Top 10 Best Animated Marvel Shows

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Top 10 Best Animated Marvel Shows

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
We love live-action Marvel, but its animated shows deserve some praise too! For this list, we'll be looking at the best animated series to come from the House of Ideas. Our countdown includes "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (2010-12), "Ultimate Spider-Man" (2012-17), "What If...? (2021-), "X-Men: Evolution" (2000-03), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Johnny Reynolds

We love live-action Marvel, but its animated shows deserve some praise too! For this list, we’ll be looking at the best animated series to come from the House of Ideas. Our countdown includes "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (2010-12), "Ultimate Spider-Man" (2012-17), "What If...? (2021-), "X-Men: Evolution" (2000-03), and more! Which is your favorite animated Marvel show? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “M.O.D.O.K.” (2021-)


It can be hard to keep track of every Marvel property these days, especially if it’s a show not set in the MCU. But anyone who tuned into Hulu’s take on the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing found a great comedy. The series follows the villain after his evil organization files for bankruptcy after his marriage begins to crumble. Patton Oswalt shines as the voice of M.O.D.O.K., perfectly nailing the tone of the offbeat character. Other stand out cast members include Ben Schwartz and Melissa Fumero as M.O.D.O.K.’s children. It definitely leans towards comedic trappings rather than superheroics. With the same studio behind “Robot Chicken’s” stop-motion animation, it's a quirky inclusion in Marvel’s repertoire.

#9: “Ultimate Spider-Man” (2012-17)


This Disney XD series followed Peter Parker one year after becoming Spider-Man, still learning how to carry his burden. While we’ve seen Peter in that state multiple times, “Ultimate” brought enough new to help it stand out. Through S.H.I.E.L.D., Peter learned to be on a team with other teenage heroes like Luke Cage and Iron Fist. And the show did a great job at bringing in Spidey’s rogues in a new set-up, particularly the final season’s Sinister Six lineup. The cast was made up of superhero royalty including Greg Cipes, Tara Strong, and J.K. Simmons once again as J. Jonah Jameson. It came from the studio behind “Ben 10,” so there was plenty of excitement for kids to enjoy.

#8: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2015-19)


With the 2014 film, writer and director James Gunn turned a team most had never heard of into one of Marvel’s hottest properties. A year later, Disney released a series exploring further misadventures of the team that we would’ve been grateful to have as kids. The 3-season run saw the group come into conflict with traditional space characters like Thanos, the Collector, and Yondu’s Ravagers. Though we also got frequent crossovers with other Disney XD shows. It was a lot of fun venturing through space with Marvel characters who had just been introduced into the mainstream. Every cast member nailed their character with Will Friedle as Peter Quill being a particular standout.

#7: “X-Men: Evolution” (2000-03)


While it didn’t reach the heights of the beloved ‘90s series, “X-Men: Evolution” sought to explore the popular team in a new way. Set in the modern day, it changed many of its characters into teenagers. That way, we got to see incredible powers we already loved in the hands of those still dealing with a world that shuns them. Though that may have annoyed some diehard fans, it allowed for kids to better connect to the characters. This characterization worked better for some than others; it took Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Cyclops in interesting directions. Plus, the series still showcased the awesome battles we had always come to expect from the team.

#6: “What If…?” (2021-)


The MCU is an incredible franchise stuffed with larger-than-life characters. But this animated series asks: what if things went differently? From Peggy Carter taking up Cap’s mantle to Thor as a selfish only child to a zombie apocalypse, “What If…?” brought interesting takes on our favorite heroes. Most actors returned to reprise their big-screen roles, making it feel more connected to the live-action universe. And the cel-shaded animation made for some fantastic fights. However, despite its premise, the series showed a larger connection to the grander story. The multiverse has received an increasingly larger focus in the movies. It was great having the concept introduced in a visually unique way.

#5: “Wolverine and the X-Men” (2009)


Just because it didn’t last long doesn’t mean this “X-Men” adaptation wasn’t great. The series is set one year after an explosion destroyed Professor X’s school and left the team disbanded. It follows Wolverine as he attempts to bring the team back together amidst further mutant prejudice. It was an engaging look at the team, broken by tragedy, as well as Wolverine, who had to step into the leader role. Steve Blum, having voiced the character many times before and after, showed again he’s a pitch-perfect Logan. The series had plenty of twists and wonderful character moments. Sadly, Disney’s purchase of Marvel Studios in 2009 led to financial problems with Marvel’s financing partner, ultimately leading to its cancellation.

#4: “The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-09)


First premiering on the Kids’ WB block on The CW, this iteration of the wall-crawler is one of the best TV adaptations fans have gotten. It covered the usual ground: newly bitten Peter Parker must juggle his superhero life with his private one. But it was the way in which it navigated familiar territory that made it such a hit with fans. It didn’t shy away from more mature topics, but it was still a bright, explosive superhero spectacle. The way in which it showcased villains was also fantastic, particularly the show’s version of Green Goblin; another dynamite performance from Steve Blum. It may have surpassed every animated Spider-Man outing had it not been canceled due to legal problems between Disney and Sony.

#3: “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” (2010-12)


While the Avengers were still gearing up for their big screen team-up, this animated series already had them working together. It began with 75 supervillains escaping from prisons around the world. Initially beginning with the first comics line-up, the team saw other heroes like Black Panther and Hawkeye join the ranks to bring the villains to justice. The animation was magnificent, drawing viewers in almost immediately and rivaling the highest caliber found in DC’s animated portfolio. It served as a stellar introduction to viewers unfamiliar with the grander Marvel universe and came at the perfect moment. Unfortunately, it was another Marvel show canceled before its time: this time, it was to make room for “Avengers Assemble,” which more resembled the MCU’s version of the team.

#2: “Spider-Man” (1994-98)


While Spider-Man had appeared in animated adaptations before, none of them quite captured the character the way this ‘90s series did. And many adaptations owe this show a debt of gratitude. Peter Parker is one of Marvel’s more relatable heroes and this series did a spectacular job at showing how vital both sides of his life were. It also brought to life much of his rogues gallery in thrilling, bite-sized chunks for kids to obsess over. From classic villain origins to the more out-there Clone Saga, the series was a joyful Saturday morning cartoon version of the hero’s most famous storylines.

#1: “X-Men” (1992-97)


The best animated Marvel show and one of the best superhero shows period. The X-Men quickly became Marvel’s coolest team with their own animated series. The flashy costumes, the awesome and unique powers, the varied characters; if you hadn’t read the comics, watching “X-Men” was an awakening of how mind-blowing superheroes could be. And just like its comics, the show dealt with some heavy themes for kids. It is to Marvel what “Batman: The Animated Series” is for DC. Its cast knocks it out of the park and its superb animation still holds up today. And let’s not forget about its awesome theme song. “X-Men 97” has a lot to live up to.
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