We spend a lot of time here at the Griz reviewing movies, and giving our thoughts so that you (the reader) will have an informed opinion before you chose to watch said movie. Don’t believe me? Check out the reviews section and tell me we don’t bring you a ton of them. Usually they feature an outline of whatever is being reviewed, and the potential for enjoyment you could have with it. It’s a nice safe place where you can share ideas and have informed conversations about your viewing habits.
I say screw that. This is going to be us (the staff of GB) telling you (the reader) exactly what to watch and when to do it. Not whether you should, or if you’ll like it. I’m flat out telling you, watch this immediately. This is Grizzly Bomb’s Must See TV.
And to start it off, we are going to feature a cartoon, because who doesn’t love cartoons?
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes premiered on Disney XD last year, and while I covered some news on it before it was released, I wasn’t too sure if it was something I was going to enjoy. I was afraid it would be another show primed for yung’ins, much like The Super Hero Squad Show, which I detest. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
TA:EMH is about the premier superhero team in the Marvel Universe, The Avengers. It’s main line up features Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man/Giant Man and the Wasp. It grows to include Black Panther and Hawkeye, with frequent appearances by the Black Widow. S.H.I.E.L.D also plays a pretty big part in the series.
The first season was 26 episodes, nice and long. This gave it a lot of time to really establish not just the team, but the individual characters as well, Prequel mini-sodes were released online, and later put together to make 5 full length episodes that featured each character in the time leading up to the first episode. So it did have a bit of a slow start, but once that first team episode hit, it was worth it.
The show draws heavily from comic events, such as the ‘Breakout’ episodes, where the team is drawn together by a series of breakouts at the 4 prisons mentioned in the mini-sodes. Very reminiscent of how the New Avengers formed, it really proved a great starting point for the founding members of the Avengers. That’s one of the main reasons I loved this show so much, because if you are a fan of comics (like pretty much everyone at GB) it’s great to see the actual characters used for the series. This doesn’t occur too often, as it’s usually based on which characters fit a certain demographic, or would make a better toy. Did you see the ‘90s series? Avengers: United They Stand… pretty much one of the worst cartoons ever made.
So we get to see the team form in the beginning, which is quite a challenge considering the dynamics of some of the characters. Hulk especially proves how difficult this can be. The various relationships are clearly defined, and sometimes surprising, Hulk and Hawkeye’s friendship being one of the most enjoyable. That’s pretty much pure comedy, and a nice counter to the seriousness the rest of the team exudes. The episodes really play to the strengths of the team, and excel at moving the overall season plot forward. There are so many extra details that you will only catch in a second watch through, where you get one of those awesome “oooohhhh” moments, and it really adds to the big finish of the season finale.
The animation is crisp, fluid, and the colors really pop. Iron Man’s repulsor rays or Thor’s lightning blaze off the screen, and the various colors of the characters uniforms never seem to clash or take away from each other, it all works together very well. The actions scenes are clearly thought out, and used in ways to highlight the various aspects of the heroes. When Hulk throws a heavy punch, you can almost feel it. And watching Cap’s shield bounce around the room almost makes sense in a sciencey-I-know-nothing-about-physics kind of way.
There are moments when you definitely get the standard feel of a ‘Saturday morning cartoon’, like when the team dons matching space armor that you know the producers are dying to make toys out of. Please do, by the way, I’ll take a whole set. As long as they come with a Quinjet.
Now I’ve raved a lot about the heroes, and I could go on about the huge cast of supporting characters, like Nick Fury or even Maria Hill, but I’d rather talk about the villains. Man, does this show ever have villains. Quick, think of an Avengers villain off the top of your head.
Yup, their in it. Seriously, I lost track of the amount of villains I saw. Some just in the background, but most as full on recurring enemies of the Avengers. We get to see Loki, the Masters of Evil, Hydra, A.I.M., M.O.D.O.K., Grim Reaper, Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Baron Strucker, Absorbing Man, Abomination, Blizzard, Crimson Dynamo, EVERYTHING from Asgard, Kang the Conquerer, Ultron… the list keeps on going. And that’s just the first season!
Whether it’s a super team set up to take down the Avengers, or an individual member in a grudge match, the battles are all fought for a reason, and it’s not just “What villain should we throw at them this week?” There is a definite goal behind the drive of the series, and it’s a nice change from the cartoon status quo.
Here’s the craziest part for me. It wasn’t what I saw or the stories that were told that really got to me, it was what was going to happen next. I’ve grown up with these characters, so it’s safe to assume what awaits them in upcoming seasons. It all already happened, I seen it. I was there. So the best thing is watching all these random pieces unfold and lead up to what could be an amazing second season.
Here are some things to look forward to next season, based on what we saw in the first:
Skrull Invasion – I don’t want to give anything away, but signs definitely point to the Skrull’s making a heavy appearance.
The Kree/ Skrull War – Having already met the Kree Captain Marvel in the episode ‘459’, and safely assuming the Skrull’s involvement for reasons undisclosed, not to mention Kang lets it slip that this very war will tear their world apart…so I’m thinking Season 2 will be a big lead up to the Kree/Skrull War, with the payoff coming at the finale.
Yellowjacket – Watching Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant Man) is like sitting in front of an A-Bomb watching the timer click away. Good television. Plus he dons a costume that is eerily similar to his Yellowjacket garb near the end of the first season.
Bucky/Winter Soldier – That’s all I’m saying.
West Coast Avengers – Nah, probably not, but Hawkeye does make a joke about moving the team to the West Coast.
New Characters – One thing this series handled well was a huge cast of characters, with appearances by Doc Samson, Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel), Mockingbird, Black Knight (briefly) and the Fantastic Four (just to name a few). I would expect the appearance of other future Avengers to continue, as well as some new additions to the team’s roster.
New Costumes – We all know that the Wasp doesn’t stay in the same costume longer than three issues, so I was quite surprised to see her maintain her costume throughout the entire first season (except for the Space Armor and one episode she wore a furry version to fight the cold). I don’t expect that mono-costumeness to last. You can check out a few of the season 2 costume revisions for Iron Man, Thor and Captain America below.
New Armor – Tony Stark certainly has no problem finding something to wear, especially in this series. I love that his various armors aren’t just used as a gimmick, and all clearly have their purpose and reasons for him wearing them, for the most part. I would expect to see the War Machine and the DeepSea armor to make an appearance; because that’s pretty much the only armors left to showcase.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is not only a great adaptation of these beloved characters, it’s also a kick ass cartoon, full of story, action, bright colors and flashing lights. What more could you ask for?
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Vol 1 & 2 came out on April 25th, so I’m straight up telling you to go buy them and watch this awesome series immediately. Unfortunately the DVD’s only feature 13 of the 26 episodes, but I’m sure you can find a way to see the rest.