Unpopular Opinions: Blue Falcon & Dynomutt 2020

OK, so Scoob! happened.

Scoob!

As you know by now, we don’t review movies here at Twinsanity, so I won’t go into detail about the movie itself (there are already a ton of reviewers YouTube who have done that already), I’ll just say that my assessment of the film overall was…

Meh

It was OK. Not great, not groundbreaking, just OK. I don’t think it was low-grade dog food like many people on the internet apparently do, but I admit that its’ main draw was either for die hard Scooby-Doo fans or people in my age bracket (40-100 and up) who grew up with 1960’s through 1980’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and will therefore recognize and appreciate the many references, allusions and callbacks.

No, I didn’t think Scoob! was swill, but believe it or not, that’s not the Unpopular Opinion of this post. Today’s Unpopular Opinion is that, regardless of what I thought about the movie itself…

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

I liked the movie’s takes on Blue Falcon…

Dynomutt 2020

…and Dynomutt.

To understand why I feel this way (and to get the young’uns in the crowd up to speed), here’s a brief history lesson:

Dynomutt_blue_falcon

Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder made their debut on ABC’s Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976. The Blue Falcon (originally voiced by Gary Owens) was a Batman-esque superhero (his alias was that of millionaire playboy Radley Crown) and Dynomutt (originally voiced by Frank Welker) was his eager, brave but comedically inept sidekick, who just happened to be a talking robot dog. Dyno’s bumblings were so frequent that Blue Falcon (or “B.F”, as Dynomutt called him) would often refer to him as ‘Dog Blunder’.

The duo later turn up in–of all places–an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory entitled “Dyno-Might”.

DexterBlueFalcon

“Guest star powers-ACTIVATE!”

Fanboy and Chum Chum

“ZOMG! SHARED UNIVERSE!!!”

Dyno-Might 1

In it, the Falcon’s arch-foe, The Buzzard, ‘kills’ Dynomutt in battle and BF comes to Dexter for assistance. Dex rebuilds Dyno, but feels that the goofy ‘Dog Blunder’ isn’t a worthy sidekick to an awesome superhero like Blue Falcon, so he builds a replacement called Dynomutt X90, a more efficient but far more aggressive robot dog who’s so extreme that he sets a man on fire for littering and nearly laser blasts a little girl for picking a flower before he’s stopped by the re-activated original Dynomutt.

DynoMuttX9.JPG

“Jaywalking? Not on my watch, buster! Say your prayers, dirtbag!!”

At the end of the short, Blue Falcon says that he prefers having a comic relief sidekick because it makes him look cooler. Dexter, who’s saddled with Dee-Dee, agrees.

Fast-Forward to Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. BF and Dyno turn up in this series as well (by this time it’s been long established that the crime fighting duo know and are well-acquainted with the Scooby-Doo gang, as they’ve met and crossed over on numerous occasions and even appeared alongside one another on the Scooby Doobies team on ABC’s Laff-A-Lympics), albeit with a slightly revised backstory and some notable changes in characterization.

Blue_Falcon_(SDMI)

“I’m a falcon! Grrr!”

Here, rather than being a rich playboy, Radley Crown is a security guard at one of the laboratories of Quest Industries (as in Dr. Benton Quest, father of Jonny Quest–yes, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo and Blue Falcon exist in the same universe–it’s canon now) and Dyno is his faithful dog Reggie. One fateful night the two are attacked by a mutated monster created by Mad Science and Reggie is seriously injured in the attack. Desperate to save his friend, Crown enlists the aid of Dr. Benton Quest himself, who utilizes Quest technology to transform Reggie into a super canine cyborg. While Dyno here is his usual goofball self, B.F. is more gritty, angtsy and edgy, basically a spoof of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

And now we come to today. B.F. and Dyno turn up again in Scoob!. Here, Blue Falcon is a very famous and highly revered superhero, idol to millions and heavily trademarked, BUUUT (*Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, or actually care, which I doubt is many of you) this Blue Falcon is not Radley Crown, rather it’s his adult son Brian Crown, a somewhat goofy and slightly egotistical glory hog who seems more interested in promoting his brand than saving the world.

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

“Remember, kids: say you prayers, eat your vitamins, drink your milk, and buy my T-shirts!”

