Marvel Comics’ top-tier team of superheroes stars in “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” which features Thor, Iron Man and Captain America, among others.
With “The Avengers” set to come to theaters in 2012, it’s a nice bit of multimedia synergy — but it’s a well-done animated series, as well, culling bits from both the classic and “Ultimate” lines of Marvel Comics, as well as the cinematic universe, to create a hybrid that takes the best of all worlds.
In the third volume, the Avengers face the Masters of Evil, a group of Avengers foes gathered by Captain America’s enemy, Baron Zemo. Though the Avengers appear to be down for the count after Zemo attacks their mansion, Zemo hasn’t accounted for the bowman Hawkeye or the Wakandan king Black Panther, two Avengers who weren’t there at the time.
The second episode on the set, “459,” brings the Kree warrior Captain Mar-Vell into the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” continuity, as an alien sentry comes to Earth as a harbinger of interstellar war.
A three-part storyline features the time-traveling dictator Kang the Conqueror and is reminiscent of the great Kang storylines from the Avengers comics.
And in “Widow’s Sting,” Hawkeye and Mockingbird are on the trail of the apparent double-agent the Black Widow.
Eric Loomis brings a Robert Downey Jr.-esque flair to the brash, sarcastic Iron Man, and veteran voice actor Fred Tatasciore returns as the Hulk after playing the character in direct-to-DVD films and video games. Brian Bloom (“As the World Turns”) voices the heroic Captain America, while Rick Wasserman (“24”) plays the Norse god of thunder, Thor.
There’s some anime influence, but “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” animation style is probably somewhere between Marvel’s more traditional superhero style and a full-on anime production. It’s similar in look to the recent “Wolverine and the X-Men” as far as art style is concerned. Former “X-Force” comics writer Christopher Yost is the series’ head writer and story editor, and wrote the “Masters of Evil” episode included in this collection.
— Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman