NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 1, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“A satisfying “alternate” storyline for Marvel fans. Looks great and sounds awesome on Blu-ray!“
TITLE: NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW
DURATION: 78 minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:78:1) High Definition, 16×9 Widescreen, English 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English and Spanish Subtitles, English SDH*
Directed by Jay Olivia
Animation Director: Isamitsu Kashima
Screenplay: Christopher Yost
Story by Greg Johnson and Craig Lyle
Supervising Director: Gary Hartle
Executive Producers: Kevin Feige and Eric S. Rollman
Music by Guy Michelmore
Music Supervisor: David Arileon
Edited by George P. Rizkallah
Casting by Jamie Simone
Noah Crawford, Aidan Drummon, Brenna O’Brien, Dempsey M. Pappon, Adrian Petriw, Tom Kane, Fred Tatascore
Whenever the forces of evil threatened mankind, Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers, were there to stop them – until they made the ultimate sacrifice in their final fight with the indestructive robot, Ultron. But all was not lost for Tony Stark (Iron Man), he lept the children of the Avengers safe and raised them to become the teenage heroes of tomorrow. Now James (son of Captain America and Black Widow), Torunn (Daughter of Thor), Azari (son of the Black Panther) and Pym (son of Wasp and Giant Man) must finish the fight their parents started. Soon, the arrow-stinging son of Hawkeye will join their ranks, but it will take more than five teens to destroy the machine that defeated their parents. If these young heroes have any hope of winning, they must find the missing Hulk and come together as…the Next Avengers.
OK, it’s not solely targeted for kids.
After buying each of the Marvel releases on its first day of release, I hesitated with “NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW”. I figured that it was an alternate universe because of the characters on the cover but seeing kids on the front, I figured maybe this story was targeted for the children and avoided it. Granted, friends have told me the storyline is actually quite good and so, I figured that I’ll check it out and I was totally amazed by the overall storyline and with this being my first Animated Marvel product I bought on Blu-ray, not only does it look great but the 7.1 DTS HD audio track is spectacular!
The storyline of “Next Avengers” is an alternate storyline that is different from actual events and what is canon on the actual Marvel storyline but nevertheless, fans of the Avengers will find something positive with this film. The storyline revolves around the Avengers, Earth’s mightiest heroes being killed off by the indestructible Ultron.
The kids were entrusted to Tony Stark (Iron Man) who whisked them away to an undisclosed location and an older, white hair and bearded Tony Stark would tell stories about their parents at bedtime.
Flash forward and these kids are now young teens who were raised by Tony Stark and some have a hard time dealing with the fact that they’re parents are dead and have no one but themselves and Tony. The children being raised by Tony are:
- James – The son of Captain America and Black Widow. Of the children, he’s the one taking his parent’s loss the hardest. James wears an armlet that creates a holographic shield that can resize itself.
- Torunn – The daughter of Thor. Thor was not killed by Ultron but chose to rule Asgard after the death of Odin. He leaves his daughter to Tony but Torunn dreams that her father will come back for her but doesn’t understand why he’s abandoned her at the same time. She has a similar Asgardian temper like her father. Her weapon is a sword.
- Azari – Azari is the son of the Black Panther. He has his father’s jungle like, stealth abilities but also some electrical power.
- Pym – The son of the Wasp and Giant Man. The intelligent boy, the talkative boy and always curious. Has his parent’s ability to shrink, fly and shoot stinger bolts like his mother but also grow large like his father.
Other characters in this film are:
- Tony Stark (Iron Man) – The old guardian of the children. Still building scientific devices including large robots that look like his fallen Avengers friends. He regrets creating Ultron (because his creation is who killed of the Avengers and nearly all of humanity).
- Vision – Android, member of the Avengers. Also, the spy and eyes and ears for Tony Stark in his intangible form. Unfortunately, was caught and hurt by Ultron despite being intangible and goes to Tony for rescue. His body was damaged and thus Tony entrusts Vision’s head to the kids when they make their escape.
- Francis – The son of Hawkeye. Tony Stark thought he was killed along with his father and thus the reason why he wasn’t raised by Tony. Has his father’s bow and arrow abilities.
- Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk) – An old recluse who tries his best to keep his emotions in check through calm thoughts and meditation, also stays away from humans.
- Betty Ross – Lives among the surviving humans. Also, a person that Bruce Banner had a relationship with in the past.
- Ultron – In this film, he was created by Tony Stark. Has adamantium, ability to regenerate, take control of computers, has strength, ability to shoot out destructive lasers, etc.
While Tony works on Vision, things all change for the kids while they start snooping around the whole complex and James discovers these large Avenger robots that were created with the image of their dead parents. James thinking that maybe his parents are still alive accidentally awakes the programming of these giant robots who then leave the complex to take on Ultron. Unfortunately, by doing so, it revealed the location of where Tony Stark had been hiding and thus Ultron heads to the hidden hideout and converts the Avengers robots and turns them against the creator.
Now with Ultron knowing where the kids are headed, the kids along with Vision are whisked away to another location leaving Iron Man and Ultron battling for each other. But with Ultron too overpowering against the Iron Man and eventually beaten, the kids feel that they are humanity’s last stand and must go against the Ultron but they will need some help from Hawkeye’s son but moreso by the Incredible Hulk.
Definitely a unique and enjoyable twist on the Marvel Universe and the children of the Avengers were done well. Cool character selections, especially when it came to their abilities. But the action sequences were well-done and I really enjoyed this film and again, another awesome animated feature release from Marvel.
The animation was director was Isamitsu Kashima (known for his work with the “Transformers: Animated” series) and so, there is a slight Japanese anime style look towards the characters. The video is presented in 16×9 widescreen and a ration of 1:78:1 and with the film being newly released, the colors are quite vibrant on Blu-ray. All in all, the picture quality looks great.
The 7.1 DTS HD Master audio is just excellent. More surprised because I wasn’t expecting anything much from the soundtrack but I was proved wrong. The soundtrack was just awesome and good use of surround sound. A very good animated film that puts your 7.1 system to good use with great surround sound thankfully to the many action sequences in the film.
There are five special features included on this Blu-ray disc:
- Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow – This featurette goes into how the creators came up with the following characters, their look and their mannerism. A very good featurette on the thinking behind this film.
- Kid Power: Next-Gen Marvel – A very good featurette covering the history of Marvel and its use of teenagers in comics. From the X-Men, to New X-Men, Power-Pack and Franklin Richards.
- First Look at Hulk vs. Wolverine – A short promo for the upcoming film and the creators talking about how it was a dream to create this film of the two iconic characters going against each other.
- First Look at Hulk vs. Thor – What happens when you thrust the Incredible Hulk in Asgard and he starts going on a rampage. Pitting the two of the most strongest characters in the Marvel Universe, a small promo and the creators talking a little about creating this film.
- Trailer Gallery – Trailers
“NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW” was a pleasant surprise. I have to admit that I was expecting a children’s superhero film but outside of the main characters being the children of deceased Avengers, this film is full of action and the appearance of Iron-Man and the Hulk (albeit older versions of them) and all of them going against Ultron was great.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the Ultron comic book storylines in “The Avengers” and also “The Fantastic Four” and he’s just a kick ass villain. So, to have a story that features Ultron so menacing and destructive was a blast to watch. Of course, this is an alternate storyline and there are slight differences of what happens in the comic books and this animation (ie. Ultron was created by Dr. Henry Pym and not Tony Stark, Captain America and Black Widow were never that close to ever get married).
Of course, with this being my first animated Marvel feature to watch on Blu-ray, I was impressed by the quality of the video but moreso for the audio. The audio was just incredible to listen to. And also, the featurettes were fun to watch and just enough previews to get Marvel fans excited about the upcoming Hulk vs. animated films.
Overall, I’m so glad that we are getting animated features that are geared for adults or fans of the comic book series. For parents wondering if this can be watched by children, it’s rated PG and has quite a bit of violence and mild language. But this film was quite enjoyable. All in all, a solid release on Blu-ray!
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