Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gotham Knight Segment on Comcast!

If you can't wait until July 8th when Batman: Gotham Knight arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray, you can watch a whole segment on Comcast right now!

Field Test is the third story out of the six that will make up the feature and is written by Jordan Goldberg. The segment is 11 minutes and 36 seconds in length.

Personally, I will be waiting for the DVD so that I can experience the whole thing all at once. July 8th can't come soon enough.

Also, Gotham Knight will be screened at Wizard World Chicago on June 28 for those who really can't wait. I'd be more inclined to go to that than watch the segment on Comcast. But I'm on the west coast.

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Wolverine Trailer and Comi-Con Info!

A new trailer has surfaced promoting a Wolverine and the X-Men screening and panel at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 27th. The screening will feature the 90-minute pilot and the panel will feature Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Head Writer Greg Johnson.

This trailer has me the most excited so far as it gives a really good look at the quality of the animation as well as a look at out favourite heroes in action!

View a better quality version here.

Could this be the theme song? It clearly displays the name of the show along with a good introduction to all of the main characters. The music has a hint of the old 90s X-Men theme. A nice nod to the past but otherwise, its not a great theme song. I'm hoping this is only promo and we'll get a better song.

This show looks fantastic. I really wish I was going to be at the San Diego Comic-Con for the screening.


Season: 2
Episode Number: 19
Season Episode Number: 6
Production Number: 206
Airdate: October 28, 1995

Writer: John Semper, Brynne Stephens and Lydia Maranor
Director: Bob Shellhorn

Voices: Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man), Susan Beaubian (Dr. Mariah Crawford), Liz Georges (Debra Whitman), Nick Jameson (Morbius), Jennifer Hale (Felicia Hardy), Saratoga Ballantine (Mary Jane Watson), Marla Jeanette Rubinoff (Liz Allen).

Plot: Spider-Man seeks the help of Dr. Mariah Crawford to cure him of his ever growing neogenic nightmare. She appears to have a cure but it may take away Spider-Man’s powers forever!

Spider-Man takes the serum to the university and, as Peter Parker, he starts conducting his own experiments to make sure it is safe for him to take.

A fellow classmate, Michael Morbius, sees Peter experimenting and assumes it’s because Peter is trying to steal his chance to be Dr. Conners’ lab assistant. He steals the sample of Peter’s blood and conducts his own experiments on it. But when something goes wrong and Peter’s blood sample mixed with a bite from a bat turns Michael Morbius into a living vampire!

After seeing how Morbius changed and hurt people after he mutated, Peter decideds to take Dr. Crawford's cure to ride himself of his powers forever. But something unexpected happens!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): After two great episodes featuring the X-Men, this one was a bit of a let down. Since he found out about his mutation Spider-Man has been a real butt. I really was hoping to see some change in character, but I didn’t want to see it all in this episode. There was way too much soul searching and not enough action. The whole Morbius story was rushed through and not really developed as well as it could have been.

Speaking of Morbius, the fact that the writers actually wrote in a story about a vampire is pretty remarkable considering the tight hold the censors have on this series. One of the rules was no vampires but the writers found a way around it. Since a vampire biting the neck of his victim is a bit too graphic, he has little suckers on his hands that he uses to drain the plasma (not blood) from his victims. An interesting change that might make the character seem a little cheesy but it is nice to see Morbius in his first animated appearance.

By now it seems that this season has Spider-Man hopping from one person to the next in order to find a cure. This is getting a bit old now. Something needs to change. They have been building this mutation for several episodes now and it is about time that something happened. So what happens? Spider-Man grows four more arms! Adapting the famous story from Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey must figure out how to either reverse his mutation or learn to love his extra limbs!

