enjoyment of this 2006 animated retooling of the
Fantastic Four broadcast on the Cartoon
Network will most likely depend on how big a fanboy you are of the original
If you thought the recent
Fantastic Four big screen movies were far too juvenile for their own
good, then you'd probably think the same of this latest animated
reincarnation of the Marvel comic book heroes. (Incidentally this is the
fourth television show to feature the Fantastic Four. The others were
in 1967, 1978 and 1994.)
This Fantastic Four is aimed squarely at
children. If you're seeking a more adult approach to the characters then
you'd be better off checking out some of the recent graphic novels,
particularly the Ultimate Fantastic Four books. The plot-lines here
are basic and the Human Torch is portrayed as an overgrown dumb teenager.
Also, some aspects of the retooling will probably irk long-time fans: the
new costume designs, a 4 symbol that for some idiotic reason is simply
painted onto The Thing's chest (did graffiti artists get to him while he was
sleeping in the subway one night?) and the character designs which owe more to anime
conventions than the Stan Lee / Jack Kirby comic books of yesteryear.
On the plus side the animation isn't too bad, even though it takes one a
while to get used to. The more simplistic yet direct approach used by Warners Animation in TV shows such as
Legion of Superheroes and
Superman Doomsday might have served
it better though. At times the animation seems too busy for its own good.
Kids shouldn't mind though.
THE DISCS: This single disc set contains four episodes, namely
Doomed, Hard Knocks (featuring The Hulk), World's Tiniest Heroes (with Ant
Man) and De-Mole-ition. There are no special features.
WORTH IT? If the mediocre big screen
Fantastic Four movies have lowered
your fanboy expectations, then you might just enjoy this new offering. It
took us a while to get used to the new approach and voice talents, but found
ourselves enjoying the show more than would be socially acceptable for any
comic geek to admit to. The Hulk episode is particularly worth checking out.
A pity that it is being released on single DVDs instead of a complete series
box set though.
RECOMMENDATION: Your kids will love you for buying this for them. In
some ways it is even better than the disappointing live action movies.