Wednesday, December 22, 2010

X-Men and Blade Anime Logos

Here is a look at the logos for X-Men Anime and Blade Anime, the third and fourth 12-episode storyarc in Animax's Marvel Anime series. They should be hitting Japan in 2011 and then North American shores soon after that.

Remember, Wolverine Anime begins on January 7 on the Japanese Animax network.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Black Panther DVD Announced!

For reasons not really clear to anyone, the Black Panther mini-series that was supposed to air on BET in 2009 was never released in the US. It was broadcast in Australia, and three episodes were available for a very limited time to Americans on iTunes, but that was the last anyone heard of it.

Shout! Factory has just announced that they will be bringing Black Panther to American soil in its entirety on DVD January 18, 2011!

Recently, Shout! Factory made a deal to distribute DVDs for several Marvel Animation productions. They have released a few Super Hero Squad Show discs as well as two motion comics also under the Marvel Knights Animation banner, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted and Iron Man: Extremis.

Bonus Features:
  • Looking Back at Black Panther with Reginald Hudlin
  • Exclusive Music Video
  • Trailers

    Put some of that Christmas money to good use and pick this one up!
  • Wolverine is Coming to Japan!

    With Marvel Anime: Iron Man coming to a finish in a few weeks on Japan's Animax network, the announcement has been made about second 12-episode Marvel Anime maxi-series co-produced by Marvel Animation and Madhouse: Wolverine!

    The first episode of Wolverine will debut on Animax on Friday, January 7, 2010.

    Fans tore this concept to shreds when the original trailer debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2009. Here it is to refresh your memory:

    But at this year's Comic-Con, a new trailer was screen, featuring a much more familiar Wolverine. His hair is back, his claws are attached to his hands, and Logan is doing things that Logan should be doing. Looks like an improvement to me!

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Avengers Moves to Sunday Morning!

    Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, which spent its first month on Wednesday nights on Disney XD, premiered a special two-part episode last Friday night. Now it has just been announced that the show will move again, this time to Sunday mornings at 10am ET, starting this Sunday, December 5, with the all-new episode Masters of Evil!

    I'm not sure if this is news we really want to hear. I hope that Avengers' rating aren't floundering. Constant timeslot shuffling can be an indication that the show isn't performing as expected, and sometimes under-performing shows are moved to allow another show to benefit from its timeslot. However, this movement could be killer to Avengers because it is not a time that most people would watch. If you are up on a Sunday morning, you are most likely at church or a sports practice.

    Plus, the uninformed fans of the show will wonder why it isn't on Wednesday nights and may not bother to find out where it has gone. The average fan can't be counted on to keep up with all of these schedule changes, and with a continuity heavy show like this one, the fans might get lost in the shuffle. My fingers are crossed.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Independence Day, Part Two

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 2
    Season Episode Number: 2
    Production Number: 100
    Airdate: November 26, 2010

    Writer: Greg Weisman
    Director: Sam Liu

    Voices: Jesse McCartney (Robin), Jason Spisak (Kid Flash), Khary Payton (Aqualad), Nolan North (Superboy, Superman), Danica McKellar (Miss Martian), Bruce Greenwood (Batman), René Auberjonois (Blockbuster), Crispin Freeman (Guardian), Phil LaMarr (Dubbliex), Unknown (Light).

    Plot: Deep on the 52nd sublevel of Project Cadmus, Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad discover a clone of Superman.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): While the majority of this episode follows the team as they try to escape from Project Cadmus and is a little light on plot, there is plenty to talk about!

    The first thing that came to my attention while watching this episode is the level of violence. It's quite violent, and in a much more intense way than Justice League. The design of the show is not as streamlined and stylized as the DCAU, making it look much more mature, and the violence is played out to match the maturity. I would even go as far as to say that it is almost on the same level as the PG-13 DC Universe Animated Original Movies (sans blood, of course).

    I'm not complaining. I appreciate the producers aiming this show at a higher age demographic.

    Another thing that came to my attention is this characterization of Robin. This is a very seasoned Robin, not moody like the Batman: TAS Dick Grayson, but not a young brat like in The New Batman Adventures. He is closer to the leader-type that we see in Teen Titans, but without that style of humour. It is good to see him being taken seriously.

    I'm also quite impressed with this new Aqualad. Creating a new character for a show is always a bit trick because of the potential backlash from the fans, ESPECIALLY when you give him the name of a pre-existing character! However, Geoff Johns did a super job of making him interesting and mysterious, completely different from Garth, yet living up to his moniker. (Apparently Johns liked this character so much he decided to introduce him to the DC comic book universe, which ended up pre-dating this show by a few months.)

