Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series DVD Review
Not exactly Iron Man's best outing...
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.
Transmitted: 12/22/2014 2:06:59 AM