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Max_Steel

Max Steel

Max Steel is a Sci-Fi/Action, CGI, animated series which originally aired on February 25 2000 - June 23 2002 on Kids WB for Season 1 and 2. Season 3 had no air dates, although Cartoon Network aired the third series. This confirms them to be identified as unknown episodes. Max Steel ran for three seasons totaling thirty-five episodes with a predicted audience of young males from the ages of eight to twelve. The voice acting cast for the series included such people as Chi McBride and Christian Campbell, the older brother of Neve Campbell.

After the bankruptcy of Netter Digital and Foundation Imaging, Mainframe Entertainment took over the productions of 3rd television season and the movies. It has also been made into four movies, Endangered Species, Forces of Nature, Countdown, and Dark Rival as well as a 12-inch toyline by Mattel. This figure is often collected without regard to its backstory, see Playscale Miniaturism.

Background

According to the original TV series, Josh McGrath was a 19 years fictional extreme sports teen star, whose parents died some time ago, his mother Molly when he was a toddler, in a shipwreck; his father Jim under mysterious circumstances when he was a young boy. He was later adopted by his father's best friend and partner, Jefferson Smith, who works in a extreme sports articles manufacturing company which is in reality a facade for a secret counter intelligence agency known as N-Tek.

While Josh was visiting his stepfather at work, a group of rival enemy agents attacked the facility commanded by Psycho. The young McGrath face him and battled against this superpowered cyborg, but in the middle of the fight, he was severely injured and exposed to a swarm of microscopic nanomachines, known to the company as "Nano Tech Max", which entering Josh's body and, as they ran out of energy, dying and causing Josh to die too. In order to save Josh's life, his foster father, Jefferson Smith agrees to submit Josh to a high proportion of the transphasic energy (nicknamed "t-juice"), which the machines need to survive. This saves his life and also gives him superpowers. As a result, Josh takes on the identity of Max Steel and fights against superpowered villains, mainly Mr. Dread, Psycho's evil boss, the members of his organization, and later, mutants, robots, mad scientists and monsters.

Success

  • Max Steel had an ad in the ToyFare Magazine which said "Steel this toy".
  • Max Steel won the 2000 toy fair for best new Action Figure/Hero.
  • The action figures are hard to find in the U.S today but are available in Mexico,South America,Spain,U.K...etc.
  • A TV series spanning three seasons was made with CGI (2000-2003).
  • Four movies have also been released.
  • Max Steel has maintained a constant presence on the toy market for over 8 years comparable only to Mattel's Barbie doll.
  • Max Steel is the only successful mass produced action figure from a major transnational company which does not have a TV show currently on air to support it.
  • Max Steel licensed products includes a kid's sport clothing line, sport shoes, several other Mattel toys not directly related to the original toy series, such as Hot Wheels and skates, disguises, spy gear, electronic toys and McDonald's Happy Meal and Hardees limited editions.