    If people haven't figured it out already, Young Justice isn't adapting any comic storyline. Everything here is new, especially Superboy's origin. Bypassing the whole "don't call me Superboy" phase that spun out of the Death of Superman epic, this Superboy is serious and will be a very interesting character to watch as he experiences everything for the first time.

    The level of animation is very impressive in this show. The characters sport fairly detailed designs (much more so than Justice League) which is much more work to animate, but the team at Warner Bros. Animation does a fantastic job! This episode is a very good example due to its intense action sequences.

    I did notice, however, that one the League showed up, the drawings looked really flat. It might be because they were backlit, so the shading that was used to round out the characters in the rest of the episode couldn't be used in the same way. Whatever the reason, it brought me out of the episode.

    All in all, the Young Justice two-part premiere blew away my already high expectations for this show. Every aspect of the production has been well thought out and executed. With the DCAU behind us, this show promises to be the start of a new era of DC animation.

    Back to Episode Guide

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Independence Day, Part One

    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 1
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: 101
    Airdate: November 26, 2010

    Writer: Greg Weisman
    Director: Jay Olvia

    Voices: Jesse McCartney (Robin), Crispin Freeman (Speedy, Guardian), Jason Spisak (Kid Flash), Khary Payton (Aqualad), Nolan North (Superman), Bruce Greenwood (Batman), Alan Tudyk (Green Arrow), George Eads (Flash), Phil LaMarr (Aquaman, Dubbliex), Kevin Michael Richardson (Martian Manhunter), Keith Szarabajka (Mr. Freeze), Yuri Lowenthal (Icicle), René Auberjonois (Blockbuster) Unknown (Zatara, Fireman, Scientist).

    Plot: Determined to prove that they are more than just sidekicks, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad break into Cadmus Labs to uncover a mystery that involves Genomorphs and mind control!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): And here we go! Young Justice takes off at a speed only the Flash can keep up with, delivering the first twenty-two action packed minutes with a bevvy of super heroes and villains!

    The episode starts off with four separate attacks by ice-themed villains, Mr. Freeze, Icicle, Killer Frost and Captain Cold. Whether these attacks will have any relevance in the coming episodes is unknown, but it serves as a perfect way to introduce the characters.

    They are not brought together to save the world like the Justice League or Avengers, or have a similar origin story that ties them all together like the Fantastic Four. This young team of heroes is formed in order to prove their self-worth. Not exactly a great reason to form a team, but it will most likely provide some great character building.

    The main bulk of the plot revolves around Project Cadmus, a science lab created by Jack Kirby in the 70s. Inside Cadmus are two other Kirby creations, Guardian and Dubbliex, as well as Dr. Mark Desmond who will soon become Blockbuster!

    The voice talent in this show draws on that vast network of actors that have been involved with past DC projects, such as Bruce Greenwood reprising his Under the Red Hood role as the Dark Knight. The voices suit each character, even pop star Jesse McCartney as Robin, whom I was quite weary of upon hearing his casting.

    The animation is top notch, as usual with Warner Bros. Animation. They always put a lot of care and attention into their cartoons and this one is no exception. It may even be better than Justice League.

    With more characters to be added to the team and a whole universe of DC villains to introduce, Greg Weisman and his team have their work cut out for them, but they sure are off to a good start.

    Back to Episode Guide

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    All-Star Superman Cover Art and Release Date

    All-Star Superman, the next in the excellent line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, will be coming your way on February 21, 2011!

    Warner Home Video has released early info on this PG-13 DVD/Blu-ray, including the package art (see right) and a vague list of bonus features which include the usual featurette, bonus episodes, commentary and first-look at the next DCUAOM (which I think is a Green Lantern film, but don't quote me on that).

    It is interesting to note that there doesn't appear to be a DC Showcase short attached to this feature. Too bad. I am really enjoying those.

    In case you haven't seen it yet, here is the trailer:

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Young Justice Premiere Date and Preview Footage!

    Young Justice will make its world premiere on Cartoon Network with a one-hour special preview on Friday, November 26 at 7pm ET. The special will be comprised of the first two episodes of the series, Independence Day, Parts 1 & 2, written by Greg Weisman.
    In Young Justice, being a teenager means proving yourself over and over -- to peers, parents, teachers, mentors and, ultimately, to yourself. But what if you're not just a normal teenager? What if you're a teenage super hero? Are you ready to join the ranks of the great heroes and prove you're worthy of the Justice League? That’s exactly what the members of Young Justice — Robin (aka Dick Grayson), Aqualad (aka Kaldur'ahm), Kid Flash (aka Wally West), Superboy (aka Conner Kent), Miss Martian (aka M'gann M'orzz) and Artemis (aka Cassie King) — will find out, whether they have what it takes to be a proven hero.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Superman/Shazam Available Today!

