thor refuses to return to Asgard. When T’Challa meets Nick Fury and Captain America and reveals that Cap’s wartime nemesis kleiser still lives, he finds that Captain America tried to kill him numerous times and failed. T’Challa turns down an offer of alliance and Fury assembles the Avengers once again.

The Avengers illegally enter Wakanda. Black Panther allows only Captain America into the city, where he reveals that the Chitauri are searching for the “Heart of Wakanda”. The Avengers and Wakandan warriors find themselves fighting each other, with the Wakandans emerging victorious. The Avengers are commanded to return to their ship and T’Challa is stripped of his kinghood for allowing foreigners into the country. Captain America drags an injured Chitauri onto the Avengers’ jet, followed by Herr Kleiser taking T’Challa’s form. He steals Captain America’s shield and destroys the ship. Iron Man’s battered suit protects the Avengers in a force field and Thor teleports the team back to the Triskellion.

The Wasp is left in a coma from her injuries and is kept in the Triskellion. A mothership hovers above Wakanda and etraps the entire planet in a sickly-green bubble. Extraterrestrial invaders attack every major city on Earth and begin a massacre of the human population. Iron Man suits up in the War Machine armour and joins the Avengers as they teleport to Wakanda to battle the invaders. It is revealed they are seeking a gigantic meteorite of vibranium deep under Wakanda, from which the Wakandans develop their advanced technology. Bruce Banner works out that the gamma radiated from the Hulk is what caused the vibranium in the Chitauri ships to become brittle, and lets Betty use a gamma generator to attack the aliens close range. The Chitauri gas Banner’s cell and he promptly dies. Betty and the revived Wasp take a jet to Wakanda and give Iron Man the gamma generator to attack the inside of the mothership. Giant-Man, despite his condition getting worse from his use of his powers, shrinks down to aid Iron Man. Bruce Banner’s lifeless body becomes the Hulk and wakes up to fight the aliens invaders.Captain America and Black panther find themselves in a bloody fight with Kleiser, who appears to be immortal due to his rapid healing factor. The two trick Kleiser into falling into a pool of liquid vibranium and leave him trapped as it solidifies. Iron man and Giant-Man enter the mothership and destroy its core with the gamma generator. However, Giant-Man’s injuries lead him to pass out and he has to be carried back to the ground. Giant-Man makes up with the Wasp before dying. Iron Man travels alone to divert the crashing mothership away from the city, draining his life support. Thor returns and summons the power of the heavens to give life back to Tony Stark, proving his claims to be the God of Thunder to be genuine.With the Chitauri attack ended, the Avengers mourn Giant-Man’s death and T’Challa’s kinghood is restored. The Hulk sees Betty one last time before leaping away. Captain America and Black Widow begin a romantic relationship and the world celebrates victory over the Chitauri. The film ends with Thor and Nick Fury setting aside their differences and becoming friends.

The animation is superb! This movie is a sequel to the first Ultimate Avengers movie and maybe even a better one! They paid more attention to developing characters,but it could have been much more.Because that is what makes these superheroes special! There were nice little surprises in this movie and I don’t know if this is based on actual story lines in the marvel comics. It is nice to see a mature approach of things,just like in the comics. For me the movie is an example of what can be achieved if they take the myths created by Marvel Comics seriously.

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.

REVIEW: THE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Brian Bloom (Vampirella)
Chris Cox (All Star Superman)
Jennifer Hale (The Rick)
Peter Jessop (Jla Adventures)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Eric Loomis (Shin Chan)
James C. Mathis III (Undercover Brother)
Colleen Villard (Duel Masters)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
Wally Wingert (American Dad)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST COICES

Gabriel Mann (Cherry Falls)
Drake Bell (The Reef 2)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and Teh X-men)
Alex Desert (The Flash 90s)
Vanessa Marshall (Duck Dodgers)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)
Elizabeth Daily (Valley Girl)
Troy Baker (Lego Batman)
Nolan North (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Crispin Freeman (Hellsing)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Grey DeLisle (Danny Phantom)
Cam Clarke (He-Man)
Lance Reddick (Lost)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Nika Futterman (Hey Arnold!)
Lance Henriksen (The Terminator)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

Both Marvel and DC have to an astonishing degree started to pick up these last few years, with several well-appreciated shows that I really enjoy: Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Green Lantern TAS, and now this; The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

It’s very rare indeed for a superhero cartoon of this magnitude to be  great from start-to-finish, but that’s what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is, right from Episode 1 `Iron Man is Born’ to the finale `Avengers Assemble!’. There are literally no dud episodes whatsoever! The whole series is infused with tremendous intrigue, exceptional plotting and some of the tightest continuity I’ve ever seen in a TV series. The number of sub-plots and story-arcs that are juggled here is staggering, but the creative team handled it all with such precision. The coherency, intricacies and pacing is nothing short of exemplary overall. This isn’t just essential for kids; adult Marvel fans will get bags of satisfaction from watching this cartoon!

So what exactly can folk expect? Well, as I said, the choicest pieces of Marvel history (be it in comics or on film) have been successfully adapted and utilized here. From how the Avengers banded together to life-changing events like the Civil War threat and the Skrulls’ Secret Invasion (adapted beautifully here!). Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man/Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Black Panther are all superbly established before `Assembling’ for the first time, members come-and-go, characters undergo changes, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel and the Vision join the ranks, and all-manner of superb guests join the party, such as Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Fantastic Four and even those Guardians of the Galaxy!

And on the villains-front, you can be subjected to a cracking-bunch of dastardly rogues, such as Loki, the Red Skull, Hydra, A.I.M., Baron Zemo, the Enchantress, the Masters of Evil, Kang the Conqueror, Doctor Doom and (of course!) chief arch-nemesis Ultron. And it’s not all just for window-dressing. The depictions of all these characters (hero, villain and otherwise) and their worlds is just pure gold. It’s perhaps the most faithful animated portrayal of the Marvel Universe.
Really, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes could (and should) have gone on for more seasons. Instead, Marvel pulled the plug in favor of the replacement show Avengers Assemble. Thus in the last batch episodes, you DO get the feel that the writers were trying to wrap things up and give the show a grand swansong to make way for the next-cartoon-in-line. Admittedly, there are a few loose ends left over, but the series is mostly wrapped-up in winning style with a very acceptable conclusion. And in an age where too many shows are cancelled prematurely/end on a sour note, it makes that final moment of `Avengers Assemble!’ all the more of a triumph, just like the entire series itself.