Characters

N-Tek/Civilians

  • Max Steel - Josh McGrath — As Josh McGrath, he is a college student and an extreme sports star, working for his step father, Jefferson Smith of N-Tek which supplies such equipment. He later discovered that N-Tek is a front for a secret anti-terrorist organization. In the course of this discovery he suffered an accident with Nanoprobes while battling Psycho. These probes gave him the ability to alter his appearance, turn invisible ("Stealth mode !") and become super-strong ("Going turbo !"). He used this to take on the appearance of Max Steel, who looks very different from Josh McGrath, and join the fight against crime. His work in extremes sports and as a crime-buster often conflicts with college and his relationship with his girlfriend Laura Chen. Voiced by Christian Campbell.
  • Big Jim McGrath — The biological father of Josh, who supposedly died in mysterious circumstances. In several different episodes, is named as "Big Jim", making Max Steel the son of Mattel's 1970's action figure hero. Episode 12 "Scions" it's entirely dedicated to his memory, and it's stated that Max is Jim's greatest legacy. In this episode, which consists of flashbacks of the Cold War, Big Jim's face it's identical as the action figure of the same name.
  • Dr. Roberto Martinez — A technical genius in his late teen years, 'Berto (his nickname) is the main expert on Nano-Tek Max, the microscopic machines which gave Josh his superhuman abilities. 'Berto is usually based at the HQ of the secret intelligence service N-Tek where he monitors Max's missions via a computer screen, but he also often takes a more active part in the missions himself. He has family in Colombia, although how many relatives is unknown. From the moment they met, he and Josh became very close: Josh would call Roberto "Bro", who would respond with the Spanish version "Hermano". Voiced by Jacob Vargas.
  • Rachel Leeds — Max's first partner at N-Tek. Although her country of origin is not specified, her English accent indicates that she may be a British national, one of several non-Americans who work at N-Tek. N-Tek answers to the UN and includes a number of other non-US citizens on its staff, such as Jean Mairot and Roberto Martinez. Rachel has a rather bossy personality but is very attractive in her own way. Much of season 1 focused on her relationship with Max: from one of constant squabbling to increasing attraction on his part, which affected Josh's relationship with his girlfriend Laura Chen. At one stage Rachel did kiss Max as a way of calming him down when he was getting particularly agitated, but seemed to think that he ought to stick to Laura: one episode concludes with Rachel smiling and saying "Blessings on your union" in Chinese as Josh and Laura leave arm-in-arm. After the second series, Rachel was promoted and disappeared after three episodes. There is speculation that she has a brief, non-speaking appearance in season two, episode four, but it is also likely that it was just a reused model. Voiced by Shannon Kenny.
  • Kat Ryan — After Rachel's promotion in season two, Kat, another of her protégés, became Max's new partner. At first they didn't get along, but, after Jefferson Smith forced them to work together, they developed a little mutual respect. About the same age as Josh and Roberto, her relationship with the two boys is like that of a sister, much like they see each other as brothers. Kat was never given a surname until season three, and it was revealed in the second-to-last episode that, when she was younger, she was part of a street gang. Voiced by Debi Mae West.
  • Laura Chen and Pete Costas — Two of Josh's college friends, Pete referring to all three as "the Three Musketeers" given that they used to be very close, until Josh's life as Max Steel started to interfere. Laura Chen was Josh's girlfriend but she soon broke up with him due in part to his increasingly close relationship with Rachel Leeds. He also kept his activities as Max Steel a secret from her and this would affect dates and other commitments which made him somewhat unreliable. Pete, in the season two premiere, found out about Josh's dual identity after being captured by John Dread and agreed to keep it secret. He was not seen in season 3.
  • Jefferson Smith — The CEO of N-Tek, both the sports and spy sides. He inherited this position from Marco Nathanson, the previous and first CEO of N-Tek. He is the adopted father of Josh McGrath after his mother, Molly, and father, Jim, both died. Jefferson might be based on "Big Jeff" from Mattel's 1970's Big Jim toy line, though Jeff was white, while it was "Big Jack" who was the main African-American character. Voiced by Chi McBride
  • Jean Mairot — Smith's second-in-command at N-Tek in season one and head of operations, briefing agents on their missions and co-ordinating their progress. A soft-spoken man, he is cool and calculating and a good judge of character — putting Max in charge of a major rescue operation even though the boy himself did not feel up to it. At the end of season one, Mairot turned out to be a spy working for villain John Dread. His fate in unknown, though it is presumed that he was caught in the explosion of Dread's base. His treachery was a bitter blow to the N-Tek staff, all of whom had liked Jean. Mairot spoke in a French accent, voiced by Keith Szarabajka
  • Charles Marshack — An N-Tek division chief who's in charge of Behemoth, the massive flying fortress used as a mobile base to support Max. He's a senior, probably around 60 years old, who assists N-Tek with his expertise. He was a close friend of Big Jim and acts a bit fatherly with Max. Despite his age and butler-like appearance, he can move extremely fast, and is an experienced hand to hand combatant.
  • Jake Nez — N-Tek agent and astronaut, formerly from NASA. He was also once a love interest of Rachel's but was dumped by her when she started training Max.
  • Rocket — A wounded hawk rescued by Max in Endangered Species. Due to the extension of his injuries, 'Berto reconstructed him using N-Tek technology. Now he has a bionic leg and a cybernetic eye which has a camera with recorder, night vision and zoom. What Rocket can see, can be transmitted to other N-Tek members. The hawk it is supposed to be a companion for Max, but most of the time it's in 'Berto's custody.

