Friday, May 30, 2008

A Hulk Marathon on Toon Disney




June 6th, 2008 will be a special day for Hulk fans as Toon Disney is planning a marathon of episodes from the 1996 Incredible Hulk! The first two episodes of the series plus one guest starring Iron Man and one guest starting Thor will make up the two-hour marathon. Check out the episode list below.

Friday, June 6th, 7:00pm (ET) - Return of the Beast, Part 1
Friday, June 6th, 7:30pm (ET) - Return of the Beast, Part 2
Friday, June 6th, 8:00pm (ET) - Helping Hand, Iron Fist
Friday, June 6th, 8:30pm (ET) - Mortal Bounds

This is, without a doubt, a tie-in to the Hulk movie that is coming out a week later on June 13. And the Iron Man guest star is, without a doubt, to capitalize on the recent Iron Man movie.

It's great the Disney is airing the Marvel animation library (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is currently on the schedule) but I really wish that they would commit to some nice DVD season sets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Venom is Coming




In a few weeks we will see the Black Costume handed from one person to the next. That's right, Venom is coming! Here are a few designs for the character. I love the show's style and the treatment that they give everycharacter and this one is no exception. It looks like Venom and yet has a very distinct style that sets it apart from every other version of Venom. His arms are huge! I can't wait to see him in action!

Click on the image to see it larger. (Except the last one. I don't have a bigger version of that one yet.)







And don't forget about the new Spectacular Spider-Man episode this Saturday at 10am featuring the Sinister Six!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Natural Selection




Season:
Episode Number: 3
Season Episode Number: 3
Production Number: 103
Airdate: March 15, 2008

Writer: Matt Wayne
Director: Dave Bullock

Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Joshua Lebar (Flash Thompson), Ben Diskin (Eddie Brock), Deborah Strang (May Parker), James Arnold Taylor (Harry Osborn), Kath Soucie (Martha Connors), Dee Bradley Baker (Lizard), Mark Burkholder (Billy Conners), Andrew Kishino (Kenny Kong), Phil LaMarr (Rand Robertson).

Plot: Dr. Curt Conners finds a way to restore his missing right arm, unfortunately, the formula he uses turns him into a giant Lizard! Spider-Man and his friends must find a way to turn him back into Curt Conners before someone gets hurt.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The thing I noticed most while watching this episode is how different the censorship is for this series compared to the 90s Spider-Man. In this episode we have Spider-Man punching the villain with his fist, child endangerment and lots of breaking glass -- all stuff that was not allowed by FOX for the 90s series.

This of course, greatly adds to the enjoyment of the show. The stakes are higher, the action is more intense and the whole show just feels like it isn't being dumbed down for kids.

Night of the Lizard is the first episode of the 90s Spider-Man series and possibly the best of the show's five year run. But where that show missed the mark was making it the first episode. By making the Lizard the third episode of Spectacular, the character and relationship between Curt and Peter was able to grow so that the Lizard is a more sympathetic character.

I am thrilled to see just how involved Eddie Brock is as a supporting cast member. Instead of simply bringing him in when they want to tell the Venom story, they have introduced us to him from the beginning.

But Venom and Lizard aren't the only two that we met before their debut as villains. We have also seen Sandman, Rhino, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sin-Eater and the Jackal. Will all of these characters become villains? Only time will tell.

The most impressive part of Natural Selection has got to be the action scenes. There are a number of great fights as Spider-Man battles the Lizard in the lab, on the subway and at the zoo. The action is intense, the camera work and editing is amazing and the animation is so incredible that I have to say that this is rivaling the DCAU.

DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Interactions




    Season:
    Episode Number: 2
    Season Episode Number: 2
    Production Number: 102
    Airdate: March 8, 2008

    Writer: Kevin Hopps
    Director: Tony Adomitis

    Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Crispin Freeman (Electro), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Grey Delisle (Sally Avril), John Dimaggio (Flint Marko, Hammerhead), Joshua Lebar (Flash Thompson), Deborah Strang (May Parker), James Arnold Taylor (Harry Osborn), Brian George (Aaron Warren), Dorian Harewood (Dr. Bromwell), Kath Soucie (Martha Connors), Allana Ubach (Liz Allan), Tom Wilson (Stan Carter), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Benjamin Diskin (Eddie Brock).

