Why Marvel’s Animated Universe Rocks!
August 24th, 2015 | by Jonathan Thompson
Marvel’s Animated Universe is dominating the airwaves according to our Jonathan Thompson. Find our more in his great opinion piece here on ComiConverse.
If you haven’t checked out Dale Martin’s article about the importance of comic cartoons, I suggest you give it a look. It’s quite good and it also points out a huge advantage that Marvel has over DC. Marvel’s Animated Universe has been dominating television for quite some time.
DC has put out a lot of quality and amazing shows throughout the years. I grew up on Batman: The Animated Series, even wrote an article on it, but Marvel’s Animated Universe is something DC tried to copy and failed.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
Marvel’s Animated Universe is currently on top due to their inclusion on to Disney XD‘s schedule.
It began with Avengers – Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This was 52 well written and crafted episodes that took us through the origins of these heroes, the events that ultimately bring them together as a team and what held them together as a group. It took us through prison breakouts, Ultron attacks and a Skrull invasion.
The roster changed every few episodes it seemed, but the writing always made sense as to why different heroes had to move in and help save the planet. In the finale, every Earth hero came together under the Avenger banner and fought together to defeat the planet-eating being known as Galactus and his heralds. Production on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stopped to make way for a newer version of the Avengers, one that would resemble the team that we are currently watching in the theaters.
Before we get to the new Avengers cartoon, we have to bring up Marvel’s go-to solo hero – Spider-Man. Marvel had previously released the animated series, Spider-Man Unlimited, and the Spectacular Spider-Man, so they would surely go big for their next animated version of Spidey, or not even make the show at all.
They went bigger than imagined.
They went Ultimate!
Drake Bell became Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man, the dopey and insecure teenager who understands that he has a greater responsibility to his life. Bell’s tenure under the spider-mask has been excellent and he brings a little silliness to Peter Parker that helps break up the seriousness of his job.
Speaking of Spider-Man’s job – in this series he becomes a teacher and leader of heroes who are just beginning on their journey. Nick Fury, voiced perfectly by Chi McBride, recruits Peter to help the extremely Zen and laid back Danny Rand, cocky know-it-all Sam Anderson, brilliant and disciplined Ava Ayala and the strong and focused Luke Cage to become the heroes they’re destined to become – Iron Fist, Nova, White Tiger, and Power Man.
Ultimate Spider-Man’s format is about teaming Spidey with different heroes, from the veterans like Captain America and Agent Coulson to the rookies like Squirrel Girl and Flash Thompson’s Agent Venom, to battle different villains. When he joined with Agent Coulson, voiced by the man himself, Clark Gregg, to battle the Beetle is one of the best episodes ever, in my opinion.
To capitalize on the success of The Avengers movie, Avengers Assemble was created. It brought together, or back together since the premiere is about them working together after breaking up, the Avengers from the movie but it brought in Sam Wilson, rookie SHIELD agent and rookie Avenger, to help guide the fans into the show. Of course, we all know Sam Wilson becomes Falcon but he has to prove to his teammates, and everyone else around him, it seems, that he belongs among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Avengers Assemble has struggled with some of their stories but they’ve delivered more than they’ve missed. Adrian Pasdar, as we all know as Nathan Petrelli from NBC’s Heroes and General Glenn Talbot from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, is a surprisingly good Iron Man. He brings across Tony Stark’s cocky attitude almost as well as Robert Downey, Jr, in this writer’s opinion. Pasdar leads a terrific cast that has found its voice going into their third season, where the show will go from Avengers Assemble to Avengers: Ultron Revolution.
Hulk and the Agents of SMASH brings us three names the geek world should know quite well – Seth Green, Clancy Brown, and Eliza Dushku. Green is the voice of Marvel’s go-to sidekick turned Gamma powered hero, Rick “A-Bomb” Jones. Brown is the red-skinned behemoth that once tried to destroy Jade-Jaws, General Thaddeus “Red-Hulk” Ross. Dushku is the woman behind everyone’s favourite lawyer, Jennifer “She-Hulk” Walters.
Being an Agent of SMASH, which isn’t an acronym for anything, allows Hulk to show that he isn’t a monster and he can be a real leader. He leads the Smashers across the globe and to other planets, proving time and again that there is a rational brain inside his verdant dome.
The newest addition to the Marvel Animated Universe comes from last summer’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. All that’s been released is an amazing trailer and short videos of the origin of each team member.
Guardians of the Galaxy has the best cast. If you grew up in the 90’s, Will Friedle was your older brother, or how you wished your older brother would act. Friedle is our new Star-Lord and it sounds like he will make Chris Pratt proud with his rendition.
The single minded destroyer, Drax, is being brought to life by a man that’s been Robocop and a Transformer among so many other characters you probably didn’t know he voiced, David Sobolov.
Gamora is being brought to life by Vanessa Marshall, a woman who has clocked a lot of time as a comic heroine, as she was Black Canary on Young Justice and was the voice of Natasha Romanoff on Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, not to mention she’s been Wonder Woman.
Trevor Devall goes from voicing Chancellor Palpatine to being the voice of 89P13, better known as Rocket Raccoon and he just wants to blow stuff up.
And Rocket’s house plant/personal body guard is voiced by a man that has so many credits to his name that it is impossible to narrow them down here. But if you loved a cartoon growing up, there was a good chance that Kevin Michael Richardson was a voice on the show. Now, he’ll be taking over for the late, great Michael Clark Duncan, who voiced Groot in an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man.
With a team like that, you can bet the Guardians will get into some trouble and may cause some problems for the universe but they’ll come in guns blazing and swords drawn when it needs to be saved.
If you haven’t given the Marvel Animated Universe a shot or you did and didn’t like it, I would suggest giving it another try. With the fourth season of Ultimate Spider-Man, renamed Ultimate Spider-Man versus the Sinister Six, and Guardians of the Galaxy get their first chance to lead a show, it’ll fun a lot of cartoony fun.
Thoughts or opinions that different from mine?
Leave a comment, spark some healthy debates.
Jonathan Thompson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @Jon_Toast