REVIEW: ‘Kid Cosmic’ Is Craig McCracken’s Love Letter to the Superhero Genre

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Kid Cosmic

Kid Cosmic is a Netflix Original Animated Series created by Craig McCracken. Taking place in a small desert town in New Mexico, the series follows Kid (Jack Fisher) a young boy who dreams of being a superhero. Kid’s wish is granted when he discovers five alien stones of immeasurable power in the wreckage of a crashed spaceship. Kid, whose stone grants him the power of flight, forms a superhero team consisting of his grandpa George, or “Papa G”  (Keith Ferguson) whose stone allows him to make an army of clones; Jo (Amanda C. Miller), a waitress at the local cafe whose stone allows her to create time/space portals; Rosa (Lily Rose Silver), a four-year-old girl whose stone allows her to grow to giant proportions; and Tuna Sandwich (Fred Tatasciore) a local cat whose stone allows him to see the future. Together they defend their home-and in the process, Earth-from invading aliens who want the stones for themselves.

McCracken is no stranger to the field of animation or the superhero genre, having created The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends for Cartoon Network. With Kid Cosmic, McCracken drew inspiration from comics including Dennis the Menace and The Adventures of Tintin to bring the characters to life. Every character has a distinct look that matches their respective stone, including Kid’s trademark golden headphones and glasses, Jo’s purple hair and waitress’s apron, and even Rosa’s missing tooth and green Band-Aid on her left arm. This also extends to the aliens, including recurring antagonist Stuck Chuck (Tom Kenny), who is a crustacean-like alien that pays homage to the Martians from Mars Attacks!. Kid and his fellow heroes even run into a group of “People Eaters” who bear a striking resemblance to the Xenomorphs from Alien.

Each character also has a distinct personality, thanks to a writing team that includes McCracken and My Life as a Teenage Robot creator Rob Renzetti, as well as DuckTales co-showrunner Francisco Angones. (McCracken also developed the series with Angones and his wife Lauren Faust.) Although the series leans more toward comedic elements, it has a genuine heart to it.

As the series unfurls, it’s revealed that Kid retreated into the world of comic books and superheroes due to his parents’ tragic death; it makes perfect sense why he would throw himself into the superhero life as it serves as an anchor to his family. Kid also learns that superheroism in real life is not as easy as the Avengers or the Justice League make it look. His team comes together unexpectedly (Rosa steals her stone and Tuna stumbles upon one) but they strangely manage to overcome the odds and bond together as a found family.

Of all the main characters, my personal favorites have to be Jo and Rosa. Jo at first seems like a normal teenager stuck in a small town, wanting to get out and travel. And even though she gains a stone that can let her go anywhere she wants, she chooses to stay and help Kid, acting as a voice of reason to his overzealous ideas about superheroes. Rosa is adorable, with Silver bringing all the exuberant joy and energy you’d expect from a real four-year-old to her performance.

It’s also great to see a superhero team that seems like a genuinely unique mix. You have a pre-teen boy, a Mexican girl, an elderly hippie, a Black teenager, and a cat as superheroes. It’s a testament to the nearly boundless imagination of McCracken and co. that they thought outside the box when it comes to approaching the superhero genre.

Another element that helps Kid Cosmic stand out from the pack is its serialized nature. Each episode tells a stand-alone tale but ultimately leads into the next episode. This slowly fleshes out the world and its characters. Many cartoon shows are usually comprised of two or more unconnected 11-minute segments. To watch a cartoon that not only tells a complete story within 30 minutes or less but also continues an ongoing narrative takes me back to watching shows like Gargoyles and the 90s era Spider-Man animated series on Saturday mornings.

Kid Cosmic is a love letter to the superhero genre, featuring an entertaining cast of characters and a delightfully retro visual style. If you enjoyed The Powerpuff Girls or other classic Cartoon Network shows, this will be right up your alley. Given the ending of Season 1, I hope that Netflix greenlights a second season sooner rather than later.

Season 1 of Kid Cosmic is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Kid Cosmic
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Kid Cosmic is a love letter to the superhero genre, featuring an entertaining cast of characters and a delightfully retro visual style. If you enjoyed The Powerpuff Girls or other classic Cartoon Network shows, this will be right up your alley. Given the ending of Season 1, I hope that Netflix greenlights a second season sooner rather than later.