Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pierre Reviews The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Today FBU Co-Creator and Animator Extraordinaire Pierre makes a rare appearance in order to give us a his review of the Avengers cartoon on Disney XD. - Jim

And there came a day when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born.... to fight the foes no single super-hero could withstand.

That small paragraph sums up perfectly who the Avengers are. When I first saw some clips for "Earth's Mightiest Heroes... The Avengers".... all I could think of was of how poor the animation was.

There are many reasons behind that. The style used was not very streamlined for animation... and the character designs are wayyyy too busy to be animated easily. It must have been an Herculean task to do the animation for that show. Sadly... the producers shot themselves in the foot from day one with some poor decisions that made the animator's job next to impossible.

So I had no interest to watch the show. But I caught the first episode one night and decided to watch it. And despite all the flaws, despite all the poor decisions, I liked it. The broadcasters did a very smart move, the first episode they aired was supposed to be the sixth episode in the series. The first episode from what I understand was meant to feature only Iron-man. Then the second one was meant for Thor. Then Hulk. Then Cap. And finally after 5 episodes more or less of solo adventures, we would get the Avengers. So we would have had to wait 6 episodes before getting to see Earth's mightiest heroes.

But that meant risking disappointing those who wanted to see the Avengers. Not the solo adventures of Iron-man, or the solo adventures of Thor. If you want to do that, make a solo Iron-man series, or a solo Thor series.
But then again, I can pretty much tell you what the producers were thinking. At the time they made the Avengers cartoon, the Iron-man movie had been a hit (not sure if we had Iron-man 2 yet at that point). So the Iron-man movie being a hit, they figured that starting the Avengers cartoon with a solo episode starring Iron-man would have meant instant success. Yes producers can be funny that way sometimes.

 But luckily the Broadcasters had a much better idea. The broadcasters did a very smart thing and started with a bang. They started with an episode starring all the Avengers, or at least most of them and then after that they gave us the episodes that focused on the individual members.

You see, once the broadcasters buy a show, once they have the episodes, they can pretty much do what they want with them. They can decide in which order the episodes play on TV. Heck they can even decide to put the episodes on a shelf in some warehouse and NEVER play them on TV. They paid for the episodes, so they can pretty much do as they like with the show. In can be more complicated then that in some cases, but to keep things simple, the Broadcaster can pretty much do what they want with the show.

And in the case of the Avengers they have decided to start the series with the sixth episode that was already showing most of the team, and I have to agree with the Broadcasters. I believe that it was a mistake not to start with most of the Avengers roster in the first episode.

How do I know in what order the episodes were meant to be played as?? The director of Walter & Tandoori gave me the first season of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers on Blu-Ray. So that is how I know the original intent of the producers.

Of course, I could be mistaken and it could all be in my head only. But I have been working in animation for quite some time now, and I pretty much know how producers and broadcasters think by now. So I like to believe that I can make a lot more than just a guess, but a HECK of an educated guess by now. But you never know for certain, I could be mistaken.
Oh well.

So if the animation is so bad, why did I like this show?? Because it did feature a more classic version of the Avengers then the movie did.  In the cartoon version, Hawkeye is the Hawkeye that I love. Iron-man seems more like the movie version, but Thor feels like Thor. Cap looks and act like Cap. And heck we get a lot of classic Avengers villains.

Any show that gives us the Kirby version of Arnim Zola is okay in my book. ;)

So most of the characters look and act like the comic version used to. Some elements from the movies did creep into the show like the Iron-man/Tony Stark from the movies, or the black Nick Fury. But it is mostly minor stuff. So the fun characters and engaging stories quickly made me forget the poor animation. I would not suggest this show to everyone. I would suggest this show to any classic Avengers fan.

Although I did try to suggest the show to some guys at the studio who love silver age comics, but they could not get over the poor animation. Guess they were not as forgiving as me. ;)

Sadly it seems that the second season of the series will be its last. Disney plans to replace it with a new Avengers show from what I hear. No surprise there, that was to be expected. I guess we will have to wait and see if the new show will be an improvement or not.

We will see.

Until next time.

- Pierre


MattComix said...

I actually liked the theme song they had before they put in the announcer talking over it. Apparently there was a lot of fanboy whining about the theme not being serious or whatever.

I thought it fit well. The song could be from point of view of any of the heroes who are used to fighting alone but then realize that with allies and friends they're stronger.

Like you I was never 100% sold on the character designs of the show but at the same time I enjoyed the approach it was talking with the material and in that respect I found it more appealing than any Avengers comicbook of the past decade or more.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Hi Matt;

I LOVE the theme. But I have to agree that it is not as good with the voice over they have added to it.

And you hit the nail right on the head.

It is a better version of the Avengers then any of the comics that came out this past 10 years.

With their NEW or DARK Avengers or the Ultimates.... Marvel lost what made the Avengers THE Avengers.

So this is the best incarnation of the Avengers we have seen in wayyyyy too long.

Sadly it will be the last season from what I understand.

SO I guess we will have to enjoy it while it lasts.

Jim Shelley said...

Yes! Pierre, I agree with you and Matt - the cartoon has a lot more of what I remember the Avengers comics being like.

On a similar note: I also have found that the Batman Brave and the Bold is more enjoyable than 50% of the DC 52 line up!

MattComix said...

@JimShelley BTAS is a bit more of my ideal Batman cartoon. But in a post-BTAS world (and in a world with DC comics being what they are) Brave and the Bold is the perfect antidote!

I would love to see the same animation team do a Wonder Woman cartoon! The segment with her fighting Baroness Von Gunther was priceless!


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