Captain America In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four


Captain America would next appear again in X-Men, this time as a full fledged team up with Wolverine way back in World War II. In retrospect, the episode doesnít really make a whole lot of sense. Wolverine claims to remember nothing about his past after the incident in Alkali Lake that gave him his adamantium skeleton and claws. Instead, Logan (heís not quite Wolverine yet) uses strap on metal claws.

So, overall, the episode doesnít make the slightest bit of sense, and defies most of the continuity of Wolverineís character. After the episode aired, no one really cared.

The story is told in flashback, as Wolverine reminisces about World War II in front of the grave of a scientist who betrayed him back in the big one. Logan was some kind of special ops agent for the allies and was to retrieve said scientist, who had been kidnapped by none other than The Red Skull in order to build his Ďsleeperí robots. He is given back up in the mission, in the form of Captain America.

As said above, the plot is pretty paper-thin but damn, the episode is fun, perhaps one of the more pure enjoyable episodes the show ever conceived. Itís a Wolverine and Captain America team up. Whatís not to like?

The casting, for starters. Itís not especially bad, but Lawrence Bryne does the exact same voice for Cable and Erik The Red in the show, and it gets a little distracting. Itís not the voice one would really expect to hear when Captain America opens his mouth either. This, as Frank Miller would say, is not a voice that commands Gods.

The design is pretty good. Iíd rank it slightly higher than his Spider-Man model, but something is still slightly off. For reasons unknown, Cap is given black underoos which are just distracting. I do like the old school Batman style mask though, with the black on the blue Ė I thought this was a great little original touch, but Iím not sure if I care for the utility belt too much.

Overall, itís a fun episode and thatís all you can really ask for in a guest spot appearance. It gets bonus points for a cool Red Skull design too! Cap was absent from the Iron Man cartoon in the 1990ís as the producers wisely used Hawkeye instead to expand upon the bitter break up of Forceworks from The Beast Within and develop Tony Stark as the lone wolf who refuses to take the opinions/feelings of those around him into consideration.

The Captainís next appearance on TV would be in the atrocious Avengers: United They Stand cartoon. Marvel irked many fans when the show was announced and neither Cap, Iron Man or Thor were included in the roster. According to Avi Arad, Iron Man wasnít featured because heíd just finished his own show, Thor because, ermÖ. hmmmm, moving along and Cap because ďheís nextĒ.

So Ant Man was announced as the leader, which is a problem in itself. The show was lame, and the roster was the least of itís worries. In retrospect, Iím glad the big 3 werenít included Ė the show had terrible versions of Cap and Iron Man and I can only imagine the horrors that wouldíve been made had they attempted Thor. The God Of Thunder was apparently going to be featured in season two, but thankfully, it was never made.

The Captain guest starred in Command Decision as The Avengers battle The Masters Of Evil whilst Ant Man wonders if heíll ever be the leader Cap was. No. No Ant Man, you wonít.

The episode is lousy, like the show itself. Most people were none too impressed with the episode review I wrote for it on MAA as Iíd become bored of reviewing the same tedious tripe over and over again and instead used the Command And Decision page to pay tribute to my hero, the legendary Jack Bauer.

The show has crappy designs to begin with, but thankfully, Cap is spared the blatant toy plugging and appears in his classic costume, silly wings and all. The designs really are just a poor manís attempt at Bruce Timmís style but Cap is above average for the show. At least they got the colouring right, which is more than can be said for their terrible Iron Man design. Iíve managed to block out most of the show, and plan to stop talking about The Avengers: United They Stand here as last nights ale still sits within my stomach and Iíd sooner not have it magically appear in front of me as a result of nausea.

Apparently, Boyd and Kirkland were toying with the idea of revamping the show before it got canned due to Marvelís bankruptcy. Fret not though True Believers, as the two would get their chance to do their take on Captain America not once in one of the coolest moments in Marvel animation history, courtesy of X-Men: Evolution.

But what of Cap's own show? It did actually make it to pre-production at Saban, and Will Meugniot has a section dedicated to it over at his site, www.storyboardpro.com. I've tried to delve further into the show's story but so far haven't really come up with any concrete results - I can only assume it never made it to air because of Marvel's bankruptcy.

Back to Evo, In a story similar but superior to Old Soldiers, we once again see Captain America and Logan in WWII fighting would-be Naziís and freeing captured Jews, one of whom would go on to become Magneto. Capís appearance is more of an extended cameo than a full fledged team up, but it was simply awesome. Words canít explain how cool it was seeing Cap go to town on the Nazi plane in the glorious flashback sequence.

Cap doesnít speak so casting isnít an issue, but his design whoops ass. Itís pretty much Cap from the comics but Steve Gordon pulls it off flawlessly. Considering weíd been mired with mediocre to passable designs for Cap up to this point, it was nice to see it finally done right, if only briefly.

Gordon would again get the chance to design Capís model a few years later, but on a much, much grander scale Ė a 70 minute DTV which would finally give us a animated take on The Avengers that didn't suck terribly.