11 April 2004 | DarthBill
Talk about getting a second wind
The first season of this show kind of sucked. Weak animation, herky jerky lines of dialogue, an obnoxious opening theme and lame plots. The second season was a big improvement, sporting better animation, a better opening theme and what not. Well, the pilot found the Fantastic Four on a talk show discussing how they became the elastic Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), the Invisible Woman (Susan Storm-Richards), the Human Torch (Johnny Storm; actually an ode to an earlier character that appeared during the 2nd World War era) and the rock hard Thing (Ben Grimm). During the first season they were regularly pestered by an obnoxious land lady with a cute dog, met the Sub-Mariner/Namor (who had a thing for the Invisible Woman), the Silver Surfer who in turn helped them fight his master Galactus, the Skrulls, creatures from alternate dimensions, Dr. Doom, and many others. The 2nd Season introduced the Inhumans (I think that's what they were called), one of whom, Crystal (voice of super model Kathy Ireland) Human Torch fell in love with, but was separated from because of a funky force field dome that would eventually suffocate their native city of Avalon, so a frequent topic during this season was cracking the dome before everyone inside died (the dome was later shattered by the city's leader Black Bolt, who had quite a voice). The Silver Surfer made a return for this season's finale in conjunction with Dr. Doom, along with Galactus, meanwhile some very big guest stars included Daredevil in the season premiere, the Incredible Hulk (who also guest starred on Iron Man in that series' 2nd season), and Thor God of Thunder (voice of John Rhys Davies, who we all know for Sallah in the Indiana Jones films and the dwarf Ghimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, who played this part again for a guest spot on "The Incredible Hulk). Note that the first two guest stars, Daredevil and Hulk, have gotten a crack at feature films while the Fantastic Four and Thor still haven't.
The voice actors were pretty good (Chuck McCann, voice of the Thing/Ben Grimm, also voiced one of the Beagle Boys on Disney's Duck Tails and was the voice of the soldier Leatherneck on "GI Joe") and they did what they could with the occasionally bad dialogue they had during the first year. But like I said, the 2nd year was a big improvement. It's a shame it got canceled, but what do you expect when it aired AHEAD of X-Men and Spider-Man on Saturday mornings instead of along with them?
This show aired as part of the "Marvel Action Hour" which aired at 7:00 AM on Saturday mornings between 1994-1996 in conjunction with an Iron Man cartoon. Iron Man similarly had a bad first season and a superior second. Both sets of stars later made guest spots on "Spider-Man".