We had a chance to see the first two episodes of the new Marvel animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The show has some big shoes to fill, and those shoes certainly don’t belong to the other Marvel Comics animated shows. DC Comics has known how to make mature cartoons for kids since the early 1990’s, with the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League: Unlimited they had hit after hit on their hands. In that same time frame Marvel has had maybe one or two shows that were well done, and the 90’s Avengers cartoon was certainly not one of them.
Thankfully Marvel has learned from their missteps and have enlisted some serious talents to help mold this show into something that can be held up with the other fantastic comic book-based animation. Marvel has totally nailed it with Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: the show is a great marriage of what made the classic comics, and the more recent films and even video games so successful. From the character designs, to the voice acting and excellent stories, I’m already hooked and will be PVR’ng this sucker every Friday. Although it borrows heavily from the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby days, this is not your daddy’s Avengers — unless your father is like 22.
The voice acting and direction was especially strong especially considering this is the first season. Marvel has cultivated a pool of talented voice actors and directors. Some of the characters take some definite inspiration from their motion picture counterparts; you’ll immediately recognize Nick Fury and Tony Stark’s characters as sound and act alikes. I cannot wait to see and hear the potential cameos that will come from this show. My fingers are crossed for Kevin Conroy or Nathan Fillion.
The story of the first few episodes borrows very heavily from the Brian Micheal Bendis’ 2005 breakout arc for New Avengers. Basically the super jails that house all the Marvel Universe villains experience a series of mass escapes and the heroes must come together to recapture them. The villain that they must unite to battle is… Gravitron. The little known Canadian villain nearly destroys Manhattan, actually lifting the island out of the Earth and well above the ocean at one point. Hints are dropped about possible future story lines in the early episodes. During the prison escape Hulk villain The Leader mentions that while he did not plan the escape, he will enjoy the distraction as chance to operate in relative secret. The show has the potential to pull together many recent Marvel story arcs (Secret Invasion, Civil War, Siege), and of course for a follow up with a Young Avengers storyline.
This series could easily fill the void left by the Justice League, but it goes without saying that the first episodes show signs of working out the kinks. That said, the overall presentation is fantastic, with a great choice of story to start things off. The show also parallels the current slate of Marvel films nicely, making it well worth your 22 minutes.
Major kudos to Teletoon. Super Fan Fridays is shaping up nicely with an excellent lineup. I hope we’ll see this kind of entertainment back on Saturday mornings, but if not, they are doing just fine on the Friday night block.
For a taste be sure to check out nearly two hours worth of Avengers Micro Episodes here.
Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes airs October 22 at 8 PM Eastern.