Apparently now is the spring of my discontent. Looking over recent reviews, there have not been a lot of nice shiny objects covered in this column. Maybe I just hit an unlucky run of the comics I have reviewed here, maybe they suffer by comparison to the comics that I wrote about in 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, which will arrive in your local bookstores and comics shops just in time to solve all your Christmas shopping problems. In any case, I regret to inform you that today's review will not be ending this unlucky run.
Iron Man Armored Adventures made its debut on Nicktoons on Friday, April 24. Despite some misgivings about the concept of re-imagining Tony Stark as a newly-orphaned teen, the presence of story editor and showrunner Christopher Yost had me optimistic. I have enjoyed and praised many of the other Marvel animation films and shows with which Yost has been involved. Alas, after watching the first four episodes of the series, my optimism has dissipated like the morning dew.
The show is bad. There's no way to sugar-coat that and pretend it's a delicious snack.
Despite some incidental rescues of innocent people here and there, Tony Stark is focused strictly on his personal concerns. He wants to take down Obadiah Stane, current CEO of Stark Industries and a man who has betrayed everything Tony's father wanted for his son and his company. That might make for an interesting protagonist - though it doesn't in this show - but it definitely doesn't make for an admirable super-hero.
The CGI animation is as ugly as it gets. The characters look like cheap anime knockoffs. The action scenes and the backgrounds are flat and lifeless. While all shows repeat scenes to keep down their animation costs, this show does it so glaringly my eyes would automatically roll every time those scenes were used.
The characters themselves? Every single one is so annoying, whiny or clownishly evil that one wishes for the blessed relief of, say, Galactus eating the planet. The voice actors perform their roles as if they were either on uppers or downers.
The stories are dull, dull, dull and their internal logic - Tony's frequent middle-of-the-school-day trips to his secret lab, not to mention the complete lack of oversight being provided by Jim Rhodes' mom, his alleged guardian - is non-existent.
The villains? Also uninteresting. In four episodes, we have seen a teenage Mandarin, a rabid Blizzard, the ineffectual Killer Shrike and the Unicorn, and, of course, the ever-present Stane, who, if he were a actual human actor, would have already chewed up every piece of computer-generated scenery in this series.
My love for the Marvel heroes of my youth is such that I will usually follow them through even bad television, but I can't muster up the fortitude to do it with this cartoon.
Iron Man Armored Adventures gets absolutely no Tonys. I even think they should change Iron Man's first name.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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