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    An Unofficial, Yet Controversial, Ranking Of 12 Animated Superhero Shows You Should Know About

    In honor of Marvel’s What If... coming out soon, here’s a list of the great animated shows that have come before!

    12. Teen Titans Go! (2013–present)

    Teen Titans Go! team
    DC Entertainment

    Compared to the rest of this list, Teen Titans Go! is marketed for a young demographic. And compared to the original Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go! is quite abysmal. Know a young person looking to get into comic book heroes? Give it a chance! Are you older than 10? Keep scrolling for better options.

    11. Ultimate Spider-Man (2012–2017)

    Ultimate Spider-Man Series Cover
    Disney XD

    A nice attempt for a fresh Spider-Man show. In this version, Spider-Man is recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to join a small team of young heroes, providing a nice method to connect Spidey to the rest of the world. Filled with constant fourth-wall-breaking, lots of one-liners mid-battle, and nice animation. Besides Spider-Man, this series includes some awesome Marvel characters fans might not be as familiar with, such as Iron Fist, Nova, and White Tiger. Unfortunately, the humor falls flat for older ages and, personally, Drake Bell isn’t my favorite voice actor (and his recent criminal charges make him my least favorite). Overall, a forgettable series.

    10. Marvel’s Spider-Man (2017–present)

    Marvel’s Spider-Men, Spider-Girl, and Ghost Spider
    Disney XD

    Premiering after The Spectacular Spider-Man, which really was spectacular, Marvel’s Spider-Man came out in 2017 and only lasted for three seasons. Because it took the place of Spectacular Spider-Man, this series got a lot of undue hate. This iteration places Peter Parker at Horizon High, a tech school for geniuses, which means all the plot lines and villains either come from or make their way to Horizon High, which adds a level of predictability. However, Marvel’s Spider-Man gets points for also having Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Girl, and a cool take on Harry Osborn. Nice animation, nice humor, and a new take make this series worth watching.

    9. Invincible (2021–present)

    Amazon Studios

    Invincible is a great series, and it pains me to put it so far down this list, but it’s a hard one. Meant for mature audiences, even rated MA, and for good reason, Invincible is gory, foul-mouthed, and filled with even more gore. Mark Grayson’s dad is the world’s greatest superhero from another planet, and it’s time for Mark to follow in his father’s footsteps. Only complications follow. Invincible is fresh, new, and a great show for comic book fans. Its weak points aren’t detrimental- other shows have had better voice casts, the episodes were uneven, and some plot lines were a little tired, but it had amazing animation, shocking twists, and a lot of action.

    8. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992–1997)

    X-Men Animated Series Main Characters
    FOX Kids

    I know, other lists have this series higher, because it’s great! Yes, I know, but sometimes nostalgia makes us see through rose-colored glasses. This show was a pioneer in the field, and is the reason I love X-Men, and is better than most of the live-action movies, but it has its flaws. The animation makes it distinct, a period piece in itself, but is not the best to watch anymore. Neither is the voice acting, which was great for the time, but new viewers won’t see the magic like we did. Hence, its placement on the list. It boasts the best portrayal of Rogue, Jubilee, and Wolverine, but its take on Jean Grey is downright offensive, even though it is the only successful depiction of the Phoenix Saga. Aside from that, Jean Grey is an object for Scott and Logan to fight over and save. Despite all of the above flaws, X-Men has an expansive cast, paced story-telling, all the great X-Men villains, and is definitely worth watching.

    7. Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009)

    Spectacular Spider-Man
    Sony Pictures Television

    Like I said before, this series really is spectacular, and was canceled way too soon. Focusing on a sixteen-year-old Peter Parker and all the origin stuff we all know but love to watch, The Spectacular Spider-Man features storytelling that is mature enough for fans of all ages while still remaining kid-friendly. Although Spectacular Spider-Man has an animation style that isn’t my favorite, its stellar voice acting makes up for it. Great for first time viewers and life long fans, The Spectacular Spider-Man is a must-see.

    6. Teen Titans (2003–2006)

    Teen Titans Team
    Cartoon Network/Amazon

    This is the series that introduced me to DC. It focuses on a team of teen crime fighters, led by Robin and consisting of Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven, this series is another great example of how animation can stay kid-friendly while simultaneously giving a mature take on characters and stories. This series proves young people can hold their own shows, without the Justice League, and is full of amazing voice acting, action sequences, humor, and plot lines.

    5. Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994–1998)

    Spider-Man Title Card
    Fox Kids

    Again, I apologize for the placement of this amazing series, because I know it’s placed higher of other lists. And again, although it is an amazing portrayal of Spidey and holds a special place in my heart, it is extremely dated. The animation, the writing, the voice acting, and the fact that Spider-Man can’t be shown punching villains limit the series. And of course, it ends on a frustrating cliffhanger but it had quite a run, and has its place in the Hall of Fame, plus its depiction of MJ and Felicia Hardy? Progressive for its time and holds up. Although dated, it’s still great and all fans deserve to see it, the younger generations just might have to look past its flaws.

    4. X-Men Evolution (2000–2003)

    X-Men Evolution Characters
    Kids' WB / Via

    Hear me out on this one. I know it’s controversial but I firmly believe this series is underrated and deserves more attention. The older shows will always have a place in my superhero-loving heart, but it’s okay for new iterations to be just as good, if not better. X-men Evolution is a new take on the classic X-men, setting most of the main characters, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Shadowcat, Rogue, and Nightcrawler, in high school. This allows the students of the Xavier Institute to develop as mutants and heroes while coming of age, providing a whole host of entertaining plot lines. Season 1 is admittedly geared for a younger fan base, the series really finds its footing and creative flow Season 2 onward. The show is a great twist on familiar characters and explores mutants in a relatable, entertaining, action-packed way that I cannot recommend enough.

    3. Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995)

    FOX Kids

    There have been a lot of versions of Batman so it’s easy to forget how legendary this version was in portraying the Dark Knight. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are synonymous with Batman and Joker in the animated world for good reason, they’re fantastic. As are the animation, action, and depictions of Batman and his rogue gallery. It also gives a nice introduction to Robin and Batgirl, characters often misused. There really isn’t a bad thing to say, young and old fans alike will love this show, even in the saturated market of Batmans.

    2. Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006)

    The Justice League
    Cartoon Network

    The Justice League iteration we all deserve. After DC’s try at Justice League, we all deserve to watch this again just to remind ourselves how great it can be (yes, I’ve watched the Snyder Cut and even though it’s long, it’s not great cinema). Justice League brings together the biggest DC heroes and provides all the humor, action, and world-ending stakes one should expect from the Justice League while engaging in mature storytelling and asking relevant questions about its characters. Is it a kids’ show? Yes, but that shouldn’t stop adults from watching, because they would be missing out on a great series.

    1. Young Justice (2010–present)

    Young Justice Team
    Cartoon Network/DC/HBO

    This series is fresh, sharp, and, like many others on this list, Young Justice isn’t just for kids. Complex plot lines, rich characters, and stellar animation make it entertaining for all ages. Focusing on the younger heroes of the Justice League: Robin, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Aqualad, and SuperBoy, as well as growing the roster of heroes featured on screen in the later seasons, this show uses mature themes while also packing it with humor, wit, and sprinkling in classic DC hero appearances. This DC animated show originally aired on Cartoon Network before being canceled after two seasons due to low toy sales. After a successful run on Netflix and years of fan petitioning, DC Universe picked up the series for a third season. The fourth season will debut on HBO Max.

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