Dynomutt 2020

Dynomutt meanwhile has apparently been upgraded to a sleeker, cooler and far more competent version of himself; his tech is 100 times cooler, he’s more sarcastic and quick to chide his new partner and his goofy giggles have been replaced by a more annoyed wiseguy voice, provided by Ken Jeong.

And I enjoyed the heck out of these guys, particularly Dynomutt 2.0. Confession time: I’ve always thought Dynomutt was kind of cool. Despite his usual portrayal as a bumbling dufus who hindered Blue Falcon’s efforts as much as he helped them, I always though his tech was pretty cool. Back in the ’70’s, Dynomutt, along with the Robonic Stooges…

Robonic Stooges

That’s right, THESE guys…

Were what first attracted me to the idea of utilizing high-tech as a super power. These guys were the Robocops and Cyborgs of their day. So I was actually glad to see Dynomutt on screen and not being a joke. You’re free to disagree with me but I thought Blue Falcon and Dynomutt’s banter was funny and I love their new designs. The details on Brian’s costume looked awesome and this new Dynomutt is just cool-looking and badass.

Plus, I can’t be the only one who’d like to see an animated series starring these two. C’mon, a Booster Gold-esque Blue Falcon trying to make a name for himself while struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and his snarky but efficient robot dog companion? I’d watch the heck out of that show!

Even if you don’t agree with me on that, there’s something else I think we can all agree on:

Daphne Blake 2020

Kid Daphne in this movie was cute as a button!

 

Videots/The Cartoon Couch: Viva Pinata

Hey! Y’all remember Viva Pinata?

VivaPinata-Logo

For those who don’t, Viva Pinata was a 2006 life simulation game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360. The game inspired a Saturday morning TV series of the same name, which was produced by an American company, 4Kids Productions and Bardel Entertainment, a children’s animation company in Canada. Since today we’ll be looking at both the game and the cartoon show, this article is a hybrid: part Videots, part Cartoon Couch.

Certs

It’s 2…2…2 entries in one!

Here’s the show/game intro:

Viva Pinata the video game revolves around the player tending to a neglected garden in Piñata Island, in which different variations of piñatas must be bred whilst fending off disruptive interlopers. The player uses gardening tools, such as shovels and watering cans, to plough their garden, sow seeds, create ponds, and sculpt the garden to their liking. When certain requirements are fulfilled, the garden will attract a black-and-white outline of a given piñata species. After fulfilling additional requirements, the piñata will become a resident, changing into a full-color version. Once two piñatas of the same species are residents and their mating requirements are met, they can perform a “romance” dance. If the player successfully completes a maze minigame, the romance results in a baby piñata egg, which is delivered by a stork. The piñatas are not gendered, and hence any two piñatas of the same species can mate.

Pinata Species

OK, OK! Par-tay, Par-tay!

All of the various pinata species names are a portmanteau of some animal species and a type of confectionery/dessert. They were:

DOMESTIC

  • Barkbark
  • Goobaa
  • Kittyfloss
  • Moozipan
  • Ponocky
  • Pudgeon
  • Pigxie
  • Rashberry

JUNGLE

  • Badgescile
  • Cinnamonkey
  • Dragumfly
  • Ellaphanilla
  • Fudgehog
  • Galagoogoo
  • Hortsachio
  • Profitamole
  • Pretztail
  • Tigermisu
  • Twingersnap
Fat_Albert

“Hey hey hey, pass those candies my way!”

 

The game’s antagonists include the “Ruffians” led by Professor Pester and “sour piñatas” who occasionally enter the player’s garden with the sole intent of wreaking havoc: eating seeds, dropping poisonous piñata candies, and destroying objects. The player may tame sour piñatas by constructing fences around them. Weeds may occasionally sprout in the player’s garden and will quickly spread to destroy vegetable rows if the player does not kill them in time.