    Don't forget to pick up a copy of Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam on DVD and Blu-ray today!

    I know this may seem like a little bit of double-dipping, but they've added extra scenes to all of the DC Showcase shorts that have appeared in other packages as a little bonus. I know, that still doesn't justify the price. But the new short (23 mintues) is very well done, plus you get an episode from Batman: the Brave and the Bold's second season that isn't out on DVD yet!

    Also available today is The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword, Volume Two on DVD with another six episodes from the uber-silly hit show on Nicktoons. It was also announced by SHOUT! Factory that the third volume of Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword will be arriving February 8, 2011. This single disc DVD will collect episodes 13-18 of the first season.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Brave and the Bold, Season One - Part Two Coming to DVD!

    There hasn't been a lot of news lately, and a good thing too - I've been super busy. But there is a bit of news that I have to share with you today, and that is the announcement from Warner Home Video that the second half of the first season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is coming to DVD!

    The final 13 episodes, including the fantastic Mayhem of the Music Meister and Legends of the Dark Mite, will complete your season one DVD set on March 15, 2011. No word on bonus features quite yet.

    In other DVD news, DC Showcase - Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam, which hits stores this Tuesday, will contain a number of bonus episodes from past DC animation cartoons, including the Batman: the Brave and the Bold SEASON TWO episode, Chill of the Night!

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    The Seige of Asgard

    Season: Micro-Season
    Episode Number: 8
    Season Episode Number: 8
    Production Number: M08
    Airdate: October 12, 2010

    Writer: Michael Ryan
    Director: Vinton Heuck

    Voices: Rick D. Wasserman (Thor), Graham McTavish (Loki), Unknown (Heimdall), Unknown (Frost Giant), Clancy Brown (Odin).

    Plot: Loki sends three Frost Giants to destroy Asgard, but Thor shows up to save the day!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): I'll admit it. I said in my review of Thor the Mighty from which this micro-episode continues, that I wasn't too keen on seeing much of Asgard and its inhabitants.

    But golly, this was a great micro-episode! Since this was a big battle there wasn't much on plot or characterization, but there was still plenty to talk about. The backgrounds, and building and character designs are beautiful! The artists have really captured magical, mythical realm that hasn't been seen yet in animation. I think I even like it better than the Asgard from Hulk vs. Thor.

    The other thing I noticed is the animation. Each of these micro-episodes has had superb animation, but this one kicks it up a notch and really create an intense and elaborate battle sequence as Thor takes on three huge Frost Giants!

    I have heard some criticism of the animation here and there, and I can't for the life of me understand what they are talking about. As far as TV animation goes, this is top notch!

    A potential problem for this series will be fitting in the mythology and rogues gallery for each of the main characters of the show. How will Loki and Asgard fit in with the rest of the Earth-based Avengers? We'll see!

    Back to Episode Guide

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Avengers Assemble Tonight!

    Tonight is what I consider to be the biggest animated premiere of the season! After waiting for the past two years, being teased with posters, artwork and micro-episodes, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes will finally make its one-hour debut on Disney XD at 8:30pm (ET/PT).

    Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and more of Marvel's greatest characters assemble for the first time in the series premiere two-parter of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on Wednesday, October 20 at 8:30 p.m., ET/PT on Disney XD. Now, on a day like none other, prisons open wide, simultaneously releasing every single villain in a breakout unlike anything the world has never seen. Our heroes' only hope is to band together…to become the Avengers!

    Chris Yost had this to say in a recent interview:
    If you've been following the Micro-Episodes, you've seen the heroes in action, facing HYDRA, the Wrecking Crew, the Red Skull, Klaw, Abosrbing Man--[and] we've hinted at Kang, Loki, Ultron and more--well, I can tell you that you haven't seen anything yet. The fight against Graviton is just the beginning. By the time we hit our November two-parter, you'll start to see the scope of this show.

    The producers, writers, crew, we're all fans, and we all love the Avengers as much as you do. And "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" is going to give you "a day unlike any other."

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Super Hero Squad Season Two Intro

    Take a look at the second season intro for The Super Hero Squad Show. It's the same song with new words, but the visuals are completely different, showing off this season's big bad: Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet! Also seen in this opening is Scarlet Witch who will be a regular cast member, and Thor's new outfit!

    The second season debuts on Cartoon Network on October 23!

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Wolverine and the X-Men DVD and Blu-Ray Available Today!

