Disney+ debuted last year, becoming the streaming destination for all of its most popular Disney brands, including Marvel Entertainment. Disney launched with plenty of content for Marvel fans, including many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films as well as more than 20 Marvel animated shows. While binging cartoons may not have been on the top of anyone's list a couple of months ago, self-isolation has left some people with a little more television time on their hands. If you're looking to fill those houses, we know 10 Marvel animated series that won't disappoint.
The list of Marvel animated series included on Disney+ spans four decades worth of content. The library reaches back as far as the short-lived Spider-Woman cartoon from 1979 to the still ongoing Marvel’s Spider-Man series on Disney+. Here, we've picked out the 10 best for you to invest some quality binge-watching time into. Keep reading to see what we chose.
Which Marvel animated series are you watching next on Disney)? Let us know in the comments section. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
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Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
While Marvel had some of the best cartoons of the 1990s, it never reached the storytelling scope of DC Comics series like Justice League Unlimited and the wider DC Animated Universe. In 2010, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes came along and did its best to bring the JLU magic to the Marvel Universe.
The show ran for two seasons, with the first season heavily-influenced by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's original Avengers comics, right down to the original Avengers roster. The second season grows the team with new members and borrows ideas from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Ever wondered what Paul Dini, one of the minds behind Batman: The Animated Series, would do with a Marvel property? In the early 2010s, the veteran of the DC Animated Universe made the jump to Marvel, where he worked on Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH.
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. sees the Hulk leading a team of gamma-infused heroes that includes A-Bomb, She-Hulk, Red Hulk, and Skaar, going up against foes like Leader. Not only that but Rick Jones films the whole thing, allowing for confessional scenes like those out of certain popular live-action sitcoms. It's unlike any other Marvel animated series.
The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk was a cartoon ahead of its time. The UPN series featured the voice of Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the live-action TV series that ran from 1978 to 1982, as the voice of the Hulk and often had cameo appearances from other Marvel character.
It was great in its first season, but the executives felt it was too dark and changed things in season two. They even changed the title to The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. The show wasn't the same, but that first season remains worthy viewing.
Children of the 21st century may not realize this, but there was a time when Iron Was, at best, a b-list Marvel character. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe turned him into an icon, this animated series was Tony Stark's biggest claim to fame.
It was part of the Marvel Action Hour with the less-good 1990s Fantastic Four animated series. It also featured Force Works, an obscure Marvel Comics team. It wasn't the Avengers, but with team members like War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye, it was as close as we got to an Avengers cartoon during the height of Marvel's '90s animation.
Marvel Rising also stands out for its cast of characters and target audience. It's the newest show on this list, featuring Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, Quakes, Ironheart, and other members of the new generation of Marvel heroes. The series is also targeted a younger audience, specifically young girls, which also helps it stand out from the crowd.
An underrated entry in the 1990s Marvel Animation catalog, Silver Surfer brought Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's cosmic energy to television. This series fused cel and computer animation for a single season of cosmic journeys in 1998.
Moreso than Marvel's other cartoons, the Silver Surfer animated series tackled some heavy themes. It did it in style, bringing to life Kirby's crackling art style.
The companion series to X-Men: The Animated Series, Spider-Man used to air back-to-back with X-Men in a perfect block of Saturday morning cartoons television. Just as X-Men succeeded in adapting the complexities of the comics, Spider-Man did an amazing job of bringing to life the trials, tribulations, and melodrama of Peter Parker's life.
Not only that, but the series featured appearances by several other Marvel characters. Guest stars included the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, War Machine, Daredevil, Blade, Doctor Strange, the Punisher and Captain America.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Wolverine and the X-Men might seem frustrating to some X-Men fans. The franchise has a history of showing Logan down fans' throats, so making him the lead title character and leading of the team in this series may be offputting.
But fans should get past it because this series is great. Yes, there are a couple of superfluous Wolverine-centric episodes, but this series channels the spirit of 21st century X-Men as well as X-Men: The Animated Series channeled the 1990s. It's just a shame that we didn't get to see season two, which looked to adapt "Age of Apocalypse."
Was there any chance that X-Men: The Animated Series wouldn't be on this list? Absolutely not.
This 1990s Marvel series turned a generation of fans on to Marvel's mutants. Even now it's incredible how well the series adapted classic stories like "The Dark Phoenix Saga" (better than either of the two cinematic attempts) and even then new stories like Gambit's origin story. This is quintessential Marvel viewing.
X-Men: Evolution reimagined most of the X-Men as teenagers attending a public high school in addition to training their mutant powers at Xavier's school. It seems like a weird gimmick at first, but the show is much more than that. Also, X-23's first appearance is in this series.