‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated October 16th, 2011 at 6:23 am,

avengers earths mightiest heroes header The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes Review

While at the 2010 New York Comic-Con I had a chance to attend a screening of Marvel Animation’s two-part premiere episode of the new animated series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which is set to premiere next week on Disney XD.

The two-part episode, entitled “Breakout”, was a fairly entertaining experience that should appeal to Marvel fans and cartoon fans alike, be they young or old. For all the positive things about it, however, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes still doesn’t quite reach the acclaimed status of DC Universe and their animated projects.

Written by acclaimed comic book/cartoon  scribe Christopher Yost, “Breakout” is a wonderfully simple and effective setup for this Avengers cartoon. In a version of the Marvel Universe that not-so-subtly mirrors the Marvel Movie Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a policing force that takes on the baddest terrorists and super villains from around the world. Led by Nick Fury (who here appears as an amalgamation of the Sam Jackson and classic versions of Fury – i.e., black but with hair), S.H.I.E.L.D. operates four key prison facilities that house the world’s worst offenders: The Cube, The Raft, The Vault and The Big House.

All four prisons are stocked with baddies that have been defeated at the hands of heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and Nick Fury himself. All of sudden, without warning, a mysterious force strikes all four prisons at once, effectively shutting them down. Of all the villains to escape, there is one that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping under tight lock and key for a long time: Graviton, the evil master of gravity. When Graviton awakens and breaks free of his shackles, all of Manhattan is put in danger. Our heroes must band together as a team to defeat this Omega-level threat, and must even turn to the most unlikely of allies to get the job done: Dr. Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk.

The premiere of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes wastes no time getting into the action. Within the first ten minutes there’s an epic prison break, featuring cameos by just about every Marvel villain you can think of. I’ve listed as many of said villains as I can remember off the top of my head:

  • Baron Zemo
  • The Leader
  • The Abomination
  • Absorbing Man
  • Grey Gargoyle
  • Crimson Dynamo
  • Whiplash (the female version)
  • Mad Thinker
  • Living Laser
  • Griffin
  • Ultron
  • Hawkeye
  • The Wrecking Crew
  • Whirlwind
  • A.I.M.
  • Graviton

By having all these characters make a jailbreak, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes essentially sets itself up with an inexhaustible rogues gallery to play with. Some of the villains (The Leader, Zemo) even foreshadow their schemes-to-come before they’re even out of their prison cells. Smart move on the writers’ part, and a great way to get longtime Marvel fans sucked into the show.

The battle scenes are pretty epic – especially the final battle with Graviton, which goes on for about a good ten minutes of (literally) city-leveling mayhem. We get to see the Avengers characters use all the familiar powers and abilities we love (Hank Pym shrinks, grows and talks with ants!) and there are plenty of grinning winks to longtime Marvel fans, who will get goosebumps from hearing Thor scream “For Midguard!” Hulk cracking wise about ‘Who is the strongest one there is’ or seeing Iron Man blast someone with his uni-beam. Those are the kinds of Easter eggs that the real fans will truly appreciate; people just watching the cartoon for the cartoon will still be entertained by the action. The characters pretty much mirror their movie selves – Iron man is on a quest to eliminate Stark tech that’s been misappropriated and Thor has just met Jane Foster, who bears a striking to resemblance to Natalie Portman, her movie counterpart. The only curious thing is that the Hulk int his cartoon is the slightly-smarter version of the character that pops up in the comics from time to time.

There’s a good bit of humor in this cartoon, both your standard for-the-kids slapstick gags and smart little meta-gags that poke fun at familiar tropes or myths within the Marvel Universe (for example, Fury’s Life Model Decoys). It’s a good balance that caters to both of the primary demographics for this show: kids and adult fanboys.  The voice acting was fairly good, with the only questionable character being Iron Man, whose voice sounded off to me, like they were trying to hard to imitate Robert Downey Jr.’s voice tones from the Iron Man films.

As for the animation: it’s good, but not as good as the Paul Dini designs that people know and love from DCU animated shows like Batman: The Animated Series or Justice League. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes opts for the more anime-influenced style we saw in shows like Wolverine and the X-Men or the Hulk vs. animated features Marvel put out awhile back. It’s not bad animation, it’s just not the best.

avengersmicrosodes The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes Review

The one big gripe I had with this premiere episode: no Captain America! But then, the story of Cap being discovered in suspended animation and revived in modern times is surely one the writers  are saving for a later story-arch. Just don’t take too long getting there (or to the appearance of other popular Avengers team members)!

All in all, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a a step forward for Marvel Animation. I’ll actually stick with this show, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that about a Marvel cartoon. For one thing, I’m very curious about how tightly this animated Avengers world will tie into the live-action Avengers movie we’ll be getting in 2012. If “Breakout” was the basis for Joss Whedon’s Avengers script, I certainly wouldn’t be mad about it.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has its one-hour premiere @ 8:30 on Disney XD. Full episodes will be available a day later on iTunes, Xbox Live, Playstation and Disney XD Mobile VOD.

If you want to check out the mini-episodes that lead into the premiere of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, check out the Marvel YouTube Channel.

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  1. I’ve only see the Micro episodes but so far it seems pretty good. I’m a DC fan at heart and JLU will always be my number one, but so far this is shaping up really well.

    I just hope they tone down Iron man’s voice. It’s such an overthetop Robert Downey Jr impression that it takes me out of the show.

    • This show contains a whole lot of awesome! This is easily the best comic series I have seen since Batman. The writing is great and the action is swift and jaw dropping.

      • I was really impressed by the action sequences in the first two episodes. Hopefully this will help fill the void left by not getting an AoA season of Wolverine and the X-Men.