DVD Releases:
Spider-Man - The Mutant Agenda

Back to Episode Guide

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nature vs. Nurture

Season: 1
Episode Number: 13
Season Episode Number: 13
Production Number: 113
Airdate: June 24, 2008

Writer: Kevin Hopps
Director: Victor Cook

Voices: Josh Keaton (Spider-Man), Lacey Chabert (Gwen Stacy), Vanessa Marshall (Mary Jane Watson), Alanna Ubach (Liz Allen), Joshua LeBar (Flash Thompson), Phil Lamarr (Rand Robertson), Grey Delisle (Stacy Avril), Kevin Michael Richardson (Tombstone), Benjamin Diskin (Venom), Dorian Harewood (Doc Bromwell), Deborah Strang (Aunt May Parker), Clancy Brown (Captain George Stacy).

Plot: The black alien symbiote has bonded with Eddie Brock and they share a hatred for Peter Parker. They plan to attack the people closest to Peter, starting with Aunt May and Gwen Stacy!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The whole first season of Spectacular Spider-Man has been building to this moment! Starting with the third episode where Eddie first starts to think twice about his friendship with Peter, Eddie's decent into madness has been a gradual one making us truly believe that he hates Peter.

As with most of the series, I'm glad the creative team has opted to simply use the characters and write their own stories. Sticking close to the original comics usually only leads to disappointment because it's just not as good. But creating their own stories often leaves the viewer saying 'what a great take on the story'. Such is the case with this Venom story.

A few episodes ago we had a fight with the Sinister Six. It was an intense battle with Spidey kicking butt. How could you top Spider-Man fighting six of his deadliest enemies? With Spider-Man fighting his most deadly enemy of all!

The whole episode is basically one big fight scene and it is one of the best scripted and choreographed fight scenes I've seen in superhero animation. I can't imagine what it would be like to storyboard something like this! The animation has been super consistent throughout the entire season and this episode is no exception. Watching this is more fun than watching the big-budget Spider-Man movies!

While I'm a big fan of the character designs of the show, I can't say that I'm too keen on Venom's design. I like the big arms and skinny legs, but the head and mouth are designed in a way that looks awkward when animated. The tongue is always popping in and out of the mouth and the teeth seem to just get in the way of the mouth movements. I guess Venom is hard to animate if you want to include the sharp teeth and tongue, because I had the same beef with the design from the 90s Spider-Man series. Oh well. Minor detail.

The episode end off with a nice Thanksgiving dinner. In case you didn't notice, this season spans the autumn months, September to November, in Peter's first year as Spider-Man. Peter starts his school year, we see the Fall Formal, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Next season will bring us the winter months, December to February.

The relationship between Gwen and Peter has been building for some time now, even though Peter doesn't know it. It has become the case that Gwen is often sidestepped to focus on the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane. After all, the two eventually get married and have a nice long life together. But let's not forget that Gwen was Peter's first girlfriend in the comics. A fact that the writers of this series haven't forgotten.

I'm looking forward to seeing their relationship grow and how it will eventually end. Will this show dare to bring us the Death of Gwen Stacy?
DVD Releases:
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, The Complete First Season
  • Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Four

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    The One-Eyed Idol

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 9a
    Season Episode Number: 9a
    Production Number: 115
    Airdate: November 4, 1967

    Writer: Bill Danch, Al Bertino, Dick Robbins, Dick Cassarino, Phil Babet.
    Director: Grant Simmons, Clyde Geronimi, Sid Marcus.

    Voices: Paul Soles (Spider-Man), Paul Kligman (J. Jonah Jameson), Peg Dixson (Betty Brant), Chris Wiggins (Harley Clivendon).

    Plot: A strange one-eyed idol appears on J. Jonah Jameson's desk. Jameson accepts it as a gift, not realizing that it was put there by a jungle savage. Later that night, Spider-Man, investigating a light left on at the Daily Bugle, sees Jameson being hypnotized, being told to put money in the idols head.

