Cartoon Block Reviews for 4/17/12
- Published on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 01:00
- Written by Kevin
Well, I am not sure if I was unlucky or just lucked out but my DVR decided to not record this week’s episode of Ultimate Spider-Man. So no Ultimate Spider-Man review in this week’s Cartoon Block Reviews. But, don’t worry, I was still able to catch this weekend’s episodes of Avengers, Green Lantern and Young Justice. All three have turned in some good to great episodes so hopefully that continues with this latest set of episodes.
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – “Acts of Vengeance”
If there is one thing to learn from “Acts of Vengeance” is to never piss off a hot blond in green with God-like powers. It is definitely one hard lesson Baron Zemo learned with Enchantress hunting him and the Masters of Evil down. Enchantress wrath was so great that Zemo had to resort to asking the Avengers for help.
It’s a simple set up that worked extremely well to continue the aftermath from the season one finale. It continues to show that Avengers is a cartoon that has a clear focus on where to possession itself with each episode. Each episode is building off previous continuity the show has built up and it makes everything the Avengers get involved with have a larger than life feel.
Enchantress herself really got to show off what makes her so dangerous in this episode. How she took down the majority of the Masters of Evil was well handled. Much like Loki Enchantress used deception and Executioner to defeat them.
It made Zemo looking for the Avengers help that more believable. Zemo’s interaction with the team was great especially since he only accepted their help when Captain America said he had the team’s word. Given the characters history with one another it added weight to the whole team-up between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil. The end with Zemo recognizing that Captain America was not acting himself and being knocked out helped to further the Skrull invasion sub-plot.
Mixing in Thor back on Asgard was also a nice backdrop to the episode. I was wondering how long Thor would be out of the show but now I know not to long. Having Thor, along with his father, investigating the escape of Surtur adds yet another big threat for the Avengers to face in future episodes.
Right now, the Avengers seem to have a lot of big villains to face in the future. These early episodes have really emphasized placing various types of building blocks for Season 2. Acts of Vengeance was no different and had an ending that left us wanting more. The ‘death’ of Wonder Man was a surprise that added extra weight to this episode as well.
Episode Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
“Green Lantern: The Animated Series – “Reckoning”
Finally, things pick up for this young Green Lantern cartoon. After a handful of side stories Green Lantern gets back to the meat of the series with Hal and co. taking the fight right to the Red Lanterns. In the process we get some sweet ring slinging action, strong character progress and development that push Green Lantern’s first season forward.
The first thing that comes to mind after watching “Reckoning” is how well the CGI animation for the action sequences was done. Though the stiffness of the CGI still exist during the talking head scenes when the action is turned on the animation shines. Seeing the Razer vs. Atrocitus and Kilowag fighting the rest of the Red Lanterns were true highlights of this episode.
Aside from the strong action twe also got a lot of great character progression. This is the first episode where the characters on the team are not just acting like an archetype. Instead, each character was able to show off what roles they have on the team. Hal for example finally stepped up as the leader of the team throughout the episode. He is the one that came up with the plans and was firm in his decisions of what the team should do next.
Now since this was a Red Lantern episode it was obvious that Razer would get the spotlight. Razer was the driving force of the episode as the writers address the lingering issues of Razer’s rage diminishing and not having a Lantern to recharge his ring. In 23 minutes they were able to solve both problems as Atrocitus revealed he is the one that killed Razer’s girl. This pushed Razer to get his rage back to his previous level and gives the character a purpose for continuing to be on the team.
For his part Atrocitus really showed himself to be a ruthless bad guy. This episode really puts the character over as the ultimate bad guy that you want to see our heroes beat down. With the plans that Aya found the threat Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns poses looks to be even greater than first believed.
“Reckoning” was the strongest episode that this show has had. It delivered on all the story beats you can hope for an episode. This episode gives an even greater sense of urgency to Hal and co. mission. We even got hints of a romance between Razer and Aya may be in the future.
Episode Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Young Justice – “Usual Suspects”
With only two episodes left in its first season Young Justice wasted no time getting to the heart of the mole sub-plot. Finally taking the full spotlight we find out who the mole is and in the process are left with many unanswered questions heading into the finale.
I have got to give the show writers a lot of credit for keeping our idea of the mole being on The Team. Over this first season we have gotten various hints pointing the finger to various members of the Team being the mole. These last handful of episodes have specifically put our eyes on the mole being either Superboy, Miss Martian or Artemis. I personally came in thinking that Aqualad was the mole since he has either been missing from the last few episodes or played a minor role in the stories even though he is the leader of the Team.
With that said the writers brilliant used all of this misdirection as the plot of this episode as the Team has to address this fact. Starting out with finishing up the new recruits to the Justice League being inducted we got to see how much the Team has evolved and grown to trust one another over this season. Going on a mission that they were not assigned showed that these sidekicks don’t need their mentors to always give them missions. The action was intense and had a different feel with the Team battling Riddler and Cheshire in the snow.
Moving from there we had the three mole suspects finally reveal to the rest of the Team what their secrets. After having Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis putting up such a big wall between themselves and the rest of their teammates, individually, it was great to see them show some vulnerability. It shows that they all have trust with one another, and it was a nice touch for Robin to reveal that he knew Artemis secret but did not care about her past.
From there we had the set-up of the three using the fact that they were being used to get Lex Luthor, Queen Bee and Sportsmaster all in the same location.These three have been some of the bigger overarching villains of the series and it was good to see them all being dealt with in the same episode. Adding Cheshire, Bane and Blockbuster to the mix only made the action that much greater. The whole tension between Artemis and Cheshire worked well into their relationship with each other and their father.
In general, this whole battle was just fun to watch. Getting to watch Robin and Zatanna team-up against Bane was great to see their relationship progress a little. Also, Aqualad basically helping to take down both Blockbuster and Sportsmaster further shows off his maturity as being able to find ways to fight their opponents. The insertion of Lex revealing that Superboy only had the ‘Red Sun’ command implanted also helps to show that Superboy, like his other two mole suspects, weren’t the mole that we have been looking for.
Then comes the end were we find out that after 25 episodes the true mole was Red Arrow. That came as a big surprise to me as I never suspected him. Outside of being the original character to bring up there being a mole I cannot think of anything that Red Arrow has done to be the mole. Because of that it left us with a great cliffhanger with a number of questions.
How did he become the mole? How will the Team react to Red Arrow being the real mole? What are the Light’s plans with the Justice League? What did Lex, Queen Bee and Sportsmaster originally have planned for Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis? Does the Team stand a chance against a Justice League that is 20 members strong? And will Rocket be a permanent member on the team?
The only thing I know is that all these question leave me excited for this Saturday’s season finale of Young Justice.
Episode Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10