Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2011] Season 2. 26 Episodes

Armor for everybody! (except you, Hulk.)

Iron Man and his Amazing Friends! Co-starring "War-man" and "Pepper-star!"

Iron Man and his Amazing Friends! Co-starring “War-man” and “Pepper-star!”

Seriously. Check out Blizzard's homage to Iceman's classic means of travel.

Seriously. Check out Blizzard’s homage to Iceman’s classic means of travel.

After a three-year hiatus, Iron Man: Armored Adventures returned for a second season. It was not a good time to be a Stark. Neither Howard nor his son Tony had much go right, but in the end they did overcome kidnapping, financial ruin, corporate shenanigans, maniacal mutants, maniacal armor wearing morons, megalomaniacal armor wearing doctors, manic Pepper Potts in armor, and oh, an alien invasion.

Does this kind-hearted soul look megalomaniacal to you?

Does this kind-hearted soul look megalomaniacal to you?

Justin Hammer's Titanium Man used a derivative name, but was rather maniacal.

Justin Hammer’s Titanium Man used a derivative name, but was rather maniacal.

The look was even better than season one. The cel shading style still closely emulated Skyland. The number of quality assets constructed for this season was large, yet the French and Indian animation houses produced fantastic visuals on a television budget.

Madame Masque's 1st season episode was strong. This season's not-so-much. This looks like a bad date...

Madame Masque’s 1st season episode was strong. This season’s not-so-much. (Alternate caption: ‘Your costume party date… is unhinged.’)

Real-iron-man-cosplay-costume

"How do you keep kicking my butt in those heels?"

“How do you keep kicking my butt in those heels?”

Where season two could have been better was in the writing department. Many of the individual episodes were well composed, but the overall flow, the arc of the season lacked focus. The finale involved Gene Khan’s Mandarin, but the set-up was weak. We see across multiple episodes, frustrating cameos of Gene manipulating cruelly a kidnapped Howard Stark. But there is no development of Gene since last season, except that he is less palatable.

Howard Stark says things like, "We can do great good for this world, son." Gene Khan's mom said things like, "You will complete our purpose rule the world."

Howard Stark says things like, “We can do great good for this world, son.” Gene Khan’s mom said things like, “You will complete our purpose and rule the world.”

Iron_Man_literal cosplay

So the Mandarin's ten magic-- er, 'Makluan technology' rings are actually artifacts from these goofy looking aliens?

So the Mandarin’s ten magic– er, ‘Makluan technology’ rings are actually artifacts from these wacky looking aliens?

Let’s cram season two into a sentence: Tony’s father Howard is not actually dead but kidnapped by the Mandarin and forced to help him acquire more power while Iron Man tries to carry on despite his company being stolen, and just about everybody from corporate big wigs to AIs and even nutjob students taking aim at him, though ultimately unsuccessfully thanks to his whiny friend James Rhodes, bi-polar friend Pepper Potts, and an almost completely reassembled cast of the Avengers movie.

Hulk shows up for the finale, and punches a big alien machine... Where have we seen that before?

Hulk shows up for the finale, and punches a big alien machine… Where have we seen that before?

Iron_Man_boy_hulk_cosplay_

Sure,, this season's sudden focus on the Avengers cast was just coincidence...

Sure, this season’s sudden focus on the Avengers cast was just coincidence…

Who dons armor this season? (The shorter list would be who doesn’t.) Yes, Pepper does, to our chagrin, corporate nutjob Justin Hammer, Howard Stark, even Tony’s grandson from the future, plus of course the entire armored rogue’s gallery of the Marvel Universe. Even non-armored characters like Magneto wore armor.

The Ghost is still a cool character not easily beat. Magneto in armor? Hmmm. And the winner of this season's goofiest armor is Iron Man 2099. Are those your glow in the dark pajamas?

The Ghost is still a cool character not easily beat. Magneto in armor? Hmmm. And the winner of this season’s goofiest armor is Iron Man 2099. Are those your glow in the dark pajamas?

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_doctor_doom_castle

But the stand out depiction, and the most pleasant surprise of the season was that of Doctor Doom. It was the best depiction we have seen of him since John Byrne’s Fantastic Four run back in the day. A great voice and modulation, and his wacky mix of tech and magic. Okay, they retconned his magic to be “really advanced quantum technology.” It was the only slip up, and unnecessary.

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_doctor_doom_victor_beat

"Kneel before doom!"

“Kneel before Doom!”

It was great to see young Iron Man, before he came into the fullness of his power, get his butt swiftly and mercilessly kicked. He was totally outclassed, which was a nice change up since he kicked butt all season long. Doom’s visual effects were different and exciting. He was not dumbed or powered down. We give props to shows when they do not emasculate the powerful veteran to make the newbie star look good (Huntik also handled this well).

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_Season_2_doctor_doom_advanced_rendering

"Check out my cool stealth armor and space armor. Huh? You think the red lights give my stealth armor away?"

“Check out my cool stealth armor and space armor. Huh? You think the red lights give my stealth armor away?”

Iron Man: AA offers a fun glimpse into lesser known Marvel universe characters. Their depictions are solid and worthy of them. We can even forgive the shameless latching-on to the phenomenally successful Avengers movie cast. Tony, in slightly unbelievable fashion, cranks out new armor types to please fans of the franchise. (Most of them, thankfully, retain the round uni-beam.) Overall, it is a finely crafted show still worth watching.

