The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Originally Aired: October 20, 2010 – May 5, 2013 on Disney XD
One of the most culturally significant and relevant shows of our time is not this one but that does not diminish the entertaining, good old-fashioned superhero stories that The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes gave us during its all-too-brief life.
Actually, I may be premature in announcing the show’s death. Even the show’s execs seems to be acting a bit vague as to whether the series has been cancelled or not. They won’t give a straight answer but seeing as how Disney XD’s new Avengers Assemble show started on May 26, 2013 (19 days after Season 2 of this show ended) and there’s been no word on new episodes of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it’s safe to say the show has been “replaced”, if not “canceled”.
Why, I don’t know. The show seemed to satisfy grumpy old comic fans everywhere (including myself) by using solid animation, season-spanning story lines and taking inspiration from the recent Avengers movie plus Marvel comic book stories such as the “Secret Invasion” event and the “Breakout” arc from New Avengers. Many of the episode titles are even stolen from some well-known Marvel stories or events: “Operation Galactic Storm”, “Live Kree or Die”, “Acts of Vengeance”, “Ultron Unlimited”, etc.
In a way, this series reminds me of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Totally different tone but there’s tons of fun cameos from various Marvel characters. Sometimes they are pointed out, sometimes they aren’t. Part of the fun is looking for background cameos.
Members came and went throughout the series. Or at least, some characters got much more face time than others. I actually like this because the writers didn’t have to shoehorn the entire team into every episode. They could focus on one, two, three or four members at a time, if they felt the need to do so. The Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons from the ’80s would do this as well. It’s just too many characters to keep up with for every episode. So I like to pretend the missing team members are off on a mission of their own. :)
The core team of the show would be Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Panther and Wasp. Featured to a lesser extent are the Hulk (who was written off the show for a bit) and Ant-Man (who quit the team for a while and later reappeared in Season 2 as Yellowjacket). Ms. Marvel and The Vision join the team during Season 2 but even after joining the team, they are absent from many missions or play minor roles.
Nick Fury and Black Widow played large roles in Season 1 but Fury only had a few cameos in Season 2 while I think Black Widow only had one (non-speaking) cameo in Season 2.
In the episode “New Avengers”, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, The Thing, Wolverine and Spider-Man come together as a new team of Avengers to save the world from the Kang the Conqueror since the original team failed to do so. Spider-Man is granted reserve status as an Avenger but doesn’t appear in the series again until the final episode where virtually all the superheroes band together to stop Galactus from devouring earth. Earlier in the season, Spidey co-stars in an episode with Captain America to battle the Serpent Society.
While Marvel has usually had it all over DC in terms of popular, well-reviewed movies, DC has destroyed Marvel when it comes to animated series & movies. Marvel has had a few popular cartoons (such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the 1980s and the X-Men and Spider-Man shows from the 1990s), but none as well as a reviewed as some of the Batman and Justice League shows and DC’s direct-to-video animated movies. With Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, I think Marvel delivered their best animated show yet. It’s just a shame they decided to replace it with another show that’s more in tune with the cinematic Marvel Universe (and the reviews aren’t as good for the new show as they were for this one).
Both seasons of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are currently available on Netflix and I’m sure there are/will be some DVD collections coming. It’s a show well-worth seeking out for fans of this type of stuff.