Friday, August 9, 2013

Avengers Pre-Assembled

Karen: The new Avengers cartoon, Avengers Assemble, has been on the air for about 4 weeks or so now. Not sure if any of you have noticed. We've been watching it sort of half-heartedly in my house. We're trying to give it a chance, but it just lacks the smarts and style of its predecessor, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Karen: It's quite obvious that Marvel is doing everything they can to make this animated show resemble the movie version of Avengers as much as possible. As far as I know, that's the main reason they cancelled A:EMH and started up this new show, to try to present some sort of 'unified front' in their entertainment I suppose. The costumes look more like the movies outfits, and at least for Iron Man, the actor doing the voice seems to be trying to sound like Robert Downey Jr.

Karen: There's also the jokes. I don't think a line of dialogue can end without a joke, unless it's Captain America talking. He's the only one who gets an exemption it seems. And there's little to no character development. I think the only character who has seen any actual time devoted to understanding who he is would be the Falcon, and that's because he's used as a viewpoint character. Of course, they've also completely changed him from the comics, but I guess that doesn't matter, because the cartoon doesn't appear to really be referencing the comics.

Karen: So far I believe I've seen five episodes (including the two-part premiere) and it's pretty much been wall to wall action, with characters crashing and smashing across the screen but little in the way of plot or motivation. It's obviously geared to keep the kids interested and ready to buy toys. I know I had read that Jeph Loeb said they were going with "done in one" stories because the multi-episode stories of A:EMH were basically too much for little kids to handle. I guess good plotting and character development are too.

Karen: They do a segment at the end of the show comparing an Avenger's powers to a real life athlete and they use clips from A:EMH and it just reminds me every time how much better that show was than this new show. I'm hoping we'll see improvement but I doubt it. I think, for me, a big part of the problem is that this show seems so removed from the comics, whereas A:EMH embraced the 40+ years of history Marvel has and drew upon it. They had episodes with the Kree Sentry, for Pete's sake! Now we have seen some old- time villains in the new show too, but they keep having to tie them into the movies somehow  and it just feels weird: the Super-Adaptoid created by Justin Hammer?

Karen: I haven't even touched on the animation. While I never thought A:EMH was fantastic, it looks far better than AA, which sometimes makes me think I am watching an old episode of GI Joe. Seriously, who is drawing this thing?

Karen: While there's nothing inherently wrong with Marvel wanting to promote their movie line, it's a shame they had to take off a really well-made show like A:EMH and replace it with pablum like AA to do it.

The new:

The old:


Edo Bosnar said...

I haven't watched either cartoon, or many other of these more recent super-hero features (I only found out recently that one of the cartoon channels on the basic internet cable TV package we have shows Batman: Brave & Bold a few weeks ago). However, I have to say, while the fight over the cookies in that first one was a bit amusing, that second one actually makes me want to see more.

Anonymous said...

Marvel/Disney only seem to care about their movies and the comics come far behind - the Hulk was in the original Avengers for about 5 minutes but now he's being treated like a hugely important member- I'm amazed they haven't got Wolverine in the show, he seems to be omnipresent in the Marvel universe these days.

Humanbelly said...

As the HBFamily has never, ever had cable (and both kids seem to have developed & socialized just fine, thank you), there's been little opportunity to watch most of the animated super-hero fare. I had to watch A:EMH via the internet. . . which became impossible, for some reason, by Season Two.

And, man, there's only so much time one can devote to TV-watching in a hectic schedule, y'know? (I tend to binge-watch w/ DVD's from the library, actually.)

However, Colin, I'll go out on a limb and say that, if Disney can somehow get the rights to using him by then, look for Wolvie to show up for season two, eh? 'Course, they may be waiting to see just how much his recent film grosses before they make any moves in that direction. . .


Mike said...

