[Update: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Season 1 is now available on Netflix Streaming Service!]
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is probably my favorite superhero cartoon to come along since Justice League Unlimited went off the air. The show (which will have its U.S. midseason premiere this weekend) is a good mix of Marvel comic book lore and the new Marvel Movie lore, which has been established in films like Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and will be further explored in the upcoming Avengers movie.
Best of all, Earth's Mightiest Heroes walks that tightrope-thin line of being a cartoon that appeals to both older and younger fans - a feat that DC Universe has ruled at...up until now. If you're a Marvel fan and haven't been watching this series, it's time to officially get onboard.
Today we have two new clips from the U.S. midseason premiere of Earth's Mightiest Heroes (UK folks, you've probably already seen them :-P), which is entitled "The Casket of Ancient Winters". It's a timely episode, considering that the titular casket recently made an appearance in Marvel's Thor movie this past weekend (read our review HERE).
However, sticking closer to the Marvel comic canon rather than the movie canon, in this episode it's a dark elf named Malekith the Accursed (a classic Thor/Avengers villain) who unleashes an everlasting winter on Earth - leaving only the Avengers to save the day. (In the Thor movie it's Loki who uses the casket as a means to different ends.)
Check out both clips from "The Casket of Ancient Winters" below:
Now, some time ago our own Rob Keyes wrote a great piece speculating on Thor and Iron Man's relationship in The Avengers movie. Truly Thor and Iron Man are two of the most widely divided characters: after all, one is a hero born of magic and mysticism, while the other is a hero born of technology and science. Doesn't get much different than that.
Aside from some great comic book action and plenty of Easter eggs for true Marvel fans, one of the subtle joys of Earth's Mightiest Heroes (for me at least) is that the showrunners are clearly taking time to test the relationships and themes of these characters, in ways that could ultimately benefit the live-action film. The Avengers needs to focus as much on the bonds formed between its heroes as it does epic action; the argument between Thor and Tony Stark featured in the clip above is the kind of banter that will hopefully make Joss Whedon's movie as fun and interesting as it is exciting.
Marvel Animation was kind enough to send me screeners of the first half of Earth's Mightiest Heroes' first season, and they were a joy to experience. Following in the footsteps of the movies, season one of The Avengers cartoon started with standalone episodes featuring just one member of the team (with subplots woven in to tie the stories together). The regular series began with an epic two-part jailbreak story, in which some of the worst rogues of the Marvel Universe escaped S.H.I.E.L.D.'s custody, forcing The Avengers to come together to round them up (read our review of that premiere HERE).
Since then, episodes have featured appearances from the likes of Wonder Man, The Leader, The Masters of Evil, and the introduction of both Captain America and The Black Panther as new members of the team. Upcoming storylines from the latter half of season one will feature the evil robot Ultron; the time-travel machinations of Kang The Conqueror; an espionage story featuring HYDRA, AIM, and the cosmic cube; and lastly, the fall of Asgard. Pretty good stuff.
As stated: if you're a true Marvel fan, and haven't been watching this series, it's time to get onboard. Below you'll find links to the first two volumes of the show, which are now available on DVD; word is that this summer the series will become available for viewing on Netflix Instant Que streaming service. We'll keep you posted.
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In the meantime, you can jump onboard and catch new episodes of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Sunday mornings @10am on Disney XD (in the U.S.).
Source: Marvel Animation