A strange Android called The Vision attacks The Avengers as they are ordered to protect The President.
In 1999, Marvel had soaked its animation well dry. Their major hitters, Spider-Man, The X-Men and The Hulk had come and gone, with success. Iron Man and Fantastic Four faired slightly worse, but had become respected shows by the end of their runs. By 1999, however, Marvel�s run with animation had past its prime. The Silver Surfer wasn�t the hit many thought it would be, Spider-Man: Unlimited was ridiculed from the day it premiered and Daredevil and Captain American never made it to air, which left Marvel with The Avengers as it�s big show.
The Avengers have always been a fairly popular group, but were always upstaged by the much more popular X-Men and Fantastic Four. So, surely an Avengers cartoon could be a big hit on Saturday morning, right? Yep. It could be, The Ultimate Avengers proved that The Avengers could be entertaining in animation. Iron Man on his lonesome had made for an exceptional animated series. However, The Avengers cartoon we actually got has been dubbed by many as the worst cartoon they can recall.
If you�ve happen to have seen any of the many sites I�ve created here at Marvel Animation Age, or post at the message board, you�re no doubt aware that I love most of the Marvel cartoons, and am pretty well versed in all of them. However, to my knowledge, The Avengers: United They Stand has never aired here in the UK, and if it has, I missed it. I do recall seeing bits of an episode featuring Iron Man that I managed to track down, but The Avengers passed me by as a child. I have heard absolutely scathing reviews of the show online from just about everyone who�d seen it, but this morning, I sat down and watched both parts of the premiere in one sitting.
It wasn�t anywhere near as bad as I thought it might be, but it was still crap. First off, the roster. Now, I�ve never been a massive Avengers fan, but I have to ask� where are The Avengers? Captain America, Thor, Iron Man are all seen in the credits, but none of them actually appear here. (They do appear in poster form however, as the mansion is filled with pictures taken directly from the comics). I�m a pretty big Marvel fan, but I must confess, I don�t know who half the people on this roster are. The members who I am familiar with have been changed so drastically that I didn�t actually recognise them. I mean, is that supposed to be Wasp? And what the hell is up with Hawkeye�s design? Any show that has Ant Man as its leader is in serious trouble before the episode airs.
My main problem with the episodes is rather simple. After watching it, I still have absolutely no idea who the characters are, besides maybe Falcon. We�re given no reason as to why these people are The Avengers, nor any reason why they were formed to begin with. Captain American, Iron Man and Thor are mentioned, and a Hulk poster is shown, but no one bothers to explain why they aren�t there. The characters aren�t developed in the slightest. Ant Man is the smart one, Hawkeye is nothing other than a really, really poor man�s Wolverine, Falcon is the new guy and the rest of them are� erm, present.
Visually, the show is poor. The designs reek of Bruce Timm, but feature none of his appeal. I�m willing to bet Timm could draw these characters better with his eyes closed after his fifth glass of scotch. The straight line against curves makes the characters look a little too angular for their own good, and all the characters costume lack a special spark and each episode features laughably bad armour up sequence, designed to sell action figures. It�s just done so terribly. Some accuse Spider-Man of pandering to the toy market, but that did so by having bright, colourful designs and a hell of lot of characters to make toys from. Here, everyone is just placed in cheap armour, with the same animation playing over and over again.
The villain of the piece, Ultron, was really, really stupid. He is apparently obsessed with killing Ant Man, his creator. We�re given now reason as to why he wants to kill him - he just wants him dead. Add this to yet another terrible action figure design with a huge gun (there�s your accessory, kids) and you�ve got a pretty poor villain. Shame, from what I hear, Ultron is a pretty badass villain in the comics.
As for the show�s good points� erm. Hmmm. Well, maybe in the next episode?