The game also boasted a unique cast of characters:

  • Seedos: Originally named Sidos, he is the youngest child of Jardinero. Even when he was small, he had a natural knack for raising Pinata, displayed by his sucess in raising a family of Shellybeans. After Lester lured Stardos into the jungle, Ruffians swarmed on Jardinero’s garden, destroyed it and stole the Pinata. Sidos ran and hid in the swamp with his Shellybeans. Until Jardinero returned, Sidos lived there with the Shellybeans and the time greatly changed him. From then on, he loved seeds (as all Shellybeans do) and changed his name to Seedos. He wanders your garden and gives you seeds when you talk to him. He is the only one you can get brand new seeds from when you cannot buy them at Costolots.
  • Leafos: Jardinero’s oldest daughter and second child; she proclaims herself the ‘brains of the family’ and is the creator of the Journal. When the Ruffians attacked, she hid in the house. She occasionally gives advice and gossip, both true and false, when spoken to.
  • Dastardos: A witch doctor who lives in the gnarled tree on the outskirts of Jardinaro’s garden. It is heavily implied that he is Stardos, since he was first noticed sometime after Stardos went missing and Jardinaro comments that “he reminds [him] of someone he used to know”. Whenever a Pinata gets sick and Doc Patch does not arrive soon enough, Dastardos will float out of his tree and destroy the Pinata.
  • Willy Builder: Builds pinata home so the pinatas can romance. He also can build any other building. He is married to Lottie.
  • Costolot’s: The store run by Lottie. Most items can be found in this store. She is married to Willy Builder.
  • Gretchum Fetchum: A Pinata hunter. She finds Pinata’s for people who pay her.
  • Doc Patchingo: A recent graduated doctor that comes to the rescue when pinatas are sick. He is always nervous when you talk to him.
  • Ms. Petula: She sells some pinatas and clothing for pinata. She claims that her parents are the real owners and she is there while they are out. She has a fishbowl with a living golden fish on her head.
  • Bart: He is a “Tuner-upper”, and, for a price, he will modify your things to some better by three ranks bronze (the cheapest and with less probabilities to have success), silver (the middle point) and gold (the most expessinve and with better results than the other two).
  • Arthur: He is the owner of Arthur’s Inn where he hires helpers to help you.
  • Ivor: He is an apparent begger and owner of Ivor Bargain once you give him 1000-2000 chocolate coins.
  • Jardinero: He is the elderly father of Dastardos, Leafos, Storkos and Seedos and former owner of the garden. He moves around on a motorized wheel chair.
  • Mother: Jardinero’s seafaring wife. Went off to sea in search of how to obtain a rare Dragonache.
  • Storkos: She is the third child of Jardinaro. She brings eggs, from Egg Mountain, to pinatas that have romanced.
  • Frannie: She is the lovely and sweet postmistress of Piñata Island that sends all packages to xbox live. According Leafos, she opens love letters with steam for a novel that she is writing.
  • Professor Pester: He is the main villian in the game. He kidnapped Stardos when he was younger and transformed him into Dastardos. He is the leader of the ruffians, and the former assistant of Jardinaro (Pester was then called Lester). He is the man who destroyed the garden.
Leafos

Leafos, the first character you meet in the game. Keen-eyed viewers will spot Leafos briefly in the opening titles of the TV show, though she made no actual appearances in the series.

viva_cosquilla_by_varikki44-d4oe11q

There is, however, an ‘art-house’ film generating through the video game underground in which Leafos “has some fun” with a Pretztail.

Emmet Nervind

“Feet…heh…heh…heh…heh…feet…yeah…yeah…heh…heh..heh….”

Viva Pinata the TV series originally aired on 4KidsTV from August 26, 2006 to January 18, 2009.  4Kids TV and The CW4Kids in the United States stopped airing the show on August 2, 2008 and October 25, 2008 respectively, but it continued to air in Canada on YTV until June 24, 2011. The TV series had a somewhat different premise from the game, and featured Looney Tunes-style slapsticky situations and gags. Not all of the jokes landed, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for zany, and since Viva Pinata was one of the few comedy cartoons on a lineup that was dominated by action shows, I could give it a pass.

TV Synopsis: In a garden on Piñata Island, a multitude of happy, colorful Piñata species live, frolic, dance, and grow. The goal of the piñatas is to fill themselves with candy, so they can be chosen by Piñata Central to entertain at birthday parties or retirement parties and other special celebrations. The piñatas have their own gardens and love to party. Each species is a portmanteau of an animal and a sweet type of food.

