Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

December 22nd, 2012, 12:31 am #111

Spider-Man -"Countdown to Doom" (1981)
The finale of the Doom series. Dr. Doom's laser canon is sent into orbit and activated. He uses it to ignite a buncha' volcanoes and push Earth out of orbit. Then he demands to become ruler of the world, again. Yup, more scenes at the UN are included.

With the help of the French (yeah, the French), Spidey sneaks into Latveria and sabotages Doom's canon. Doom gets nailed by his own laser and blows up! Since he blew up, you can paint-your-own picture and guess he was a robot. I mean, how many times has Dr. Doom "died" over the years? But Latveria is "freed" once again and Johan becomes the new leader (or at least hero of the day).

The animators give Spidey a victory lap, allowing him to climb up the UN building and soak in the joy of a big win in front of a panoramic shot of NYC. Again, it wasn't necessarily a Spidey cartoon, but a decent way to cap off the Doom stuff.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 15th, 2013, 10:53 pm #112

Spider-Man - "Arsenic and Aunt May" (1981)
Starts out very cool-- the cousin of the burglar who killed Uncle Ben becomes cellmates with Chameleon and spills all the details about the Parkers and Spider-Man (complete with Origin Flashback). It seems like Chameleon is putting things together and figuring out a link between Spider-Man and Peter Parker. He even mentions that Peter Parker is known for taking Spider-Man pics.

Nope, he just figures out a link between the Parker family and Spidey. So he disguises himself as a mystic and manipulates Aunt May. Using a mind control gaseous necklace and some trickery to create the ghost of Ben Parker, Aunt May becomes a psycho and wants to kill Spidey. She tries stuff like braining him with a flower pot or pushing him off the Statue of Liberty. It's more like a plot for Mysterio, as the second half makes you groan.

Of note: Aunt May wants Peter to be home by 8, so he can watch an animated "Avengers" TV movie with her. We get about 3 seconds of Cap, Thor, Iron Man, plus the Vision and Scarlet Witch. That's the thing about 80's Spidey cartoons-- they always seemed to be teasing you for a spin-off.

Chameleon has his old "soldier of fortune" costume; with the multiple pockets, vest and weird goggles. Same design they used for the "7 Little Superheroes" episode of Amazing Friends, but he's not a rhyming goofball. His voice is very straightforward and he comes as fairly believable.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

February 20th, 2013, 1:13 am #113

Spider-Man - "The Vulture Has Landed"
Vulture is kidnapping scientists to help him build his arsenal. In a case of mistaken identity, he abducts Peter Parker, thinking he is Harry Osborn. In Vulture's flying blimp-lab, "Harry" is forced to create "invisible paint". Yeah. Then a big deal is made about the robot birds Vulture had built. This sort of feels like an update of the 1960's Spidey cartoons.

Odd that Harry Osborn is mentioned, but never seen. Peter even mentions they were former roommates. No connection to Norman Osborn is mentioned, either.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

February 20th, 2013, 10:28 pm #114

Wolverine & The X-men- "Hindsight: Parts 1&2" (2008)
Set after a one year gap, wherein Professor X and Jean Grey mysteriously exploded. Or, since it's X-men and comic books, I'm sure they're alive somewhere. Anyways, Mutant Registration is running wild and a militant group called the MRD runs around capturing mutants and even human sympathizers. The X-men have disbanded and dispersed since Xavier's detonation.

When Wolverine saves a little girl from a burning bus, a grateful family gives him a bed for the night. The family is soon captured, spurring Wolvie to re-don his fighting togs and get the band back together. He saves them, with the help of the Beast.

Part 2 introduces the Brotherhood, consisting of Quicksilver, Avalanche, Toad, Blob and Domino (plus her two friends). Seriously, Domino has some mad cleavage going on; almost up to her chin. I don't know much about the character, but I'd say that's one of her mutant powers.

The Bros are out to off Senator Kelly, in yet another interpretation of his anti-mutant political campaign. Wolvie and Beast re-recruit Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Rogue to help. But turns out Rogue was a double-agent, working with the Brotherhood.