  2. nice review will deff look into this by the way is there any word on international broadcast dates yet???

  3. So far it’s pretty good. i dont mind the animation, not really a big deal to me beacause the action is great but what really does it for me is the storyline. I think Iron Man’s voice actor is trying too hard to sound like RDJ and I’m worried that due to the recent success of the Iron Man films that theyre going to make Stark leading the team and judging by both pics up there it appears that its going to turn out that way….

    • In the original Avengers comics from like 40 50 years ago when they were first created Iron Man and Captain America switched off as Leader of the Avengers so of course Iron Man would lead with Cap in second command.

  4. yeah star will probably be the leader untill cap arrives

  5. Hawkeye a villian? Mistype?

    • Watch the micro episodes on youtube you will understand that (micro episode 19 if I’m not wrong)

    • In the comics Hawkeye started out as a villian before Captain American help to change Hawkeye into a hero.

    • i was thinking the same thing… maybe its a villian that shares the same name that i am not familiar with? hopefully they dont have that hawkeye escaping… that would be so over the top stupid… they mustve meant bullseye instead…

    • Hawkeye is set up by the Black Widow. He really isn’t a villain.

  6. The micro episodes are great so I’m sure I will enjoy the series and by the way I dislike a lot Bruce Timm’s art, so I don’t like DC animation (MY OPINION GUYS!)

  7. The Justice League and Batman cartoons had amazing voice work and stories, but I was honestly never thrilled with the animation. It was ok, but I never loved it. JLU had the best I would say, but still fell short of great to me, but only in animation.

    I kind of like this animation it could stand some touch ups, but it’s got a classic american animation feel to it. I still prefer the animation from the old 90’s marvel cartoons I think it’s the best the likes of Xmen, Spiderman and the old Iron man cartoon.

  8. cheers for the review. looking forward to this… Still wish Marvel didnt cancel wolverine and the xmen and spectacular spiderman, they were quality shows. I suppose this will make a decent replacement

    Any word on if characters (heroes and villains alike) from xmen, spiderman, fantastic four are allowed to be used?

    and lastly, do you know when it will debut in Australia?

    • I saw wolverine in the captain America minisode.

      • Actually, it was James Howlett . . . not yet Wolverine in WWII.

    • Sony cancelled spectacular spidey and wolverine and the xmen wanted more money when they’re rratings were going up and down that’s a no no.Disney is about quality and money and you have to make both wolverine wasn’t.

  9. Hmmmm

    I wonder if this hulk will reflect the hulk in the Avengers live action seeing as how Ruffalo will use motion capture(see Gollum).

  10. This can not, no, – will not, top Justice League Unlimited.

    the Entire DCAU (Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League/JLU, Teen Titans, Legion of Superheroes.)are some of the best most epic storytelling seen on (in cartoon form )TV history.

  11. I just wish they would go back to the art style of The Incredible Hulk/X-Men from the 90s.

  12. I grew up a fan of every superhero animated series in the 90’s Xmen, Batman:TAS, Spiderman, The Hulk. Now a days cartoons seem pretty wack to me tho, the straight to dvd films are cool, Batman Superman Public Enemies, Hulk Vs. Plante Hulk, Batman Under the Red Hood. But hopefully this series will do my favorite charecters justice. Im more of a Marvel guy over DC so The Avengers and the upcoming Thor series and Ultimate Spiderman series are giving me alot to look forward to.

  13. I enjoyed the mini-episodes and they looked great in HD.

  14. I think Marvel’s done extremely well with it’s animation as of late (Planet Hulk, Hulk vs., Ultimate Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men, etc.) and the notion that DC is far superior in animated movies/shows is greatly exaggerated. DC’s done well with them and SM/BM Public Enemies was great, but Marvel Entertainment as a whole (comics, film, animated, merchandise) has set the standard.

  15. Saw some of the micro-episodes this weekend and liked them a lot. I have since set my DVR for the regular episodes starting Wednesday.

  16. Paul Dini is a writer; Bruce Timm is the man behind that entire DCU look.

  17. Ah yes but this reviewer forgets that along time ago the style of dc animated universe wasn’t loved by all and got alot of critizism thrown at it.

  18. I didn’t really like it! I spend most of my time on CN watching Ben10, Generator Rex and Sym-bionic and the animation and story suck. Unlike this show they didn’t just randomly skip!

  19. Loved this show. I was a big Spectacular Spider-Man fan so I’m glad to see Marvel and Disney XD going at another animated series. Still waiting for my Ultimate Spider-Man show though, but still good stuff.

  20. I find the series to be very well done. I do have a question:

    Will they introduce the Falcon, and Luke Cage?

  21. falcon and luke cage would be awesome! but i think that falcon it could be old

    the only thing that im not sure whit is that the black widow betrayed shield and she supposed to be one of the original members of the avengers

  22. Black Widow was NOT an original member of the Avengers. They were: Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Hulk.

    I think Nick Fury purposely planted the Widow in with Hydra as an insider. I like how they’ve set up a lot of storylines for later use: Skrulls in our midst, Evil Ultron, Ms Marvel, a possible Kree-Skrull War, The Cosmic Cube. They even somewhat introduced the Fantastic Four as a possible group team-up later as well as The Black Knight. I’m enjoying this cartoon!

  23. It sucks.

  24. I’m watching it on Netflix right now, and I’m loving it. They’re doing a great job of incorporating a lot of Avengers history into a modern setting. The battles have been epic, especially the showdown with Graviton.

    I love seeing the Wasp, too. I miss her.

  25. This is easily the best Marvel cartoon. It is more in line both image wise & storyline than the 90s versions. Looking forward to the 2nd season

  26. When IS the second season supposed to be starting? Any info?