It is here in the garden, among the burrowing Profitamole, the bovine Moozipan and the tree-swinging Cinnamonkey that we will find a small band of Piñata friends that have known one another since they were children when they first came to the garden.

Being a piñata means something different for piñatas. Some Piñatas can’t wait to reach their maximum candy level so they can leave the Piñata Factory over and over again, bringing joy to children and partygoers all over the world. Others are not happy about the prospect of being shipped off to a strange place where happy children in festive hats hang them from a tree, bludgeon them until their limbs fall off, and devour their innards. Still others physically train for the parties as if they were off to the Olympic Games—hardening their bodies to create a challenge for the children clamoring to get at their candy.

Why is it that Piñata Island is the only place in the world Piñatas can be found? Even the Piñatas don’t really know—but with so much happening in the garden, what with weird new Piñatas arriving all the time, crazed black-market Piñata poachers trying to muscle in on Piñata Central action, mysteries to solve, violent garden pests known as sours to contend with, and constant opportunities to dance—who has time to worry about it?

The only thing upon which these Piñatas can agree is that on Piñata Island, anything can happen.

On the show, the pinatas themselves each boasted distinct names and personalities, and there were no human characters anywhere to be seen on the island.

Viva Pinata Title Card 1

MAIN CAST:

  • Hudson Horstachio: (voiced by Dan Green) A horse piñata with a green teal body like a pistachio, Hudson is one of the most popular piñatas in the business. As a celebrity he sometimes has to disguise himself when in public. His friends often have to keep his ego in check. He enjoys dancing and making extravagant statements about himself.
  • Franklin Fizzlybear: (voiced by Marc Thompson) A brown grizzly bear with purple and yellow stripes. He enjoys surfing, and typically speaks with a surfer accent and related expressions. He is fairly laid back and occasionally has moments of intellectualism. He is not good at lying. He also draws portraits of the other pinatas. In the video game, his surfboard is an item that the player can purchase.
  • Paulie Pretztail: (voiced by Brian Maillard) A cross between a pretzel and a red-tailed fox, Paulie is a no-nonsense kind of pinata who is easily considered to be “the clever-cloggs” of the main cast (besides Les) and Fergy’s best friend. He shares Fergy’s aversion of being sent to parties, though it seems more of an annoyance to him, rather than Fergy’s idea of thinking of going to a party as frightening, and frequently avoids them. He seems to be good at cooking as shown from the episode ‘ Recipe for Disaster’.
  • Fergy Fudgehog: (voiced by David Wills) A cross between fudge and a hedgehog, Fergy loves candy, but fears parties and Paulie’s best friend. He is frequently sought out by Langston to attend parties but always manages to escape his bugcatcher’s net. His catchphrase is “Oh, fudge!”
  • Ella Elephanilla: (voiced by Rebecca Soler) A cross between an elephant and vanilla, Ella suffers from short-term memory loss, thus contradicting the saying that an elephant never forgets.
  • Courtly_Jester_is_here!

    “Comedy!!”

Ella enjoys ballet. Because of her elegant moves, this caused Paulie and Fergy to both get huge, temporary crushes on her. They even asked her to a dance, but she forgot they had both asked her. No evidence has been shown that both Fergy and Paulie still have a crush on her, if they do, they are very subtle about it.

  • Les Galagoogoo: (voiced by Eric Stuart) A cross between a Galago and GooGoo, Les is smart and dextrous, however, when he speaks, it comes out as high-pitched gibberish. Les ranked second place in the 4Kids Viva Piñata character poll. It appears that the main cast may be able to understand him, but simply ignore him. In one episode, he was able to speak, but he was ignored as he always had been.
  • Tina & Teddington Twingersnap: (voiced by Kathleen Delaney and Jamie McGonnigal) A two-headed serpent crossed with gingersnap. They share a body, but argue a lot. They have both been shown to have sub-par gardening skills. Despite the fact that they appear to hate each other (after all, they are Brother and Sister), in one episode when they are accidentally separated, they end up greatly missing their other half. Teddington is the worst singer on Pinata Island and for some reason has a refined British accent.
  • Langston Lickatoad: (voiced by Mike Pollock) A cross between a licorice and a toad, Langston operates the Cannoñata. He regularly tries to catch the stealthy duo Fergy and Paulie in order to send them to parties.
  • Professor Pester: (voiced by Michael Alston Baley) The main villain of the series. In all the episodes he appears in, he and his Ruffians try to capture and destroy a piñata, (usually Hudson) if not all of them, to obtain their candy. Note that he does not appear to be a piñata. When he had his personality reversed and happily gobbled up all of Fergy’s candy, he was scanned on the way to the Cannoñata and found to have no candy. Nor do any of his ruffians appear to be piñatas; an episode shows that they were the result of a disastrous Sours experiment. His catchphrase is “I have no regrets”, and he always says it when his plans backfire and he ends up losing. He and the Ruffians are the only non-pinatas from the games to have made it to the show, though to be noted Leafos makes a split second cameo in the theme song right when the announcer states “Welcome to Pinata Island” as the screen is panning over a field..