    On a stake out the next night, Spider-Man, insistent on capturing the crook, is ambushed by the aborigine and take back to his master's house. The villain and the man behind the idol scheme is a Australian game hunter named Harley Clivendon who used the idol as a way to lure Spider-Man, the greatest game of all, into a trap!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): My first question about this episode of Spider-Man is where's Kraven? This Harley Clivendon character is basically the Australian version of Kraven the Hunter so why wasn't this classic Spidey villain used? Kraven first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #15 in 1964 so he was already in the comics. In fact, he had already appeared in animation a year earlier in an Iron Man segment of The Marvel Superheroes Show.

    The second question I have is why does Spider-Man's spider sense only sometimes work? He was taken out by TWO BOOMERANGS in this episode! Boomerangs?! If Spidey's spider sense could detect that the light on in the Daily Bugle meant danger then surely he can dodge two boomerangs!

    This is all part of the campyness and charm of this old series and I wouldn't want it any other way.

    In broadcast airings of this series these days, you will not be able to see The One-Eyed Idol or its partner episode Fifth Avenue Phantom because it has been cut from the list due to its unflattering stereotype of aboriginals. But it is available on DVD for the collector.

    DVD Releases:
    Spiderman - The '67 Collection
    The Incredible Hulk - When Monsters Meet

    Back to Episode Guide

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Batman: Brave and the Bold News

    I know this is old news, but I haven't talked about it yet since this is a new site. Batman: Brave and the Bold is a new animated series coming to Cartoon Network in March 2009. The series is based on the old comic book series of the same name which saw Batman team up with a different hero every month. So far 26 episodes have been contracted.

    I am looking forward to this different approach to the Dark Knight. We have had two solid series that focus on the mythology of the Caped Crusader and it will be nice to see a series that uses Batman as link between the rest of the DC Universe.

    So far the only names that have been confirmed as guest stars are Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Aquaman and Plastic Man.

    It has also been confirmed that Diedrich Bader, Oswald from the Drew Carry Show, will be the voice of Bruce Wayne. Bader already has a Batman connection: He was the voice of Zee, the robot from Batman Beyond spin-off The Zeta Project. Apparently, Wil Wheeton, Star Trek's Wesley Crusher, will also lend his voice to the project.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Classic Doc Ock on DVD

    Morningstar Entertainment will be releasing their fourth Canadian DVD release, called Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus on August 19th.

    The release will contain two episodes from the 1967 Spider-Man series, each containing two Spidey stories. The feature episode is actually the premiere episode of the classic series with The Power of Doctor Octopus and Sub-Zero for Spidey. The 'bonus episode' is the 17th episode and features The Terrible Triumph of Doctor Octopus and a Green Goblin story, Magic Malice.

    Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus is part of the Marvel Comics Video Library VHS series that was released in the 80s. Morningstar Entertainment has aquirred the distribution rights and is now releasing the series on DVD. A few of the stipulations are that no extra episodes are to be added, nor is any restoration to be done on the transfer.

    In my opinion, this is not a DVD that collectors need to get as they repeat episodes that have already been released in a far superior way in the Spider-Man - the '67 Collection box set. Or if you want to go a cheaper route, you can get The Power of Doctor Octopus/Sub-Zero for Spidey as a bonus episode on the Buena Vista release Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock and The Terrible Triumph of Doctor Octopus/Magic Malice can be found as a bonus episode on Buena Vista's Spider-Man - The Return of the Green Goblin.

    However, their previous release, The Incredible Hulk - When Monsters Meet, which hit the Canadian stores last week, contains an episode of the 1982 Incredible Hulk series which hasn't seen a DVD release yet.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Next Avengers Trailer & Cover Art

    Lionsgate Home Entertainment has released a trailer and press release for their fifth animated feature for Marvel Enterprises: Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. View the trailer here or check out the good quality one here. Next Avengers comes out September 2, 2008.

    Not only does it give a better idea of the plot, the press release also says that the disc will include a look at the next Marvel Animated Movie, Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor!