DREAD/Other organizations

  • John Dread — the leader of the DREAD organization, and the main antagonist of the early series. He's rarely seen outside of offices and rooms in dark secluded buildings, and only made two known appearances where he was the main or part of a main threat. There is fandom speculation that John Dread and Marco Nathanson (the N-Tek founder) are the same person, although this has been debunked by Greg Weisman, the story editor of the first season.
  • L'Etranger — "The Stranger", as his name translates from French into English. He wears a mask over his face, which appears to resemble a skull, and was the first villain Max fought against in the TV show. At the end of that episode Dread mentions that he is not a full-time member of his organization. By the time of his second appearance, he is said to no longer work for Dread.
  • Psycho — His real name is unknown, although his nickname/DREAD code-name is speculated to come from the fact that he appears to be a psychopath. He is sometimes called "Smiley", mainly by Max but occasionally by other members of N-Tek. He has a metallic face, which is covered up using a mask, and a bionic arm, which can change into a claw or a laser gun, presumably by nerve signals. Voiced by Keith Szarabajka
  • Dragonelle — She is the first major female villain shown. The origins of her code-name is unclear, although there is speculation that she comes from China (as that is where the episode which she appeared in for the first time took place). As dragons are a key part of Chinese mythology, it is believed that she took this name for good luck. She's dressed in a golden battle armor, but she always runs away from any physical confrontation. She has the ability to mimic the actions and appearance of any person she has seen and impersonate them perfectly. Voiced by Mia Korf.
  • Vitriol — According to Max, "not the brightest tool in the shed" which explains why he often teams along with Psycho. While they are supposed to be equal members of DREAD, Vitriol usually follows Psycho's orders. His arms are a vibrant, translucent green with simple metallic 'bones' visible, and can shoot green energy beams, which can be very destructive. At the end of season one, he realizes he's an expendable pawn, and decides to cooperate with N-Tek.
  • Woody and Annabelle Barkowski — Two siblings who are intent on bringing down N-Tek: Woody because he believes that they gave him a faulty mountain bike to cause him to break his leg and thus retire from the extreme sports world. Woody considers himself to be Max Steel's arch-nemesis, but Max mentions that he "barely qualifies as comic relief." Annabelle collaborates with her brother in the first season and seeks revenge for her brother in the second season. In series two, Annabelle suffers an accident in her laboratory and her body is never found. It's later revealed that Annabelle's body using electrical currents and sources as an energy supply, much like how the nanoprobes in Max's body uses transphasic energy.
  • Bio-Constrictor — His full name is "Biologically Altered Constricting Serpent", having been given this name by 'Berto. Dr. Klimo was involved in an accident with what is thought to be electrified snake venom, and thus mutated into a half-human, half snake with the abilities to turn into a snake, poison people with highly-toxic venom or, in the third series, use his venom to mutate people into copies of his mutated self. Before his accident, he was an employee fired for erratic behavior, mainly due to the use of turning poisonous animals, such as scorpions and snakes, into bio-weapons, which appears to form a basis of the plotline of the Endangered Species movie. He knew Josh when he was younger, and they used to play baseball together. He was voiced by Rene Auberjonois, who also played the equally bad-tempered, shape-shifting Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Elementor — Probably the most versatile of all Max's enemies, Elementor originally started as a Bio-Constrictor clone who went mad. The reptile like creature enhances his natural abilities with the use of different isotopes which grants him the capacity to mimic different basic elements. Elementor can transform himself into a mass of rock(earth), water, air, lava (fire) or metal, and adopts the natural physics of those materials.
  • Warren Hunter — And old friend and partner of Jefferson Smith. Long ago, their different points of view forced a business separation. While Jefferson was worried about the technology uses for betterment of mankind, Hunter was mostly worried about profits. Hunter is now the founder and CEO of Eclipse, a high tech development company which rivals N-Tek.
  • Extroyer — Troy Winter, a special agent and mercenary hired by Eclipse who can match Max's enhanced abilities without effort. Troy suffers a chemical mutation with a mysterious comet fragment which transforms him into a crystal like creature who can absorb other people's life force and identity, and in the particular case of super human entities, their respective powers. Once he absorbs a living being, he can reuse it's appearance as needed. When in Extroyer form, the left half of his head is missing, and the interior of his empty skull can be seen as a formation of crystals. He only has the right eye. When he takes another person's identity, his head it's complete, and the impersonation it's perfect, but when copying other creatures he still has half head only.

Max Steel Alter Ego

In the TV show initial run, Josh McGrath was a white blond 19 years old teenager. In every chapter of first season, he has to transform himself into a dark haired athletic adult, notoriously older than Josh. This grown up alter ego is Max Steel.

Contrary to most heroes with secret identities, Josh's wasn't an issue except with his personal relations, mostly his girlfriend and fans from the extreme sports circuit. At different times, both Pyscho and Dread witnessed Josh's transformation into Max and didn't care about it. In at least one episode, Josh transforms in Psycho's presence. It is not clear how many Max's enemies knows his secret identity, but seems like all DREAD members were informed about it.