    Plot: A freak accident turns electrician Max Dillon into the electrically charged Electro! Stopping at nothing, Electro goes after Dr. Curt Conners for a cure for his condition.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Interaction is episode number two and a good follow up to the first action packed episode. This time around, there are not nearly as many characters and sub-plots, which is good for character development. Peter gets a bit more of the spotlight and we get to see him tutor Liz Allen, deal with Aunt May and face a foe that used to be his friend as Spider-Man.

    Every time Electro makes an appearance in a modern Spider-Man animated series, his origin is given an overhaul. In Spectacular Spider-Man he is changed from a petty crook to a sympathetic villain. This formula worked wonders when reinventing Mr. Freeze for Batman: the Animated Series, and it works here too, just not to the same level as greatness.

    Max Dillon is a nice guy and a friend to Dr. Conners, Peter and Eddie but gets hurt in an accident involving some genetically altered electric eels. His body gets super charged with electricity and can only survive in a special containment suit. Thinking that Conners can find a cure for his condition, Dillon goes after him. Sparks start to fly and Spider-Man gets involved. We feel sorry for Dillon but that quickly changes when he starts to lose his temper and doesn't listen to reason.

    The design used for Electro is really smart, taking his goofy mask and turning it into an electric aura around his head. His super-villain suit serves a purpose and is a fresh update to an out of date character.

    While this episode works as a stand-alone episode, it is apparent that episodes will need to be watched in order. Sub-plots such as the phone calls to Aunt May and the Bugle wanting Spider-Man photos are directly tied to the last episode. It will be great fun watching this series unfold and develop.

    DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Survival of the Fittest




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 1
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: 101
    Airdate: March 8, 2008

    Writer: Greg Weisman
    Director: Victor Cook

    Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Robert Englund (Vulture), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Grey Delisle (Sally Avril, Betty Brant), Irene Bedard (Jean DeWolff), Phil Lamarr (Rand Robertson), John Dimaggio (Flint Marko, Hammerhead), Clancy Brown (Alex O'Hirn), Peter MacNicol (Otto Octavius), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Deborah Strang (May Parker), James Arnold Taylor (Harry Osborn), Brian George (Aaron Warren), Kath Soucie (Martha Connors, Anna Watson), Keith David (Big Man), Jeff Bennett (Montana), Alan Rachins (Norman Osborn), Benjamin Diskin (Eddie Brock), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Daran Norris (J. Jonah Jameson), Brian George (Aaron Warren).

    Plot: After his first summer being Spider-Man, Peter Parker returns to school expecting things to be different. While his school-life unfortunately remains the same, his life as Spider-Man takes a turn as he meets his first super-villains: The Vulture and the Enforcers!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): As far as first episodes go, this has to be one of the best I've seen! This could shape up to be the best Spider-Man series to date and it's only the first episode! Sony Pictures Entertainment brings us a brilliant new series with stunning animation by their new animation studio, Culver Entertainment. And I do mean stunning. The animation is strong and fluid, they don't skimp on any action and the character designs, although a bit on the cartoony side, are stylized yet simple enough to animate.

    There is so much to talk about and I don't know where to begin! Almost everyone in the Spider-Man supporting cast makes a cameo in this episode. Here is the rundown:

    The three main characters of the show are Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy (now a bookworm instead of a hot babe and the first time she is a main character in a Spider-Man series), and Harry Osborn (whose character is very true to the comics).

    At home we have Aunt May and her best friend Anna Watson. At school Flash gives Peter a hard time with his buddies Rand Robertson (son of the Bugle's Joe "Robbbie" Robertson) and Kenny "Kong" Harlan (from the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man), and the cheerleaders, Liz Allen, Glory Grant and Sally Avril (a little known character from the comics who becomes the hero Bluebird). Peter and Gwen's teacher is Aaron Warren (also known Miles Warren and as the Jackal in the comics).

