Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Flight Bonus Features, Cover Art and New Release Date!

A new trade ad, just released by Warner Home Video, gives new information about Green Lantern: First Flight. First, the street date has changed back to its original date of July 28, 2009. Also, the box art for the single disc release is show, and it looks pretty spiffy!

But the most exciting news is the list of bonus features that will accompany the film:

  • Exclusive Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
  • Behind the Story with Geoff Johns - The New York Times Best-Selling Writer Discusses the Mythology of the Green Lantern: Oa, The Guardians, Power Rings and the Greatest of all Green Lanterns - Hal Jordan
  • Green Lantern Corps Character Profiles of Sinestro and the Guardians of the Universe
  • Behind the Scenes of Blackest Night, the epic DC Comics Superhero Event in Which the Dead Shall Rise
  • Duck Dodgers Series Episode "The Green Loontern"
  • Bruce Timm Presents Two Bonus Cartoons

  • Plus: Only on Blu-ray
  • I Am the Ring - A Look at the Symbolism of the Ring in Literary Lore - and as Reimagined for Green Lantern
  • Bruce Timm Presents Five Bonus Cartoons

    Click on the image above to see the whole trade ad.
  • Imperious Rex

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 8
    Season Episode Number: 8
    Production Number: 116
    Airdate: June 9, 2007

    Writer: Len Uhley
    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.), Michael Adamthwaite (Namor), Don Brown (Henry Peter Gyrich).

    Plot: Namor has declared that no surface dweller shall enter the depths of the seas or else there will be war! It is up to the Fantastic Four to bring peace between the surface and the Lost City of Atlantis, but that may be harder than it seems due the extreme pigheadedness of the Sub-Mariner!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Imperious Rex is a great episode. Why? Because it stars the Invisible Woman. Susan has always been the most interesting character of the Fantastic Four. It has been a journey for Sue over the last almost 60 years since her debut in Fantastic Four #1, 1961. She went from token 60s female that was used mainly as the damsel in distress, to a strong, confident woman who is quite possibly the most powerful member of the team.

    While Ben is still the sensitive brute, Johnny is still the immature hothead and Reed is still the intelligent leader, Sue's character doesn't really look anything like it did in the 60s.

    In this episode, we get to see Susan in full force as she tries to reason with Namor. We see her passion and her determination as well as how well she uses her gift of invisibility, a perfect representation of the woman she has become. It is well written, well executed and exactly how I imagine Susan should be.

    The other good part of this episode is the guest-appearance of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Despite having had his own series in the 60s, Namor has always been a guest star for various shows over the years, mostly Fantastic Four cartoons. And even though he used to some substance to his character in the past, these days in the comics and cartoons alike, he is always portrayed as a human hater and a hotheaded, pompous jerk.

    Well, this episode is no different, however, what this episode does that is different than his other guest appearances is take him seriously. He is real and he is a threat. No more of this talking in weird English and silly ponytail. This is the Sub-Mariner at its finest. I feel that a Namor animated series that was based on this version and design of Namor would really stand out.

    In a superhero cartoon such as this, one has to suspend a certain amount of believability when watching the antics on screen. Giant mutant whales? No problem. Flight due to tiny ankle wings? Sure. A city of amphibian humanoids at the bottom of the ocean? Sounds good to me. Susan being able to maintain an air bubble despite enormous water pressure? Yeah right! Susan telling Johnny to use his flame to light their way even though it would use up all the oxygen in the air bubble? I don't think so!

    It's really amazing what chose to believe as fact and what seems ridiculous while watching these shows. Smart writers are able to create a world that no one questions. But sometimes it seems like they leave in little details, like fire using up oxygen, hoping that we won't notice, but we do notice. Oh, how we notice.

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

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    More X-Men DVDs on the Way!

    Just after the release of X-Men, Volume One and X-Men, Volume Two, comes a little bit of exciting news:

    Tv Shows on DVD reports that some black and white artwork has appeared on the website of David Nakayama under the heading X-Men: the Animated Series DVD Artwork -- Vol. 3. The picture was pulled from his site which is causing fans to assume that the artwork is legitimate and that a third volume of X-Men DVD is on its way! You can view the artwork at Tv Shows on DVD.

    Now this is all very speculative, so let's take this with a grain of salt until we get an official release notification.

    However, in the world of actual news, the second volume of Wolverine and the X-Men is now on the schedule for July 21. This single disc release, called Wolverine and the X-Men - Volume Two: Deadly Enemies, will contain five widescreen episodes along with creator commentary.

    Episodes included in this release are Overflow, Theives Gambit, X-Calibre, Wolverine vs. the Hulk, and Time Bomb.

