In 2012, Marvel released the Avengers movie, rounding off their initial movie slate and cementing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was unprecedented and had several effects, one of the ones that was less positive was their animated output. Avengers Assemble was the Disney made animated series that seemed to carry on from the movie, there was another for Spider-Man, one for the Hulk and eventually one for the Guardians of the Galaxy and I didn’t like them. Well in defence of the Guardians show, I never actually watched it, so that might be excellent. The one that put me off the most was the Avengers Assemble, it’s bland animation, slavish devotion to the movie and absence of both characterisation and genuine fun got me to switch off. I was quite sanguine about it really, I realised that I wasn’t the target audience and just moved on, perfectly happy with it existing, since I didn’t need to watch it. But you see, I have a son. SuperSam watched an episode during a Saturday morning cartoon watch and he enjoyed the episode of the 3rd or 4th season, which had the sub-title Secret Wars and I, for the first time in years had to sit through a two part episode.
It had not improved, despite introducing the Vision and Kamala ‘Ms Marvel’ Khan. I asked to not watch any more, declaring to my son that there was a better version of the Avengers than this drivel. He did not believe me, fortunately a few years ago I got a copy of the series in question in Chester. This series was Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, I promised that if he gave it a try and didn’t like it, then I would sit through more Avengers Assemble.
Avengers: EMH was released in 2010 and ran for 2 seasons, being cancelled to make way for Avenger Assemble. It had a modest 52 episode run, telling a larger story, broken down into single episodes, mini-arcs and two parters and over a period of 4 weeks, we watched every single episode.
Iron Man/ Tony Stark – Eric Loomis
Captain America/Steve Rogers– Brian Bloom
Wasp/Janet Van Dyne – Collen O’Shaunessy
Thor – Rick Wasserman
The Hulk – Fred Tatasciore
Dr Henry Pym/Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellowjacket – Wally Wingert
T’Challa, the Black Panther – James Mathis III
Hawkeye/Clint Barton – Chris Cox
In a world, where there are super-heroes and villains there is a breakout at S.H.I.E.L.D’s super-prisons which frees dozens of super-villains. This disaster brings together fledgling heroes Ant Man, the Wasp, Iron Man, Thor and the fugitive Hulk to try to save the day. One of the villains, known as Graviton nearly destroys the city, before this group stops him. With other villains on the loose, this group join together to avenge the wrongs these villains do.
Whilst a modern show, this was a love letter to the history of the Avengers and used both classic characters (including Captain America, Vision, Carol Danvers’ Ms Marvel and Hawkeye) as well as adapting several classic Avengers stories, from Secret Invasion, to the Korvac Saga and even the Kree/Skrull War. There was all the villains you could have wanted, like Doctor Doom, Ultron, Kang, the Masters of Evil and Loki as well as other non-Avengers villains, including such ‘greats’ as the Absorbing Man, the Leader, the Wrecking Crew and the U-Foes. Even non-Avengers stories were present, the best one being ‘The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill’.
This was full of guest stars and easter eggs, including Warriors Three, Abigal Brand: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. and the X-Plain the X-Men fan in me was thrilled to see Super-Doctor-Astronaut Peter Corbeau. Power Man and Iron Fist, the Fantastic Four, even Wolverine popped up from time to time. This was show about the Marvel Universe, that whilst recogniseable as characters from the MCU, very much felt like it’s own thing, the closest analagous show would be Justice League Unlimited. The stakes rose with each story, the next to last being 8 of the Avengers vs the entire Kree Empire, but the show ended on a high with every Avenger and guest star facing off against GALACTUS.
This wasn’t a perfect show and there were more than a couple of clunkers, but this was lovingly made, well voice-acted and never outstayed it’s welcome. It ended too soon perhaps, but what we did get was a satisfying limited series that entertained me again for the second time and enthralling my 8 year old son (SuperSam) who more than once tried to risk being late for school to watch one in the mornings. We weren’t late for school, but got through this show in less than a month. When we were done, I asked if it was better than Avengers Assemble, which he couldn’t agree with more.
This show is fun, faithful to the comics (but you don’t need much knowledge of them) and the boxset of all 52 episodes isn’t too hard to find, nor too expensive and if you have ever enjoyed Marvel’s animated products, certainly worth your while checking out.
Notes from SuperSam: I liked the show because of cool stuff like the Purple Man making Iron Man rule the world and them teleporting GALACTUS in the last episode, which I watched this morning.
This re-watch project has been a fun and interesting success and needs a sequel. Next time, Wolverine and the X-Men.
Ttfn Internet People, see you next time