In the Third series, due to a combination of factors, including the change of the creative design team, a change in the animation company, the popularity of the character in Latin America, and the same lack of market in US, all companies involved in the production of Max Steel gradually dropped the "little white boy" concept. The movies, released after the TV show ended, take a different approach: Officially, Max is now a 19 years old brown skin Caucasian (more than likely from a tan) and he does not transforms at all. His Josh identity is not mentioned anymore but he is still an American citizen. This decision wasn't difficult to take, since all Max Steel merchandising and licensed products, promos and advertising campaigns always portrayed him as brunette. The white guy concept was present only on the TV show and the first movie, Endangered species.

By 2005, "Josh McGrath" was almost forgotten, and nobody mentioned the existence of a secret identity or makes any reference about Josh and his previous personal life. Even his stepfather addresses him as "Max" only. In all situations of his normal life he appears on, uses his Max Steel identity instead. Also any mention of Josh was eliminated from the toy's boxes and any other licensed merchandising.

Going Turbo! VS Adrenalink

The initial concept used by Mattel to explain Max's enhanced abilities was named "Going Turbo!". It was present in all episodes of the TV series and the first two movies, and all Max Steel's merchandising and advertisings.

The basis of Going Turbo! was quite simple: Josh McGrath's body has permanently attached two bracelets, one on his left wrist, the other is on his left ankle. This devices are named Bio-Link and are used as a communications device, a way to record and broadcast Max's activities, but also the way Max uses to manipulate the nanoprobes inside his body which grants him his superpowers. Activating the Bio-Link, Max can become invisible or receive and instant rush of energy, which allows him to move faster and being stronger than any other human for a short period of time. It is not clear for how long the rush lasts, but after it, Max seems not affected at all, and can reuse it over and over, receiving new shoots of sudden power every time he activates the Bio-Link.

It was this last ability the one which caused the controversy. Max Steel detractors pointed that the temporal "injection" of power was clearly a metaphor of the use of steroids or other illegal substances, and the TV show was inadvertently promoting drugs consumption. This negative idea in particular was reinforced by the fact that Max Steel is an extreme sports athlete at a time when the use of drugs among sporstmen became a public issue.

To remove the negative connotations of Going Turbo!, in 2006 Mattel took the decision to make major changes on Max Steel. In the 2007 movie Countdown, Max's body starts to reject the nanoprobes. The nanomachines can no longer feed from external chemical resources and a new source of natural energy must be found before Max dies.

Taking advantage of the same concept which initially caused the problem, it was stated that since Max is a sportsman, he generates a lot of adrenaline, specially when participating in a challenging sport. The natural adrenaline of Max's body is redirected to the nanoprobes then, creating the Adrenalink. The major difference with Going Turbo! is Max does not receive a sudden shoot of infinite energy. Instead, since the probes uses the natural adrenaline generated by Max' body while making a physical effort, the more challenging the task, more adrenaline is generated, so the probes are capable to burst Max's energy only as a result of exhaustive and constant exercise. The energy boost takes time to charge, since it depends of Max's physical activity. If he stops or pauses, the adrenaline levels of his body returns to normal. If Max exaggerates, can be extenuated after the workout is done, like most athletes in similar circumstances.

The 2007 advertising campaign was totally based on the Adrenalink concept. Mattel included a Thumbs-up! ecological green logo in the front of the toy's packages accompanied by the slogan "More courage equals more power!". This logo was present from the beginning in all N-Tek related characters, scenarios and accessories, but it's meaning never was explained, until it was adopted as the Adrenalink image. The main Max Steel logo was also changed from yellow to green, and retains that color up to date. The TV ads also included the catch phrases: "Max Steel's power does not comes from an external source, but from within!" and "The bigger the risk, more adrenaline Max generates!". In the end, Adrenalink works exactly the same as Going Turbo!, but makes clear that no questionable substances are used, and insists that Max's healthy workout is the source of his power.

Action Figures

Since 1999, Max Steel has had a series of Action Figures, with new waves of toys released twice a year. The Year's Preview it's usually released in March, showing only a fraction of the upcoming figures. The Main Release usually happens in August, and the year's series it's gradually distributed along October. The figures are very similar to the original 12-inch G.I.Joe toys, consisting almost entirely on different versions of Max Steel, the main character, and one or two of his enemies, a couple of vehicles and 2 or 3 special packages. After Mainframe took control of the TV series, every new toy makes a brief appearance in the series or the movies. Also after the Endangered Species movie plot was included in the toy line, every new set of toys includes at least a couple of wild animals too. Waves 1 and 2 included exactly the same Psycho figure, with only minor changes in the box. Wave 3 changed Psycho's mechanic arm, while the rest of the body remained mostly the same.