    I have to admit that the concept and the first trailer was not very impressive, but now I am quite a bit more interested. The DVD and Blu-Ray is available for pre-order on Amazon. Reserve your's today!


    The Legacy Continues When the Children of the World’s Most Unstoppable Heroes Debut in The First PG-Rated Movie in the Marvel Animated Features Franchise

    This September, Marvel Enterprises (NYSE: MVL) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) unveil the DVD and Blu-ray Disc debut of a new generation of super heroes in the Marvel Universe – Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. Make way for the rebirth of Earth’s mightiest crime fighting organization as the children of the original team join forces in this new epic animated feature with greater kid appeal than ever before. Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow marks the very first PG-rated movie in the history of Marvel’s animated features franchise and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on September 2, 2008 for the suggested retail prices of $19.98 and $29.99, respectively.

    The new film introduces a younger generation of heroes: orphans bound only by their parents’ former alliance known as The Avengers. Fostered by the misbehaved billionaire bachelor Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), four amazing teenagers with lineage to some of the most revered heroes of all time including Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, Wasp and Giant Man suddenly find themselves the earth’s only hope in stopping a deadly foe. With the help of Marvel juggernaut The Incredible Hulk, the team will hone their powers and go head to head with the very enemy responsible for their parents’ demise.

    With an animation style and a storyline that stays true to its hugely popular comic roots – a constant theme across all Marvel Animated Features – the Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow DVD and Blu-ray Disc special features include a unique behind the scenes look at the popular comic franchise with the featurette entitled "Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow." In addition, both the DVD and the Blu-ray Disc will include the "Kid Power: Next Gen Marvel" featurette. But perhaps the most talked about bonus features included are the eagerly anticipated first looks at the upcoming titles Hulk Vs. Wolverine and Hulk Vs. Thor.

    Whenever the forces of evil threatened mankind, Earth’s mightiest heroes the Avengers were there to stop them — until they made the ultimate sacrifice in their final fight with the indestructible robot, Ultron. But all was not lost for Tony Stark (Iron Man) kept the children of the Avengers safe and raised them to become the teenage heroes of tomorrow. Now James (Son of Captain America and Black Widow), Torunn (Daughter of Thor), Azari (Son of the Black Panther), and Pym (Son of Wasp and Giant Man) must finish the fight their parents started. Soon the arrow-slinging son of Hawkeye will join their ranks but it will take more than five teens to destroy the machine that defeated their parents. If these young heroes have any hope of winning they must find the missing Hulk and come together as… the Next Avengers!

    •"Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow" featurette
    •A First Look at Hulk Vs. Wolverine
    •A First Look at Hulk Vs. Thor
    •“Kid Power: Next Gen Marvel”
    *special features subject to change

    Over three million units of Marvel Animated features have been sold to date, all of which have premiered as #1 on the Children’s non-theatrical charts, and as a result, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow will be supported with the biggest kid-targeted Marvel Animated Feature ad campaign ever; including a TV advertising campaign delivering over 400MM impressions! In an effort to maximize the reach of the feature’s core demographics, the title will be advertised aggressively on various male and animation fan targeted cable networks, targeting viewers of Fox, CW, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Toon Disney, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, Spike, Sci-Fi and more!

    The DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow will also be supported by in-theatre advertising on the big screen prior to the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Clone Wars which premieres in theatres this August. In order to satiate the numerous fans of this popular series, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow will make its world premiere with a screening at San Diego Comic-Con in July, creating widespread awareness of the title among the core fan community prior to the release.

    Targeted print advertising will be featured in Wizard Magazine, Marvel Comics and more. Online support will include a custom website hosted on MarvelKids.com which features monthly sneak peek exclusives to generate fan excitement in the months leading up to the DVD and Blu-ray release. There will also be heavy online advertising and promotion of the Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow DVD and Blu-ray on key websites including Google, Marvel.com, IGN, Nick.com, Yahoo! and more.