RECURRING CHARACTERS:

  • Beverly Badgesicle: Hudson’s biggest, very obsessive fan.
  • Cecil Cocoadile: Cecil is the only piñata on the island who thinks Chortles’ jokes are funny, causing him to burst into tears laughing. In the piñata world, cocoadile tears make excellent fertilizer, so while laughing and crying at his bad jokes, he is also helping Chortles with his garden.
  • Chortles Chippopotamus: (voiced by Sean Schemmel) Chortles has a horrible sense of humor, but fantastic gardening skills. Only Cecil Cocoadile thinks his jokes are funny, and Chortles uses Cecil’s tears to help his garden grow.
  • Dr. Quincy Quackberry: A doctor and psychiatrist with a Groucho Marx-like personality. He wears glasses and a tie, and he customarily tells groan-inducngly bad jokes and puns.
  • The Great Bonboon (or just “The Bonboon”): A creature who pretends to be an all-knowing guru to steal candy from gullible piñatas like Professor Pester. He is usually meditating, but when no one is present, he talks to his friend Sid Sarsgorilla on the phone in his normal voice. Paulie is the only pinata who sees through his ruse.
  • Hamilton Horstachio: (voiced by Sean Schemmel) Hudson’s rival, who later on turns into a zumbug.
  • King Roario: (voiced by Dan Green) The King of Pinata Island.
  • Mabel Moozipan: She owns a well-kept vegetable garden and despises trespassers. She is friends with Florence Fizzlybear.
  • Pecky Pudgeon: (voiced by Eric Stuart) Pecky takes photos for the local newspaper of Piñata Island, the Pinata Yada Yada. He loves gossiping about everyone and will go to great lengths to bring in a juicy scoop for the paper. (He makes a cameo in the game taking a photo of Gretchen when she first appears.)
  • Pierre Parrybo: (voiced by Pete Zarustica) Pierre organizes various activities on Piñata Island. He’s also the DJ for a call-in radio show.
  • Ruffians: Professor Pester’s bumbling henchmen who usually ruin his plans, since they don’t comprehend orders well. They waddle from side to side in their walk, and they love to prank one another. According to Pester, three are boys and one is a girl.
  • Petunia Pretztail: (voiced by Sieko Shih) A kung-fu warrior who is friends with Florence Fizzlybear, Francine Fudgehog, and especially Haily Hostachio, and teaches Fergy and Paulie how to find their own “fu”.
  • Prewitt Profitamole: (voiced by Mike MacRae) A brilliant animal who seems to be the only mechanic on the island and he is a wonder at inventing. He also has a love for soaps, and watches them avidly.
  • Shirley Shellybean: Shirly is optimistic and always is ready to start a new adventure.
  • Simone Cinnamonkey: (voiced by Rebecca Soler) Hudson’s brisk and resourceful agent. She speaks very quickly, rapidly counting off Hudson’s schedule. Sometimes, she seems to want her pay more than Hudson’s fame, but she is occasionally shown to care for him in both stern and encouraging ways.

As with another animated series based on a Rare video game franchise, Donkey Kong Country, I find it kind of odd that the producers opted to not just make the series the game in TV show form; perhaps they felt the premise of raising, keeping and breeding pinatas was too close to Pokemon, who knows? While I didn’t necessarily have a problem with Viva Pinata: The Series, my personal take on the show would have been a mix of both the game and the show; I’d keep Fergy, Paulie, Hudson et al, but I’d also add Leafos and her family and the other locals as well (sort of a Harvest Moon meets Animal Crossing kind of deal, but with a tropical island makeover), allowing me to potentially get chafed by straddling the fence.

