We’ve talked about this before, and finally it’s happened, the “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” animated series is finally here. With the success of the movie, Marvel has done what is only natural and produced this animated series. So meet me after the jump and we’ll talk about the first episode about Marvel’s favorite renegade space heroes. Spoilers ahead!
Just like the original and much missed “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” Avengers animated series, “Guardians of the Galaxy” has done mini-sodes before the actual premiere featuring the individual characters. These are two-minute segments, with two per character, that have been running on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings on Disney X-D for about a month now. Each one has spotlighted each Guardian by revealing bits of their adventures before the team was formed.
I talked about the two Star-Lord segments briefly here. The Groot and Rocket Raccoon segments that follow maintain the light of the two characters’ relationship, while still giving new viewers some backstory on their not-so-family-friendly origins. The Drax and Gamora segments are more story-oriented, briefing us on our baddies – most notably Thanos, Ronan the Accuser, Nebula, and surprisingly Korath the Pursuer – who was way more interesting in the film than in any of his comics appearances. He retains that personality here.
Setting the Tone
We open on the team already together, to the sound of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” and all I can think is that songwriter B.J. Thomas must be living high on the hog out in Oklahoma from all this Marvel royalty money. I also hope Jonathan King is doing well too, after all he added the ‘ooga chaka’ that makes the song cool. Yeah, I’m a music geek, too, what can I say?
The team is on a heist, and I am down with the voice cast with one exception. I’m just digging Will Friedle of “Batman Beyond” as Star-Lord. I’ll give it time. The other voices are fine, even the redneck/Aussie (what is that accent??) comic relief of Yondu, but after the third “I am Groot,” that got old, really old. Sorry, it has to be said. I realize it’s a trademark, and much loved by many, but this cartoon may kill it.
Heroes or Outlaws
This is Disney, and meant for ages 7-11 although its audience is probably more or less Marvel zombies and comics fans as much as it is for kids, but I doubt we’ll be seeing any of the edgy double entendre jokes as in the film. They might hint, but I’m pretty sure this cartoon will be a lot more clean cut, same thing for the ‘comic book violence.’ And just kiss Thanos’ love of Death goodbye. He’ll just have to be plain old normal evil in this series.
That said, the Guardians appear to still be getting their bearings as a team. The question of whether they are heroes or outlaws is still up for discussion. When they rescue Yondu, is it for personal gain or for revenge on Thanos? Neither really sound all that heroic to me honestly. But if we’re going to set Thanos up as the ultimate big bad, I suppose those who oppose him are the good guys.
The Cosmic Seed
The McGuffin is some sort of box that doesn’t ring any bells for me, although it does sort of resemble the Lament Configuration from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movie series. It is nothing that cool however. Apparently Star-Lord is the key to opening it just like only he can fire his gun. It’s Spartax technology, like from Star-Lord’s dad’s side of the family.
I found this bit rather curious. The Marvel Animated Universe has tight ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and usually doesn’t stray. In the comics, Star-Lord is half-Spartoi, and his dad was emperor of that race. They pop up a few times in my reviews of the Infinity mini-series, but that’s beside the point. James Gunn, director of the GotG movies has said he was going in a different direction for Star-Lord’s father, possibly even naming Adam Warlock… so is the cartoon out of continuity? Either way, I’m in.
As is implied in the episode’s title, the Guardians are on their way to Knowhere, with Korath’s forces in, pardon the pun, pursuit. Knowhere, as you may or may not know is a huge space colony built inside the decapitated head of a Celestial. Yeah, as has been noted, it’s creepy, but cool. The Celestials, for folks who don’t read the comics, were/are space giants as old as the universe itself, sometimes judging and destroying civilizations at a whim. Badass and incomprehensible. The cliffhanger on this episode has the head that serves as Knowhere waking up…
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for this first episode of the series. I was happy to see Gamora doing more than Black Widow did in most first season episodes of “Avengers Assemble.” And it’s always fun to see Cosmo the Soviet space dog, loved his interaction with Rocket, and how he carried baby Groot like a stick. There was also the inclusion of Joe Walsh and the James Gang’s “Funk #49,” more great classic rock music like this and I’ll be in for the long haul.
The first episode of “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” the animated series officially premieres September 26th, 2015, check it out!