A great cartoon for fans of both Marvel Comics and the X-Men theatrical films, as this seems very much like an extension of the various Marvel film franchises currently hitting our Cineplex screens.
Its heavy on action. The producers keep good continuity with the films. And the animation is stunning, to say the least.
Are these episodes in any order at all? I can't really tell, as the story seems to be all over the place. Why not just release the entire season at once instead of charging me full price for five measly episodes? Lame. And some of the voices are damn annoying.
This is the fourth animated incarnation of the X-Men comic books to hit the small screen. As far as the animation goes, it's certainly the best. The storylines are action packed, and they stay pretty true to what has been created for the big screen thus far. Nick Fury looks and sounds like Samuel Jackson, and The Beast could pass for Kelsey Grammer. I'm not a big fan of Wolverine's vocal chops here, but maybe because I have grown too used to Hugh Jackman in the role. And Nightcrawler is exceptionally annoying. The style and verve of each episode is amazing, and the animation is downright beautiful. Though, it's hard to tell if these episodes are being shown in any order at all. Each one comes with a recap, but its stuff I am not seeing in any of the other episodes before it. The main story arc seems to get lost in the shuffle of this second volume. Why aren't these all packaged in a one season box set? That would make it a lot easier to follow for the fan and the casual viewer alike. All of our favorite Marvel characters make an appearance, including The Hulk, who once again battles Wolverine in an exciting fistfight. There are five episodes all together, starting with season one's episode four "Overflow". In it, Professor X shows Wolverine a future vision of a destroyed Africa and reveals that Storm is the one who destroyed it. It isn't long before the Shadow King tries to take control of Storm's body. We also get episodes five "Thieves Gambit". Magma is being chased by the Mutant Control Unit. In the middle of a road she turns to a burning being and the cars suddenly stop around her. Wolverine rescues Magma from the Mutant Control Unit and uses an inhibitor collar built by Forge to help control her powers. In episode six "X-Calibre", there is news that Nightcrawler was seen on a ship traveling to Genosha with other mutants, so the X-Men try to find him. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler and the other travelers (including Squidboy, Network, Shatter, and Pixie) are intercepted by "pirates", who really are Spiral and the Reavers, looking for fighters within the pool of high level mutants to take them to Mojo. Episode seven may be the best in the bunch here. "Wolverine vs. The Hulk" is a sequel to to the "Hulk Vs" which finds Nick Fury asking Wolverine to once again fight against the Hulk to make sure that the X-Men's names don't go to Senator Kelly. The finally episode included here is "Time Bomb", which finds Professor Xavier warning the X-Men about an impeding event that will wipe away half of the mutant population. Its pretty exciting stuff, and fans of the movies will definitely want to add this to their collection.
Writers Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson, and Chris Yost give up some excellent audio commentaries that explain the origins found in this handful of stories, and how they all fit into Marvel Comics lore. There is also a trailer gallery featuring other Marvel Animation releases.
The show is presented in its original broadcast aspect ration of 1.78:1, enhanced for 16x9 screens. In color. The runtime is one hour and fifty-three minutes. The cartoon has not been rated.
The show is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital.
The box art offers up a great gallery of heroes and villains. We get Wolverine, Gambit, and Nightcrawler protecting the bottom half of the box, while Hulk, Mojo, and some creepy dude with a goatee dominate the top half. It's an angry, colorful menagerie that offers up exactly what we'll find inside. A Marvel Comic book come to vivid life. The back of the cover is action packed as well, and gives us a good indication of what we will see in these five episodes.
THE FINAL WORD
This is the best-animated X-Men series ever produced. And it makes for a worthy companion to the big screen films. If you felt a little let down by the recent X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, this will actually lift your spirits. It's a fun ride, and worthy of repeat viewings. I just think the storyline is a little too "all-over the place" to be contained in this one volume set. I want the whole season in one box. Is that too much to ask for? Most certainly not.
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