  • All the first Max figures were quite different from the TV character. Most earlier Max Steel toys had military, adventure or sport clothes not related to the series in any way, but quite similar to the 70's and 80's Mattel's action figure Big Jim. Some models wears exactly the same clothes, colors and accessories as Big Jim, and seems to be updated versions of this classical toy. In Latin American market, many Big Jim toys were sold in the 70's under the name "Kid Acero", which literally translates as "Kid Steel". Most Max Steel vehicles use to be blue, with yellow accents, as the early 80's Big Jim sport and spy series. This particular combination of colors was widely used on Max Steel toys despite the fact that the character in the series wears a blue, silver and brown uniform. In fact, the first Max Steel action figure to wear the same costume as in the series was "Going Turbo!", released 3 years after the initial debut of Max Steel, as part of the Urban Siege sub line.
  • Urban Siege line — At the end of 2000, Mattel took the decision to separate the sport themed figures from the military ones. All sport related toys remained in the main line, while the rest were grouped in a sub line named Urban Siege. Looks like Mattel wasn't very interested in developing the toy line beyond, 'cause the Urban Siege line started as a reissue of previous figures, only changing some accessories and the package colors. While most Max Steel boxes used to be intense blue, the Urban Siege series has black and red decorations. When finally Vitriol, a new villain arrived as the main villain in the sub line, the molds used to produce him were almost identical to those used to produce Psycho. At first sight, Vitriol and Psycho wears the same clothes, have the same colors, and even their faces were extremely similar (when Psycho wears a human face mask). In fact, the main characteristic of both villains were strange, enhanced artificial arms. The only difference is, while Psycho's arms are supposed to be bionic, huge mechanic constructions, Vitriol's arms were green, with light up features. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Vitriol action figure was recalled 'cause the package mentioned in the back: "The diabolical villain Vitriol is blasting urban buildings to pieces". Rumors says the real reason of this act of empathy were the low popularity and poor sales of the toy, specially 'cause it's the only Max Steel action figure never produced again. Vitriol was available only from April to September 2001. Also the "Urban Mission" Trading Cards included earlier that same year in several boxed figures from the Urban Siege sub line were retired from the packages. Each Urban Mission card contained clues and plots about a fictional persecution of terrorists in American soil. Children were supposed to use the cards to be informed of their next mission and stop the terrorists before they could demolish a building, spread a deadly virus and detonated a nuke bomb among other tasks. Vitriol's card's text was: "Vitriol is on top of the World Trade Center ready to blast the city with his deadly energy waves! Your Mission: Stop Vitriol before he destroys New York City!". This same text could be found in at least two other toys. Once any mention of terrorism in New York was eliminated, the toys returned to the shelves, but as part of the main line this time. The Urban Siege series ended immediately after the recall.
  • Story retconed — After a notorious drop of popularity, the bankruptcy of the original studio and several economical problems, all companies involved in the production of Max Steel took a different route. The release of Endangered species, the first movie, also marked a completely new direction of the toy line. Since then, every new set of Max Steel toys appears in the latest movie. As a result of this decision, several iconic characters and vehicles were removed from the scene. The N-Tek minijet which was Max primary way of transportation in the series didn't make the cut into the movies.
  • World of Elements — Since the main character of this sub-line, Elementor, has the ability to emulates 5 different elements (water, fire, air, earth and metal), all new sets released includes at least 10 different Elementor variations, 2 for each element. Max figures were re-assigned to a specific "World of...", with arms, equip and accessories designed to challenge each Elementor's version. Thus, in the "World of Water", Max is dressed as a diver or surfer, uses a surf board, a boat and battles Water Elementor. In "World of Air", he has a parachute, a jet pack, and battles Air Elementor, and so goes on...
  • Max Gear — In mid 2007, Mattel released for the first time "Max gear" to be dressed by kids. The toys included a retractile Ninja Sword, Max's communicator, Max's suit with battle sounds and light, night vision glasses, binoculars and other stuff alike.
  • Adrenalink line — In 2007 Mattel dropped the Going Turbo! concept from the toys for the Adrenalink one. The most notorious change in the packages it is that the Max Steel logo was changed from yellow to green. The Adrenalink subline includes almost all sport and adventure versions of Max not related to Elementor.
  • Extroyed line — The first Extroyer figure was announced as an special event, released only a couple of weeks before the movie premiered on Cartoon Network Philippines in late 2007. The original package contained both Max and Extroyer action figures, but Extroyer's face and body were mostly covered with the package's artwork, so no one could tell for sure how he looked like. Some time later the same Extroyer was available as a stand alone figure, this time uncovered. Action figures related to Dark Rival movie and this new villain are often denoted by the word "Extroyed" in front of the package.

Several large vehicles, including a mini jet, a boat and a couple of sport cars were released some time ago, at the beginning of the series. The jet is by far the largest toy ever produced on the line, followed a giant child-size Elementor figure. Despite of the constant presence of women in the series as main or supporting characters, no female figures were ever produced.

Comic Books

When the first Max Steel toys were released in 1999, Mattel distributed a free 12 page comic titled "Take it to the Max" to introduce the character to children. The comic was written by Richard Bruning based on Handy Hartnell's Max Steel's Sourcebook, and penciled by Scott Benefiel with Tom McWeeney and Tommy Yune. Inkers were Jasen Rodriguez, Tom McWeeney and Lucian Rizzo. There are two language versions of this comic, one in English, the other in Spanish. The English version was distributed mostly in America and United Kingdom, while the Spanish version was largely distributed on Latin America and Spain.

The comic consists mostly of two different briefing presentations which are supposed to happen at the same time in DREAD and N-Tek headquarters respectively, in which each CEO explains Max's abilities, powers and capacities from their opposite points of view. While Jefferson Smith presents Max as a great tool to counter terrorism, John Dread considers Max as a Major treat. In the background, while hearing Jefferson's presentation, Josh remembers the accident which transformed him into Max Steel and adds complementary information about his personal life not mentioned by Jefferson or Dread in the briefings. Laura Chen also makes her first public presentation in the comic.

In the last pages, the comic also contains biographies of all main characters: Max, Jefferson, Dread, Psycho, Rachel and 'Berto.

Most of the facts mentioned in the comic are present and developed in the TV series first season. There are some details which are slightly different though. The comic it is supposed to be based on Mattel's Max Steel Sourcebook and since the creative control of the TV series changed three times due to the bankruptcy of the two initial animation studios, it is possible that few of the hints mentioned in the comic never had a chance to be developed in the series, or maybe they were discarded in favor of further development of the characters.

Among the most notorious differences, it is mentioned that N-Tek's founder and original CEO was Jim McGrath, -Max's father-, instead of Marco Nathanson. John Dread does not wear glasses as he always does in the series, and it is mentioned that 'Berto is a traditional die hard computer nerd with no experience with girls or real life at all, (in the series he does has a life, and he is even a regular skilled fighter). The comic also insinuates the possibility that Psycho is Max's biological father, and they may have a relationship similar as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader from Star Wars. This plot in particular was never mentioned in the TV series or Movies.

No other Max Steel comic books have been produced after.

TV series

Max Steel started as a 12" toy line in 1999 but later "Netter Digital" produced a TV series based on a 19-year-old college student named "Josh McGrath" who has super powers and can transform into the powerful "Max Steel". The series starts with the episode "Strangers" where at the beginning Max and his partner "Rachel Leeds" are at a "UN" meeting when Rachel and all attendants, -except Max because he was on the roof watching-, disappear. Later "Dr. Roberto Martinez" finds out that the floor rotated sending everyone in the room into a chamber under the floor and a new floor spun into place. "L'Etranger" has taken the UN representatives as hostages and he's escaping on a train with them. Max and 'Berto finds out that Rachel's ear ring has a tracking signal in it, so they follow it. Max fights L'Etranger on top of the train, but in the middle of the confrontation, his enemy vanishes.

The first episode doesn't give much background on who Max Steel or what he does. Until the third episode "Shadows" it's revealed through a series of flashbacks how Josh became "Max Steel". Josh apparently fell asleep outside "N-Tek" when he hears someone break down the door into N-Tek, and then follows the man down an elevator. Both of them are caught by N-Tek security agents but the intruder, who is no other than "Psycho" in human desguise, defeats the agents. Josh then follows Psycho into a room where he's stealing N-Teks Nanoprobes. Josh jumps and kicks Psycho in the face revealing his metal skull-like face beneath the mask. Psycho fires his laser at Josh, but hits the glass holding the nanoprobes instead, causing the container to burst, sending the probes onto Josh's body. Jefferson founds Josh in an extremely weak condition, infected by the probes. Berto tells them that the probes need transphasic energy to survive, so they put Josh inside the transphasic rejuvenator. This procedure saves Josh's life, but also gives him powers boosted by the probes, now in synchrony with his body. Josh confronts Jefferson to let him work at N-Tek but his stepfather refuses. Then Josh tells him that "Josh is out of the picture", and transforms into "Max Steel".

