The Marvel Animated Universe as presented on the Disney XD network has been focused on four different series, sometimes connected, and sometimes not, but now, with a series of shorts, they’re beginning to fill in continuity gaps and spaces between seasons. Meet me after the jump as I look at how Disney XD is expanding the Marvel Animated Universe, and a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Guardians’ Rocket and Groot
Before the first season of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Disney XD started the shorts trend with vignettes introducing the heroes, giving an origin story, a bit of background, and a little motivation. They did it again before the second season, forming a bridge between the first and second. Now, with the second season rushed onto the air in time for the second movie, we’re getting a very different set of shorts these past weeks.
Marvel’s Rocket and Groot, with some very different animation and a slightly more humorous bent, continues the adventures of the Guardians’ resident raccoon and talking tree gone solo for the moment. These twelve shorts are very Looney Tunes, but highly entertaining, and feature cameos by, among others, the Space Phantom, Blackjack O’Hare, and even a plush Fin Fang Foom. Writers Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Kevin Burke bring the fun with these, and I love the 2 Broke Girls style cash meter. You can watch them right here.
Avengers: Secret Wars
Similar to the bridging shorts done with Guardians, we got a few weeks back ones for the Avengers. With a series title change from Avengers: Ultron Revolution to Avengers: Secret Wars, we’re given introductions to the new members who joined at the end of the last season like Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, the Vision, and the Black Panther.
Through the eyes of the enthusiastic Kamela Khan we witness her and other new members’ introduction to the team. She visits new headquarters Avengers Compound and relates how cool the other newbies are. We saw them all last season, except for the Wasp who accompanies Ant-Man here.
We get origin stories for some of these heroes, as well as individual mini-adventures, sometimes fighting super-villains like Klaw or a giant frog. The Captain Marvel segment was fun with a cameo by a cinematic Nova Corps ship and her space plane, the Kelly Sue, noice. The Ant-Man and Wasp short was inspired heavily by the film, but we get no hint who is in the Wasp gear – Jan, Hope, or Nadia – in these shorts at least…
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Much like Rocket and Groot, the Ant-Man shorts are done in a very different animation style, something about it reminds me of a tight technicolor Bill Plympton, but are actually the work of French filmmakers and animators Ugo Bienvenu and Kevin Manach, who some might know from their H-Man a couple years back.
In the first three shorts, which you can see on YouTube, feature a fun Scott Lang as Ant-Man, sometimes accompanied by the mystery Wasp, fighting bad guys like Egghead, the cinematic version of Yellowjacket, and an alien ant invasion. The entire run of these shorts will debut on Disney XD over the weekend of June 10th and 11th, check them out.
There were no shorts created with the other two Marvel Animated Universe series Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man, but who knows, we might get something with the new Spider-Man series, which appears to be a complete reboot. Check out this sneak preview below with the monstrous Scorpion, and a homemade Spidey suit. I hope it gets better…