Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The Avengers Have Been Assembling on Disney XD
Boy, is my face red. I'd like to think that I'm up to date on most geek-friendly entertainment, but somehow this one escaped me: Since last Fall, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has been airing on the Disney XD channel.
In retrospect, I can see how I missed this. It seemed that during the rise of niche channels on cable TV, almost all of the cool animated shows have been going to the Cartoon Network--Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Young Justice, Venture Brothers, Symbionic Titan, and so on. So, to find out that one of Disney's cable channels has been running the latest animated version of one of Marvel Comics' premiere superhero teams really caught me off guard.
Finding Captain America, Iron Man and Thor on a Disney channel does makes sense, actually. Disney bought Marvel back in 2009, so naturally Disney would play a key role in deciding when, where and how any Marvel properties are marketed to the public. Furthermore, with Marvel laying the groundwork in its live-action movies such as Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor and the upcoming Captain America movie for a likewise live-action Avengers movie in 2012, it's logical that Marvel would also put an Avengers cartoon on the airwaves to build additional interest in this particular title and the Marvel universe in general.
I've been catching up on the episodes I've missed and from what I've seen so far, the show does justice (no pun intended) to its source material. The team's roster has a selection of both popular and less well-known heroes, and the show accurately portrays the personalities and prior histories of each of the main characters. Even though DC also has its own selection of popular superhero characters, Marvel has often done a better job of placing its characters in a single, consistent narrative universe. That trend continues in the current Avengers show: Characters from all over the Marvel universe appear in each episode, from episode-length guest roles to fleeting, momentary cameos. The only thing that I think this show could improve is its overall quality of animation, which looks somewhat awkward and uneven in comparison to its closest thematic counterpart, the Justice League TV series.
For more information about this series, go to the Avengers page on the Disney XD site.