As the year / decade runs its course, its time for RETROSPECTIVE 2009 (part 1). The year has been fair to good for the superhero genre. Live action films were lacking, but the genre received a boost from solid animated entries.
The year started strong with Marvel's DTV released in January. The movie was essentially two short slug fests with some plot thrown in- the first focused on Wolverine and the second Thor.
I would go as far as to say this is the best of Marvel's recent animated movies, finally delivering some PG-13 content with blood and all. The movie was well received as well, selling nearly as many copies and Ultimate Avengers and way more than the more recent Next Avengers and Doctor Strange. A sequel with Hulk Vs Thing and Hulk Vs Iron Man should be a no-brainer but with Marvel's sale to Disney, we may be more likely to get Hulk Vs Elastigirl.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Aside from Batman, the X-Men are the only superheroes to have been given three animated series in the past 20 years. The 90's X-Men adapted stories from the comics, X-Men Evolution gave teen versions of most of the main cast. Wolverine and the X-Men took the ambitious approach of crafting a 26 episode story arc that made Wolverine not only the central focus ( as he had been in previous series) but the team leader in the wake of Professor X becoming comatose. A parallel future story followed the Professor in the future and his New X-Men.
Many of the classic tales such as Weapon X and Archangel were given new twists and the Hulk Vs Wolverine story even got a sequel in the episode Wolverine vs the Hulk. The series earned a second 26 episode season which will adapt the Age of Apocalypse storyline.
February's Push threw out yet another take on "ordinary people with extraordinary abilities." The look of the film and named types of psychics (i.e. pushers, watchers, sniffs, bleeders) establish a fresh take on a stale X-Men / Heroes premise of real-world superheroes. But while the film looked odd with an interesting Hong Kong setting, I (no one's dummy) had an awfully hard time following the story or lack thereof. The film only made $32 million, hurting chances for the seemingly built in sequel.
In March, DC released the first of three DTV's for the year delivering a modern take on the most recognizable female superheroine.
The movie was fairly short and sweet and makes you wonder why making a live-action Wonder Woman movie is so darned hard.
Come back next week for Part 2.