Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers Vol 1 & 2 DVD Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
While Marvel Comics have enjoyed great success with the theatrical films their animated series have been more hit and miss. The Spider-Man and X-Men franchises have done well but some of their other series, particularly their 1990s shows like Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Hulk were a bit flat. With The Avengers film coming out next year it was high time to do a series on “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. The first half of season one is now out on DVD and comprises TWO volumes (more about this in a bit). The producers did a smart thing when the series began. Rather than just jumping into the thick of things the series began with a series of micro episodes, 20 in all, which served to introduce viewers to the main characters and their unique back-stories. These 20 micro episodes have been condensed into five full-length episodes, which comprise the first five episodes of Volume one.
What you have to love as a Marvel Comics fan is the sheer number of characters introduced right off the bat…villains such as The Wrecking Crew, Ultron, The Absorbing Man, Hydra, A.I.M, The Grim Reaper, Crimson Dynamo, Loki, The Abomination, Whirlwind, Red Skull, Kang, and several more are thrown at fans in rapid succession. What did I say about NOT jumping right into things? We got treated to a big chuck of the Marvel Universe before the first full episode of the show! The full episodes began with the two part “Breakout” as a mass jailbreak occurs at several high security super villain prisons. The breakout is what initially draws the heroes (Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, and the Hulk together as they try to capture the escaped prisoners and then face off in a climactic battle against Graviton. This is one of those classic stories that draws the disparate heroes together as one. It also established the Hulk’s incredible strength as he was the only one to be able to move against Graviton’s crushing gravity powers.
Captain America’s character was introduced in the micro episodes and set in the World War II era and his apparent demise before his body is discovered in “Living Legend” which was inspired partially by the events of Avengers #4 from 1964 as Cap is revived in modern times. “Everything is Wonderful” introduced Simon Williams, AKA Wonder Man although with a very different origin than in the comics. The Black Panther seeks the Avengers aid in “Panther’s Quest” and volume 2 concludes with the two-part “Gamma World” storyline as the Leader unleashes a global Gamma wave that mutates everyone it touches.
The good part is that this is a better than expected series. Being on the Disney XD network I expected the series to be watered down in terms of its action and violence but it wasn’t. The police officers in the series shoot actual guns as opposed to energy weapons seen in more PC animated series. The shows are heavily influenced by the comics and the inspiration draws on all eras of Marvel’s history, even the Golden Age as it relates to Captain America. The voice acting is capable but doesn’t stand out. Unlike DC, Marvel doesn’t seem to make voice acting a top priority and tends to use straight voice actors as opposed to TV and film actors.
What does suck, quite frankly is that you’re only getting half of season one and it’s coming on TWO DVDs. This could have and should have been released on a single DVD and it was…in Canada. It’s an unnecessary money grab by Disney
While the sheer volume of characters seen in the first half of season one is almost overwhelming, who’d have thought we’d ever see Captain America teaming up with Wolverine and the Howling Commandos on TV?
Each disc comes with a different sneak peek at season two. If you don’t want to know the spoilers stop reading now.
New Looks, New Heroes (7:30) – Several characters will be getting makeovers in season two such as a new armor for Iron Man, New outfit for Thor based on the Olivier Coipel version and even new, non-tear pants for the Hulk. Among the new heroes we will see are Ms. Marvel and The Vision.
New Stories, New Threats (6:00) – Kang and the Masters of Evil return to trouble the Avengers but also look for the Kree and the Skrulls to show up two including a storyline based on “Secret Invasion”. You’ll also see guest-stars including the Fantastic Four and The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Mania Grade: B+
DVD: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers Vol 1 & 2
Rating: Not Rated
Starring (Voices): Seth Rogen, Jay Shou, Cameron Diaz
Written By: Christopher Yost
Directed By: Various
Distributor: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2011
Extras: See Below