Cartoon Review – “Generator Rex”
Even if you aren’t a fan of comics, you might heard of the creative team “Man of Action”. Creators of the animated series Ben 10, a successful Cartoon Network action series that has spawned countless toy-lines and two sequel series that were both headed by Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited). Having created such a huge franchise for them, Cartoon Network was obviously interested in any else that the group might pitch to them. And the guys had just the idea: an adaptation of Joe Kelly and Duncan Rouleau’s failed comic M. Rex, which was published by Image, which the network snapped up right away. While some things were changed, such as the main character’s age, the basic essence and idea of the comic made it to the screen. But is Rex any good?
Creator(s): Man of Action (Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey and Steven T. Seagle)
Running Time: 22 minutes
Network: Cartoon Network
Production House(s): Cartoon Network Studios
Premiered: April 23th, 2010
Rex is our protagonist and our guide through the world of “Generator Rex,” serving as the narrator at the beginning and end of each episode. Rex is often acts like a jerk and rarely listens to authority: something that is completely justified. He is a teenager who has no memory of his past before an mysterious event that caused both him and every other living thing on the planet to become infected with microscopic machines known as nanites. Most of the time, the nanites do nothing and are generally harmless: but they can occasionally get out of control and mutate its host into a monster called an EVO. However, unlike other EVOs, Rex has control over his nanites and can use them to transform parts of his body into weapons and various other gadgets. Rex can also use his nanites to shut down the nanites of other EVOs, thus “curing” them. It’s this ability that has Rex locked up by an organization known as Providence, which treats him as a tool and little else. Rex has no freedom, his only friend is a chimpanzee, the guy has no idea who he really is, and he is rarely treated as a human being (resulting in low self-esteem, which can affect his powers). Rex is a jerk at times, but he has a right to be one with how bad his life is.
Other characters include Bobo Haha, Agent Six, and the villain Van Kleiss. Bobo Haha is a talking chimpanzee that serves as Rex’s trusty sidekick and best friend. The primate is the show’s manadatory comic relief, making biting commentary on the events that occur around him, from Rex’s attempts at flirting with Dr. Holiday to a huge fight with a dangerous EVO. Agent Six is described as Rex to be a “nanny, just more argo.” The sixth most deadly man in the world, he serves as Rex’s caretaker and in turn, a father figure in some ways. Possibly being an EVO himself, Agent Six is both the sixth most deadly man in the world and quite an emotionally distant person, hiding any feeling he may have behind a figurative mask. Then there is Van Kleiss, who is bound to the very Earth itself and as such, cannot die as long as he is in the area surrounding the lab where the nanite accident occurred. But with this power comes an unstable body that requires a constant stream of fresh nanites to stay alive.
The writing and storyboarding for this series is great: the action series are well-choreographed, and there was never a time where the dialogue seemed weak or cheesy. I can take the premise seriously, not raising an eyebrow at any of the events, and the basic story behind the nanite event was told to the viewer right away. That may have been good choice, considering that event is not so much the focus of the show as is Rex’s unknown past. Getting it out the way early may allow the writers to focus on other things such as Van Kleiss, The Pack, and Rex’s relationship with Circe. The voice acting is incredibly well-done, with the only hiccup being early in the episode, when Rex was crashing into the side of a building. The animation is clean-and-smooth, working really well with the character designs. There really isn’t much else to say, other than this is a series that is off to a great start.