X-Men Volume Three & Four DVD Review
Another fourteen hours of adventure for Disney's X-Men...
Disney continues the Marvel Comic Book Collection series of the X-Men animated series from the early 1990s with the simultaneous release of Volumes 3 and 4. In spite of Disney's recent acquisition of Marvel, both DVD releases still feature the Marvel label prominently with Disney's participation kept decidedly low-key. It will be interesting to see if this is the last Marvel DVD release that won't prominently feature the Disney logo front and center.
Volumes 3 and 4 each feature 14 episodes on 2 discs, and are divided to evenly spread the episodes between each volume rather than to divide them based on their original broadcast season. I don't know how the order corresponds to the original order of broadcast, but the episodes are ordered to provide a cohesive overall narrative and I think that only diehard fanboys would have any issues with the episode order in each volume if they've indeed been changed for the DVD release. I'm not sure why you would want to buy Volume 4 without buying Volume 3 unless you had a fondness for one particular episode over all others (Morloc Christmas, anyone?) and so this review is covering both volumes at once. This also begs the question as to why the two volumes weren't simply issued as a single release, but I'll leave that one as a matter to be debated in the forums.
This series originally aired in the early 1990s as Saturday morning entertainment for kids. As such, the animation is about on par with other such series in the genre, which is to say simply adequate in most cases and occasionally poor. Don't be fooled by the DVD covers which feature some great looking artwork - the animation contained within is strictly low budget caliber stuff. Cheap animation aside, the series does receive high marks for its faithfulness to the X-Men comics' grand story arc and the personalities of each character as established in the comics is carried through to the animated series. The dialog has a tendency to drop into action genre cheesy clich one-liners, but the central themes of prejudice, fear of the unknown, and acceptance of the differences that make people unique are solid and drive the majority of the storylines. Kids will enjoy the action and adults, at least those who are or once were comic fans, will appreciate that the stories are a bit more sophisticated than those in most animated series. It's also nice to see an animated series that will actually provoke thought in kids instead of simply numbing their minds. Fans of the comic will also appreciate the number of characters who eventually make an appearance in the series in addition to the regulars of Rogue, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Gambit, and Jubilee, although personally I could do with a lot less Jubilee.
Volume 3 consists of the following episodes:
Fans will appreciate the Dark Phoenix saga with its battle to save the mind of Jean Grey, the appearance of Iceman and Nightcrawler in their own episodes, and the Wolverine back story revealed in Weapon X. The Juggernaut is also of particular interest in that the X-Men must work to save the life of an enemy.
Volume 4 contains:
The first disc is dedicated to multipart episodes including Beyond Good and Evil which begins with another interrupted Cyclops and Jean Grey wedding attempt that eventually leads to a major showdown with Apocalypse. The second disc is particularly interesting because Rogue, Wolverine, Dr. X, and Magneto are all forced in one way or another to confront long-buried secrets from their pasts, a definite treat for fans of the comic.
With both discs what you see is what you get - there are no special features or other content outside of the episodes themselves.
Transmitted: 7/26/2016 11:50:25 AM