DrQuackberry

“Now that’s the wackiest proposal I ever hoid!”

 

Nerdvana: The Animal Factor

We’re familiar with Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Show, correct?

Super Hero Squad

The titular Squad on that show was comprised of superheroes who each possessed a specific factor to make an ideal team. They were:

  • Strength Factor
  • Speed Factor
  • Energy Factor
  • Elemental Factor
  • Animal Factor
  • Technology Factor

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed from my recent entries, I’ve been on kind of an animal kick lately, and that beastly train is still a-chuggin’ along. Today’s Nerdvana spotlights one of my favorite factors, The Animal Factor.

Animal Jam Animals

We’re totally gettin’ zoological up in here!

 

As its’ name implies (in case you haven’t figured it out by now), Animal Factor heroes employ the abilities, strengths and characteristics of animals and bestial ferocity into their power sets.

Beast Evolution

It’s time to get WILD!

Since I have nothing better to do, I’ve classified Animal Factor heroes into 3 distinct types: Ferals (animal/human hybrids who possess physical and mental characteristics of various creatures), Animorphs (beings able to shapeshift and/or assume the abilities of animals at will) and Power Animals (animals with super powers). Today I’ll be listing some of my favorite Animal Factor heroes. As with many of our lists, these won’t be in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said, on with the time-wasting fun.

FERALS

The Beast (X-Men)

Beast Scholar

I’ve already gushed about Hank McCoy in an earlier article, so I’ll keep it brief: the Beast is one of my favorite X-Men. He’s an erudite genius in the body of a big blue gorilla. Despite his appearance, he doesn’t speak in “Unga-Munga” dialogue, nor does he wallow in self-pity and angst over his mutation; he takes it all in stride with a big brain, a literary quote for any occasion and a good, cheery sense of humor. More recently, Marvel gave Hank a secondary mutation, making him more cat-like…

Beast Secondary Mutation

…And while I’m not completely against this idea, I don’t consider it all that necessary either. Beast was fine the way he was.

Human Beast Now

Sometimes I wish Marvel hadn’t opted to make Beast blue and furry at all; I actually liked OG Beast, but again, you already know that.

Shalimar Fox (Mutant X)

Shalimar 1

I know Mutant X was just a poor man’s X-Men clone, and the show was rated LB (for Low Budget), but I did like some things about it, one of the main ones being the Feral class and its’ representative, Feline Feral Shalimar Fox. Yeah, the fact that the Ferals didn’t look any different was mainly because the show didn’t have the coin for fancy makeup and costumes, but I liked the idea of possessing the animalistic ferocity while keeping your matinee idol looks. Shalimar was my favorite character on the show: sleek, agile, acrobatic, limber, prone to fits of savagery but with a soft vulnerable side, plus she lived up her last name.

Jimi Hendrix

“Foxy Lady!”

Cheetah (DC Super Hero Girls)

Cheetah 2

I’ll be honest, I never really cared or thought much about Cheetah before, but I like the DC Super Hero Girls version, though not at first. Initially, I thought Cheetah was just a one-dimensional bee-yotch who screwed with the others (most notably Wonder Woman) while never suffering any consequences, but in later shorts and in the hour-long TV special we get to see that there’s more to her than that, she actually possesses some humanity underneath her obnoxiousness and can even be friendly on occasion. Plus, I really like her design and costume here; I prefer Cheetah a cat/human hybrid that some rich snoot in kitty pajamas.

Cheetah 3

She’s fast, like a…well, like a cheetah!

Cheetah 4

She’s lazy, but show me a cat who isn’t lazy.

Cheetah 5

Just don’t step on her tail. Ever.

ANIMORPHS

Jayna (The Wonder Twins)

Jayna_Super_Friends_001

I like the Wonder Twins. Deal with it, nerds. Jayna can transform into any animal, whether real, mythological, indigenous to Earth or to some other planet. Since she must vocalize her choice of form to assume, she must know the common name. Naming the wrong animal will cause her to assume the wrong animal’s form. She has been known to take the form of anything from an ant to a whale.