    During the course of this episode, Peter and Gwen get a job interning at the ESU Science Lab under the tutelage of Dr. Curt Conners (who will turn into the Lizard without a doubt) and his wife Martha. We also meet Eddie Brock (that's right! Venom!) who is Conners' assistant. Brock's design looks a lot like his comic book counterpart, but his character leans more toward his character in Ultimate Spider-Man.

    Peter tries to get a job at the Bugle and there he meets J. Jonah Jameson who is shouting out names left and right! Joe "Robbie" Robertson, Ned Leeds (called Lee in this series), Betty Brant, and Fredrick Foswell. In the comics, Foswell starts out as a Bugle reporter but then becomes the leader of organized crime in New York City and the leader of the Enforcers, known as the Big Man.

    And that brings me to the villains. The Big Man is a shadowy figure in this episode, but is it a coincidence that JJ shouts out the name Foswell? The villains in the Big Man's employ are Hammerhead and the Enforcers, Montana, Ox and Fancy Dan. But that's not all of the villains we see in this episode! At the very beginning Spider-Man captures Flint Marko (Sandman) and Alex O'Hirn (Rhino) who are depicted as ordinary thugs.

    But wait! There's more! Norman Osborn is also in the show (of course) and working for him is Otto Octavius (voiced by Peter MacNicol). The main villain in the show is the Vulture (voiced by Freddy Krugger himself, Robert Englund) whose costume is taken after the Marvel Knights version of the character. Apparently, producer Greg Weisman said he wants to cut down on the number of green Spider-Man villains.

    Two more names then I'll end this review. The two police officers are Jean DeWolff and Stan Carter, who becomes the Sin-Eater and eventually kills DeWolff. Wow! Everybody and their dog is in this episode! The writing was super smart and even though a ton happened, it didn't feel rushed or contrived. This is a great start to what will be a great series.

    DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Persona




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 10
    Season Episode Number: 10
    Production Number: 110
    Airdate: May 17, 2008

    Writer: Matt Wayne
    Director: Dan Fausett

    Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Deborah Strang (Aunt May), Dee Bradley Baker (Curt Conners), Benjamin Diskin (Eddie Brock), Tricia Helfer (Black Cat), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Daran Norris (J. Jonah Jameson), Steven Blum (Chameleon), Xander Berkeley (Quentin Beck), Grey DeLisle (Sally Avril), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Clancy Brown (Captain George Stacy), Irene Bedard (Jean DeWolff), Thomas F. Wilson (Stan Carter)

    Plot: An alien life form is brought back to Earth for research under the supervision of Dr. Curt Conners. Peter, excited at the idea of alien life, tries to sneak into the lab to take a look at the gooey life form. But inside the lab he finds the Black Cat in the middle of lifting the goods.

    In an attempt to prevent the Black Cat from doing her work, Spidey accidentally steps on the goo which results in the goo coating his costume in black. He finds that the suit gives him extra strength and the ability to change clothes with just a thought.

    Meanwhile, the Chameleon poses as Spider-Man and plays off the public uncertainty of the wall-crawler in order to rob a few banks and make a few bucks. In order to prove to Spider-Man that the Black Cat really isn't all that bad, she teams up with him to bring down the Chameleon.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): This 'black goo' is, of course, the alien symbiote that eventually melds with Eddie Brock to become Venom. But that won't happen for a few more episodes. The 90s Spider-Man series had a three part Venom story in its first season as well which was praised to be one of the best stories of the whole series. Is this one going to be better? I don't know about that but we are certainly off to a good start.

    The first thing I liked about this episode is the arrival of the symbiote. No back story, no alien taking over the shuttle, no crime lords fighting to steal it first, none of that. It is just there and by accident Peter gets it all over his suit. This episode is about figuring out the suit's potential and I bet we'll see a bit of the darker side in the next episode when he battles the Sinister Six. But it was a good establishing episode for the Black Costume.

    There are so many different versions of the Black Cat over the years, which one is the best? The 90s Spider-Man cartoon tried their best to not make her a Catwoman rip-off by giving her super strength but much as I want Black Cat to be her own character, that was not the way to go. However, this version isn't that great either. She displays many Catwoman-esque characteristics, including her stealth, flip-flopping between good and bad, and the sexual tension between her and Spider-Man. While this is a welcome change from the last time we saw her animated, it is too much like the DC heroine. I'm really hoping they develop her character to become her own cat.

