The X-Men Animated Series Volume 5 brings the DVD collection to its close as
it covers the final season of the 1990s Saturday morning cartoon series.
The series earns high marks for staying true to the X-Men mythos of the comics,
and for including many of the major events and stories from the comic's
overarching storyline. Volume 5 demonstrates that the series had pretty
much run its course by its final season, but there are some gems to be found
among the more forgettable episodes. "Old Soldiers" features Captain
America and Wolverine teaming up during World War II to fight Red Skull, and
"The Phalanx Covenant" is a two-parter featuring a Borg-like race that threatens
to assimilate the entire Earth. The series culminates with a strong final
episode, "Graduation Day", in which the X-Men are faced with the loss of their
leader and mentor. However, the ending is somewhat unsatisfying because it
opens up a world of intriguing possibilities that will never be explored, namely
in the form of the apparent new leader of the X-Men. There are some issues
with continuity in the episode ordering on the discs, leaving purists to bristle
at the fact that Jean is whereabouts unknown to the X-Men in one episode and
then walks around the place like she never left in the next.
On the whole, the good balances out the bad in this final volume, and there's
no compelling reason to leave it out of your collection if you already own the
first four. However, if you're new to the series or this DVD collection,
I'd start with the earlier volumes because they stayed closer to the story arc
most casual fans of the X-Men are familiar with.
The animation is often on the crude side with static and simple backgrounds,
looped animations, and awkward character movements (it looks as if an attempt
was made to save money by skipping frames of animation). Too bad the
animation is nothing like the awesome cover art adorning the DVD case.
Still it's probably about average for Saturday morning fare.
The DVD set includes 14 episodes in all on two discs, but outside of a couple
of movie trailers at the start of the first disc there are no special features
whatsoever. That's too bad because it would have been interesting to learn
more about the animated series' connection to the X-Men universe of the comics.