    If you're like me, you're still a bit sore over the loss of Wolverine and the X-Men. Lucky for us, there is one final joy that this fantastic show can bring us, and that is the complete series on Blu-ray!

    Released a few days ago is the entire 26-episode run of this short-lived and groundbreaking series on Blu-ray and DVD!

    Canadians have already seen a complete series package, but it was barebones, without any of the special features found in this box set, including 29 audio commentaries! This box set is worth picking up as it stands to be one of the best superhero animated show to have come out in a long time.

    Sadly, this is probably the last news report for this show that you will hear unless something MAJOR happens. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    Young Justice NY Comic Con Footage

    Here is another clip taken at the NY Comic Con last weekend. This time it's a very nice look at the upcoming Young Justice series! What do you think? It looks great to me! I can't wait to see some non-bootleg footage!

    UPDATE: Here's a great interview with the creators of the show that give you a better picture of the series as well as the plans they have for the comic book tie-in!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Green Lantern Animated Series First Image

    I was stuck out of town with a dead laptop and no charger, so I wasn't able to give you all the heads up that there would be big news at this year's New York Comic Con. But now that it has happened, here is a first look at the highly anticipated Green Lantern: the Animated Series.

    The CG series, produced by Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jim Krieg (Ben 10: Alien Swarm) and executive produced by the mighty Bruce Timm, with star Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and is set to debut in line with the Ryan Reynolds live action film.

    Details are scarce, but Josh Keaton (Spectacular Spider-Man will be lending his voice, as will Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Kruger) who will be playing Myglom of the Spider Guild.

    UPDATE: A bootleg copy of the test footage shown at the NYCC has surfaced on youtube!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Hulk Versus the World

    Season: Micro-Season
    Episode Number: 7
    Season Episode Number: 7
    Production Number: M07
    Airdate: October 12, 2010

    Writer: Kevin Burke & Chris Wyatt
    Director: Sebastian Montes

    Voices: (Bruce Banner), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk), Vanessa Marshall (Black Widow), Chris Cox (Hawkeye), Rick D. Wasserman (Absorbing Man), (General "Thunderbolt" Ross), (Pilot)

    Plot: General "Thunderbolt" Ross interrupts the showdown between the Hulk and the Absorbing Man!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): I've never liked the Absorbing Man. He's never been a strong character, and his super powers have never been really used as well as they could (which is why, I think, they gave him the ability to absorb people's bodies and minds in the comics).

    This micro-episode, which is a continuation of The Coming of the Hulk, displays Absorbing Man's powers better than I have seen in animation, and much better than, in my opinion, the comics.

    However, he's still a putz and this series is no exception. Ultimately, "Crusher" Creel is always played up as comic relief.

    This episode gives us a sneak peek of two more of the main Avengers cast: Black Widow and Hawkeye. The two are written very much like we have come to expect from these characters, but since we only see them at the very end of this clip, we have yet to see if the production team will put their own spin on these fan favourites, or keep them as we know them and love them.

    Back to Episode Guide

    Behold, the Mandroids!

    Season: Micro-Season
    Episode Number: 6
    Season Episode Number: 6
    Production Number: M06
    Airdate: October 12, 2010

    Writer: Brandon Auman
    Director: Vinton Heuck

    Voices: Eric Loomis (Iron Man), Phil LaMarr (JARVIS), Bumper Robinson (Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes), Dawn Olivieri (Pepper Potts), Alex Désert (Nick Fury), Kari Wührer (Maria Hill), (Mandroid).

    Plot: Iron Man has a few words with Nick Fury about how SHIELD is using StarkTech in a way against Tony's wishes.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Behold, the Mandroids is the third part to the Iron Man micro-story, last seen in Hydra Lives. If you haven't noticed already, the titles to these micro-episodes are all taken from classic issues of Avengers, Iron Man and other Silver Age Marvel comics.

    In this episode, Tony and Nick have a nice little chat. The entire five and a half minutes is dialogue with a lot of tension. Tony and Fury have a reluctant working relationship which should prove to be great for character development in the series.

    While Tony and Iron Man are based heavily on the movie, this version of Nick Fury isn't. He's sort of a mix between the Ultimate Fury and the classic Fury. A bit off-putting at first, since all the fanboys and girls will be saying "don't they read the comics ever??" but I'll bet that by the second episode we'll all be used to it.

    I'm guessing that the race to acquire StarkTech will play a major role in the series for both SHIELD, HYDRA and probably many other tech based villains.

    There wasn't a whole lot to show off in the way of animation in this micro-episode. Mainly talking head. Not much else to say about this one.

    Back to Episode Guide