X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men

It’s always amazing what you find when you clean up. I recently unearthed my VHS copy of the 1989 X-Men animated series pilot Pryde of the X-Men. When I rediscovered I owned this, I did the only natural thing: watched it.

I really liked the 1990s X-Men cartoon, but this was much better as far as animation and voice acting was concerned. The plot is pretty straight forward; Professor X has recruited Kitty Pryde to join the academy and unfortunately she winds up being a distraction that lets Magneto steal the mutant finding computer Cerebro. This really upsets Wolverine, who for some reason has an Australian accent. It’s up to the X-Men to stop Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

As a longtime Dazzler fan, I was super happy to see her in this cartoon. They actually did a good job introducing all the primary X-Men and most of the villains, even finding a way to stick in Kitty’s dragon pet/friend Lockheed into the story. Ultimately, this pilot didn’t get picked up. But it was adapted by Konami into an arcade game that is pretty sweet.

Pryde of the X-Men gets a pretty mixed response online for being light on both story and action, and for its weird hodge-podging of characters. So is it worth watching? I guess so, especially if you are an X-Men fan or you enjoy the Marvel/Sunbow style of animation from the 1980s.

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Ghost Rider vs. Galactus?

Have you ever wondered who would win during a Ghost Rider/Galactus fight? The Fantastic Four episode “Planet Eater” addresses that problem. Our fiery headed biker joins forces with the Fantastic Four to stop the devourer of worlds. The only difference is that he isn’t that concerned with saving the earth as much as vengeance.

As we remember, Ghost Rider is a spirit of vengeance, a sort of demonic agent of penance. He rides around making those who have taken a life pay for their crimes. So someone like Galactus would be a big target for him.

Think about it this way; our planet has over four billion people living on it. If Galactus ate the earth, that’s the equivalent of killing that many people at once. Galactus has been around forever, so that death toll is pretty high. I won’t spoil the episode for you, but let’s say that Ghost Rider’s “penance stare” (him channelling and projecting the pain and suffering of victims) is pretty good Galactus repellant.

Because this is from the mid 1990s, he does the penance stare and his jacket, it is safe to say that this is the Dan Ketch incarnation of Ghost Rider. In this episode, Ghost Rider is voiced by Richard Grieco from 21 Jump Street.

Planet Hulk Movie: Great Space Epic With 99% Less Bruce Banner

There are two complaints that film snobs always have:

  1. The source material was infinitely better.
  2. Direct to video films always suck.
Lionsgate and Marvel refute these claims in the 2010 direct to video release Planet Hulk, which adapts Greg Pak’s epic story of Hulk’s new life on the planet Sakaar.
The plot is fairly simple and you don’t need any current comics knowledge go follow. Hulk has been launched into space by the other heroes, as they’ve had it with him not being able to control his anger and being a huge problem (I would’ve said major pain, but I wanted this post to be free of any Damon Wayans references). Unfortunately for Hulk, instead of taking him to the happy planet where he could spend the rest of his life, he landed on the war-torn, wasteland of a rock called Sakaar.
Hulk gets imprisoned by the planet’s evil dictator the Red King and forced to fight in an arena, something straight out of Gladiator. By leading his new group of warbound gladiators in a rebellion, he finds himself fulfilling the an old Sakaaran prophecy of a “worldbreaker” coming to unify the population and start a new golden age.
There is more to the story, but I think I’m going to save that for a piece on the original comics. I will say that this is a very straight up adaptation of Pak’s story, save for Beta Ray Bill being substituting for Silver Surfer as a captive in the Red King’s coliseum. It turns out that this wasn’t as much of an editorial decision as a legal one, as the Surfer’s animation rights were held by someone else.
Throughout the film, there’s a bunch of cameo appearances by Marvel’s cosmic characters in the coliseum, including Gamora, Adam Warlock and Star-Lord. It was a nice nod to super fans.
I really enjoyed Planet Hulk. The visuals were great, and the animation was smooth. This is definitely recommended. Get it from your Red Box or local library today.

30 Things I Like About Comics–#29 Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends

Having grown up in the 1980s, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was really my first introduction to Spider-Man and the whole Marvel Universe. The show’s premise was very simple. A college-aged Spidey teams up with his Empire State University classmates/super hero pals Iceman and Firestar (who was created specifically for the show) team up and take out evildoers world-wide.

But first they meet up at Aunt May’s house, where she and her inappropriately named dog Ms. Lion would provide some sort of comic relief. They would then go down to the basement, which somehow transformed into some technologically advanced top-secret lair that James Bond would be jealous of.

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was great because it featured cameo appearances by everyone from Marvel. The X-Men, Dr. Doom, Namor the Sub-Mariner, even Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil were all on the show at some point.

Some of the episodes hold up better than others. As a whole, it’s very lighthearted and fun. Occasionally it pops up on ABC Family or Disney XD, and I will get sucked in. The worst was when I was on vacation in Disney World a few years back. We were staying at the Yacht Club and I sound up sitting in the kids section so I could watch Amazing Friends during breakfast, much to the embarrassment to the rest of my travel companions.

To me, the most memorable episode was “The X-Men Adventure” where the Spider-Friends were invited by the X-Men to hang out and use the Danger Room training facility, in the same way as a kid I would go hang out with my classmates after school to take advantage of their Super Nintendo. Everyone is having a great time until Firestar’s ex-boyfriend-turned-cyborg Cyberiad takes control of the Danger Room to get his revenge. He blamed her for the accident that left him a cyborg.Cyberiad

Judging by how Cyberiad wound up looking, Firestar dodged a bullet by not marrying him. I think they might have even had some dialogue in the episode that they were lovers…very awkward for a Saturday morning cartoon show. The two of them wind up fighting, with Firestar zapping him with her microwave powers. Defeated, Cyberiad regains his humanity, tells Firestar he loves her and seemingly dies on-screen.  Again….very awkward.

Sadly, the series is still not available on DVD. If you need a Spide-Man and his Amazing Friends fix, visit Spider-Friends.  It is a great website that chronicles everything Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends related.