Iron Man Adventures aka Teeny Bopper Tony
As the Marvel Marketing Machine (say that ten times fast) winds down, it’s time to reflect especially on on old bucket head, alcoholic, womanizer, duechebag linchpin of the Marvel Franchise among other things. For those of you who like your women a little dough eyed, your cigarettes made out of candy, and your alcohol mixed with sugar and ordered with cute fruity names that sound less committal to your binge drinking habit while getting drunk, there’s a John Hughes Sixteen Candles version of the famous womanizer just for you… and who else could make him oh so neutered but the French.
All kidding aside, the series is fantastic and it’s a nice post-game after Iron Man 3.
Before we go any further, I must confess my profound love and deep fascination of French-American things. McDonald’s French Fries. A nice bottle of French red wine chilled to the right temperature in the fridge. Maybe it’s just me and my friends. We were very much American Skateboard Hipsters who said we “oui” a lot, and not just about us. Of course this all steam from a love of French American women. That aside, I also know a thing or two about art as do the French. French animation always has a certain geneseque about it. Look that up if you don’t know what it means. I know how to use. Usually over a mean roast beef sandwich with provolone.
My love of French things has led me to understand the Frecnh have a lyrical quality to their plots as well as a whimsy in their line work. Iron Man- Armor Adventures does not miss a beat in this department. Yes I used the oui joke twice. Sue me. Please direct all hate mail to Katza Money. He’s not only a player, he’s the player president.
Iron Man- Armor Adventures is a fantastic re-imagining of the Iron Man mythos. The series takes all the conventions we love in Iron Man, save the womanizing, drinking, and into a amazing kids cartoon, taking all the things we know about Tony Stark (hard working, genius, focused) and even his good friend Rhody and Pepper, and paint it with broad strokes, putting a clever spin on a familiar hero.
The trio are set as teens in high school in a Dawson’s Creak meets a high-tech Gossip Girl way, but the series is fun and familiar all at the same time. And for those saying, ok at least on Gossip Girl, they have Blake Lively and Leighton Miester. I answer with a Pepper Potts, re-casted as the cute misfit girl who’s down with the other misfits that no one else at the school likes. Ms Potts throws in comic relief for Rhody’s bad jokes and she is very much the cool quirky girl a lot of guys would dig.
However, the thing that really sings is the visuals. Everyone goes to animation for something different, cool stories, character designs, cute voice actors who are not so cute when you meet them at the con after having starting an online romance with them over Facebook. No matter your reason, except maybe that last one, Armor Adventures delivers. The character designs are top notch. They’re the type of elegant and spindly designs only the French can do. On top of that the technology has a wonderful Matsutomi Shirow quality that has crept its way into any tech series post Ghost in the Shell. You’ll even notice a hint of Dave Johnson Super Patriot/Ben 10 in the designs. There’s also an awesome Whiplash design that looks almost as good as Micky Rouni running around in that Season Three Power Ranger Costume. Almost.
The French are also known for their love of art, which you can see in the visual approach to the series. The backgrounds are gorgeous. Hopefully they will make an art book for the series to showcase some of the wonderful paintings, layouts, and color approaches of the series.
Armor Wars is also no slouch on the action, which is well story boarded and frenetic. Again, owing much to anime, as we all do, I think I still owe a dealer, five bucks for the bootleg copy of Mighty Orbots, the action matches any production from Japan. If you are a robot fan from early days of VHS bootleg Anime, you will not be disappointed. Tony fights robots and it is cool. Real cool.
While the animation is superb and the characters are great the series has areas where it could improve. The dialogue can get a little silly, but I’m the kind of writer who likes to listen to people talk on the train and thinks Mammet should write everything- ever! The series also recycles shots, which is very common in series animation, however, they do a good job of changing details, like the mixing up the color schemes during various times of day.
So there you have. And now I have to run and tweet my new art crush Claire Wendling (notice the odly placed French artist reference), drink some cheap slushily frozen wine and eat french fries form Five Guys.
Until the next time.
– Chris Walker