Webtoon Review: The Awesomes
Long-time superhero comic book fans will be familiar with the phenomenon. You’re enjoying a run of your favorite team, all your favorite characters working together like a well-oiled machine, you could enjoy this forever. Then suddenly everything changes. All the good characters leave, your least favorite is suddenly the leader, and a whole bunch of new characters who seem like a bunch of losers come in. It might be a mandated change by editorial, or the writer changed, or there’s a trademark issue, but your favorite super-team will never be the same again.
That’s more or less the premise of The Awesomes, a Hulu original series that recently concluded its first season. Mr. Awesome is the world’s greatest superhero, and he runs the world’s best super-team, which he named after himself. But it’s come time for him to retire. Unfortunately, Mr. Awesome’s hand-picked successor Perfect Man decides he wants to go solo instead, and the retiring hero reluctantly has to accept the request of his son, Professor Doctor “Prock” Awesome, to step up. Prock is very bright and a huge superhero enthusiast, but he’s also a complete wimp with no leadership experience. And yes, technically, he has a superpower. But every time he uses it, it brings him closer to death, and the doctor has told him not to do that.
Since the other Awesomes don’t respect Prock, they all quit except his one friend, the loyal but none too bright Muscleman. Things immediately get worse when it turns out that Awesome Mountain, the Awesomejet, the Awesomes’ support staff, none of those things actually belong to the Awesomes. They’re all on loan from the United States Government based on Mr. Awesome’s reputation. Unless Prock can refill the roster with the aid of Concierge (the support staff member who didn’t say “not me” fast enough) within a very short time period, the Awesomes will be shut down.
Since no self-respecting superhero wants to be on a team Prock leads, he eventually has to dive into the reject file for heroes that are powerful, but deeply flawed in various amusing ways. Meanwhile, Mr. Awesome’s archenemy Doctor Malocchio decides this would be a really good time to break out of prison and start his master plan for world domination.
Can the Awesomes pull it together in time to save the other superheroes and defeat Malocchio?
The good: The animation is pretty good for a low-budget series, and the voice acting is decent to excellent. Dr. Malocchio’s actor is clearly having the time of his life. Also, most of the heroes actually are heroic to the extent that they can manage it. Too many superhero parodies in recent years have been mean-spirited, depicting costumed crime-fighters as anything but good people. The Awesomes may have problems that prevent them from being effective heroes, but they’re out there trying. And many of the jokes are funny, always a good thing in a comedy.
Not so good: There’s an unnecessary level of crassness to many of the jokes that turned me off–and the time Muscleman casually kills a couple of innocent bystanders and it’s supposed to be funny was not in any sort of taste. The Jack Links Jerky ads also got to be too much.
Overall: The crassness makes this series not an unreserved recommendation. But that may endear it to the more immature viewers who are usually referred to as “mature viewers.” Parents of younger viewers should watch it first before letting their kids see it.