    A Pictorial History of the Scarecrow

    The Scarecrow has popped up in the cartoon world about every ten years, and what makes his pictorial history so interesting is that his design is very different every time he makes an appearance. He even had three different looks in his Batman: the Animated Series era!

    Which one is your favourite?

    The Adventures of Batman (1968)

    Challenge of the Super Friends (1978)

    Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985)

    Batman: the Animated Series - Nothing to Fear (1992)

    Batman: the Animated Series (1992)

    The New Batman Adventures (1997)

    Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)

    Batman: the Brave and the Bold (2009)

    Sirena, Empress of Evil

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 3
    Season Episode Number: 3
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: George Kashdan
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator, Henchmen), Gerold Mohr (Green Lantern), Paul Frees (Kyro, Tom), Unknown (Queen Sirena).

    Plot: Queen Sirena lures Green Lantern to her homeworld in order to steal his power ring!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!):Out of all three of the episodes produced by Filmation for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967, this one has got to be the weirdest. I know that this show isn't the pinnacle of quality programming, but there are many questionable plot devices in this episode

    First, after Hal loses contact with the rocket ship, he busts into action saying, "No time to recharge my power ring." But all throughout the episode, GL's ring never runs out of juice! Why even bother telling us that the ring isn't at full strength if it doesn't matter at all?

    Second, if an electron-magno wave apparatus can only be destroyed by Green Lantern as Queen Sirena claims, shouldn't she have made it out of something yellow? Since she is obviously so knowledgeable about GL, surely she must know that his ring is impervious to the colour yellow.

    Next, if the technology on the Planetoid Sarggaso is so advanced as to have an electron-magno wave apparatus as well as a device that can lock in on someone's brainwaves, surely there is something piece of machinery that can immobilize the Green Lantern. But no, the Queen's master plan is to hit him in the head with a bird! That should do the trick!

    Also, if I were a super-villain and were able to separate the Lantern and his ring, I would do everything in my power to make sure the ring and the Lantern were as far away as possible! I definitely wouldn't keep the Lantern prisoner in the same room as the ring. And if I did keep the ring in the same room, I wouldn't leave it SITTING ON THE TABLE!

    And another thing, why does the bird help them in the end? Did it feel bad for knocking GL in the back of the head? And how is it that Kyro and GL know the bird's name?

    Through all of its faults, this episode is pure 60s TV gold. I recommend watching it as a good reminder of how far children's programming has come.

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

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    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Super Friends: The Lost Episodes on DVD

    Warner Home Video has announced their latest batch of Super Friends cartoons on DVD. This time it is 24 seven-minute shorts that aired in 1983. This quote from the press release explains it well:

    During the 1982-1983 season, ABC continued to run a half-hour long show entitled The Best of the Superfriends. This show consisted of reruns of shows from the previous nine seasons. These episodes were mostly half-hour long episodes (not shorts) featuring the core group of five Superfriends. By the time the 1983-1984 season rolled around, older Superfriends series were well into syndication, and could be viewed on weekday afternoons. Therefore in its ultimate stupidity, ABC decided to drop the Superfriends from the 1983-1984 Saturday morning television line-up.

    However, during this time Hanna-Barbera continued to produce new episodes of the Superfriends. In fact, 24 of these so-called "Lost Episodes" we animated but not aired in the United States that season. Three of these episodes were aired when the Superfriends returned to Saturday morning ABC television the following year. The remainder of the episodes finally aired in syndication years later as part of the Superman/Batman Adventures.

    The two-disc set will be released on August 11. Here are the disc contents:

    Disc One:

  • Myxzptlk's Revenge
  • Roller Coaster
  • Once Upon a Poltergeist
  • Warplanet
  • Two Gleeks are Deadlier than One
  • Bulgor the Behemoth
  • The Krypton Syndrome
  • Invasion of the Space Dolls
  • Terror on the Titanic
  • The Revenge of Doom
  • A Pint of Life
  • Day of the Dinosaurs

  • Disc Two:

  • Return of the Phantoms
  • Bully for You
  • Superclones
  • Prisoners of Sleep
  • An Unexpected Treasure
  • The Malusian Blob
  • Attack of the Cats
  • One Small Step for Superman
  • Video Victims
  • Playground of Doom
  • Space Racers
  • The Recruiter
  • X-Men! Coming Your Way!

    Today is the day that all X-Men fans have been waiting for! X-Men arrives on DVD!

    With two volumes with a total of 33 episodes, this is a release that many fans will not want to miss. On the downside, there are no special features. But on the upside, X-Men is on DVD! What more reason could you want to go out and buy these two-disc sets!