In the Super Friends comic book, Jayna’s powers were shown to be more extensive. By transforming into an animal of Kryptonian origin, for instance, Jayna could gain both the creature’s natural abilities and the super-powers that all Kryptonians possess under Earth-like conditions; she was even capable of overpowering Superman in the form of a Kryptonian animal. She could also morph into creatures like griffins or werewolves.

jayna_picture_1

Plus she and her twin brother Zan enjoyed snacking on Wonder Girl’s CDs. Give ’em a break, they’re aliens. Spacey, real spacey!

Beast Boy (DC Super Hero Girls version)

Beast Boy

Another character I was usually just “eh” about, though the DC Super Hero Girls take on him is one of my favorites. His costume here is cool, he’s not as exaggeratedly skinny here and here he manages to be the funny guy without being portrayed as a brain-dead moron.

Honorable mention goes to the Young Justice version, where the character was voiced by Logan Grove, the original voice of Gumball Watterson.

Beast Boy Young Justice

I was OK with Gumball Beast Boy, I just didn’t like the show’s take on the origin of his powers. I didn’t mind the connection to Miss Martian, but I did mind the explanation that his receiving a blood transfusion for M’Gann is how he got his powers. If that were the case, he should be able to morph into more than just animals. Decent costume, though, and I actually like the half-monkey look he chose to stay in most of the time.

Vixen

Vixen

Mari McCabe can’t technically shapeshift, but she can magically assume the abilities of the animal kingdom. Vixen possesses the innate ability to make direct contact with the Earth’s morphogenetic field, which is sometimes known as the “Red”. This contact with the “Red” allows to draw upon the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on the planet. By simply focusing on a specific animal, she can draw its talent directly from the morphogenetic field and mimic its abilities, thus giving herself a variety of superhuman powers.

Vixen’s connection to the “Red” is so deep that she can use the abilities of multiple animals, once holding onto the morphogenetic traits of an entire forest. Her abilities have allowed her to channel the powers of extinct animals (such as the saber-toothed tiger and the Triceratops), domesticated animals (like the Doberman Pinscher), and even mystical beasts (like dragons). Her powers even allow her to twist some animal abilities, like when she used the bio-luminescence of a Marine hatchet fish and an Angler fish to produce light from her hand and to create a laser-like beam from her head.

Vixen wears a mystic artifact called the Tantu Totem, a fox-head shaped talisman given to her ancestors by the African trickster god Anansi. It was previously thought that the totem was the source of her powers but later stories, have shown that it merely prevents the morphogenetic field from overwhelming her mind. It was once assumed that the totem increased her range for mimicking animals as she has been seen taking on the traits of animals from across the world. However this limit has been removed since The New 52. The full capability of the totem is unknown but Vixen once used the magic of the totem to heal bruises and wounds within seconds by simply touching it. The totem is thus far absent from her uniform and she has been seen taking on the traits of animals that were not within her vicinity.

On top of all that, she’s a freakin; supermodel!

Vixen 2

BOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW!

No offense to Bumblebee, but I still wish DC had chosen her as the African-American representative to DC Super Hero Girls.

Astria (The Young/Space Sentinels)

Astria

A relatively obscure choice, Astria was a character from The Space Sentinels (originally titled The Young Sentinels and renamed midway through its only season), a Saturday morning animated series produced by Filmation which debuted on the American NBC network on September 10, 1977 and ran for thirteen half-hour episodes. She could morph into any living animal (duh! Why else would she be on this list?), plus she was one of the few African-American superheroes on TV at the time. Nice. Plus, she managed to give the team’s resident robot mascot, MO, a case of Jungle Fever hardware, since he was hot for her.

Reptil (The Super Hero Squad Show)

Reptil Normal

Again, I’ve praised Reptil in previous entries, so I’ll to abridge my thoughts here. I first learned about Humberto Lopez, aka Reptil, via The Super Hero Squad Show and he quickly became a favorite of mine. Despite the funky tights and no shoes which make him look like he’s wearing a wet suit, Reptil’s spunky, cute in a rambunctious boyish way and possesses one of the more unique powers on record: his Sun Stone amulet allows him to transform into various dinosaur forms…

Reptil Pterodactyl

Either partially, such as sprouting pterodactyl wings…

Reptil Dino Form

Or full-on dinosaur or humanoid dino forms. Also, he manages to make red and scaly look kind of cool.