I've been judging the current crop of super-hero cartoons by how much my soon-to-be 5 yr old son likes them. We tried an episode of AA and my boy thought it to be pretty lame. Then we tried that new Spider-man one too where he's working with SHEILD and he didn't like that one at all either. Beware the Batman gets a tepid response but he is watching it with or without me. The 2 big winners for him -- TMNT and Teen Titans Go! ... with TT Go! the clear winner (my personal fav too, btw).

Edo, you gotta check out those Brave & Bold re-runs ... if you like classic Silver Age DC then you'll really like that series.

Matt Celis said...

Given that hundreds of millions of ticket-buyers attend the films and the best-selling comic book is lucky when it sells 100,000 copies nowadays, I think it's clear why the comic books are not a priority. Any kid watching the new cartoon is far more likely to have seen the movie versions of these heroes and more than likely has never even seen a comic book. And given the poor quality of Marvel's hypersexualized, hyperviolent comics now, I wouldn't buy one for my kids even if I could afford them at $4 each.

david_b said...

I unilaterally blame this BAB forum for my gettin' hooked on Avengers:EMH. Yesss, your Honor, full blame is cast for my enjoyment of that series.

The new one..? I watched 10 min or so of a few episodes. Nada. Not interested. For everything Karen mentioned regarding the love and quality that went into EMH, ditto. This new one has no charm, to me it's for the kids/fans who are sick of stickin' the movie DVD in the player after the first few dozen times.

And I'm typically not one to watch these animated shows. I watched that Lantern series for 6 months, and I typically don't like the computer-generated shows either(kids cable channels seemed brimming with 'em for a while..). The only animated shows I've actually enjoyed over the last 20yrs has been the older Titans show (not the current 'Go' series), first few years of Batman:TAS, EMH and the Lantern series. The DC Shorts with Batgirl/Wondergirl/Supergirl are a fun to watch as well.

Nope, EMH set the bar for me on many fronts, both story-telling and animation. Yeeeah, perhaps a bit too long on the invasion storyline, and was very glad to FINALLY see both Yellowjacket and Vision appear...

J.A. Morris said...

I like AA okay so far. Not as good as A:EMH, but not terrible either. It's better than Ultimate Spider-Man, that may not be saying much, but after so many mediocre Marvel adaptations, I'll take it.
One thing that bugged me though was that Black Widow was absent & not mentioned for 2 episodes.

I have not seen Beware The Batman yet, but add my voice to those singing the praises of Batman:The Brave And The Bold. The whole series streams on Netflix, if you don't have Netflix, check it out on dvd.

Anonymous said...

That's all true but I've just been listening to a BBC news report about the massive failure of The Lone Ranger and whether there's a big problem with blockbuster movies. Iron Man 3 was a big hit but audiences can be very fickle and Marvel's movie success might not last - their comics are what made them. But you're right that the comics are ridiculously expensive.

Matt Celis said...

I think many of us old & in the way types mistakenly believe that we are the target audience, where in fact we and our interests are negligible. I hear the same protestations about Ant-Man & Wasp being left out of the Avengers in the films. Consider the movie and cartoons to be Earth-2 and Earth-3 is my advice. And if you really can't handle deviations from what happened in the comic books, just go back and read them again instead. That's what I do with Batman since the mid- to late '80s changed him utterly to the point that I don't even recognize him.

Earth's Mightiest Heroes was pretty good from
the few I saw, although the distorted anatomy puts me off, as does the omnipresence of SHIELD. Haven't seen the new version.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched either one of these except for the clips provided.

While A:EMH seemed marginally better than AA, both of them seemed pretty terrible (Unlike Edo, I thought the cookie fight was ridiculously awful).

Give me Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends or Battle of the Planets any day. :)

We may not be the target audience for this stuff, but the best cartoons find a way to make kids interested and keep adults interested. We weren't the target audience for Batman:TAS either, but it was awesome.

Oh and the voice acting was shite - esp. Reed Richards! Man, that was like a young guy's voice!