    These two releases come to us thanks to the Disney owned Buena Vista Home Entertainment, who owns the rights to all pre-2000 Marvel animated cartoons (except Hanna-Barbera's Fantastic Four). It is very important that you buy these DVDs for two reasons:

    1) More X-Men DVDs. Disney has a habit of not releasing the entire series if it is underperforming. (Gargoyles, DuckTales or Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, anyone?) A positive response would mean Disney would be more likely to release more volumes.

    2) Other Disney-owned Marvel properties may see the light of day. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer and Avengers: United They Stand could be on the horizon if the interest is there. I know I'm interested.

    Also on DVD today is Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume Four which features the final storyarc in the show's first season.

    If you are thinking of buying these sets off Amazon, you may want to use the links below because if you do, Amazon will give Animated Superheroes a few pennies!

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Secrets and Lies

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 3
    Season Episode Number: 3
    Production Number:
    Airdate: April 19, 2009

    Writer: Alexx Van Dyne
    Director: Stéphane Juffé, Philippe Guyenne

    Voices: Adrian Petriw (Iron Man), Daniel Bacon (Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes), Anna Cummer (Pepper Potts), (Happy Hogan), Vincent Tong (Gene Khan), Ty Olsson (Killer Shrike), Michael Daingerfield (Unicorn), Russell Roberts (Count Nefaria), Lisa Ann Beley (Iron Man Onboard Computer).

    Plot: Killer Shrike and Unicorn kidnap Tony, Pepper and Gene and it is up to Rhodey to find a way to save them!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Episode three takes what has been established in the two part pilot and runs with it. Tony makes friends with Gene, who has just transferred to Tony's school and is only interested in being friends with Tony if it means getting information about the Makulan rings.

    This is concept that is not new. But for the sake of this series, it works just fine. The idea of two friends, but one with a serious hidden agenda, will most likely culminate at either the half way mark or at the end of the season, and it will be fun to watch the characters develop to that point.

    Character development is going to be key in order for interest to remain in this series. All of the main characters, including the jock Happy Hogan whom we meet in this episode, are extremely typical and bordering on bland. Hopefully the writers have some direction for them to go.

    As far as the episode goes, I enjoyed this episode far more than the pilot. It may be that I just got used to the teen Tony and am looking at this series with an open mind, or it could be that it was just a pretty good episode. The only thing that sort of bugged me was all of the head nodding going on by the computer animated cast.

    Unicorn and Killer Shrike are the two featured villains in this episode. While Unicorn is a classic Iron Man foe, Killer Shrike is somewhat of an unusual choice for this series. Killer Shrike has appeared several times battling the Hulk or Spider-Man, not Iron Man.

    Both Killer Shrike and Unicorn have superhuman strength and agility in the comics but it is unclear as to whether or not they have these powers here. Since it seems like all of the foes are going to have technology based powers, I would guess not. However, Unicorn still has his forehead energy projector but his rockets that gave him the ability to fly doesn't seem to be part of his uniform.

    Killer Shrike has his trademark wrist blasters with titanium talons and wears a suit that contains many more weapons and gives him the ability to fly, rather than the anti-gravity implants like in the comics.

    Like most of this series, everything is different and there will probably be things in every single episode that will make hardcore Iron Man fans hurl. But you just have to keep reminding yourself that this is not Earth-626. Think Elseworlds...

    DVD Releases:
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Iron Man Armored Advenutres Debuts Tonight!

    Don't forget to catch the one-hour premiere of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, tonight at 7pm (ET/PT) on Nicktoons!

    Weekend Round-Up - April 24-26

    Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the US:

    Friday, April 24, 2009
    Nicktoons, 7:00pm (ET/PT)
    Iron Man Armored Adventures - Iron, Forged in Fire, Part One

    After a plane crash kills Howard Stark and seriously injures his son, Tony, Obadiah Stane takes control of Stark Enterprises. But Tony believes that his father's death wasn't accidental and uses a suit of armor that he invented to gather information from Stane. In the process, Tony saves an out of control train and becomes a public hero by the name of Iron Man.

    Friday, April 24, 2009
    Nicktoons, 7:30pm (ET/PT)
    Iron Man Armored Adventures - Iron, Forged in Fire, Part Two

    Obadiah Stane has turned a laser drilling machine that Tony invented for Stark Enterprises into a laser weapon and is trying to sell it to the military. While Iron Man attempts to stop the machines from overloading and exploding during a demonstration, Obadiah Stane is paid a visit by the Mandarin who is looking for something Stane is wearing on his finger.

