Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trial By Fire

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: 103
Airdate: September 2, 2006

Writer: Bob Forward
Director: Franck Michel

Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Michael Dobson (Ronan the Accuser), John Novak (Supreme Intelligence).

Plot: Johnny Storm is put on trial by Ronan the Accuser, a judge from an alien race who believes Johnny is a threat to their whole species.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Does anyone remember how awful the Fantastic Four series from the 90s was? I sure do. But it's been over a decade since then, enough time for people to get involved in a new series staring the Fantastic Four with an open mind.

Hot on the heals of the Fantastic Four feature film, Marvel and Moonscoop produced this series with the intention of being true to the comics books in terms of character and story, yet radically different in the way of design and style.

And different this is! Drawing heavily from the Eastern influence of Japanese anime, World's Greatest Heroes is awash with vibrant colours, bold designs and detailed background, coupled with some CG that keeps it simple enough that it blends with the 2D quite well.

While the costumes, Johnny's hair, and Ben's spray paint may take some getting used to, the style of the show dares to be different and will definitely leave its mark in the annals of superhero animation. There's much more to say, about the animation for instance, but I'll save those comments for the second episode review.

This episode very loosely follows Fantastic Four #65 from 1967, the first appearance of Ronan the Accuser. I guess that it is fitting that this is also his first animated appearance. However, instead of the whole team being on trial, only Johnny is, leaving the rest to defend him.

While the pacing of the episode is a bit fast for my taste, it does serve as a good introduction of the team, its members, and how they function as a family and as teammates. Trial By Fire was the third episode produced, but for some reason, Cartoon Network decided to air it first rather than the episode that was meant to serve as the pilot.

This series is off to a good start and is the best looking FF series yet. I especially like the foreshadowing of the Kree's relationship with the Skrulls. A glimpse of what is to come!

DVD Releases:
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - The Complete First Season
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes - Volume Two

  • Back to Episode Guide

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