Since the end of the second season of The Spectacular Spider-Man, there has been a huge hole in my heart that only animated Marvel TV series can fill. Rather than go see a cardiologist (or perhaps a psychiatrist), I’ve instead waited with eager anticipation for Marvel’s newest series, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Now, The Spectacular Spider-Man set the bar for animated comic series insanely high. When I first heard there wouldn’t be a third-season because of the Disney-Marvel team-up, I kicked a stuffed Pluto dog until it bled white fluff. I don’t condone that sort of behavior, but I will not apologize. Primarily because that never happened, but also because The Spectacular Spider-Man was full of the youthful exuberance and wit that any version of Spidey absolutely needs to succeed – if you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend seasons one and two on DVD.
From my perspective, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is Disney-Marvel’s chance to make up for the destruction of the single greatest comic book show I’ve ever seen. I’m a twenty-two year old male with an unhealthy passion for comic books. I was able to watch and enjoy Spidey with my 16-year-old and 9-year-old brothers and they both also loved it. This is what Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes needed to replace – a show complex enough to engage all varieties of viewers.
As I’ve mentioned on here, the microepisodes convinced me that the all new Avengers was up to the challenge. After the Wednesday night, hour-long premiere, do I still think it’s capable of filling the gap?
For the most part, yes, I do. Avengers: EMH stays incredibly true to these beloved characters, while introducing them to a potentially new audience. Unlike the late 90’s Avengers cartoon – which was a disaster on every imaginable level – Avengers: EMH gives the viewers the heroes they want (Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, etc.) in the way they want them. Iron Man is a slightly restrained version of Robert Downey Jr.’s quick witted hero, Thor is an arrogant Asgardian who feels his services are needed on Midguard (Earth, people. Earth.), and Bruce Banner is trying to convince the world that the Hulk is more than just a monster.
This is one of Avengers: EMH biggest strengths: it doesn’t try to explain all of these heroes existence and origins. In the world of Avengers: EMH, everyone is already aware that Iron Man is Tony Stark and that a God of Thunder walks among them. The only thing the heroes lack is the knowledge of the other heroes they will ultimately team up with – each character even has his rogue’s gallery intimately acquainted with their name.
Speaking of which, the Breakout theme of the opening episodes was a brilliant new way to begin Avengers: EMH. Brian Michael Bendis used this storyline in his more modern start to the New Avengers, and the idea works just as well here.
In short, there are four unique super-villain prisons: The Vault, the Raft, The Cube, and The Big House. With all these super-villains gathered in such large numbers, and an episode titled “Breakout,” you can imagine the potential Avengers: EMH is unleashing.
Who’s the Show For?
As I mentioned, Avengers: EMH does take some viewer knowledge for granted. This is great news for those of us who know things about the Marvel Universe, but would the show work if you don’t?
Personally, I think so. As a matter of fact, I think Avengers: EMH could be a great way to get a feel for these characters. Remember, Marvel is using this show as a platform for the mega Avengers movie in 2012 – they absolutely will want to create more fans out of the show.
This means there will be seemingly obvious allusions to basic character traits throughout the show. For those of you who scoff at the use of “obvious,” these will be great for you. For example, the Thor/Jane Foster conversation in the first episode alone sets up a major premise for the first Thor movie: Big arrogant Thor, pretty Jane Foster, Angry Odin, and Scheming Loki. That’s Thor in a nutshell.
Upon Further Review…
With such a solid storyline, it’s hard for Avengers: EMH to really go wrong. At times the show is a bit too toned down for children (particularly in the dialogue), but I understand it is a cartoon airing on Disney XD. The creators probably aren’t exactly trying to get new fans in the 20 and up demographic. Understandable – we are pretty set in our nerdy ways at this point anyway.
That’s really my only critique for the show at this point. The fight scenes aren’t quite at the quick-paced, action-packed level of The Spectacular Spider-Man, but they were close enough. The boss battle in these first episodes was incredibly long-lasting, featured tons of action, and was not even an ad for Viagra.
It’ll be interesting to see how the creators develop the fight scenes. At some point, more collaborative fighting will have to take root, hopefully with Ultimate Alliance 2 style combo attacks.
In the meantime, though, I’m really excited about Avengers: EMH and can’t wait to see how the show unfolds over the season. This should be the TV replacement Marvel comics has needed – check it out 7:30 CST on Disney XD.
You can get caught up on the microepisodes right here: