Cartoon Block Reviews for 4/10/12
- Published on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 01:00
- Written by Kevin
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Things continue to roll as both Marvel and DC Comics now have two cartoons each on their respective networks. For DC both Green Lantern and Young Justice continue to grow into their own. On the other side of things Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes premiered with a strong episode for the second season. Unfortunately Ultimate Spider-Man didn’t have as smooth of a premier. Hopefully this changes. Let’s see how this week’s episodes for all these shows turned out.
“Alone Against AIM” continues the Avengers dealing with the fallout from last season’s finale with Tony Stark building Captain America a new energy shield, fighting off an AIM attack on Stark Industries, getting new armor and dealing with Maria Hill’s efforts to register the Avengers under SHIELD authority. All of that on top of hints that Tony is at risk of losing Stark Industries if he continues the way he has been acting since forming the Avengers.
With an episode that only had two other Avengers, Captain America and Black Panther, serving supporting roles there was still a lot accomplished. It was an episode that put the spotlight on Tony and showing how the character can carry an episode on his own. By doing this the writers continued to expand on the world of this Marvel Universe as we see that it is not a world with just the Avengers and their villains.
One of the most interesting aspects of this episode was the conversation between Tony and Maria Hill. Bringing in elements from the Civil War event we see Maria continuing to push for superhero registration and Tony, playing the opposite role he played in Civil War, telling her no. This conversation actually expanded on the universe as Maria brought up the fact that while the Fantastic Four have gone public heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men are still hiding their identity. Just by mentioning these characters it gives the viewer an idea that there is a world that is being filled with heroes and that we can hopefully see some of them pop up in future episodes.
Not only that but this episode also helped to solidify AIM as a viable threat to the Avengers. With the Avengers continuing to fight bigger cosmic threats it is nice to see the writers do not forget that they also have Earth based villains that are just as threatening. Their attack on Stark Industries was something well thought out by the organization and gets you wondering what they have cooking up.
I also enjoyed how the episode brought in some other new sub-plots with Pepper bringing up the fact the board are looking to get rid of Tony. It is gave the story a grounded feeling because we saw some real world consequences to Tony being a superhero 24/7, as real as a cartoon can get.
We also got to see Rhodey wearing the War Machine armor for the first time. It was cool to see that it was Captain America push Rhodey, a military man, to put on the War Machine armor and help them fight.
In the end “Alone Against AIM” proved to be another strong episode for what is the most entertaining comic book cartoon. The writers for the show continue to plant various seeds for this new season of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Only two episodes in and there already feels like there is a lot for this season to accomplish. It is exciting to have this feeling early on and I can’t wait for next Sunday’s episode.
Episode Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
In their search for another Green Lantern Hal and co. come across the biggest Green Lantern of them all in Mogo. Not only did the episode introduce Mogo into the mythos of the show but also introduced us to another big Green Lantern character in Saint Walker. But unlike his comic book counterpart Saint Walker did not appear to be a Blue Lantern just yet. Instead he was just a tranquil monk figure who could kick some ass, as he showed in his fight against Razor.
The episode started with some of conflicting personalities coming out within Hal’s team with Hal and Kilowog butting heads. It was a nice change of pace from the usual Kilowog/Razor back and forth that helps to highlight the difference between both Hal and Kilowog. The two characters treat being a Green Lantern much differently from one another and that is highlighted in this episode. Throughout the episode we see Hal being more of the adventurer while Kilowog maintains his strict military general personality.
What the episode also does well is continue Razor’s slow evolution from being a character filled with rage. The writers are doing a good job with Razor taking their time with his transformation. The battle between Razor and Saint Walker does an effective job at teasing to the audience what the future may hold for Razor on this show.
Bringing up Saint Walker I got to say he got a fantastic character introduction in “Lost Planet.” It is the best introduction to a character so far and he is not even a Blue Lantern yet. I loved how his fighting style was completely different from all the other characters. Hopefully we see Saint Walker return in future episodes because he would be a great addition to the team Hal is trying to put together.
The one problem I do have with the episode story is the fact that we have not seen the Red Lanterns or Guardians since the premier. With this hunt for more Green Lanterns by Hal’s team it would be help further their stories if both the Red Lanterns and Guardians also got some screen time. Without these characters involvement since the premier the episodes for Green Lantern are becoming formulaic.
Each episode begins and ends the same with some conflict in the team that gets resolved at the end, with a new character introduced. I am fine with the show following a formula but we need to see the Red Lanterns more involved to give their threat more weight. Even if its brief scene of them causing mayhem would help further the importance of the team’s mission to find new recruits.
With that said “Lost Planet” was still a solid episode that introduced two key characters for the future of the show in the form of Mogo and Saint Walker. This episode definitely delivers some Green Lantern fan service by showing Mogo’s Green Lantern transformation. Now hopefully we see more of the Red Lanterns in upcoming episodes, as was teased by trailer for next week’s episode.
Episode Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
I think the light finally came on in what I have been watching so far with Ultimate Spider-Man. “Doomed” was an eye opener in showing that I am not watching Peter Parker as Spider-Man but Zack Morris as Spider-Man. Just see all of the time out sequences Spider-Man has throughout this episode. It was as if the writers of Ultimate Spider-Man wrote “Doomed” while watching Saved By The Bell.
Now that I am dating myself and feeling my age I will say all of the problems I had with the first two episodes of the show continued in this week’s episode. Not only did this episode continue all of the awkward breaking the fourth wall moments but also did not make Peter Parker, the man behind the mask, come out being a very likable character.
The key aspect that is hurting Ultimate Spider-Man right now is the fact the writers obsession with breaking the fourth wall. It is the thing that is hindering the story the show is trying to tell. Throughout this episode the only thing I could think of was how just about every two minutes we got some sort of “time out” sequence that takes up time that could focus on the characters. It is just consistently inserted in every scene that it’s hard to stay focused on everything else that is going on.
This is too bad because on my second viewing, when I tried not to let the fourth wall breaking get in the way, Spider-Man actually had some witty jokes. Some of the jokes he has with during his back and forth with his teammates and then with Doctor Doom were actually funny. The writers do a nice job making writing how Peter acts when in his costume.
The same goes for the scope of the series. I continue to enjoy the whole Spider-Man getting superhero training. It not only makes Ultimate Spider-Man different from the other three cartoons but also makes it different from what previous Spider-Man cartoons have done. I like the mix of Spider-Man with Nova, Iron Fist, Power Man and White Tiger. The character mix still has a lot of potential to be fun just as we saw what each one can do in their battle with Doctor Doom, who got to show off how he is one villain not to be messed with.
Because of all of that it is a shame that all of the fourth wall breaking continues to get in the way of the story. Ultimate Spider-Man has all the factors to make it a fun cartoon but this one aspect is holding it back. Getting rid of it and letting Spider-Man be Spider-Man, not Deadpool or Zack Morris, can make it a show for everyone to watch. Not something to enjoy when you are half-asleep.
Episode Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Another Saturday of DC Nation means another character focused episode of Young Justice. This time around “Performance” focuses on The Team’s most well-known character in Robin. Unlike previous mole-centric episodes that focused on Miss Martian, Superboy and Artemis “Performance” was about fleshing out some of Robin’s backstory on this show. This was a nice change of pace as we do not want the whole mole sub-plot to get buried into the ground before we get to the season finale.
The most effective thing that “Performance” was able to do is actually make this version of Robin come across as being Dick Grayson. Up until this point aside from the jokes he makes this version of Robin has acted more like Tim Drake than Dick Grayson. But this episode makes the point clear this is Dick Grayson as Robin with the character “tricking” the team to help him in a personal case involving Haly’s Circus.
This was also a nice change of pace as this was not an assignment given by one of the mentors of the Team. Instead it was a personal case that had one character, Robin, bring in the rest of the Team. It makes the episode have some importance and did not need the involvement of the JLA or Light. It’s just a character story.
I also liked the added touch of Robin and Kid Flash’s friendship given some time. The conversation between the two added to the fact the two have been friends for some time, even before being on the team together. The music for the scene was a great touch that added to the impact of their conversation. It was the opropriate music to play perfect for while Dick walked past the Flying Grayson poster and telling Wally the reason he did not bring him on the mission.
While the mole subplot was not the focal point for once it did get some development with Red Arrow finally trusting his three suspects. Though Red Arrow has been given a lot of time to be a bad ass in his appearances he has also been given a lot of time where he acts like a jerk to the team. But here he finally softens up to the team and it was nice that after what happened last week it was Artemis that set him straight.
It was also interesting to see Superboy’s addiction to the patches Lex Luthor gave him come into play. With each episode since his character-centric episode Superboy has become more and more dependent on the patches for fights. The writers are doing a nice job making it seem like a drug to Superboy without directly making it a drug. The aggression he showed here definitely shows how far his addiction has become.
Overall “Performance” was yet again a great character-centric episode that fleshed out on Robin’s backstory. For the first time Robin actually comes across as being Dick Grayson. Now with only two episodes left I am excited to see how all these character developments will play out. There are a lot possibilities with how things will end. Now I just wonder if Aqualad will even be involved since he has basically been non-existent in some episodes or a supporting character in others.
Episode Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links: