Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land – Three classic gaming styles balled into one

Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land takes the lovable characters from the popular Cartoon Network series and puts them into three classic gaming styles: platformer, side-scrolling shooter and top-down shooter. Each are played separately and then get balled into one mash-up toward the end of the game.

Platforming mode of the game allows you to switch from Mordecai to Rigby on the fly and each has a specialty. Mordecai can double jump and Rigby is small enough to avoid attacks and squeeze into tight areas. It’s a typical platformer we’ve all seen before with the bosses beat through memorizing their pattern, but the switching of characters does make it unique in that there is some strategy involved.

Side-scrolling shooter mode is what you’d imagine it to be with power-ups and multiple enemies shooting at you that need to be shot down. What’s cool here is that you can shoot forward and backward unlike most other horizontal shooters. The setback is that you can’t shoot forward while moving backwards, so the game is a little clumsy in that regard.

We weren’t able to try out the top-down shooter part of the game, but what we’ve seen worked as both a fun and worthy homage to the 8-bit era. Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land will be released exclusively on Nintendo 3DS on October 29.

The Countdown begins to ‘The Legend of Korra: Book 2′ Premiere

We’re just a few short weeks away from the premiere of The Legend of Korra Book 2. And, I can’t express how excited I am to see my second favorite Avatar return to TV – sorry Korra, but I’ve just known Aang a lot longer.

This is something of an emotional moment for me. It’s been over a year since the last season aired. Unlike Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra was slated to be a mini-series only. So the season finale wrapped itself up in a nice-and-tidy package.

I’m anxious to see where the series goes in Book 2 and where creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino will push the characters through books 3 and 4.

Korra is a great character, and starkly different from Aang. She’s the Katniss Everdeen of the cartoon world; she has a fierce spirit and takes risks in a way Aang never did. I also liked the Star Wars setup to the sequel series. The benders were made out to be oppressors in the Republic City of Amon and the Equalists fought to take them down. Korra may have taken down the threat in Republic City, but it looks like we’ll see the spiritual and physical world collide once again – this time on a grander scale. I can’t wait to see what happens when Korra goes global.

The Legend of Korra Book 2 premieres Friday, Sept 13 at 7/6C on Nick.

DC Comics’ ‘Doom Patrol’ gets a Moment to Shine on Cartoon Network (Video)


Are you ready for some Doom Patrol action?

I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m still disgruntled over the loss of Young Justice. It made me a little standoffish when Beware the Batman first premiered. Would the Batman get the same treatment as Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series? Is it worth investing my time, only to be rewarded by another Cartoon Network cancellation?

This is the kind of question you have to ask yourself when a new series airs. Although the pilot for Beware the Batman was a little shaky, the subsequent episodes have gotten exceptionally better. However, strong plots, great characters, action, mystery and suspense don’t necessarily make for great studio returns… Sometimes you have to mix in a little goofy Teen Titans Go action.

Well, with the DC Comics shorts, you don’t have to worry about cancellation. The latest one focuses on the Doom Patrol. The clip above features favs like Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Robotman. The style feels like a mix of The Venture Bros and mech anime – minus any bishoujo glamor shots.

The clip looks pretty awesome. And the great part is, I can watch the shorts without worry of cancellation. Of course, if it’s really good, then I might start to hope that the network turns it into a full series. How awesome would it be to see a full Doom Patrol show? Sure, in name, the series doesn’t have a mass appeal of the Justice League. But with the right creative team, it could work. Then, of course it does get a full series order, I’ll have to bite my nails every week, worrying if it will get the axe — regardless of how good it is.

You can catch the Doom Patrol short during Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block, Saturday at 10AM EST/PST.

The Legacy of ‘Young Justice’ Lives on … Well, sort of

Young Justice

When Cartoon Network decided not to pick up Young Justice for a third season, a small part of me died. The animated-action series ended with the loss of teammates, new enemies and a bold look towards the future.

Given time to breath, Young Justice was primed to be one of the best action cartoons of all time. It may have even rivaled Justice League Unlimited. If you’ve ever watched, Justice League Unlimited (and shame on you if you haven’t), then you know what I’m talking about. The second season of Young Justice was a clinic on great story telling, superb voice acting and smart direction. The twists with The Light, The Reach and internal squabbles amongst the Team made it a truly epic drama.

Sadly, there was no future for Young Justice. Wally West’s disappearance into the speed force was a sacrifice that would never come to fruition. Aqualad had just come back into his leadership role in order to meet cancellation.

Thankfully, there are still Young Justice tales to be told – even if it isn’t on TV. Series creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti have left a horcrux around of sorts, which gives Young Justice fans one final tale. No, they didn’t put their spirit inside a diary like Tom Riddle, aka Harry Potter’s arch-nemesis Lord Voldemort, did. But rather, they created a story that bridges the five-year gap between the first and second seasons of Young Justice. And, they put it inside of a video game.

