The Avengers In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

You might be wondering by now if The Avengers have actually had a cartoon to call their own. Some would answer “yes”, most would answer “almost”. In the late 1990’s, The Avengers: United They Stand aired. It lasted one season and is one of the most critically panned cartoons of the time. Featuring none of the big names from The Avengers, crap animation, poor voice acting and stupid Power Rangers style ‘armours’, this sorry effort for a cartoon lasted only a season.

The team consisted of 'it would be generous to call them' B stringers, such as Ant Man, Wasp and Tygra and for some bizarre reason, the show was set in the future. Whilst this could've been a perfect oppertunity to show the continuing adventures of the previously animated characters, such as Iron Man from his show, Hulk and She Hulk (well, maybe not) from thier show, and bring in guest stars from other Marvel animated shows including Captain America, Blank Panther and Thor it was utterly wasted and we got this drivel instead. Whilst Captain America was off limits because he was soon to be receiving his own show, the rest of the roster was decided on animal characters, because they are proven toy sellers. Oh, so is armour clad figures, so we got an animal armour roster.

Whilst Captain America and Iron Man did guest star, they were nothing like the previous incarnations, and left many wishing they hadn’t have bothered. The show was actually picked up for a second season before Marvel’s bankruptcy put the show out of its misery.

Last but not least, we come to X-Men: Evolution, a show not known for having none mutant guest stars. Captain America made an extended, none speaking cameo and took down a German plane. Despite being only a few minutes in length, it is easily one of the coolest scenes in all of Marvel animation and featured an interesting take on the Captain’s classic origin.

With X-Men: Evolution being the last of Marvel’s cartoons to air, we’re now left to see how The Ultimate Avengers will handle Marvel’s premiere superhero team. The roster seems to be pitch perfect, a nice mix of big names with smaller, obscurer characters. The writer, Greg Johnson has proved over and over again to be one of the best when it comes to Marvel animation and the directors, Curt Geda and Steve Gordon were taken from Marvel’s best looking show, and one of the best eye pleasers in many years – X-Men: Evolution. The designs follow Hitch’s wonderful costumes and come across as streamlined yet wonderfully detailed at the same time. At this time, only the cast seems to be untested. God willing, with todays DVD release, we’ll finally see an outstanding version of The Avengers animated. God knows, they’ve had to wait long enough.

There's more to come, however. This summer the sequel to The Ultimate Avengers, The Ultimate Avengers 2 will arrive on DVD, with a new tale focusing on The Black Panther who's been an on/off Avenger for many years. He was previously animated in the tedious and frankly stupid Prey Of The Black Panther in the 1994 Fantastic Four series.

The Incredible Hulk will also make his return to animation in the fall, as he has been confirmed as a guest star in the upcoming Fantastic Four cartoon, and Iron Man will soon be recieving his own Direct To DVD feature in October, which has been confirmed as a update on the 'classic' version.

For the first time in many, many years, the future is looking bright for Marvel Animation, and The Avengers seem to be the ones leading the way.

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