TV Time: Earth’s Mightiest Toon

History will finally be made tonight when Disney XD airs the first real Avengers cartoon. “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” will make its debut at 7:30 p.m Real Time on Disney XD (No, I don’t know what the XD stands for. Probably something dumb like Xtreme Disney).

Despite being the Marvel Universe’s premiere superhero team for over 45 years, The Avengers have never had their own cartoon series. Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, even Iron Man have had multiple TV shows over the years. It just ain’t right.

OK, honesty demands that I acknowledge the series “The Avengers: United They Stand” that aired for 13 episodes in 1999-2000. But it was so horribly bad on every level that all Avengers fans write it off as the horrible mistake that it was and never speak of it in public.

How bad was “The Avengers: United They Stand?” Well, there’s the title for starters. Then there’s the fact that it’s missing Thor, Captain America and Iron Man — which is like making a Beatles TV series without John, Paul and George. There’s also the horrible costume designs, animation and voice work. There’s the odd decision to make everyone wear armor, like they were Power Rangers or something.

Finally, “A:UTS” was so bad that even though I have the Hawkeye action figure they made for the series, I refuse to include it in my Hawkeye shrine. I don’t even know where it is.

But this time it looks like they’ve got it right, so it appears Disney taking over Marvel wasn’t a bad thing. Thor, Cap, Iron Man, Giant/Ant Man, Wasp, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Black Widow, even HULK. That’s The Avengers. No doubt having a movie coming out in 2012 has something to do with it.

The animation looks decent and the designs are fine — the only one I’m not crazy about is Jan’s, particularly the giant headphones, but I can live with it. She’s worn worse in her comic book career.

If you can’t wait until 7:30 tonight, Disney has 20 5-minute mini-episodes on their website. They also air them frequently on Disney XD. If you don’t have the time to sit through all 20, the only two that matter are the two Hawkeye episodes — “This Monster This Hero” and “Beware the Widow’s Bite.”



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