What can’t be put to film usually winds up in an animated cartoon. This has made animated superhero shows particularly expansive and imaginative shows. This post will look at 5 of the best intros to groundbreaking animated superhero shows.
This list doesn’t primarily rely on nostalgia (though I did watch a lot of these shows while growing up), but rather how effective the introduction to each show is. What catches the audience's attention and draws them in to watch their favorite heroes kick some ass? Is it the catchy music? Is it the tone? Or is it seeing their favorite heroes or heroines flash across the screen (no pun intended)?
Whatever the reason, the TV shows on this list have stuck around for quite some time and for good reason. They are all different and can stand on their own. These shows have stood the test of time and many fans still agree that these are some of the best superhero shows of all time, let alone animated cartoons in general. For this list, I’m only talking about the show's intro, not the show as a whole. Without further ado, here is my list of “My Top 5 Superhero Animated TV Show Intros.”
#5. Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994-1998)
This is by far my favorite superhero animated cartoon, even though it's intro only ranks in 5th place. There’s the blazing guitar, the computer generated New York City, and the muddled voice saying “Radioactive Spider-Man!” What’s not to love here?! I absolutely enjoy the choice in scenes from the show they picked for the intro. You can see Spider-Man fight most of his famous villains including Hydro-Man, Scorpion, Kraven, and Doctor Octopus. The introduction to the show sets you up for an AMAZING (pun totally intended) adventure along with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
#4. Teen Titans (2003-2006)
“When there’s trouble, you know who to call… Teen Titans!” C’mon, you know the words! This anime-style cartoon took off and became an instant hit on Cartoon Network. The intro to the show gives you a memorable theme song with catchy lyrics. Once you hear the song, you'll never forget it. The intro also highlights each of the characters showcasing their abilities, including Beast Boy who can turn into a variety of animals.
The intro’s catchy tune along with an introduction to the show's major characters, sets the stage for a colorful and not-so dark take on fan-favorite DC superheroes. Teen Titans is definitely meant for kids (and, well, teens) as the creators did a phenomenal job with a very impressive introduction.
#3. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
Unlike Spider-Man: The Animated Series, this show doesn’t show you any of Batman’s major villains in the show's introduction. In fact, all it shows you is Batman taking down a few thugs in the streets of Gotham. It’s very subtle, yet it works extremely well.
This just goes to show you that Batman not only has to deal with major villains like Mister Freeze, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and of course the Joker, but he also has to deal with your average thieves. Of course thanks to Danny Elfman’s musical score, the music has a much darker tone to it than the others on this list. You also get a nice view of the Batmobile in all its glory as it’s chasing down criminals in Gotham.
#2. Justice League (2001-2006)
This is certainly one of my favorite intros of all time and is absolutely the best DC one. The shadowy figures that resemble the current Justice League members are crafted brilliantly along with the intro’s tune. We get a good impression of each individual character, including Batman throwing his batarangs, Wonder Woman deflecting a few bullets, the Flash sprinting, Superman bursting through a wall, and Hawkwoman taking to the skies. There’s also CG mixed in with the right amount of animation.
And how for my #1 choice…
#1. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone mention X-Men: The Animated Series? For most (including myself), it’s the killer theme song. You also get a great glimpse of all the major mutant characters that take part in the show. Whether it’s Wolverine’s claws, Storm’s lightning, Cyclops's optic blasts, Jubilee’s fireworks or Gambit’s playing cards, there’s much to love in this show's introduction.
Once you saw this intro for the first time, you knew you would be in for one hell of a ride. It’s also awesome seeing all the mutants fighting on Magneto’s side such as Pyro, Avalanche, Mystique, Juggernaut, and Sabertooth. You definitely receive plenty of shots of Professor Xavier as he uses his mind to control and find other mutants.
This was a fantastic show and is certainly the best intro on this list. 20th Century Fox has already announced that the X-Men film will take place in the ’90s, since X-Men: Apocalypse took place in the 1980s. Now if Fox could re-use this show's intro as the movie's theme song, that would be truly amazing. Please, make that happen.
Do you agree with my list? What show intro did you feel should have been on my list? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!