The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Private War of Doctor Doom



It's been almost a year since the first season of "The Avengers - Earth's Mightiest Heroes" came to an end, as the Avengers triumphed over the machinations of Loki. The show had some growing pains, but by the time of "Gamma World" and then "Widow's Sting" it really came into it's own. And, behind "The Spectacular Spider-Man," it is easily the second best Marvel animated series of all time. But season two was a long time coming. It has been finished and in the can for months. This episode premiered at San Diego Comic Con last year! I was speaking to my friend, Donovan Grant last week, and mentioned this hadn't aired. He saw it at Comic Con and was floored. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely!

Let's get the bad out of the way first. The narration added to the introduction is completely unnecessary. Like they don't trust the audience to know what is happening. Narrations in and of themselves aren't bad, but this one feels so slapped together... I am quite certain that Jeph Loeb demanded it be put there. And after seeing how "Ultimate Spider-Man" turned out, I'm dreading the fate of this show after episode fourteen of the season airs and Chris Yost and Josh Fine are removed from the project... that was when Jeph Loeb came in, production wise. But, I am confident in the next fourteen episodes, at least. So I'm going to enjoy the ride and hope for the best.

This show does cameos and guest appearances right. We've seen the Fantastic Four cameo before, and heard references to them even before that. Now they make their first full appearances, and the build up helped. The Thing and Human Torch coming to Avengers mansion to play poker is fun, as is the rivalry between the Thing and the Hulk.

But the real meat of the episode is finally seeing Dr. Doom. He was referenced way back in "Breakout Part One" when Iron Man put a stop to A.I.M. trying to sell weapons to Latveria. Now, the good doctor has been on TV many times before. How does this one stack up? Design wise, he is perfect. Writing wise, he is perfect. Voice wise, Lex Lang does a great job... but I think I preferred Simon Templeman from the second season of the 90's Fantastic Four series (and believe me, that is the only thing I would ever prefer from that otherwise horrid show). Doom's use here was pretty simple. He wanted to find out who the Skrulls among the FF and the Avengers were, and he did... well, he found the FF's Skrull. And he put up a pretty badass fight after making it clear to Jan, in no uncertain terms, that her mouthing off at him was pointless. Hank may take Jan home and beat her senseless, but Doom is not that easy. The way the episode ended, I have hopes we'll see him again sooner rather than later.

I am wondering if this show is in the same continuity as Chris Yost's "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes." The use of Lucia von Bardas in both shows is very similar. In the comics, Lucia von Bardas is a Latverian woman who used to teach at the University of North Carolina in the United States. After Victor von Doom was deposed as the leader of Latveria, the Americans helped von Bardas get elected as that country's prime minister. She then began publicly mending the ties between the two countries. But she started funding supervillains and Nick Fury led a small army of superheroes into Latveria to take her out, and they succeeded. She later returned as a cyborg. In "World's Greatest Heroes" she was re-imagined as an android assistant to Dr. Doom, and is used in the same role here. Now that doesn't necessarily mean both shows are in the same continuity, Yost could be re-using his old idea. But it does make me wonder.

Solid premiere, I look forward to what comes next.

17 comments:

  1. I doubt its in continuity, since Dr. Doom competence on that show was on par with G1 Megatron.

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    1. What he said. ;) Plus, in WGH, Pym had black hair and a goatee and Hulk spoke in his typical "dumb Hulk" speech. I think it's just Yost reusing his ideas.

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    2. You're both probably right.

      So, Spidey is cameoing some time this season. I really hope they got Josh Keaton to do it. It's possible, especially since this was all in production before Drake Bell got the USM gig.

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    3. Well, Fine once said that he mused about having EMH, WatXM, and TSSM in the same continuity. (wonder if he ever talked to Weisman about the last one, of if it was just a pipe dream of his) So that somewhat increases Keaton's chances of voicing Spidey!

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    1. I believe I mentioned Lex Lang in the review.

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  3. Incidentally:

    1. What's your opinion on FF: WGHs?

    2. If you don't mind me asking, your overall opinion on Fantastic Four series from 1994? I mean granted, the first season is generally agreed upon to be lousy, but I haven't really seen any complaints about Season 2 other than Johnny having deep romantic feelings for a girl he barely knew.

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    1. 1. Um... I thought it was better than "Ultimate Spider-Man"

      2. I'm not a fan of any of Marvel's 90's animated output. It usually ranged from "okay, that wasn't too awful" to "oh my god, that was completely awful."

      But I liked their Doom. He was the only thing that made me not want to kill myself.

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    2. I don't know if this show shares continuity with "FF:WGH". It was intended to share continuity with "WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN", but that show was canceled. A sign of that is the Wendigo in one of those prisons in Season 1 is the same as the one in a "W&TXM" episode. "FF:WGH" features drastically different character designs for the Four than were shown here, although people can always change costumes. The bit about Doom throwing the Baxtor Building into space was an episode from that show, but also a well known comic bit. In "FF:WGH", both Iron Man and Ant-Man guest starred; and Ant-Man also looked drastically different.

      "FF:WGH" isn't my favorite Marvel 'toon but I felt it did comedy and banter between the Four better than anything else, and midway through the season the producers realized that and focused on those strengths. If you go into it expecting a superhero sitcom with some action, and not "JLU", it is okay.

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  4. http://twitter.com/#!/yost/status/187693324629585921

    It looks like Spidey's guest episode takes place before Loeb takes over.

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    1. Excellent, fingers crossed they get the guy who voiced him in "Marvel Vs Capcom 3"

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    2. Nah, not Spidey enough. They need the guy who did the Amazing Spidey voice in the Edge of Time game, or the one who did Ultimate in Shattered Dimensions.

      Those guys really nailed Spidey.

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    3. Or the Spidey who's currently cosplaying as Hal Jordan or friends with Optimus Prime.

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    4. Personally, I think the guy who played Flash in "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" would make a great Spidey. ;)

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    5. You know who would be a cool choice to voice Spider-Man on this show? That guy who voiced Hercules in the Disney movie when he was a teenager. ;)

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  5. "It was... is... and will always be... Doom who pulls the strings."

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  6. While I liked the setup for the Skrull arc, I did get annoyed that the Fantastic Four, well, suck in this series. They need the Avengers to help them against Doom's robots, and when they fight Doom, they get their asses kicked. But then again, this show does have a record for making characters more impressive when they first appear.

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