    Please note:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold returns next week with new episodes!
  • Wolverine and the X-Men is in reruns until May.

  • Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the Canada:

    Saturday, April 25, 2009
    YTV, 11:30am (ET/PT)
    Wolverine and the X-Men - Foresight, Part Two

    Sentinels begin their attack on Genosha causing dissension in the ranks when Scarlet Witch makes an important decision about which side she's on. Plus, the Inner Circle's true intentions with the Phoenix are revealed causing Emma Frost to question her loyalty. Meanwhile in the future, the future X-Men form their plan to take down Mastermold.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009
    Teletoon, 8:00am (ET/PT)
    Iron Man: Armored Adventures - Cold War

    While trying to stop Obadiah Stane, Iron Man thinks he has found a kindred spirit in the Blizzard. However, Tony soon discovers that they are not alike when Blizzard wants to kill Obadiah Stane.

    Please Note:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold is still in reruns.
  • Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Doomsday Plus One

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 17
    Season Episode Number: 17
    Production Number: 117
    Airdate: April 27, 2007

    Writer: Bob Forward
    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.), Paul Dobson (Dr. Doom), Venus Terzo (Lucia von Bardas), Laura Drummond (Courtney Bonner-Davis), Michael Dobson (Mr. Bonner-Davis), Unknown (Mrs. Monet), Unknown (Bartleby).

    Plot: Doctor Doom's latest scheme is to blast the Baxter Building, people and all, into outer space! While the Fantastic Four figure out a way to return home, Doom is free to execute his latest plan without his greatest enemies to get in his way!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Doomsday Plus One is yet another appearance of Doctor Doom and once again Doom borrows a plot from the comics, this time from Fantastic Four #6, 1962 in which Doom rockets the Baxter Building into outer space.

    It has been my gripe with this series that the plots have been pretty thin. And this episode is no exception. The episode focuses around the Baxter Building floating in space with little more substance than that.

    There is a sub-plot that has Doom stealing something from the FF's Room of Dangerous Artifacts but after viewing the episode, I can't even remember what his brilliant plan is or why he needs that device! And to top it off, Doom just sits in his chair and then runs away when the Four reach his castle! Shouldn't Doom deserve more respect as a character? Shouldn't he be more menacing, more devious, more evil? His last few episodes were much better than this.

    Plus, Doom has a new henchman, the sexy Lucia von Bardas, who turns out to be a robot. If you watched this when it originally aired, you might have been a bit confused. There was no surprise, no build-up to reveal that information, no back story for her character, the Fantastic Four are not surprised to see her, and Sue "kills" her after only a few minutes of screen time. Why pointlessly introduce this character?

    I'll tell you why: because this is not Lucia's first appearance. Cartoon Network aired many of these episodes out of order, confusing many of the fans with issues like this one.

    Sure, you could say that she pops us again in a later episode because Doom made another robot, but now, thanks to DVD and episode guides found online, we can enjoy these episode in an order that makes much more sense.

    In my opinion, even though the other Fantastic Four cartoons have been much more campy than this series, the older FF series have better captured the essence of Doctor Doom, especially in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon.

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

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    The Twenty Third Dimension

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 3
    Season Episode Number: 3
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: Dennis Marks
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator, Denno, Raffo, Police, Radiotron, Prisoners, Proton People), Gilbert Mack (Hawkman).

    Plot: Hawkman is teleported to the Twenty Third Dimension where he must save some prisoners and find a way to get back home before aliens from Jupiter take over Earth!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Out of the three Hawkman episodes that were made for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967, this one is the best. While the other two were quite dull, this one comes up with a much more original story that is interesting and more exciting.

    Part of the reason may be that this episode was written by Dennis Marks, rather than the usual George Kashdan who often reused the same plot for many of the stories in the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure despite being an actual comic book writer.

    Dennis Marks started his career in the early 60s and has written for cartoons all the way up into the mid 90s. Along with his Filmation work, Marks has also contributed stories for other superhero shows such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (in which he was also the voice of the Green Goblin), The Incredible Hulk (1982), and Batman: the Animated Series. He has also written for everything from Tom and Jerry to Flintstones Kids to Transformers. Marks passed away in 2006.

    Narrator Ted Knight often pulls double duty in these cartoons, but it sounds to me like he voices all the characters other than Hawkman. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Fans of Hawkman probably consider this set of three episodes to be a shining moment in Hawkman history. After all, it is the only time that Hawkman ever starred in his own show. And seeing that Warner Bros. and DC Comics don't push the character as much as they probably should, Hawkman will probably never get his own series again.

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

  • Back to Episode Guide