Thursday, May 3, 2012

Netflix Friday: Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes

As I wrote earlier this week, I am super psyched up about the new Avengers movie. I've been a fan for years and this really looks like it's going to be something special. With an estimated budget of $220 million, it looks like it's going to be a spectacle worthy of pulling together six of the greatest heroes of the Marvel Universe: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Nick Fury is cool, but an eyepatch really doesn't count as a costume, does it?

One of the things I've been doing while getting ready for this movie which opens today and I'm definitely going to be there -- I could have gone tonight, but I just don't go to midnight movies that don't require me to wear a costume and sing "Sweet Transvestite" while wearing a feather boa. To warm up for the movie, these past few months I turned to Netflix for my Avengers fix.

No, they don't have the latest blockbuster, but they do have season one of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. This is an animated series that does a great job of creating a hybrid of the classic Stan Lee & Jack Kirby Avengers comics and fusing them with the cooler modern elements from the movies. It also creates a more traditional line-up that includes Giant-Man and the Wasp in the line-up (no disrespect to Clint and Natasha, but Hank and Janet were there first).

The series opens with individual episodes dedicated to Iron Man, Thor and Hulk (along with Hawkeye and Black Widow), then gets into the series itself which involves all our fan favorites: S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA, Loki, the Enchantress, and the usual (and unusual) supervillains that make this stuff so much fun.

Each episode is about 23 minutes long and, once the team gets together, it really picks up steam.

I don't want to get into the plot of the entire first season (but if you're interested, you can check out the episode guide here), but I will say this is a blast from the past with a few cool retcons thrown in. For example, in Episode 4, "Meet Captain America," not only do we see the WWII fighting prowess of Captain America and Bucky, but there's the Howling Commandos -- and LOGAN himself. Yup, Logan fighting alongside Dum Dum Dugan against Hydra in WWII. This is a fun episode that tells how Cap wind up frozen and makes it into the 21st Century.

We then get to move into the present day and meet other heroes like the Black Panther. All in all, it's a nice mix of action and soap opera -- just like the original comic series. We also get characters like Wonder Man, Captain Marvel and more.

What impresses me most about this series is that it's so good, and that it's not overly kid-centric. That's been the problem with most of Marvel's animated series: they recast the characters as teens in order to appeal more to a younger audience (a teen-age Tony Stark just makes no sense at all). In this series, as with the superior DC Comics animated series like Justice League, the Avengers are adults and are portrayed as such. Also, the designs are classic Kirby and John Buscema. It should also be noted that I see some elements from Roy Thomas in here, too. All in all, a great series that I highly recommend.

So far, Netflix just has the first season (WARNING: It ends with a cliff-hanger!), but it has been renewed for a second season that has already started airing on Disney XD.  If you're a fan of the Avengers, or would like to find out more about the classic Avengers that inspired the new movie, you should definitely check this out.

See ya back here on Monday for more Comics Talk.

1 comment:

  1. Samuel L Jackson is so cool, he doesn't need anything more than an eyepatch to be a superhero.