How’s it going guys? Welcome to Cartoon Crackdown, where you can melt into your couch with scotch in hand as I soothe your ears with nerdy musings of cartoons worth adding to what I guess is a fairly substantial queue on your Netflix account.
Next week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will premiere with what I’m sure will be another drool-worthy entry in Joss Whedon’s near-flawless television track record. In preparation for that, here are some animated Marvel shows of the Netflix Instant persuasion that both fans and non-fans might have fun jumping in to before Agent Coulson steals both the spotlight and our hearts once again.
The first of many animated adaptations involving Marvel’s most iconic character, 1967’s Spider-Man has only managed to get more entertaining with its over-the-top voice acting, classic theme song, and overall dedication to the source material at the time. Sure it’s silly in more ways than one, and the low budget animation often equates to entire episodes being comprised of stock shots, but that honestly only adds to why this show rocks.
It never takes itself too seriously and shamelessly embraces the madcap hi-jinks that often imbued older superhero stories with a dose of nonsensical fun. Not only that, but if the above picture is any indication, Spider-Man‘s low quality animation creates some of the most hysterical shots I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. In short, if you need to decompress your brain and laugh until your sides hurt, this is the show for you.
X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (1992-1997)
After the unprecedented success of Batman: The Animated Series, Marvel responded with perhaps the most well-known adaptation of its superhero team The X-Men. Now to be fair, X-Men: The Animated Series hasn’t aged well in certain aspects; particularly in animation. The movements are highly stilted and the blocky action sequences don’t do justice to the heavy-contrast designs.
But in terms of story-telling, the series triumphs with episodes delving into social topics (racism, religion, abuse, etc) while still managing to be highly entertaining. Coupled with the stellar voice cast and the kick@$$ guitar intro, and you have a pretty awesome combination for a show. Finding no equal in its X-Men animated predecessors or successors, X-Men: The Animated Series is an absolute necessity for any fans of the iconic mutant team.
THE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES (2010-2012)
Combining an immensely large cast of characters with an unprecedented serialized approach to its story-telling, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes reminded us time and again what has kept the Marvel superhero mega-team so relevant for all these decades. The action sequences are stunning, the characters are fleshed out and complex, and the opening sequence for the series is a hell of a lot of fun. It has a nice balancing act between conveying an epic scope while keeping things detailed and intricate.
Unfortunately, it’s not hard for a few people to write off this show as not worth the time. Admittedly the character designs are a bit too angular at times and the series cancellation (in favor of the inferior Avengers: Assemble on Disney XD) leaves us with a less than satisfying conclusion to the show. But overall, this show was fantastic and I was honestly so addicted to it that I rampaged through all the episodes in just over a week. I mean, when you have the voice of Professor Utonium from Powerpuff Girls voice Ultron, how can you go wrong?