Young Justice: Legacy, from Little Orbit, can be considered the last mission of The Team before Aqualad separates from the group and relinquishes his leadership to Nightwing. It features the voices of all of the actors from the animated series, right down to Star Trek into Darkness star, Bruce Greenwood, as Batman. So you can look forward to Kid Flash’s quips as he fights with Artemis by his side.

The game is delivered in a modified top-down view. You assemble a team of three characters out of a 12-character roster. Core characters like Nightwing, Aqualad, Artemis, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and Superboy are all available. Aqualad is also in his classic, Aquaman style costume, pre-Black Mantis. Each character has the typical litany of punch and kick attacks as well as a special ability. Players can easily switch between members of their party to use the more enjoyable special attacks, like speed punches with Kid Flash or Nightwing’s modified batarangs – the wing-dings. Missions typically involve battling waves of enemies or freeing hostages.

There are also four other characters that will be made available as DLC. Yes, DLC… please feel free to start growling in angst now. Hopefully, it’s not Lagoon Boy. I mean, seriously, who would pay for Lagoon Boy. He’s the guy who stole Superboy’s girl, remember?! I’m guessing one of the DLC characters will be Roy Harper, aka Red Arrow, or Blue Beetle.

When I chatted with the folks at Little Orbit, they were still hopeful that another network would pick up the series. Sadly, I believe this will be the final chapter of Young Justice‘s legacy. The good and the great always die young.

Young Justice: Legacy will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii U and 3DS.

Samurai Jack Stages his Return – ‘Bout Time

Samurai JackThe greatest Samurai of all time is staging his return.

Samurai Jack is coming back… though sadly not in animated form. However, he will be appearing in comic book series from IDW Publishing. The comic, entitled Samurai Jack, will feature variant covers from creator, Genndy Tartakovsky. Andy Suriano, who was the character designer on the original Cartoon Network series, will join writer Jim Zub to develop the comic series.

The monthly series will debut this October from IDW Publishing and will start off with a 5-issue arc, entitled “Rope of Eons.” I was actually it would be a spin-off of the “Jump Good” episodes – a personal favorite.

If you don’t know about Samurai Jack and his epic time traveling war with the ancient demon wizard, Aku, you should definitely pick up the series on DVD.

When cartoons switched over to the newer, Flash-animation style, Samurai Jack was the series that really proved that action cartoons could still work with flatter, less dynamic visuals. Years later, I feel like Samurai Jack helped to change the landscape for action cartoons and bring about hot cartoons like FX’s Archer.

It’s about time the franchise was rekindled. Every time I see the DVD on my shelf, I reminisce about the greatness that was Jack.

Mezco brings home Vintage Cheetara & Snarf Thundercats in Delightful Nether Pose

Here’s another reason to wish the newest Thundercats cartoon didn’t get cancelled by Cartoon Network.

Mezco is releasing a classic 14″ Cheetara and Snarf 2-pack this summer. It’s the G1 style, but it’s just a sad reminder of the unfortunate and untimely demise of the new series.

You have to love this stylish Cheetara pose. She’s got 10-points of articulation, but what really does it for me is how they positioned Snarf in this marketing photo. He looks so timid standing below Cheetara’s nether regions.

This will be released as a Mezco summer exclusive so potentially Mezco will make only 1500 made like the company’s Walter White exclusive from Breaking Bad.

However, the site doesn’t actually mention a number. Chances are if the demand is high enough, Mezco will re-release this one similar to its other large-scale Thundercats figures.

Teen Titans Go Episode 11 – Good Deeds for Senior Citizen get Dunked

The Teen Titans are getting their first heat wave in Episode 11, “Hey Pizza.” In this clip, Robin plans to do a good deed for the community, but gets sidetracked when he starts to fantasize Starfire in a bathing suit.

With the temperature rising in New York, I can’t help but empathize with the air conditioner humor at the start of this clip. I also love the flirtatious banter between Beast Boy and Raven – even if it’s one sided. Go Beast Boy!

Teen Titans Go Episode 10 – Khary Payton goes for an Emmy


I may still be grieving over the loss of Young Justice, but I can’t help but smile watching this tear-jerker Teen Titans Go scene.

This clip features Cyborg, voiced by Khary Payton – who brought us the unforgettable character of Aqualad on YJ – mourning the loss of Starfire’s “pet” Silkie. Payton reminds us what great voice acting is all about. Perhaps they can come up with an Emmy award for it, like “Most Dramatically Acted Scene in an Animated Series that’s Comedic.” Yeah, that’ll work.

There’s also a fun opening scene with Silkie on the beach in Mexico. The animation may remind me of The Powder Puff Girls, but I’m really starting to dig this new series.

