Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hard Knocks

Season: 1
Episode Number: 4
Season Episode Number: 4
Production Number: 107
Airdate: September 23, 2006

Writer: Joshua Fine
Director: Franck Michel

Voices: Hiro Kanagawa (Mr. Fantastic), Lara Gilchrist (Invisible Woman), Brian Dobson (The Thing), Christopher Jacot (Human Torch), Sam Vincent (H.E.R.B.I.E.), Laura Drummond (Courtney Bonner-Davis), Mark Gibbon (Hulk), Andrew Kavadas (Bruce Banner), Brian Drummond (Agent Pratt).

Plot: Bruce Banner seeks the help of his long time friend, Reed Richards, for a cure for his...problem. But the Hulk shows up and the Fantastic Four are caught in the middle of a battle between the Hulk and a rogue government agency that is trying to take him down.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Ever since the Hulk debuted in The Incredible Hulk #1 in 1962, fans knew that it would be fate that the Hulk would eventually meet the Thing in a battle royal. Less that a year after the Hulk's debut, he showed up in the pages of Fantastic Four #12, but it wasn't until 1965, in Fantastic Four #25, that the two behemoths would lock fists in what Stan Lee called "The Battle of the Century!"

The Thing and the Hulk have crossed paths in the animation world on a few occasions. But this episode really goes beyond any of their previous encounters and delivers not only solid fisticuffs, but a good story to boot!

The inclusion of the army group was a good move for the second act, because while some people may want to see the Thing and the Hulk beat the tar out of each other for 22 minutes, I need to have a little bit more substance and focus to my TV watching. This episode doesn't deliver too much substance, but just enough that I could feel like I wasn't wasting my time.

While the design and art direction of this show have been good, the animation has been very limited and a bit lacking. But Hard Knocks really pulls out all the stops for the action scenes which dominate most of the episode. Good job to Moonscoop for making this so much fun to watch. Each character got their time to shine while trying to stop the Green Goliath which showcased their powers in ways we haven't seen yet in this series.

My only complaint is their use of CGI. I would much rather the Thing pick up a vehicle that is animated in the same style that he is. But this is a small complaint and something that I have come to live with in this modern age of computer graphics.

This was the seventh episode produced but the fourth one aired which doesn't prove to be a problem, except that Johnny makes a reference to the Mole Man whom we haven't met yet. I'm not sure why Cartoon network aired them out of order but since this is an anthology series it shouldn't be a problem, except for little things like Johnny's comment.

If the rest of this series is as good as this episode then we are in for a real treat. And this is just the beginning in a long list of guest stars that will be gracing the presence of the Fantastic Four!

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

  • Back to Episode Guide

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