Television: Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes

Fantastic Four: World's Greatest HeroesOkay, so I lied. I said that the only new show I’ll be watching this fall is Heroes on NBC. That was a falsehood almost before the words were on the page, thanks to my wife setting up a Season Pass for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, also on NBC. Now, to add to the untruth, comes Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, an animated series produced by Moonscope, a French animation studio.

I heard about the series earlier this year, but completely forgot about it until it was mentioned on one of the many podcasts I listen to. After a bit of a false start with the Season Pass, my trusty TiVo began recording the show at 8:00 on Saturday evenings. I missed the first couple of episodes, but the two I’ve seen—”My Neighbor the Skrull” and “Trial By Fire”—have both been pretty good. The storyline is classic Fantastic Four, introducing both the shapeshifting Skrulls (and setting the stage for the Super Skrull) and the Kree, a race of alien conquerors. These two races are at war with one another, which should make for an interesting story, especially if the Kree send Captain Mar-vell and his awesome nega-bands to Earth. ((Actually, including the nega-bands would almost certainly require the writers to introduce the ubiquitous Rick Jones, who uses the bands to bring Mar-Vell out of the negative zone.))

Johnny Storm
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The visual style of Fantastic Four borrows a lot from anime, which would be okay if not for Johnny Storm’s hair, which looks like it was ripped from someone in Dragonball Z, or perhaps Digimon. I can’t even conceive of the amount of hair gel Johnny must use every morning, and if those sideburns were any longer they’d be a chinstrap for his wacky hair helmet. Actually, Johnny’s sideburns may have been a chinstrap at some point, but if so it was surely severed by his pointy, pointy chin. (Click image to enlarge hair and chin alike.)

Tonsorial oddities aside, Fantastic Four is a fun show that looks promising. It’s geared toward 6 – 12 year-olds, so it lacks the edginess of some recent superhero fare, but the story so far has a lot of potential. I do regret missing the episode entitled “Doomed”, though, as I’m very interested to see how they treat the Fantastic Four’s arch-nemesis, Doctor Doom. If he’s done well, the series could quickly become a favorite.