Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
"Remember that time when all the buildings got sucked underground by the Mole Man? *chuckle* That was sweet!"
on October 6, 2007
4 stars for the show, 1 star for again releasing only 4 episodes (for shame!).
In September of '06 the animated FANTASTIC FOUR: WORLD'S GREATEST HEROES debuted on the Cartoon Network and has since, off and on, been featured on Saturday nights. For the life of me, I'm clueless as to why the air times have been so sporadic as this show is actually pretty watchable. As fans of the F.F. know, prior to this one, there've been three animated series centering on the FF: the Hanna-Barbera produced version in 1967, the 1978 series with H.E.R.B.I.E. replacing the Torch, and, more recently, the 1994 reincarnation. This new series follows hot on the footsteps of the surprisingly popular 2005 live action film (all hail sexy Jessica Alba, although she's wrong for the Invisible Woman role) and has a good chance of surpassing the other cartoon incarnations. If given the chance.
There are 26 episodes of this series so far, and, no, I haven't seen all of them (again, the show's airtimes haven't been exactly reliable). But the ones I've checked out are pretty good, once I got used to several of the modifications made. I thought it was cool that the Baxter Building now showcases a revolving holographic figure 4 which hovers on top. I more or less rolled with the costume changes, although I didn't dig the painted blue "4" on Ben's chest. Reed and Johnny's goofy, mussed-up hairdos are minor irritations.
As for Johnny Storm himself, I've never been a big fan, and, now, he really gets on my nerves. Patterned after the live action film's version, the Torch has never been more immature, brash, and irksome. Now I've always liked Reed Richards, who's never been the ideal leading man, but here he's even more bland, absent-minded, and henpecked (thanks, Sue). But he still seems to boast that powerhouse intellect. Ben Grimm is Ben Grimm, funny, warm-hearted guy and tragic monster. Susan rubbed me the wrong way in "Trial by Fire" but, give her credit, she comes across as commanding, determined, and formidable. Too, Ben and Johnny maintain their familiar juvenile bouts of teasing, pranking, and gamesmanship.
The good things? Well, having an animated series about the F.F. is great in itself. But, barring the first episode "Trial by Fire" (which was dull and disappointing), the stories I've seen have been consistently involving, action packed, and humorous. The series draws faithfully from the Fantastic Four's vast 50+ years of adventuring. This Volume 2 dvd package gives a nod towards the intergalactic part of the F.F. mythos as the episodes record the F.F.'s first encounters with the Kree Empire (and Ronan the Accuser), the Skrulls (and the Super Skrull), and the aggravating Impossible Man.
The animation is pretty bangin'. As rendered by the French-based animation group Moonscoop, the show combines elements of 2D and 3D graphics to very good effect. Yes, there's a leaning towards the anime style, which might or might not turn off some folks.
But here we go again with the shabby, stingy treatment: series volumes comprised of a minimal number of episodes being released individually. I'd say save your money for the entire season release, but, not knowing whether the Cartoon Network still has this show's back, it might take even longer for that to happen. I hope the Cartoon Network at least airs (or re-airs) "Frightful" which is rumored to have a cameo of Peter Parker/Spidey in it. Anyway, this no-frills Volume 2 dvd offers these 4 episodes:
"Trial By Fire" - Johnny Storm is charged with high crimes against the intergalactic Kree Empire. Johnny's trial lawyer? Reed Richards.
"My Neighbor Was A Skrull" - The Baxter Building suffers a systems breakdown even as the F.F.'s neighbors get all weird; H.E.R.B.I.E. begins speaking in Spanish: "El gato es muy macho."
"Impossible" - Reed's space probe returns with an unexpected guest: the mischievous, shapeshifting Impossible Man. Now the F.F. can't get rid of the pesky alien.
"Revenge of the Skrulls" - The Skrulls are back, bringing with them the Super Skrull (who boasts all of the F.F.'s powers), but their scheme is thwarted by the F.F. - and some nerd named Rupert, who won Susan's "Be A Fantastic Fifth for a Day" contest. Meanwhile, Ronan the Accuser seeks revenge against the Human Torch.