Episode #1: Iron, Forged In Fire - Part One
Original Airdate - April 24th, 2009
Teen genius Tony Stark has just finished his greatest invention: the Iron Man armor. But before he gets to show his dad, Tony’s world is shattered. His father, his home, his entire life are all gone, and Tony is left picking up the pieces. But with a little help from his friends Rhodey and Pepper, he begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the attack on his father. And as Iron Man, Tony Stark takes his first steps toward becoming a hero.

Episode #2: Iron, Forged In Fire - Part Two
Original Airdate - April 24th, 2009
Obadiah Stane has taken over Stark International and is converting all of Tony and his dad’s inventions into weapons. But even worse, Tony now believes Stane may be behind the attack that took his father from him. Iron Man intends to get answers, but standing in his way are the Earth Movers – Tony’s once peaceful inventions, which have been corrupted into massive weapons of destruction. And if Iron Man survives fighting against his own creations, he will still have to confront the mysterious armored figure known only as The Mandarin.

Story Editor Christopher Yost
Story by Romain Van Liemt, Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle
Written By Christopher Yost
Directed By Stephane Juffe and Phillipe Guyenne
Review by Stu

When the new Iron Man cartoon was announced, I was excited at the opportunity to see the armoured Avenger returning to the small screen again. As with most of Marvel’s cartoons, it seemed to take years for the show to get to the small screen, as this particular cartoon was originally planned for a fall 2007 release. It made sense to wait until after the movie to premier the show, when Iron Man would be at the height of his popularity, so kudos for a smart business decision. It was also announced that the show would be 3D, which has mixed responses from previous attempts. However, Iron Man himself isn’t the most expressive of characters due to the fact his armour doesn’t emote, so again, makes sense I suppose. The 3D also presented opportunities for some striking designs which cannot be achieved in 2D animation without some serious money behind it.

The movie has since come and come, made millions worldwide and would’ve probably been regarded as the summer’s best blockbuster had a certain Dark Knight not stood in its way. It made more money and was better received that both The Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones and has made a long overdue superstar out of Robert Downey Jr. A sequel is it’s on its way and Iron Man is bigger than he’s ever been.

It was then announced that this new Iron Man cartoon would feature a teenage Tony Stark. This is not uncommon in animated shows now, as networks like their characters to be accessible to their audience. However, with the possible exception of Wolverine, Tony Stark is probably the least ‘teenageable’ character Marvel has. Fighting terrorism to atone for making millions for helping the world blow itself up is a difficult concept to grasp when you’re 16 years old. It also takes away some of the characters charm as best evidenced by Downey Jr – we won’t be seeing a hard drinking, womanising playboy here – what we’ve got is a simple teenage super genius with a bad heart. The most interesting aspects of his origin are overlooked – by the time the show starts, Tony has already built his armour, his heart condition is glanced over and we see very little grieving over his Father. Instead we get to see him outsmart everyone at school and annoy everyone there. How’s that supposed to make him accessible to his target audience again?

Tony isn’t the only annoying character – I had an urge to simply slap Pepper every time she opened her mouth – Obadiah Stane is simply too two-dimensional to work as a threatening villain – it also doesn’t help that he looks exactly like Lex Luthor but doesn’t have any savy about him – he’s just a boring villain in a suit. Happy Hogan, has, for some reason, been turned into Flash Thompson. There’s not much to Rhodey either – in these two episodes, unfortunately, none of them have shined in the way they should’ve, and Tony come across as more arrogant than anything else – there’s no charm to him here. There’s no way this version of Tony would be able to seduce that hot reporter from the film.

I don’t mind the 3D animation; it does remind me of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series but there’s no sensational web slinging and such to be found – the flying doesn’t bring the same sense of astonishment one is looking for – the armour doesn’t pop on the screen like his Ultimate Avengers design, and there’s no chance of nearly dying from sheer awesomeness like I did when Mark III made it’s debut and whooped terrorist’s ass in the movie.

I realise I’m not in their target demographic but there was so little for me here as an Iron Man I’m not really that interested in seeing much more of the show – it’s strictly a demographic grabbing affair, similar in vain to The Batman and The Legion of Superheroes, which evoked similar reactions of empathy from me upon viewing their pilots, to the point where’ve I’ve not actually sat down and watched an episode of Legion since. I’m sure it’ll have it’s fans but I highly doubt I will be among them.

Despite how much I have immensely enjoyed Marvel’s past 3 shows, Iron Man: Armoured Adventures was nothing short of a massive disappointment.

Only another 24 episodes to go… there’s definite room for improvement. Hopefully it will become at least watchable as time goes on. If not, we can only pray we can an interesting version of the character in the upcoming Avengers cartoon.

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