I'd say it's probably the best X-men cartoon series I've seen, thus far. I've always said that the X-men and their concepts of mutant paranoia work great in a vaccuum, as this proves. Add in some regular ol' Avenger-type superheroes and the paranoia angle doesn't work. This seems to be digging into the X-world with plenty of cameos, so it may be the first X-men series I watch to its conclusion.
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Erick Von Erich
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March 14th, 2013, 9:37 pm #115

Spider-Man - "Wrath of the Sub-Mariner"
Namor and Namorita are bothered by pollution being dumped into the rivers. Namorita is hospitalized, so Namor goes on yet another "war against the surface dwellers". On paper, this looks like an odd script, because the polluting culprit is the Kingpin. Add in appearances by Silverman, Caesar Cicero, Hammerhead and even Man Mountain Marko and you're wondering how this all flows together.

Including Cicero is reaching deep. I think he only appeared in the original Silvermane stories, circa Amazing Spider-Man #75, a few issues of "Power Man and Iron Fist" and some mid-90's Spidey stories. He and the other mob bosses are there to represent regional crime networks. Kingpin wants them all to band together under his leadership.

So it's Namor vs. Kingpin? That's definitely odd, but it works. Add in an appearance by Dr. Don Blake and this is a very enjoyable trip through Marvel animation.
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Erick Von Erich
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March 25th, 2013, 8:01 pm #116

Incredible Hulk- "Punks on Wheels" (1982)
The Leader backs a biker gang, making them into his own version of the Dreadnoks (but a few years before the 'Noks). They run around the Southwest, terrorizing carnivals and trying to steal a shipment of Vibranium from the Army. Very basic, but notable that the writer on this was Paul Dini (Justice League). The Leader's voiced by the same guy who did Lex Luthor in "Super Friends">

I always seemed to catch this episode when the Hulk/Spidey show was airing on NBC. Hated it and still kinda' do. Yet this version of the Hulk was the one that many of us thought of, for years. Whenever the Hulk appears, some of his first lines are usually "Hulk SMASH!" It's also funny how they continually showed Hulk changing back to Bruce Banner... and everytime it happened, the shirtless Hulk would give way to Banner wearing a shirt and tie. Even as kids we thought that was ridiculous.

As kids, we also hated Stan Lee as the narrator. He narrates the most obvious crap, like: "Bruce Banner is gone...and in his place is the Hulk!" After creating the popular "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends" a year earlier, Marvel tacked-on the Hulk to their Saturday NBC slot (and adding Stan's voiceovers to both), but it wasn't as successful. I think they were bummed when Hulk wasn't a huge hit.

It's also a little peculiar that Rick Jones plays a sizable part in most episodes, yet he looks nothing like you'd expect. He wears a cowboy hat and has long poofy brown hair. Even though Rick ended up being sidekick to about 6 or 7 heroes in the comics, I don't think he ever sported this look. So no idea where it came from. He also has a Latina girlfriend named "Rita"...I'm drawing a blank on her inspiration, too.

Good thing about this series: pretty much all episodes are freely available on YouTube in nice quality.
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Erick Von Erich
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April 9th, 2013, 8:56 pm #117

Wolverine & The X-men- "Hindsight: Part 3" (2008)
The last of the "series opening mini-movie", as Emma Frost coaxes her way on to the team. Wolvie's suspicious of her, but since she's the only available telepath, he lets her use Cerebro to locate Prof. Xavier. They find him in Genosha, where his brain dead body has washed up on the shore of Magneto's little country. After the obligatory fight, Magneto lets them take him back to the mansion.

Xavier then sends a message from 20 years in the future. The world's battered and dominated by Sentinels, unless Wolvie and Friends can change the present.

Cyclops re-joins the team, now wearing a trenchcoat and BROODING. Angel's around, as Warren Worthington and financially backing the team. There's also Forge, who's basically the team's "Q", who fixes their jet and makes gadgets. Forge appears and acts much younger than you'd expect; more like a whiz-kid teenager than the mature Indian inventor.

Wolverine & The X-men- "Downpour" (2008)
Future Xavier warns Wolvie of a pending disaster in Africa, caused by Storm. The team locates Storm, who's back to doing the goddess thing in her homeland. The Shadow King possess her and gets her to flood the land. Emma Frost shows her loyalty and worth, as she's the one who succeeds in defeating Shadow King. Storm re-joins the team at the end (ummm... but the village she was living in was destroyed. How nice of her to leave them).
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Erick Von Erich
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June 4th, 2013, 9:51 pm #118

Spider-Man- "Return of the Kingpin" (1981)
Spidey decides to go to a talent agency and gets set up with phony jobs, all of which are a front for the Kingpin. Painfully slow, Spidey finally puts things together, just in time for a brawl with Kingpin and his room of Kung Fu Flunkies. Spidey thwarts Kingpin when they fall down an elevator shaft...and simply catches him in a web-net.

