Saturday Morning Cartoon Reviews for 6/13/09

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Ep. 21 – “Duel of the Double Crossers”

In another “team-up” with the Outsiders, Batman finds himself teaching the young team how to work together while not destroying their surroundings. Just like most opening sequences with this show this opening was a lot of fun to watch. While Batman has the perception of being the ultimate loner character in comics, he is probably one of the best teachers in the DCU and it was cool seeing him trying to teach not just one but three teen superheroes. It was funny seeing how Batman made the Outsiders redo the simulation until they get it right and I hope this opening leads to a main story episode down the line.

The main episode deals with another appearance from Jonah Hex, who previously appeared in the opening scene of one the earlier episodes of the season. This time around he is part of the main episode as he plays a bounty hunter for Mongul.  Hex’s task is to gather the strongest warriors in the universe to fight in the Warworld arena. Of course, you can’t have an arena of the greatest fighters in the universe without Batman.  Therefore, Mongul sent Hex to capture the Dark Knight.

The episode itself had a good premise.  And with an episode involving Mongul and Warworld I was expecting some fast paced action.  However, the action in this episode felt a bit slow. Also, I felt that Mongul’s personality was too toned down by the writers.  Mongul came across more as a goofy villain with a mean right hook than the ruthless dictator that he is in the comics.

Still, I did find that the writing team captured Jonah Hex’s personality really well.  I also liked the role of bounty hunter that Hex played for Mongul in order to get back home to his own time period. And I liked the relationship between Hex and Lashina. It started with both of them fighting until finally they hooked up at the end. And for a cowboy, I guess Hex getting the girl at the end was his ‘happy ending.’

Overall, this was an okay episode.  Still, I felt that the creative team could have done a lot more with Batman and Hex’s adventure in Warworld. Hopefully, the next time Batman goes to Warworld we will see some more fighting and more DCU villains participating in the arena battle.

Episode Rating – 6.7/10

The Spectacular Spider-Man

Ep. 11 – “Group Therapy”

Already two episode into the Black Suit saga and the creative team behind this show continue to show that when done right this saga has a lot of potential, unlike what was shown in Spider-Man 3.

While it does seem a bit quick to show us that Peter’s new black suit is controlling his current actions by making him much more selfish, it was done in a way that it does not feel rushed. Also it does not feel that they are rushing through this arc just to introduce Venom.  This is evident in how this arc is done in a way that helps develop Peter’s overall character.

One of the things I have been enjoy seeing in this show is how the creative team has not shied away from some of the serious topics tackled by Stan Lee back in the early days of Amazing Spider-Man. The creative team have hit these serious topics by working around the fact that this is a kids show.

First the creative team were able to address Harry’s addiction problems from the comics in the first half of this season and now they introduce Aunt May’s health problem. Aunt May’s heart attack in this episode helps to emphasize how much the black suit has affected Peter as he does not notice that his Aunt was missing when he got home or woke up in the morning. I just hope that Aunt May’s heart problem is not a recurring theme on this show as it may become stale like it has in the comics.

This episode also introduced the first incarnation of the Sinister Six comprised of Doctor Octopus, Electro, Vulture, Sandman, Rhino, and Shocker. And as always, the fight scenes, especially the second fight, were a lot of fun to watch. It is cool seeing how the writers and animators have been able to make each battle Spider-Man has had feel unique.  No two fights Spider-Man has had with his villains are the same.  I have not felt like I am watching the same fight over and over again.

Also, I like that it wasn’t Peter but the black suit controlling his body while he was sleeping that defeated the Sinister Six. By doing this it helps to keep the Sinister Six a credible threat to Spider-Man.  The next time he fights this, or another incarnation of the group, Peter will probably not have the black suit to help him.

The excellent balance between Peter’s personal life and his Spider-Man adventures makes this show so much fun to watch.  This show has a little of everything that makes Spider-Man a great character that young and old fans will enjoy.

Episode Rating – 9.4/10

Wolverine and the X-Men

Ep. 12 – “eXcessive Force”

In another character centric episode, this time around focusing on Cyclops, we get to explore even more of the world this version of the X-Men inhabit. At first, I was skeptical on how the creative team on this show would be able to mix all the versions of the comics, TV, and movies of these characters into one single show. However, at this point, the history and setting of this X-Men universe has become the most fascinating parts of this show. The sense of history gives this X-Men show a unique look to it.  This is not just a basic introduction to these characters as most comic book cartoons are.

Still, one of my minor complaints about this show is that for a series about a team of mutants most of the episode so far have been more about certain individual characters adventures.  This show has not focused on the adventures/missions the X-Men must go on to prevent the future Xavier is in. Yes, these character centric episodes have been able to move some of the overarching plot of this series forward.  But, not by much.  And it is weird that the X-Men don’t work together as a team more often, unless they are in the X-mansion.

Also it is weird seeing how Cyclops and Wolverine have basically changed personalities for this show. It just feels odd seeing Wolverine act as the leader and Cyclops act as the lover with an attitude problem. And the final conversation between the two at the end of the episode felt forced.  Wolverine just should not be lecturing Cyclops about something that Wolverine himself has gone out and done in the past.

Now these two things did not take away from how much fun this episode was. This episode provided the viewer some great action and helped show why, when fighting seriously, Cyclops is one guy you do not want to mess with. I like how Cyclops was able to take out most of Mister Sinister’s Marauders without the help of the X-Men.  This fight showed how powerful Cyclops really is. I especially liked the motorcycle chase scene between Cyclops and Arclight as we do not see many motorcycle chase scenes on TV, especially in cartoons.

Also, I find it interesting that Emma, like her current comic book counterpart, is showing interest in Cyclops. Though this version of Cyclops doesn’t seem to have an eye for any other woman than Jean; it is it is interesting to see how Emma has shown so much interest in Cyclops while also having her own ulterior motives for working with the X-Men.

Mister Sinister has always been one of my favorite X-villain and it was awesome seeing him on this show. The creative team did a great job capturing Sinister’s personality from the comics. And it was good to see that Sinister already has a lot of history with the X-Men, especially with Cyclops and Jean. Even though the Sentinels and Magneto are the primary villains this season; I like that Sinister was introduced early into this shows run as it gives something to look forward to if this show gets another season. Because as we all know where ever Sinister is, Apocalypse isn’t too far behind.

As for the ending of this episode, I felt that we did not need to see Jean so soon into the show’s first season as the writers could have built up the mystery of Jean’s disappearance more. But ending aside, this was another very good episode of Wolverine and the X-Men. Still, I hope we see the X-Men work as a team more than they have been in these past few episodes

Episode Rating – 8.6/10