The first season lasted 13 episodes. After that, Netter Digital had gone bankrupt so Foundation Imaging took over Season 2. For similar reasons, Season 3 was developed by Mainframe Entertainment. The third TV series also took a different approach: following the bankruptcy of the counter-terrorism section of N-Tek, the main characters became extreme sports stars following a similar plot to that of A.T.O.M. The enemies also changed. While the first and second series focused in chasing terrorists and secret agents, the movie's plots were focused on fighting superpowered mutants and monsters.

Episode List

Max Steel premiered on February 25 2000. The first season has a total of 13 episodes. A curious thing to note is the fact that every episode in this season started with the letter "S". In the first 4 episodes, Josh and Max share the same face. In episode 5, Max appears for the first time with his actual face, which it's completely different from Josh's, more mature and though. However, the same old model of his face is reused later in the series, presumably due to a change in the order of production of the episodes. The initial original presentation of the show portrayed Max chasing and fighting terrorists around the world. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the word 'terrorist' was filtered out from the opening and various episodes.

Psycho was present in 11 episodes, 1 movie, briefly seen in "Strangers and Seraphim," mentioned in "The Return," and in disguise in "Deep Cover". Until his death, he was Max greatest enemy, and at some point he was perfectly aware of Max's secret life as a normal kid.

Season One

  • Strangers - Pilot
  • Sacrifices
  • Shadows
  • Sportsmen
  • Seraphim
  • Spear Carriers
  • Snowblind
  • Sharks
  • Sabres
  • Sphinxes
  • Swashbucklers
  • Scions
  • Shattered - Season Finale

Season Two

  • The Return - Season Premiere
  • Fun in the Sun
  • Amazon
  • When Lightning Strikes Twice
  • Fire & Ice
  • Trapped
  • Steel vs. Steel
  • Space Opera/Shooting Stars
  • Old Friend, New Enemy
  • Extreme. Almost banned due to Drug use but was aired due to the guest star Tony Hawk.
  • Best Friend
  • The Race
  • Breakout - Season Finale

Season Three

Season Three was more of Cel animation than CGI as the first two.

  • Deep Cover - Season Premiere
  • Survival Instinct
  • Cold Sweat
  • Fan Appreciation
  • Rough Seas
  • Prey
  • Special Delivery
  • Turbulence
  • Truth Be Told - Series Finale

Series Finale?

The series finale for Max Steel was supposed to be "Breakout" after the bankruptcy of Netter Digital and Foundation Imaging, until Mainframe Entertainment took over the production for Max Steel and the show ended with the episode "Truth Be Told". After a hiatus of two years, a movie called "Endangered Species" was made available, with three more - "Forces of Nature","Countdown" and "Dark Rival" following suit.

Guests

TV Ads

  • USA Network aired a Mege Flex action figure ad.
  • In 2000 Cartoon Network aired figure ads.
  • Max Steel aired most of the ads on Cartoon Network.
  • 22 ads aired on Cartoon Network, 3 on Kids WB, and 1 on USA Network.
  • The ads ended in February on Cartoon Network because Max Steels ratings dropped.

Movies

Currently, the movies are only available in Latin America, with an English release unknown. The movies offer a different perspective on N-Tek and the creation of Max Steel. Through this, the world has been retconed. Endangered Species is the only one so far to have been released in the United States. Sometime in 2003 if you bought over $100 of Max Steel Action Figures you would get a Free Max Steel: Endangered Species DVD. In Mexico, Dark Rival was available inside an ActII popcorn special promo pack at the end of 2007.

Endangered Species|Endangered Species

Released:2004

length: 66 mins.

In this movie, Psycho and Bio-Constrictor join forces to transform humanity into mutants who will be ruled by them. At one point, Psycho betrays Bio-Constrictor, making him be trapped by a Psycho-robot (who looks like a silver-colored Psycho) who later self-destructs. Max fights Psycho and launches him into his own mutating device, which explodes. This movie marks the last appearances of Psycho and Bio-Con, along with the last time that figures of them are made. The last Psycho figure is a silver repaint of the first Psycho figure which represents the Psycho-robot instead to represent Psycho. The last Bio-Constrictor figure is a copper repaint of the Bio-Constrictor first figure (Bio-Constrictor's skin changes to copper color in some scenes of the movie). At the end of the movie, Elementor, a clone of Bio-Constrictor, awakens, for later be the villain of the second movie and the new villain of the toyline. Watch trailer here

Forces of Nature

Released:2005

length: 50 mins.

