Each Saturday morning, we’ll remind you of the time when it was still cool to wake up early on weekends. So whenever the hell you wake up these days, there will be a nostalgic treat waiting for you, reminding you of those old jammies you used to wear and that old television set. They make even less sense now, but that’s half the fun. We hope you enjoy.

The Cartoon: The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Animation Studio: Marvel Animation
Original Run: 2010 –
Episodes: 20 micro-series, 19 first season episodes
Seasons: 1 to date
Aired On: Disney XD, Teletoon

The Characters

Iron-Man / Tony Stark, Thor, Captain America / Steve Rogers, The Hulk / Bruce Banner, Ant-Man / Giant-Man / Henry Pym, The Wasp / Janet Van Dyne, Hawkeye / Clint Barton, The Black Panther / T’Challa

The Setting:

Combining stories from all ages of The Avengers comic books and films, from the 1960s to the most recent incarnations, this cartoon portrays the classic line up of the Avengers as they battle the threats to Earth that no single hero can face alone.  Included in their roster of adversaries are Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil (Enchantress, Executioner, Crimson Dynamo, Wonder Man), The Grim Reaper, Kang The Conqueror, MODOK and AIM, Bar0n Strucker and Hydra, The Leader, a Kree Sentry, The Wrecking Crew and more.

The Gist:

Unlike a couple of previous dogshit adaptations, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes strikes the right tone in terms of capturing the essence of the classic characters and successfully modernizing them.  It features the key lineup from the late ’60s, but puts recent spins on their characters.  But it also featured a story from the mid-’80s featuring the Masters of Evil where they overran the team and destroyed the mansion.  So it’s really like the creators have taken the best elements from several eras and combined them in this fun adaptation.

Iron Man is taken very much from the two Robert Downey, Jr. movies.  Here, Stark is as supremely headstrong, arrogant even, yet irreverent and frivolous.  His armor design fairly blows, however.  I really would have liked if they’d gone with classic Shellhead from the John Romita run in the ’80s, or something more like the theatrical version of the armor. Hulk has been changed from Rampaging Hulk to a cross between that and Grey Hulk, where he maintains a great deal of his intelligence.  He also can turn back to Banner at will.  It’s not a bad way to go and I guess there’s only so much drama to be mined from “Hulk Smash!” every episode.  Black Panther is very much as he’s been portrayed in the past, not that much new about him, but he is classic T’Challa.

Thor is also very classic, although portrayed as having quite a bit more naive fascination with Midgard than what I remember from the comics.  Ant-Man and Wasp are fun, and Wasp is much more winsome and is the quipster of the group.  I didn’t like the dickhead version of Pym as portrayed in The Ultimate Avengers.  True, Pym did eventually become an ass in the comics, but he definitely didn’t start out that way.  This portrayal is much more to my liking and again very classic.  It would be way cool if they followed Pym’s storyline through Goliath to Yellowjacket, his marriage to Wasp and eventual insecurity, jealousy of Wasp, and meltdown that led to his leaving the Avengers in disgrace.

Hawkeye is also very true to the comics.  Where I think they didn’t get things quite right, though, is with Cap.  Brian Bloom was great in The A-Team, but just doesn’t quite sound right for Cap for me.  Plus, Cap occasionally looks a little too blocky.  Not Liefeld blocky, but slightly more hefty than he should, IMO at least.  On a side note, it’d be awesome if they did a take on the Korvac storyline.  The Guardians of the Galaxy could guest star, maybe import the FF and some stray superheroes, and then have a group smackdown with Mike.  Can you imagine an episode where Korvac is doing wholesale slaughter on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Earth’s Mightiest Guest Superheroes?  Yeah, that’d be cool.  They’re setting up for the big Ultron storyline, so that’ll be good.  Also definitely looking forward to the Kree-Skrull arc.

So yes, the stories are good, draw a lot upon the comics’ history and are well written.  They even dusted off Baron Strucker for cripes sake.  So the creators have a good sense of the Avengers’ history and have modified and adapted it nicely.

The Short History:

The show started with a 20-part micro-series and then premiered this past fall on Disney XD.

The Merchandise:

Didn’t really see any toys specific to this show, but Avengers toys have been around forever:

You Might Have Seen This Micro-Series:

Tune in next Saturday morning for another installment.

Previously on Saturday Mornings:
Dynomutt, Dog Wonder
Super Friends
Muppet Babies
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Shirt Tails
Duck Tales
Wacky Races
Thundarr The Barbarian
Garfield and Friends
Aaahh!! Real Monsters