Teen Titans Go! Premiere: Personality is there, but mundane stories lack wit

Teen Titans Go premieres on Cartoon Network tonight, an ostensibly watered-down version of the 2003 series. The familiar voices of Scott Menville (as Robin,) Khary Payton (as Cyborg), Hynden Walsh (as Starfire), Tara Strong (as Raven) and Greg Cipes (as Beast Boy) will remind long-time fans of the Titans’ epic battles against Slade (aka Deathstroke), mixed in with just the right sprinkling of chibi anime humor.

teen titans go

However, familiarity ends with the voices. Teen Titans Go lacks the substance needed to survive in its prime time spot. The pilot has two mini-episodes: “Legendary Sandwich” and “Pie Bros.” There’s no real action, just a few jokes and gags that won’t have you coming back week-to-week for more pedestrian tomfoolery.

In “Legendary Sandwich,” Raven sends the Titans off on a fool’s quest to recover a few mythical sandwich ingredients. Now, she can watch a My Little Pony knock-off cartoon in peace. The cartoon is fun for all of two minutes. Younger audiences may enjoy the humor and vibrant pastel colors. But thee mini-episodes lack the oddities of a SpongeBob and the creative antics of Phineas and Ferb.

“Pie Bros” tries to teach a lesson on friendship, but starts to drift off in an odd direction. At one point, it appears that Cyborg and Beast Boy are engaging in a bit of cannibalism before the misdirect is revealed. It’s more uncomfortable to watch than funny, especially when Beast Boy plucks Robin’s insignia out of his teeth. The episode also throws in an obligatory “bad guy” (or rather bad girl) for no apparent reason.

The characters’ personalities are definitely there, thank you voice cast, but the comedic situations are lacking. The mundane storytelling just doesn’t maintain the consistent wit or playful banter of a series like The Looney Tunes Show.

Of course, first episodes are just that – first episodes. Most series take a while to take off. For fans of previous DC Comics’ series, this show may be difficult to digest at first – much like swallowing a piece of Robin’s costume. Episodes appear to be one-off gag fests, unlike the action-oriented series DC Entertainment typically produces.

Teen Titans Go is better suited for the after-school scheduling block and not during prime time, when young children fight for TV viewing. Perhaps Teen Titans Go! could work in a Saturday morning time slot as well. But after Young Justice got canned, Cartoon Network and Warner Bros Animation probably decided it was best to go with the evening airing. Unfortunately, in both cases, it just seems as though the programming directors don’t get the demographic that either of these cartoons appeal to…

Teen Titans Go! airs Tuesday nights at 7:30PM on Cartoon Network.

Khary Payton Offers Hope to Grieving ‘Young Justice’ Fans

As Cartoon Network and the DC Nation try to switch it up with Teen Titans Go! (and does so successfully–seriously don’t miss it) April, 23 we are still grieving the loss of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.

young justice aqualad2

I asked voice actor extraordinaire, Khary Payton (Go On), who many will know as the voice of Cyborg in numerous incarnations including the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us video game, how he has dealt with the Young Justice funeral–he voiced Aqualad, Brick and Black Manta–and if it’s a good transition to going into a comedic series.

kharypayton

“I’ve known for awhile that we weren’t going to be doing any more Young Justice shows so I’ve had time to get over it,” Payton said. “But I love Young Justice, I love Aqualad he’s one of my proudest creative moments as an actor who helped them come up with that character.”

“I feel like that voice–I hadn’t used it for something else. That voice was specific. I looked at the artwork and the copy they gave me and I thought about it for awhile and that was the voice that came out. I really feel like it was an integral part of his makeup. I loved where his character came and went.  He was a reluctant leader.”

I added that Aqualad was the coolest incarnation of an Aquaman-type character put to a screen.

young justice aqualad1

“I’m not going to say you’re wrong,” Payton said emphatically, with a big grin. “Honestly, I didn’t grow up saying Aqualad is the coolest. But I’m going to tell you, Aqualad is the coolest. The dynamic with Black Manta and Nightwing… I loved it.”

“I hope it comes back someway somehow. You never know. It took awhile, but Teen Titans came back. That’s the thing about comic books, they just take a walk but they always take a walk… but we know it’s just around the corner.”

Let’s hope so. Like all DC Animated (and Thundercats) projects, every new incarnation or series is met with trepidation by the fans and like so many times before, once they go off the air, fans are sad to see them get taken off the air, or critics are wondering how they are talking about cancelations instead of season renewals. Young Justice and Teen Titans were no different.

injustice cyborg

As for that Injustice: Gods Among Us game, Payton also enjoyed being a part of that game and being able to play Cyborg in yet another way. “It’s more involved than you’d think a Mortal Kombat game would be, but I think the story that they’ve written for it is awesome, make sure you check out the Injustice digital comics, they’re freaking awesome. It’s a great, great story.”

“These characters latch onto us at a very early age. As adults it latches onto that kid in us, so it’s hard to let it go and I’m lucky to be a part of it.”

Catch Khary Payton on the new Teen Titans Go! cartoon premiering Tuesday, April 23 on the Cartoon Network at 7:30pm and the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game which hits North American stores on April 16, for the Playstation 3, XBOX 360, and Wii U. 

Watch the trailer for Injustice: Gods Among Us Below: