In December, Marvel announced the new multi-platform animation franchise Marvel Rising. Culminating in six animated shorts collectively known as Marvel Rising: Initiation, followed by an 80-minute movie, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors in the fall, the franchise is actively working to promote some newer Marvel characters that have been coming up through the ranks. Not only that, but the franchise has tapped some of its talent to return and fill the vocal shoes in different roles. For instance, Agents of SHIELD’s Chloe Bennet lends her voice to Daisy Johnson, Quake, the character she has played on the show for five seasons. Her season five co-star, Dove Cameron, who played Hydra’s secret weapon Ruby on the show, is also front and center for the Marvel Rising franchise. In this case, she lends her voice to the Ghost-Spider, Gwen Stacy’s character.
Marvel’s official synopsis of the animated shorts is as follows–
Marvel Rising: Initiation follows teenage superhero Gwen Stacy, AKA Ghost-Spider; she is used to spending her time fighting for justice and playing drums in her band. But when she finds herself accused of being on the wrong side of the law — chased by her police captain father, as well as a host of young heroes including Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake and Patriot — Ghost-Spider must go on the run to prove her innocence.
Joining Dove Cameron and Chloe Bennet are Kamil McFadden as Patriot, Milana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl, Kathreen Khavari once again as Ms. Marvel, Dee Bradley Baker as Tippy Toe, Skai Jackson as Gloria Grant, and Steven Weber as Captain George Stacy. Marvel Rising: Initiation
Upon watching the six shorts it became evident that the casting is solid and well-matched. From the beginning it’s easy to see that Marvel has put a lot of love and energy into this project. The animation style is well done, boasting bright colors amidst frames that have a sense of life. The art styling takes a cinematic approach and this is largely seen in fight choreography and camera pans. The attention to detail transcends to the setting. It’s nice to see the animators nailing some Queens sites, such as the elevated trains.
What’s also great about the series is the writing. This is mostly reflected in the conversations between the characters. The banter between Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl makes for some stellar comedic moments. But the comedy isn’t the only thing that permeates through, there are some heavier themes tackled in the series, such as death. The shorts don’t pull punches when discussing the circumstances around it, and for that, it makes it a great show not just for the targeted audience, but for the adults that will be roped into watching it with them. For the adults, whether you’re watching with or without a kid, it will be an enjoyable experience. No matter what generation tunes into these shorts there are certain callbacks that will invoke nostalgia.
The characterization of those we meet in these shorts are also spot on. We’ve been with some of these characters for a good time now. Ghost-Spider, though the name is new, is in fact Spider-Gwen, as Marvel endeavors to polish the character. Chloe Bennet fits right in to her Daisy persona, especially the more matured Quake we see as a leader. Ms. Marvel harbors all of the youthful energy we’ve been able to count on her for years. The rest you’ll have to see and determine for yourselves.
These shorts premiere on Disney XD on Monday, August 13th at 7:30PM ET/PT and are each 3 to 6 minutes long. Marvel Rising: Initiation and Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors are executive produced by Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, and Eric Radomski; co-executive produced by Stan Lee, Sana Amanat, and Marsha Griffin. The shorts and special were written by Mairghread Scott. Alfred Gimeno served as supervising director. Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors premieres this fall on Disney XD.
You can view some footage of the shorts in this featurette with Dove Cameron:
And some more with Milana Vayntrub, answering Who Is Squirrel Girl in this featurette: