EDITORIAL: Six Underrated Comic Book Animated Television Shows
Since the 50s, there have been an extremely huge amount of animated T.V shows focusing on our favorite heroes and villains. In the following piece, I list six from the past decade that I think aren't appreciated as much as they should be. Check out my list after the jump.
Over the past few generations, cartoons have most likely been the core of our childhood. Since you’re visiting this site, the chances that you watched a Marvel or DC cartoon as a child are incredibly high. However, there are always a few cartoons that never get enough attention as they deserve or are overlooked because of their tone or style. In this editorial, I list six of those cartoons that need more praise.
I’ll be starting off this list with an incredibly controversial choice. Ever since it’s debut, Ultimate Spider-Man has seen quite the amount of hate for it’s childish nature. However, does Ultimate Spider-Man really deserve getting tomatoes thrown at it? Nope. Not only does the show feature incredible animation, but it continues to improve over time. The action sequences are great and breathtaking. The show continues to impress not only with it’s main voice cast, but it also features some all-star guest actors such as Kevin Michael Richardson, Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker and more. To summarize, Ultimate Spider-Man is an incredible production. However, it seems like it’s sole purpose is to serve as a promotional tool to introduce children to the expansive Marvel Universe.
Legion Of Super Heroes
This particular program took a risk, and succeeded at almost every level. Legion of Super Heroes was an incredible journey of a young Clark Kent being modeled into the Superman he will eventually be seen as. The show featured a huge amount of action and emotion. Surprisingly, the show wasn’t always Superman centric as quite a few stories focused on The Legion itself and their struggles. Hopefully this show’s accomplishment paves the way for many other obscure superhero team-up shows.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
As soon as this program was announced, it stirred quite the amount of controversy by making Tony Stark only sixteen years old. At the time, it seemed that almost all of Tony’s mythology would be wiped away, and we wouldn’t see his proper origin or famous storylines adapted into the show. Looking back, we were definitely wrong. If you decide to completely ignore the series because Tony Stark is a teenager, then you are throwing limitless amounts of great storytelling and character development out the window. Almost every character had an interesting and deep back-story, while the two-season long story of Gene Khan's destiny to become The Mandarin was simply incredible and satisfyingly wrapped. Even though it is now over, the show had all of Iron Man’s classic villains and allies. The show featured the best SHIELD presence yet, complete with Hawkeye and Black Widow.
You can catch re-runs of Iron Man: Armored Adventures on the upcoming Vortexx programming block on The CW.
This series actually has a strong fanbase, however it is never mentioned when we think about the DC Animated Universe. Static Shock was a great show and dealt with many different things that the average teenager may go through. It dealt with racism, prejudice, and firearm responsibility to name only a few real-world problems. However, the morals that each episode entailed didn’t take away from the action. The fact that this wasn’t Phil LaMarr’s only character in the DC Animated Universe allowed for occasional Green Lantern cameos! Static Shock had quite the amount of life lessons while still giving us an amazing superhero story.
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series was a CG cartoon that was created after Sam Raimi’s first installment of his Spider-Man trilogy. The show was (at the time) set in the same continuity of the first Spider-Man movie. The show aired on MTV, going for a more mature direction and audience. While the show’s characters were almost never faithful to their comic counterparts, they were still unique and developed. For example, Electro was a college friend of Peter’s who gained his powers from an unknown substance making contact with lightning. His appearance was incredibly different from his original one as well. The animation was also top notch for it’s time, while the voice cast (headlined by Neil Patrick Harris as Spider-Man) never failed to impress either. Offering a fresh and exciting take on the Spider-Man mythos, The New Animated series deserves as much praise as Spectacular Spider-Man.
You can watch Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in it's entirety legally and for free on Crackle.
The Zeta Project
This show wasn’t really well known, as it was spun-off from an episode of Batman Beyond. The show focuses around a shape shifting robot named Zeta, who is programmed to kill criminals. However, Zeta starts to develop emotion and deviates from his programming and proceeds to go on the run from the government. The series was filled with fulfilling emotional moments that kept the suspense going. One of which is when Zeta finally finds his creator, but a tragic accident prevents Zeta from finding out more details about his creation. Terry McGinnis also guest starred in an episode of The Zeta Project! If you’re a fan of Robocop, I would recommend this as the stories feel similar in many aspects.
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