Spidey actually gets rewarded in the end, along with getting two stiff bills. He's able to send Aunt May on a vacation, though.

I think it's safe to say that Kingpin never really translated well in his animated appearances. Even his 90's FOX days. They could never really nail that underworld/mafia vibe he usually had in the comics.
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Erick Von Erich
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June 27th, 2013, 5:16 pm #119

Spider-Man- "Under the Wizard's Spell" (1981)
Medusa comes to NYC and Spidey is immediately smitten. After helping Spidey with some common punks, she has a rendezvous with the Wizard, who uses a mental shock collar to enslave her. Medusa is forced to steal components for Wizard's ultimate anti-gravity machine, and gets the lovestruck Spidey to follow along. The heroes eventually turn the tables on the Wizard and Spidey is able to free Medusa from her collar. Medusa and Spidey share a kiss as she returns to the Great Refuge. The story ends with a misty Peter Parker left with a lock of Medusa's (animated) hair... kinda' creepy, but sweet.

The two heroes instantly recognize each other and talk about their past encounters. Same for the Wizard who mentions that Medusa once worked with him (a reference to their Frightful Four days). The romantic elements seem to come from out-of-nowhere. Spidey falls for Medusa simply because she's pretty and nice. She reciprocates, which is weird because she's usually married to Black Bolt.

This is the END of the 1981 Spider-Man series. Overall, they're an improvement over the 60's series, but not as much fun as the "Amazing Friends" series. Some episodes just seemed to languish and featured either predictable plots or convenient fix-alls; especially the episodes that were just Spidey vs. his usual villains.

If you're a Spidey or Marvel animation fan, I'd recommend these episodes:
-'Lizards, Lizards Everywhere"
-"Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man" (Black Cat)
-"The Doctor Prescribes DOOM"
-"The Hunter and the Hunted" (Ka-Zar and Kraven)
-"Canon of DOOM"
-"The Capture of Captain America"
-"Countdown to DOOM"
-"Wrath of the Sub-Mariner"
-"Under the Wizard's Spell"

Sure, I included the ones with guest-stars, which is a bit of a cop-out. But those move at a quicker pace and there's more to keep you entertained.
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Erick Von Erich
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July 23rd, 2013, 10:22 pm #120

Justice League: Doom
Just about a perfect mini-movie from DC. Based off of the JLA "Tower of Babel" storyline, with some minor changes. Instead of Ra's al Ghul discovering Batman's secret anti-JLA files, it's Vandal Savage. He assembles a new Legion of Doom to put the plan in motion. There's a new take on Mirror Master, which is a huge improvement. Each member is a good foil for their JLA counterparts, but it's the arrival of newbie Cyborg that turns the tide.

This could or could not be set in the "classic" JL Animated universe; I'd go with "no", but if you REALLY want it to be, it could work. Just say that's it been a few years and things have changed, slightly.

The roster and their LOD counterparts:
-Batman/Bane
-Wonder Woman/Cheetah
-Superman/Metallo
-Flash/Mirror Master
-Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)/Star Sapphire
-Martian Manhunter/Ma'alefa'ak (Malefic)

There's no cheesy video game "kick ass" dialogue and the fights are done very well. It's basically each character beating the tar out of each other, but it's done with enough style and variance that it works.

Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam
Just an intro origin vehicle for Shazam/Captain Marvel, as Black Adam is returning after 5,000 years of exile. Billy Batson meets the wizard Shazam...and you realize how cheesy the whole "7 Deadly Enemies of Man" are. This is like a guest star episode the 90's Superman cartoon, but about 75% of it is nothing but fighting. Fun little touch how they work in Tawky Tawny, but the rest is about average.

DC Showcase: The Spectre
Going for a crime drama/Twilight Zone feel, as the Spectre avenges a Hollywood murder. Spectre's always been a tough sell for me, because he's just SO powerful. Why does he go through all this planning and subterfuge, when he could just nab his quarry with a flick of his fingers?

DC Showcase: Green Arrow
Green Arrow's out an airport to foil the assassination of the young Princess of Vlatava. Merlyn's been hired as the assassin, so there's plenty of archery dueling. Count Vertigo makes an appearance at the end, but it easily taken out by Black Canary. That would've been a good place to stop, but GA then gets down on one knee and proposes to Canary. Comes off like fanboy pandering and not worth it.
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