A terrorist organization called Hydra attacks the United Nations while all of the worlds leaders are present. Tony Stark aka Iron Man, enters the scene to halt the rampage. After the skirmish, he comes to words with SHIELD commander Nick Fury, and learns that the threat of supervillains are increasing and he's only one man. As the supervillain activity increase, solo superheroes attempt to stop the madness. These random attacks are only the beginning of something bigger in the works. -summary
I have to come right out the gate and admit that I was not expecting anything special with this series. Through out the years, Marvel has been very disappointing for me in regards to their animated series. The X-Men series of the early 90's was not something I looked back on with fond memories, and after revisiting it recently, it rarely impressed me. The Spider-Man Animated Series of the 90's was complete trash as far as I'm concerned. I remember not liking anything about it, this also goes for Fantastic Four as well as Iron Man. I was thisclose to writing this series off completely, despite my enjoyment of both Hulk vs. and Planet Hulk. But I'm happy to share with my fellow comic geeks that The Avengers is no doubt among the best superhero animated series I've seen. I enjoyed these first seven episodes about as much as I did Justice League, and that says a whole lot, since I consider it to be one of the greatest American animated shows ever.
Released in 2010, The Avengers animated series draws influence from many different era's of the comics run. It's a joy picking out many of the references from the early comic series, recent series, and even Ultimate Universe. The Avengers is a Marvel Comics fan dream come true, and these first episodes established a very solid foundation.
The series doesn't exactly follow a steady plot. Instead, it focuses on one or even two particular characters per-episode. However, there's a subplot taking place every episode which is obviously building to something larger. Comic fans will be able to spot many of these revelations, while non fans will more than likely be in the dark, yet still gripped to the stories. The episodes are well written for the most part, and consist of many over the top action scenes that didn't come off cheesy at all to me. The action is clearly the selling point and those searching solely for that will be entertained.
These first episodes take time to build the team, and not everyone is present at the very moment; in this chapter the team is made up of Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Ant-Man, and Hulk. Each of these characters are given their own stories where they would combat some of their villains, who happens to be among their major enemies in the comics. It soon becomes a who's who of characters that mainly diehard fans will recognize and go crazy about. However, I can see non fans not feeling too amped up, since most of the villains are not even developed.
The stories build up to the final two episodes, which happens to be a two-parter called Breakout. This is by far the best of this group of episodes, as it features one of the most powerful, and terribly under-rated villains to come out of the pages of Avengers. I was going to give away the name, but I will let potential viewers see it for themselves.
Outside of maybe one or two animation errors; the animation is very good and runs smoothly during the battles, and man, they are just so cool to watch. The battles have the kind of style that the X-Men of the 90's wish it had. I think the battles are on the same level as Justice League. The viewer will be treated to some good choreographed fights with swift kicks and exchanges. Full contact blows straight to the face, and just highly imaginative action. The Hulk takes on Absorbing Man in a very physical fight, Thor does the same against the Wrecking Crew and his brother Loki. There's just rarely a dull moment. I also have to mention that the violence isn't completely out of line, there's no blood or gore, but there are a small amount of onscreen deaths. The character designs are pretty faithful to the comic, and the Hulk is just so big, he towers over several characters. There's also a small amount of fan service delivered by the cheeky Black Widow.
I love the voice acting as well, and you can tell many of the voice actors got into their roles. Graham McTavish reprises his role as Loki from Hulk vs., and he does just as good a job. Fred Tatasciore voices the Hulk, but he's far more entertaining in his second role as a villain later on. The voice acting is solid all around and they enhance the action scenes a great deal. The sound effects are also very good during the high impact blows, and the enemies take some vicious shots from Captain America's unbreakable shield. And I just can't forget the BGM, that also adds to the battles exictement. I also get into the opening theme, Fight as One performed by Bad City.
Both volumes of the Avengers was a lot of fun to watch, and I can watch them again pretty easily. The only issue I can think of is that the series isn't completely newbie friendly, because not all of the villains are introduced, they just come out of nowhere, and the writers seem to have thought only of the fans here. However, don't take this the wrong way, non comic fans can definitely get into the story, and I don't see any reason how come children can't watch it either. In closing, I think this is an excellent series at this point and all fans of animation should give it a try. This first volume is 161 minutes.
This is just one awesome series, and it's a comic book fans wet dream seeing these heroes hitting the TV screen. The action is bad ass, the stories are great, and the many homages and references to the original source material raises the fun factor for serious fans. If you're a fan of comics and haven't seen this series yet then you're missing out. It's also easy to get into for the casual fans too.