Forces of Nature is the only movie whose title was changed in Latin America. It was released under the name "El dominio de los elementos" (Element's Dominion). All other movies kept their respective names, even translated in different languages. In this movie, Jefferson Smith gets to Bioconstrictor's base. There he finds Biocon's clones in stasis. One of them, Elementor, wakes up and looks up for five different elementium isotopes. Each isotope grants hims the power to control and mimic one specific element: Earth, Water, Wind, Metal and Fire. One by one, Elementor absorbs the isotopes and gains new powers. Then Jefferson puts Max under "House Arrest", but Max is able to break free, then Elementor attacks N-Tek. Max and Jeff find a way to escape but before they escape Jefferson tells Max that years ago when he was made into "Max Steel" in order to save his life was to put the fifth isotope inside Max's body, and that is why he put him under house arrest, then Berto and Kat contact Max and tell him the fith Isotope makes the others go haywire, so he decides to confront Elementor. He then battles Elementor giving him the fith isotope until it kills Elementor.

Countdown

Released:2006

length: 51 mins.

The third Max Steel movie. After a battle against Psycho's remaining robots, Max discovers that Elementor (After having been destroyed over a year ago) has survived. Elementor invades N-Tek and goes to the machine that powers up Max Steel, Berto then reverses the power forcing Elementor to divide himself into his 5 different versions (water, fire, earth, air and metal) and attacks the planet. Max tricks Elementor that he is going to destroy the world, and he manages to stop him and make his bodies to re-unite and Elementor is jailed. This is the first time we see Psycho since his death in Endangered Species, he is a Hologram laughing at Max then commanding his android army to attack Max.

Dark Rival

Released:2007

length: 51 mins.

Strange thefts of N-Tek property have Max Steel on the tail of a new super agent, Troy Winter, who claims to be superior to Max in every sense. The chase is on when Team Steel realize Troy's goal is to obtain a piece of an unusual comet using the stolen N-Tek technology and deliver it into enemy hands. During a battle with Max, Troy falls into a volcano with a piece of the comet. The chemical reaction between the extreme heat and the comet's components transforms Troy into a sharped dark mineral crystal like creature, with the power of "extrude" other living being's life force and abilities. Troy then adopts the name of Extroyer and attacks N-Tek headquarters. In the middle of confusion, Elementor is once again released. Extremely weak, Elementor chases Extroyer seeking the comet fragments as a new source of power, but he is "extruded" and defeated. Troy takes 'Berto, Kat and Jefferson as hostages and forces Max to obey him. Extroyer uses N-Tek's stolen magnets powered by Max to redirect the comet near earth, so he can take as much crystal fragments as he wants, but too late he realizes it's all a set up, and he's sent into deep space instead, stuck in the comet's surface.

None of the companies involved on Max Steel's development have made any announcements about new movies or TV series.

Turbo Missions (2008)

Max Steel's Turbo Missions is a series of 1 minute length mini clips produced in partnership by Mattel, Sony Family Pictures Entertainment and Mainframe Entertainment (now Rainmaker Animation) which premiered on Cartoon Network on the first half of 2008. Each clip usually presents Max challenging one of his enemies. There's no moral lessons to be learned or advertisings as usually happens in this kind of TV commercials. The main purpose of the Turbo Mission series is to keep Max's presence alive among his fans, and slowly reintroduce previous plots and situations from the series and movies. The clips are not intended to be viewed in a specific order, and are independent of each other. You don't need to watch one in particular to understand others. Also the chronology of the events depicted varies from clip to clip. Some shows present situations, while others are denoted to be memories or flashbacks. In the flashbacks, you can see some enemies who are currently dead or missing, making their first presentation on TV in years after a long absence, and adds a few more points of view about those character's personalities.

The Turbo Missions are also used to retcon the story, and give additional hints and backgrounds of the characters. In the movie Dark Rival it's mentioned that Troy Winter and Max are old rivals with no further explanations. Many Turbo Missions show several past confrontations between Max and Troy, providing a more wide and credible background for both characters. A curious thing to note it's that despite it has been stated several times in Dark Rival that Max never defeated Troy in the Extreme Sports Circuit, he usually surpasses him in Turbo Missions. Hence, the reason why Troy hates Max so much in the movie. Also Max fights several Psycho-robots, but it is not clear if these fights in particular are present or past, specially 'cause in this mini series Max always wears his newest uniform, created in 2007, even when the events depicted in the flashback episodes happened before this date.

Season One

Season One premiered on Latin America on June 2008.

Video Games

  • Mattel Interactive made a Max Steel video game Max Steel: Coveret Missions for the Dreamcast.
  • Each new Max Steel toy released in 2007 an later contains a "credit card". Depending of the toy's value, the cards contains a specific amount of credits named "Max Points" that can be used to log in an unlock and play missions in Max Steel online video game. The online game can be accesed to Max Steel Official Website

External links

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