PS – This looks like the end of production for Iron Man Armored Adventures. It was a good and entertaining two-season run. We would enjoy seeing more of it.

When in the Hulkbuster armor, Tony needs only say, "Talk to the hand."

When in the Hulkbuster armor, Tony needs only say, “Talk to the hand.”

"This commute is really starting to stink..."

“This commute is really starting to stink…”

Check out another rock anthem theme song. It rawks:

Check out other Iron Man related takes:

Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2008] Season 1

Iron Man (anime) [2011] Season 1

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 1

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 2

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow [2008]

Check out some of our other Marvel takes:

Green Lantern: The Animated Series [2011] Season 1

Hulk Vs Thor [2009]

Thor: Tales of Asgard [2011]

Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2008] Season 1. 26 Episodes

Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “teenerizing” a show in order to make it more palatable or “relateable” to a younger audience.  Some of you may even be familiar with the “pre-teenerizing” of a show, made famous by Muppet Babies.  That name has practically become synonymous with the concept.

The living Laser although not a teen whined like some teens you might know. "Dude! Why so intense?"

Well, Iron Man: Armored Adventures (IM:AA) is a teenerized version of the Iron Man property.  The series plays fast and loose with the entire setting.  Very loose.  However, there is some effort to keep the spirit of the property intact for which we here at the Fortress are grateful.  We are fans of Iron Man and reasonably knowledgeable of his universe.

Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude: "Kal El my son, I am your father, Jor El..."

Certainly, this adaptation is much better than another recent “tweenerized” superhero flick, The Next Avengers.  So here is the one sentence synopsis:

In a contrived twist, high school “sooper genius” Tony Stark inherits his father’s company but cannot take control until his 18th birthday and in the meantime must fight the evil machinations of current CEO and bad guy Stane and the mysterious Mandarin while in the anonymous guise of his latest invention the Iron Man armor and along the way learn about humility, friendship and the power of teenage crushes er, a bunch of really cool suits of armor.

"Oh, but isn't he dreamy..." - Pepper Potts is the most polarizing of the teen versioned characters. You either dislike her or hate her.

Pepper Potts: Iron Man Armored Adventure version.

To grab those familiar with the property, the show introduces right at the start someone who looks exactly like classic Tony Stark.  But that is NOT Tony Stark, it is his father.  Tony Stark is the whiny kid next to him.

They also introduce someone who looks just like the classic Iron Man arch enemy, the Mandarin.  But that is not the real Mandarin, that is his stepfather.  The real Mandarin is the whiny kid next to him.

And in like manner all the young-versioned characters in the Iron Man mythos are introduced.  Oh, except for Nick Fury who continues to be the old, cantankerous Samuel L. Jackson looking “Ultimate Universe” version also popularized in the Robert Downey film.

The Mandarin armor was well designed. He is all about the rings, although the producers implied the rings were advanced tech rather than magic. "In your FACE Stark!"

Once, Tony Stark thought the key to intimidating enemies was... to add a nose to his armor.

The look is fun and unusual.  It may remind some of you of the excellent Skyland series and indeed was made at the same animation house, LuxAnimation.  It is a fun cel shaded computer generated look.  It works well with the varying armor types Stark dons.  They are the keystone of the property after all.  Space armor, underwater armor, etc., and the infamous War Machine armor.

We are fans of the War Machine armor here in the Fortress. However this show's version was a bit underwhelming. Not enough contrast? Too bulky?

The HULK episode was fun and the "hulkbuster armor" one of the season's best.

Some of the additional armors were a little disappointing in appearance.  A little blah.  But importantly, they got the Uni Beam on Iron Man’s chest right.  It is ROUND.  It has been so for 90% of Iron Man’s history.  It is one of his trademarks.  It is not shield shaped like Superman’s “S”, despite occasional dalliances by various Marvel artists.

No doubt you have seen some coloring book, towel, toy, or cheap piece of cr@p with the lame pentagonal or even triangular unibeam. Bask here in the glory of its roundness.

We compliment the day to day design team more than we do those who envisioned the whole adaptation.  The design of supporting characters like Madame Masque and the various weapons used throughout the season are imaginative and entertaining.

Madame Masque: Hottie by day and weapon festooned destruction machine by night. She battled toe-to-toe with our armored hero. In other words, a typical date.

If you are a fan of the Iron Man rogue’s gallery, you will see reinvented origins of all your old favorites like the Crimson Dynamo, Living Laser, A.I.M and M.O.D.O.K.  Thankfully, the rogues were not as teenerized as the heroes.

M.O.D.O.C. Mental Organism Designed Only for Conquest? Okay not one of Marvel's best acronyms. How about, Maniacal Oversized Dome Obsessed with Crime?

Well voiced and designed with depth, the Ghost was one of the most interesting characters the entire season. (However, someone needs to tell him that camouflage is not working. Dude, we can see your shadow!)

Is it annoying to see Mr. Genius wrestle with puerile high school hijinks when lives are at stake?  Yes.  Is it a little discouraging to see Stark never fully come out on top?  Yeah.  Is it frustrating to see the major bad guys elude getting their comeuppance the entire season?  Oh yeah.

"Ben? Ben Kenobi?"

But the show is fun, interesting and worth watching.

"I'll be watching, but this stupid helmet TV only gets in one channel. Even the picture-in-picture!"

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Iron Man Related Takes:

Iron Man (anime) [2011] Season 1

Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2008] Season 1

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes [2010] Season 1

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow [2008]