    Street Date: 9/02/08
    Order Date: 8/06/08
    DVD SRP: $19.98
    Blu-ray Disc SRP: $29.99
    Year of Production: 2008
    Type: DVD/Blu-ray Premiere
    Rating: PG for sci-fi action violence and some language
    Genre: Family/Animated/Children
    Closed Captioned: English Closed Captioned
    DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen
    Blu-Ray Format: 1080P High Definition 16 x 9 Widescreen
    Feature Running Time: 78 minutes
    DVD Audio Status: English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    Blu-Ray Audio Status: 7.1 DTS Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Mutants' Revenge

    Season: 2
    Episode Number: 18
    Season Episode Number: 5
    Production Number: 205
    Airdate: October 7, 1995

    Writer: Francis Moss, Ted Pedersen
    Director: Bob Shellhorn

    Voices: Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man), Cal Dodd (Wolverine), George Buza (Beast), Mark Hamill (Hobgoblin), David Warner (Robert Landon), Laurie O’Brian (Genevieve), Roscoe Lee Browne (Kingpin), Maxwell Coulfield (Alistair Smythe), Lenore Zann (Rogue), Cedric Smith (Professor X), Norm Spencer (Cyclops), Alison Sealy Smith (Storm), Alyson Court (Jubilee), Chris Potter (Gambit), Susan Beaubian (Dr. Mariah Crawford).

    Plot: Hobgoblin reveals that the reason Landon is paying him is to keep his mouth shut about his plan to rid the world of all mutants. Wolverine and Spider-Man team up to stop Landon from executing his plan.

    In the three-way battle between Spider-Man, Landon and Hobgoblin, Landon falls into a big vat of his experimental chemicals resulting in him turning into a very large monster.

    The rest of the X-Men show up just in time to help take down the creature.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The last time Spider-Man teamed up with the X-Men was in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode An X-Men Adventure. While that episode was amongst the best of that series, it certainly doesn’t have the same sense of adventure as this episode.

    The two-part X-Men story concludes with a plot twist that is fitting for the X-Men: A giant monster. I’m glad the writers wrote this story for the X-Men team-up because giant monsters are something that Spider-Man doesn’t usually face while the X-Men tend to face them on a regular basis.

    An interested part of this episode is the origin of the Beast. Hank McCoy was a human looking mutant but turned into the big, blue guy while trying to reverse his mutant genes. This is fairly close to the comics and a special treat for fans of superhero animation as I don’t think this story is told in the X-Men series.

    The coolest thing about Wolverine is when he pops his claws and he does that about six or seven times in this episode. But when Wolverine pops his claws and then kicks the bad guy instead of stabbing him it is less cool. The censors prevent Wolvie from actually using his claws to harm someone but in order to keep Wolverine looking cool they still make him pointlessly pop his claws all the time.

    This was an exciting end to this X-Men adventure and it was great to have the actual X-Men cast on the show, even if Jean Grey didn’t have any lines in this episode. And despite the ridiculousness of the scientific mumbo jumbo that happened to save the day, the story was well written and full of fun.

    DVD Releases:
    Spider-Man - The Mutant Agenda

    Back to Episode Guide

    The Mutant Agenda

    Season: 2
    Episode Number: 17
    Season Episode Number: 4
    Production Number: 204
    Airdate: September 30, 1995

    Writer: John Semper, J.M. DeMatteis, Michael Edens
    Director: Bob Shellhorn

    Voices: Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man), Cal Dodd (Wolverine), George Buza (Beast), Cedric Smith (Professor X), Alyson Court (Jubilee), Alison Sealy Smith (Storm), Norm Spencer (Cyclops), Catherine Disher (Jean Grey), Chris Potter (Gambit), Lenore Zann (Rogue), David Warner (Robert Landon), Mark Hamill (Hobgoblin), Roscoe Lee Browne (Kingpin), Maxwell Caulfield (Alistair Smythe), Laurie O’Brian (Genevieve).

    Plot: Spider-Man seeks the help of the X-Men to cure him of his genetic mutation only to find out that they can’t. The Beast suggests that he try the Brand Corporation who have recently made breakthroughs while experimenting with genetic mutations.

    The Beast is kidnapped by men with guns after talking with Spider-Man causing Wolverine to believe that Spider-Man is behind it, when in actuality it is the Brand Corporation who needs a live mutant in order to conduct their tests.

    Robert Landon, the head of the Brand Corporation, who has been enlisted by the Kingpin to create an army of super-mutants, hires the Hobgoblin to help him double-cross the Kingpin. But when Landon tries to kill the Hobgoblin, Hobbie decides to take out Landon.

    Luckily, Peter is attending the Landon seminar that Hobgoblin crashes and, as Spider-Man, he tries to stop him but is interrupted by Wolverine who is looking for his friend and thinks Spider-Man has some answers.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The Mutant Agenda is a definite highlight of the series due the guest appearance of the cast of another ultra popular superhero television series. X-Men was at the height of its popularity at the time of this episode and the producers of Spider-Man decided that getting the X-Men voice cast to voice their characters for these episodes would drive the fans crazy. They were right! The producers flew the whole cast from Toronto (where X-Men is produced) to Los Angeles to record the voice tracks for this episode and the next.

    However, the thing that is unfortunate about having nine guest stars is that not all of them will get equal screen time. Of course, Wolverine gets the spotlight, and the Beast is actually a big part of the plot, but the rest of the team get their one or two obligatory lines and are stuck on the sidelines the rest of the time.

    The story in this episode is taken from a Spider-Man comic strip story by Stan Lee and and three issue mini-series called Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda by Steven Grant and reworked to fit the show. This story is unique in that it is the first time that a comic strip story was directly continued in a comic book series.

    The episode is a multi-layered story with is nice to see in this series. The writers did a good job of developing the many characters that are involved in the plot. In fact, the only character who is poorly written in this episode is Spider-Man who is too busy being angry at the world to actually contribute to the story in any important way.

    Aside from the X-Men voice cast, there is another notable guest voice actor in this episode. David Warner joins Spider-Man regular Mark Hamill (Hobgoblin) as Robert Landon and will be in the series for the rest of this season. The pair both worked on Batman: the Animated Series as Rā's al Ghūl and the Joker respectively.

    DVD Releases:
    Spider-Man - The Mutant Agenda

    Back to Episode Guide

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Venom is Here!

    To get you in the mood for tomorrow's season finale of Spectacular Spider-Man, here are a few images from the episode:

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    Wolverine & the X-Men Dates and Pics

    A few new images for Wolverine and the X-Men have surfaced, the most exciting is probably the picture of the villains. In case you are not familiar with X-Men villains, the image shows (back row) the Blob, Avalanche, (front row) Domino, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Magneto, Mystique and Toad.

    Liberation Entertainment has released a few dates of interest. First, Wolverine and the X-Men is set to premiere Saturday morning on BBC2 August 2nd, 2008! But when is the North American premiere? We have been told that this show won't air on Nicktoons until the first quarter of 2009!

    Second, the first volume of Wolverine and the X-Men on DVD in the UK will be released on November 3rd, 2008! Wait, there will be a UK DVD release before the show airs in the US?

    Next Avengers Arrives in September

    Lionsgate and Marvel Studios has announced that their fifth direct-to-dvd feature Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow will be released on September 2nd, 2008.

    The children of the Avengers must rise up to their parents' legends and stop the villainous android Ultron in Marvel's next feature length animated movie. But with the world in peril, can these inexperienced young heroes save the day?

    I think the bigger question is can they save face? Fans of the Avengers and of these animated feature films are really questioning the decision to make this film about kid version of the Avengers rather than another movie about the actual heroes or even one based on the Young Avengers comic book. I guess we'll find out on September 2nd.