Matt Celis said...

Man how I wish Amazing Friends and the '77 Spidey TV series were available on DVD!

david_b said...

Matt, agreed with you on protests, but for consideration, we're still the age group that will spend the most $$ on merchandising and whom sponsors love the most, so in effect, along with the 24-36 age bracket for disposible income expenditures, we're still a group to be reckoned with.

'Course these days having said that, kids today probably do have more buying power/sway over parents than they would have when we were young, so it's hard to gauge.

As for old series, I still embrace the '60s Spiderman and Marvel Superheroes animated shows as my favs. My young nephew still likes when I pop the DVDs in and watch on Saturday afternoons. I think he likes the background music and voices the best.

Humanbelly said...

Radio Classic GIANT Gerald Mohr will always be the voice of Reed Richards for me. Whenever I hear an old Philip Marlowe program, or any one of a zillion Whistler episodes, or Connie Brooks' oblivious love interest Mr. Boynton, I always feel like it was Reed moonlighting to help pay off his grad school tuition. . .


William Preston said...

Wow. The bit with the cookies seems as if it were *written* by a child. If I were a little kid, I guess I'd watch it . . . but I had no judgment at all regarding TV when I was little.

Anonymous said...

Lurker here...
I actually enjoyed the Marvel Super Hero Squad.
It was fun.
But seriously .... For me personally, these shows are put up against the Bruce Timm standard.....
and this show fails!

Matt Celis said...

After all is said and done, I'm much more excited that the various seasons of Super Friends are getting released!

mot said...

Hi first time commenting. I am old school cartoons or animation. I haven"t seen the new avengers cartoon but usually I can roll with the punches. The sentry and older villins
is what I prefer in these toons of course or Overmind but kids are the market target so enjoy the old days.

Murray said...

Totally with you Karen. This reboot is weak on all fronts. The animation is, as you point out, like some soggy 1980's GI Joe cartoon. The voices all sound high and whiney to me, lacking any resonance. And the lame ass "booger jokes" (to offer a label) disconnect me over and over.

It's dull and I gave up on it.

As a side note, it's very odd that they scrapped a very good Avengers cartoon to try one more in line with the successful movie...yet the actual Avengers comic books suddenly went as far as possible from anything resembling the movie or any Avengers continuity. The comics are like some stoned Heavy Metal Magazine story from the 80's.

Nothing like having the best Public Relations-Marketing boost possible handed to you on a golden platter and then flushing it all away.

William said...

As much as I loved "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes", that's how much I loathe "Avengers ASSemble".

My biggest problem with it is that I can't decide which is worse.

1. The horrible 6th grade level writing.

2. The terrible 80's style animation.


3. The god-awful, amateurish voice acting.

Avengers Assemble is a perfect example of the huge downside to us fans finally getting successful and well done superhero movies. While it's great to see our beloved Marvel and DC characters come alive on the big screen (sort of), the flip-side of that coin is that then the "movie" versions of the characters suddenly become the default mainstream versions. Now Thor looks like Fabio, and Superman wears an all blue unitard made out of basketball rubber.

Naturally a hit movie is going to generate a lot more money than a comic book, thus the execs want to promote those versions of the characters as much as possible. As a result, we no longer get comic book based TV shows (animated or otherwise), or video games, or lunch boxes, or action figures, etc. And before you know it the classic comic looks of all our beloved superheroes fade from the public consciousness, and all we are left with are the watered down movie versions.

Now that being said, and even though it is based in the movie universe, I still don't how this piece of @#$% new Avengers toon ever got green-lighted. They must have left all the creative decisions to the bean-counters or something. Total uninspired, cookie-cutter garbage.

It's a shame too, because Avengers: EMH was probably the best animated series that Marvel ever put out. The art and animation was great, the voice acting was top notch, and the writing was excellent. I was always astounded by how much the show drew from the classic comics. Too bad it couldn't have lasted a little longer.

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