The Iron Man animated series ran for a couple of season in the mid 1990s, and
after watching the episodes that aired during its first season I'm amazed that
the series was renewed for another season. The first season episodes are
terrible in every imaginable way. The animation is amateurish, looks
cheap, and should be certified green for the way it continually recycles the
same sequences over and again. The writing is scattershot and poor, and
there's no continuity between the episodes. The first episode features a
random and rather lame adventure for Iron Man and the members of his Force Works
team - there's no origin story, no mention of why Iron Man is leading Force
Works, or any other form of introduction to the series. There's nothing to
introduce a new fan to Iron Man or to let an existing fan know where in the
timeline of the Iron Man saga the series is supposed to be taking place.
Halfway through the episode I began to wonder if I had accidentally played the
second disc instead of the first. The series' first season is so bad that
I can't imagine ever wanting to watch it again unless it's to prove to somebody
how truly awful it is.
The second season is a different matter entirely, and from the opening
credits it becomes immediately obvious that anyone associated with the first
season was given a pink slip. The lame static opening credits of season
one are replaced with a cool new sequence that has Tony Stark pounding a hammer
against an anvil as classic Iron Man suits appear in the shadows, all set to a
new hard rock theme song meant to invoke the spirit of Black Sabbath's classic
song as the lead singer wails, "I am Iron Man." Season two's animation is
not fantastic by most standards, but it is so much better than season one's that
it looks impressive in comparison. The color palette has been greatly
expanded, shading techniques have been used to eliminate the flat look of season
one, and a lot more detail has been added to the backgrounds and environments.
The writing is also a lot better in season two - the characters are no longer
one-dimensional, the dialog is improved, and there is continuity in the
storyline between the episodes. Season two is still Saturday morning
cartoon fare, but it's better than average Saturday morning cartoon fare and is
a work of art compared to the first season.
I'm going to keep my recommendation for this DVD set limited to Iron Man
completists and those with feelings of nostalgia for the series. Everyone
else is essentially buying two seasons of content of which they'll only want to
watch half. Also, this is a barebones release devoid of any special
features or inserts. The cover art is merely OK and even the discs are a
dull gray. You'll have a lot more fun sticking to the Iron Man movies and
comics than this series.