I’m a sucker for pretty much anything super-hero related, especially when it comes to cartoon series. I still think “Justice League: Unlimited” is one of the greatest things ever to grace television. We’ve recently had a resurgence in quality cartoons, so I thought I’d share a few with you guys today.
First up we have the second season premier of “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes“, a series that debuted last year to help familiarize non-comics readers with Marvel’s super team before the big live action movie comes out next month. Over all I’ve been a fan of the show, which features a main roster of Iron Man (as leader), Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Giant Man, Black Panther and The Wasp. The animation is stylized but usually pretty good. I LOVED the opening sequence from Season 1, which featured the Avengers fighting a War of the Worlds type invasion. Unfortunately for Season 2 they’ve cut it up and have Nick Fury doing a voiceover introducing everyone. I hate it. HATE it. Oh well.
The Season 2 premiere is currently available for free on iTunes, and features a guest appearance from the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom. Unfortunately we’ll never get to see the FF and the Avengers meet up in the live action movies, because Marvel sold the film rights to the Fantastic Four to Fox. Sigh. Here’s a couple of screengrabs from the episode.
Next we have the series premiere of “Ultimate Spider-Man“, yet another new animated series tackling the wall crawler. The first episode is also up for free on iTunes, and honestly I’m not quite sure how I feel about the series yet. It relies heavily on fantasy sequences and snarky asides from Spidey to the audience, as if J.D. from “Scrubs” was under the mask instead of Peter Parker. While I thought it was kind of funny at the beginning of the episode, I really had to fight to get the end of it and the “cuteness” of it quickly got on my nerves. I shouldn’t have to force myself to finish a 22-minute cartoon about one of my favorite super-heroes. On the bright side, the episode does feature a cameo by none other than Stan Lee.
Going over to the DC Comics side of the TV universe, I have to give some props to the team behind “Young Justice“. When the series was first announced I was not very thrilled, and pretty much wrote it off. However week after week the series has won me over with it’s many cameos of adult Justice League characters (including the awesome Bruce Greenwood, aka Captain Pike from the “Star Trek” reboot, as Batman) and it’s more mature plot lines. The episode airing today was called “Performance” and featured Robin leading the team undercover in Haley’s Circus, the same circus where his parents died, to investigate some shady doings. The end up finding the Superman villain Parasite. If you haven’t seen Young Justice yet, do yourself a favor and DVR it.
Young Justice is paired up with the new Green Lantern CGI series on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately, despite Green Lantern being one of my favorite comic book series, this new cartoon is much like the maligned live action film that came out last year and is really, really painful to watch. Gotta recommend you skip it.
Last but definitely not least, we finally have a sneak peak at the sequel to the superb Nickelodeon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” courtesy, again, of iTunes. “The Legend of Korra” picks up many years after the end of “Airbender” and features the new Avatar as she begins her training. Like “Avatar” before it, “Korra” features gorgeous hand drawn animation with a unique style that blends Western and Japanese styles. The story picks up roughly 70 to 80 years after Avatar Aang and his friends defeat the Firelord and save the world.
In this first episode we’re introduced to Korra, the new Avatar, who is a bit of a tomboy and very headstrong. At the beginning of the series she has already mastered three of the four elements, only lacking Airbending of course. It appears that only one castmember from “Avatar” is still alive at this point, that being Katara. She mentions that “I’ve already lost my brother and several of my friends” specifically. We meet one of her and Avatar Aang’s children, a few of their grandchildren, and the adult daughter of Toph.
The show definitely has the same feel as “Avatar” but it setting up a very different story, and I’ll be following it for sure.