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.

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