Lost Boy TV: Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

I love superheroes. That is a statement that is actually something that is kind of hard to say for some geeks. Superhero comics are usually pretty bad with some of the stupidest deus-ex machina that allow heroes to die, come back to life, die again, realize that they aren’t dead but are in the past or in an alternate dimension, come back, and unmake the universe (but only their particular section of the whole universe). Also, you have to wade through 40-80 years in some cases of past comics if you really want to know the history of everything. There are some serious problems inherent to the idea of having a series run for decades, which is why when I read comics I tend to stick more towards the self contained stories and mini-series like the absolutely fantastic Planet Hulk (and it’s sequel World War Hulk, which is awesome but for very different reasons), Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and of course Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen.

That being said, I love superhero movies, especially the most recent Marvel films, and I absolutely adore superhero TV shows. Batman the Animated Series is the best animated show ever. Spectacular Spider-Man could have been as good as Batman if it had more time. Wolverine and the X-Men is basically just “OH SNAP, IT’S WOLVERINE” and Wolverine does awesome things with the X-Men. Superheroes really tend to work best in the TV medium, as the producers can do a lot more with the expanded time spread and they can pick and choose various stories from the different eras of the comic and make them flow together to make a coherent narrative over the course of a season. That is exactly what Wolverine and the X-Men did and what Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes did.

The show follows the Avengers (made up of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor, Ant/Giant Man, Wasp, and Black Panther) as they fight against HYDRA, AIM, and various super villains from across the entire Marvel universe in order to keep the world safe. It’s a very simple premise (as most superhero properties are) but a strong narrative runs through the season that ties each individual threat together. The season features threats like the gamma-radiated super villains of the Cube being set free due to a plot by the Leader, Ultron contemplates how to save humanity and decides that humanity can only be saved through eradication, Loki attacks Asgard. Everything is based off of stories from the comics, and the last one is actually from only a few years ago! SHIELD is also highly present through the first season and there is a major event near the end of the season that really spells some ominous things to come dealing with the organization.

The show feels like it is much more of a character study than it is a superhero action show. The first five episodes of the show introduce the various main characters and focus only on them for that entire episode, showing the audience their personality and superpowers. The show doesn’t even focus just on the characters that have appeared in movies, which makes me very happy. The best characters in the show are easily Wasp, Hulk, and Thor. Wasp is just sarcastic and hilarious, Hulk revels in the destruction that he causes and only wants to prove that he is the strongest, and Thor does the same fish out of water stuff that he does in the live-action movie.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes even manages to develop the characters outside of their superhero side. Thor starts to has a burgeoning romance with the human paramedic Jane Foster, Hank Pym (Giant Man) and Janet van Dyne (Wasp) have relationship issues and she doesn’t like the fact that he is so tied up in his work. Pym is an incredibly interesting character not only because of his constant identity crisis with the changing of his superhero identiy, but also his insistence on having non-violent resolutions of conflict. Clint Barton (Hawkeye) has a very conflicted relationship with his ex-SHIELD partner, Black Widow, but I will leave that statement exceptionally vague as I don’t want to ruin that sub plot. Hulk is great because Bruce Banner is barely present in the show. This is an all Hulk show and it really shows how well the Hulk can be written when writers focus only on him and not try to flesh both him and Banner out. Some characters that eventually become superheroes in the Avengers even show up before they get their powers. This is the kind of thing that only geeks would get, but it’s nice that it’s included and if you know who they are and who they become, it’s a nice bit of foreshadowing of what will be coming in future seasons.

One of the best thing about this show is that it not only takes a number of rather silly villains from various comics like Kang the Conquerer, Baron Zemo, M.O.D.O.K., and Arnim Zola and makes them not only viable threats, but actually rather menacing and can do all of this while having them wear costumes similar to how they first appeared in the 60’s. They look completely ridiculous, but are completely competent and manage to do some serious damage before getting stomped by the Avengers.

The animation is fantastic, which is to be completely expected from any animated show that has a major company funding it’s production. The voice acting is great, especially Eric Loomis (Iron Man) who does a fantastic job of channeling Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man. Colleen O’Shaughnessey manages to make Wasp hilarious and sarcastic, but not annoying by any stretch of the imagination, and has a great rapport with Chris Cox’s Hawkeye. Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor, Kurgan from Highlander, Grune from Thundercats) is Odin and is actually not playing a villain for seemingly the first time in his career. The music is passable if not completely forgettable except for the theme song. The theme is easily one of the worst theme songs I have ever been forced to sit through and actually has made people not want to watch the show. Seriously Marvel, you need to change the theme song for season 2 (which is supposedly starting in October on Disney XD).

The entire first season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is available to watch on Netflix Streaming, so I would suggest watching it on there.


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