POWER ANIMALS

Krypto the Superdog

Krypto

C’mon. He’s a dog with all the powers of Superman. Do I really need to explain why he’s on the list? He can save you from an active volcano, and then fetch you the paper. He’s the ultimate pet: a cross between Superman and Jeeves.

Miss_Martian_by_chou_roninx

Plus we get adorable fan art like this!

Brainy Barker (Krypto the Superdog)

Brainy Barker

My favorite member of the Dog Stars. She’s a purple Afghan in a cape with telekinetic/telepathic powers. ‘Nuff said.

Monkey (Dexter’s Laboratory/Dial ‘M’ for Monkey)

Monkey

A super-powered lab monkey given amazing powers via weird scientific experiments by boy genius Dexter himself. Monkey can fly, manipulate energy, fire laser beams from his eyes, move objects telekinetically, change into and out of his costume with a thought and his costume is really cool looking. Not bad for a lower primate. Hmmm, maybe I should’ve put him on my roster for Build Your Own Fantastic Four.

Bolt (Disney’s Bolt)

Bolt

On his TV show, Bolt possessed such dazzling powers as super speed and a ‘sonic bark’. They were just fictional of course, but still pretty cool. Also, I like the bolt mark on his fur.

-So there you have it. Some of my favorite Animal Factor heroes.

Dynomutt

“So am I an Animal Factor or a Tech Factor? I’m not sure…

DynoMuttX9

“…But if you don’t wanna get chomped by a robot dog and avoid a Robotic Uprising, I’d advise you to make friends with both!”

 

2 Funny: Whiners Can Be Losers

Anyone who’s ever worked in an office or a corporate or team environment has experienced that one day or meeting where their unit succeeds at getting absolutely nothing done. The Super Friends’ archenemies the Legion of Doom are having just such a day in this favorite Cartoon Network bumper from back in the day. Enjoy.

Note how Solomon Grundy always just piggy backs onto whatever request the last person who spoke makes. The “Solomon Grundy want pants too!” line gets me every time. Good stuff.

Talkin’ Nerdy: Myth Debunking

I’d like to briefly address a popular myth that’s been circulating on the web for some time now, concerning the late DC animated series from the equally late DC Nation block, Young Justice.

Young Justice

Namely:

nerd

“I’m still pissed that Cartoon Network canceled the Young Justice TV series in favor of Teen Titans GO!

UmmNo

I understand that folks are still lamenting the loss of Young Justice (though not me personally; the show lost me after the time-skip–way too many ongoing plots, shoehorned-in characters and an endless supply of “What a twist!” plot curves going on for me to bother trying to keep track of, but I digress) and I’m no fan of Teen Titans GO! either, but people really need to stop saying that, because it isn’t true. Like, at all. While I agree TTGO! is an easy show to rag on, it’s not the reason why YJ was canceled.

Young Justice got the finger because it wasn’t getting the desired ratings Cartoon Network wanted; kids by and large weren’t tuning in to YJ (the network’s lack of promotion and encores for the show obviously didn’t help) and eventually Mattel, the toy company that produced the YJ action figure line, withdrew their support of the show; not a good thing, considering that action cartoons typically require more detailed and intricate animation, backgrounds and production values and as such, action cartoons depend largely on toy and merchandise sales for survival. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the DC Nation block, the New Teen Titans shorts, which portrayed chibi versions of the TT characters engaging in wacky Looney Tunes style slapstick, were proving to be very popular with young fans, and since the current Cartoon Network is all in favor of producing comedy cartoons for kids, it was later greenlit into Teen Titans GO!

So the termination of Young Justice was due to low ratings, poor merch sales and lack of financial support; it had zilch to do with rise of Teen Titans GO! Young Justice‘s fate was sealed before Teen Titans GO! was ever a thing, and TTGO! was going to happen, whether Young Justice stuck around or not.

Adam-Savage-and-Jamie-Hyneman-in-Mythbusters

Consider this myth BUSTED.