    And for my third comparison to the 90s Spider-Man, this Chameleon, with his make-up and costumes is far superior to magical belt buckle Chameleon from the 90s cartoon. Having the Chameleon be the frontman of a three man operation is a good call too. The Chameleon can't do it all on his own so he gets help from Quentin Beck (Mysterio) who specializes in theatrics, and Phineas Mason (the Tinkerer) who is a robotics expert. I really hope that later episodes will spotlight this trio of classic Spidey villains.
    DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Four

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    More Legion Episodes on DVD




    Warner Bros. has announced that Legion of Super Heroes - Volume Three will be released on September 9. There is not very much information on this release yet but it is known that the single disc will include five episode. If this volume follows the same pattern as the last two, the five episodes will wrap up the first season in order of airdate.

    Possible episodes: Substitute, Child's Play, Chain of Command, Sundown, Part One, Sundown, Part Two

    The picture above is a hint of who will be introduced in this volume!

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    Greg Rucka on Gotham Knight



    Superhero Hype had posted an exclusive interview with Greg Rucka, writer of the Crossfire segment of the upcoming Batman: Gotham Knight feature film.

    The image of Batman coming through flaming wreckage was pretty much exactly as I wanted it. I really was trying to get the psychological impact of seeing this man, who maybe isn't a man if you don't know, coming through the flames – literally a walking, talking, burning bush, standing and staring the villain down. If somebody was staring me down from the middle of flames, they could have anything they want. I think the animators executed that really well.

    Warner Bros. has launched the Gotham Knight website as well as a Facebook and Myspace site to promote the movie which comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 8.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Hobgoblin Coming to DVD!




    TV Shows on DVD reports that another couple of episodes from Spider-Man: the Animated Series will be heading to DVD in Canada July 8. It is said to be 55 minutes in length and should include Hobgoblin, Part One and Hobgoblin, Part Two from the show's first season.

    Just a few weeks ago, Canadian company Morningstar Entertainment released their first Marvel DVD, Spider-Man - Mutant Agenda and have many more Canadian releases in the works for coming months, including The Incredible Hulk - When Monsters Meet on June 10.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    What's Tony's Ringtone?

    I went to see Iron Man on opening night last week, and aside from it being a totally awesome movie, there was one other thing that got me excited.

    Tony Stark's ringtone was the theme song from the Iron Man segment of The Marvel Superheroes from 1966! I know that you would have to be a huge geek to know this, but I heard it a few other times throughout the movie worked into the background music.

    Brian Azzarello on Gotham Knight




    Superherohype.com has posted a good interview with Brian Azzarello, comic book writer and writer of the Working Through Pain segment of the upcoming Batman: Gotham Knight DVD.

    I liked the film – it's a very interesting take on the Batman character. It holds together cohesively, yet each episode is strikingly different. And I loved (my segment) – it's great. I really liked the animation. It was fascinating seeing my words moving around. When I write, I see it in print – I don't see it moving. So it was fun and it was a good experience.


    Batman: Gotham Knight is the third release from DC Comics' PG-13 Direct-to-DVD series. It follows the Animatrix pattern and contains six short stories written by accomplished comic book writers like David Goyer, Greg Rucka and Alan Burnett and directed and animated by different Japanese animation studios.

    Set that money aside because you're gonna want to pick this one up when it is released on July 8!

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Mutants Everywhere! New Wolverine and the X-Men Trailer!

    The cast expands in a big way.

    Colossus! Angel! Blob! Rogue! Avalanche! Quicksilver! Scarlet Witch! Magneto! Iceman! Sentinels! Mystique! Polaris! Domino! Wolfsbane! Forge! Vertigo! Gambit! Pyro! Maverick! Dust! Spiral! Mojo! ...and Hulk?

    These are a few of the many mutants in the new trailer for Wolverine and the X-Men that Marvel posted an their site yesterday. Check it out! It makes this show look real good! You get to hear a lot of the characters' voices, a lot sounding like their movie counterparts. The animation looks clean and smooth and the story is gonna be epic!

    It also seems that Emma Frost will have her secondary mutation, her diamond form, but Beast doesn't seem to have received his yet.

    This trailer has made me quite a bit more excited about this show. After seeing Marvel bomb several of their shows in the 90s due to ultra campyness, it's nice to see them treating their shows these days as seriously as Bruce Timm and Paul Dini treated Batman: the Animated Series.

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    X-Men: Evolution on DVD




    UnXpected Changes
    Season One, Volume One


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 63 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Strategy X
  • The X Impulse
  • Rogue Recruit


  • Special Features:
  • Episode introductions with producer Boyd Kirkland, executive story editor Greg Johnson and directors.
  • The Evolution of X-Men
  • X-Men: Evolution Trailer



  • Xplosive Days
    Season One, Volume Two


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 63 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Mutant Crush
  • Speed vs Spyke
  • Middleverse


  • Special Features:
  • Episode introductions with producer Boyd Kirkland, executive story editor Greg Johnson and directors.
  • The Art of the X-Men
  • X-Men: Evolution Trailer



  • X Marks the Spot
    Season One, Volume Three


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 63 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Turn of the Rogue
  • Spyke Cam
  • Survival of the Fittest


  • Special Features:
  • Episode introductions with producer Boyd Kirkland, executive story editor Greg Johnson and directors.
  • Tales of the X-Men
  • X-Men: Evolution Trailer



  • Xposing the Truth
    Season One, Volume Four


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 85 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Shadowed Past
  • Grim Reminder
  • The Cauldron, Part One
  • The Cauldron, Part Two


  • Special Features:
  • Episode introductions with producer Boyd Kirkland, executive story editor Greg Johnson and directors.
  • The X-Men Unmasked
  • X-Men: Evolution Trailer



  • Mutants Rising
    Season Two, Volume One


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 85 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

    Episodes:
  • Growing Pains
  • Power Surge
  • Bada-Bing Bada-Boom
  • Fun and Games


  • Special Features:
  • Episode introductions with producer Boyd Kirkland
  • The X-Men
  • The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
  • The X-Men Comic Book Adventures



  • Powers Revealed
    Season Two, Volume Two


    Release Date: 2003
    Running Time: 85 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • The Beast of Bayville
  • Adrift
  • On Angel's Wings
  • African Storm


  • Special Features:
  • Stan Lee: The Original X-Man
  • Inside Xavier's Institute
  • Trailer: X-Men: Evolution - Beginnings



  • Enemies Unveiled
    Season Two, Volume Three


    Release Date: 2004
    Running Time: 85 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Joyride
  • Walk on the Wild Side
  • Operation Rebirth
  • Mindbender


  • Special Features:
  • Meet the New Mutants
  • Behind the Brotherhood with Mystique
  • Wolverine's Trivia Challenge



  • Mystique's Revenge
    Season Two, Volume Four


    Release Date: 2004
    Running Time: 106 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Episodes:
  • Shadow Dance
  • Retreat
  • The HeX Factor
  • Day of Reckoning, Part One
  • Day of Reckoning, Part Two


  • Special Features:
  • Toad's Test
  • X-Men: Evolution: Turning Point



  • The Complete Third Season

    Release Date: 2006
    Running Time: 273 minutes
    Format: Full Screen 1.33:1
    Languages: English, French, Spanish
    Subtitles: French, Spanish

    Disc One:
  • Day of Recovery
  • The Stuff of Heroes
  • Mainstream
  • The Stuff of Villains
  • Blind Alley
  • X-Treme Measures
  • The Toad, the Witch & the Wardrobe
  • Self Possessed


  • Special Features:
  • Cerebro's Mutant Files: The X-Men - Heroes
  • Cerebro's Mutant Files: The Acolytes - Villains


  • Disc Two:
  • Under Lock and Key
  • Cruise Control
  • X23
  • Dark Horizons, Part One
  • Dark Horizons, Part Two


  • Special Features:
  • X-Men Season 3: X-Posed
  • Mystique's Trivia Challenge