05.11.2010

REVIEW: Iron Man & X-Men Animated Series on DVD

Just last week Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series and the X-Men: Animated Series Volume 5.  These cartoons from the 1990s hold a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled both entire series are now available on DVD.

IRON MAN

Iron Man The Animated Series on DVD

Need more Iron Man action after seeing the new movie?  Then look no further!  The release of Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series was clearly timed to coincide with Iron Man 2 in theaters. The Iron Man cartoon originally debuted on the Fox Kids network in 1994 as part of the Marvel Action Hour, along with the Fantastic Four.  The series ran in syndication through 1996 and featured Robert Hays (Airplane, Starman TV series) as the voice of Tony Stark.  The series ran for two seasons.  Like the Fantastic Four cartoon, the Iron Man cartoon was dramatically revamped for the second season.  Season one was animated by Rainbow Animation Group, whereas the second season was animated by Koko Enterprises.  This resulted in a slightly different look for the second season, as well as completely different opening credits and theme music.

Iron Man The Animated Series on DVD

Unlike the X-Men cartoon which relied heavily on the comic book source material, the first season of the Iron Man series provided mostly original stories and had more self-contained episodes.  I believe this made the cartoon more accessible for new viewers not indoctrinated in years and years of comic continuity.  In the second season they started adapting more and more stories from the comics.  The series had numerous appearances by Iron Man’s allies, like War Machine, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, and Century.  Some of you clever comic fans are saying to yourselves…  seriously, Force Works?!?!?  The cartoon featured the characters of Force Works?!?!?  Yup.  Additionally, Iron Man battled foes such as: Mandarin, MODOK, Fin Fang Foom, Justin Hammer, Titanium Man, Whirlwind, Blacklash, Dreadknight, Blizzard, Grey Gargoyle, Hypnotia, and Living Laser.

Iron Man The Animated Series on DVD

You gotta take the good with the bad. This three-DVD collection contains the entire animated series – all 26 episodes.  Sadly, the collection doesn’t have any special features.  While I was disappointed initially, the trade-off is the large number of episodes in the collection.  Next, the animation in this series is sometimes hit and miss.  Sometimes the art wasn’t as strong as you’d hope for and detracted from the great storytelling.  However, it’s worth noting that the animation improved as the series went on.

Iron Man The Animated Series on DVD

I’d recommend this DVD collection to fans of Iron Man and fans of superhero cartoons.  If the early episodes don’t strike your fancy, hang around for the second season.

Iron Man The Animated Series on DVD

X-Men

X-Men Animated Series volume 5

Volume 5 of X-Men the Animated Series finishes out the show with episodes 63-76.  It’s hard for me to find new things to say about this fantastic series – click here for my review of volumes 1 & 2 and click here for my review of volumes 3 & 4X-Men the Animated Series is one of the more beloved cartoons to come out of the 1990s.  This series ran on Fox from 1992-1997 for five seasons with a total of 76 episodes.

X-Men the Animated Series

The series did such an excellent job adapting comic book stories to the small screen.  The first disc kicks off with a two-part adaptation of the comic crossover, “The Phalanx Covenant”.   In this story they introduce Warlock to the animated universe.  While they couldn’t exactly reproduce Bill Sienkiewicz’s Warlock design in the cartoon, they did a fair job on the character. Another great episode is on the second disc entitled “Old Soldiers”.  This episode features Logan teaming up with Captain America during World War II.

X-Men the Animated Series

Here is a complete list of episodes on this collection:

  • The Phalanx Covenant (Part 1)
  • The Phalanx Covenant (Part 2)
  • A Deal With the Devil
  • No Mutant is an Island
  • Longshot
  • Bloodlines
  • Storm Front (Part 1)
  • Storm Front (Part 2)
  • Jubilee’s Fairy Tale Theatre
  • The Fifth Horseman
  • Old Soldiers
  • Descent
  • Hidden Agendas
  • Graduation Day

X-Men the Animated Series

Like the Iron Man series, there are no special features on the DVD.  Additionaly, the animation in this series is sometimes hit and miss.  However, once you step back from that and look at the big picture, you’ll realize this was truly one of the best comic book-adapted cartoons of all time.  I’d highly recommend this volume and the previous four volumes to any comic book fan.

My thanks to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for sending me copies of these collections for review.

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8 Responses to “REVIEW: Iron Man & X-Men Animated Series on DVD”

  1. Ed Says:

    Oh yeah. The Marvel Action Hour. I recall catching this, I believe, on the old network UPN. My most favorite was The Fantastic Four theme song that was so outdated for the time as it seem to spawn out of the 70’s disco era.
    I may start renting these, and The X-Men, on Netflix. They’re good fun.

  2. 44 Says:

    maybe it’s just me, but EVERY still image you put in the article looked terrible. Just makes me cringe when i see the Iron Man/War Machine flying still…just sayin

  3. Luke Says:

    In my neck of the woods, the Marvel Action Hour came on Sunday mornings. It just so happened that Iron Man debuted right as I was getting into Shellhead, so it was like a nerd perfect storm. Comics, cartoon, toys (oh yes, I have a good selection of the Toy Biz line)… I was in Shellhead heaven. I am so glad to see this series released finally. I have the FF one, which is silly but amusing, but getting Iron Man makes me very happy.

    You know, I don’t think I have seen any of these episodes of X-Men save for Jubilee’s Fairy Tale Theatre. I remember reading about Old Soldiers (in Wizard I guess?) but have never caught it! The last episodes of X-Men I remember well were… what were they called… Beyond Good And Evil!

  4. Chocotaco Says:

    I think the Marvel Action Hour came on Sunday mornings in my neck of the woods, so I didn’t see it very often, but I remember it being pretty terrible. I probably only saw the first season or whatever, though.

    I loved the 90’s X-Men cartoon. I haven’t watched it with contemporary eyes, though. I think it’s probably better for me to just cherish my memories of the show rather than try to watch it again. I think I’d probably be disappointed.

  5. John Says:

    I wonder if Disney’s willingness to release full-season sets of these shows means they are also considering releasing complete sets of their other animated series, like DuckTales, Kim Possible, or The Replacements? I can sort of understand why they haven’t released the latter two, since they’re both still shown every night on the Disney Channel, but the same definitely cannot be said about DuckTales.

  6. Luke Says:

    DuckTales is available in large sets, John, with I believe the entire series available over 3 boxed sets. You can get the lot of them on Amazon for $60.

    Treasure of the Lost Lamp is apparently a Disney Movie Club exclusive which goes for $20+ used on Amazon.

    Never watched DuckTaleas a kid — it had some weird stigma around it for some reason… that somehow Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Talespin, and DARKWING DUCK, THE GREATEST CARTOON EVER, did not have in my brain.

  7. Shag Says:

    My thanks to everyone for the comments.

    Luke – My kids have been watching Talespin for the last couple weeks. They love it!

  8. Kaiser The Great Says:

    I had no clue Cap showed up on this cartoon. Crazy. Weird to see “Now available from Disney” on the clips!

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