Often when long running comic book series are brought to animated television the results are pretty watered down and they cater to the very young children. Now, that demo is probably the correct one but at the same time some of these comic book franchises have older fans that can still appreciate animated TV. What about them? The very well done animated series can offer something to both age groups. While it doesn’t hold up as well as you’d think the 90’s era X-Men animated series did successfully provide the goods for kids and adults. When I saw that one of my favorite comic book teams, The avengers, were getting another animated series I had hope but I was afraid this new show would just be another Super Hero Squad….
Volume 1 and 2
The big surprise is that this version of the super team is actually rendered quite well. The series starts off with a very watered down version of Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers story arc in the comics. In that comic and in this series a new super team is assembled to capture a bevy of the world’s most dangerous super criminals that have all escaped from a prison facility. Now as I said the animated seris version of the story is watered down to make it palpable to young viewers but enough of that core story is left intact to put some meat on the bone for an older crowd. The majority of volume 1 is spent assembling the team. Each week for several weeks a new Avenger is added with Iron Man at the center of it all.
Some of the heroes are recruited while others get a fairly complex story for a Disney XD animated series. The ones I refer to in particular are Hawkeye, the Black Panther, and Black Widow. They all have secondary stories that actually matter in the greater story. The show also features some fantastic cliffhanger endings which is something that’s just not as common in animated shows these days. With that said the new hero of the week gets a little repetitive within the first half of volume 1. If you watched the series on television Disney XD aired a series of short previews featuring each hero. Each of those previews ended with a sort of cliffhanger to a story that was connected throughout the previews. Once the show started it became clear that these previews were small snippets of several of the early episodes of the show. This was a fairly clever way to get new fans into the show though.
The action is fairly well rendered if a little lower budget animation, the voice acting is mixed but mostly solid across the characters, and the writing is much better than expected. Just because the writing is better than I could have hoped it doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Some of the dialogue is a little flat in places and story can get a little too simplistic at times. But hey, this is an animated series for Disney XD so these issues are to be expected.
Colors are quite vibrant and lines are solid throughout with few issues of aliasing or broken lines. Animation feels a little basic but it works. The digital to digital transfer leaves no grain and only a very few artifacts to contend with. There’s nothing groundbreaking here but it all looks fine.
Again the Dolby Digital audio is basic but quite serviceable. Dialogue is crisp and easy to hear throughout the episodes and sound fx are also clean. The entire presentation is center loaded and lacking some dynamic range but overall it gets the job done.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Ok each volume of the series comes in its own standard keep case with glossy Avengers art on a slipcover. The big issue is that there should never have been a volume 1 and 2. There should have simply been a season 1 and both of these volumes presented in one package. This multivolume money grab is really annoying. The entire season is short so it could have been reasonably priced in one package.
Volume 1 only has one bonus feature, a six minute preview of season two featuring show creators discussing their plans for season 2 and beyond. It’s ok, but too short and lacking much real detail. What’s truly insulting is that the exact same bonus feature is on volume 2. That’s it.
Overall Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers is a really well done series considering it’s cheap, quickly made, and targeted to kids. The stories offer something for all ages and sometimes the story will even surprise you in its scope. Fans of comic books must see this series.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Volumes 8/10
The Video 7.5/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 2/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10