Time to coincide with the release of the latest X-Men live action film, the cartoon
compilation disc is another in a series of Marvel Comics cartoon DVDs that packages
various episodes onto one disc that highlights specific characters.
Since Wolverine was the breakout star of the first film, he receives top billing
with on this disc, although it does feature a few other episodes that reveal
more information about two more players in the X2 film. Both Nightcrawler and
Lady Deathstrike are featured in episodes as well, and overall, it's a
nice mix of episodes.
There are four episodes, all featuring Wolverine, that are on this disc. They
Out of the Past I: Wolverine meets up with a woman from his past to
discover she is now Lady Deathstrike. Fans not familiar with the character may
be confused, as she looks significantly different in the comic and cartoon than
the movie. Wolverine discovers that her meeting with him wasn't as accidental
as planned and is actually a plot to obtain alien technology trapped within
a spaceship. Once open, an alien beast emerges from the ship endangering everyone,
including Wolverine's friend Jubilee, and it's up to him to save
Out of the Past II: As Lady Deathstrike and Jubilee are taken by the
alien monster, Wolverine must come to terms with his feelings about the two
in order to save one or both of them.
Nightcrawler: More about the blue-skinned mutant that it is the albino
fishing-worm, this episode is basically the character's origin modified
for the cartoon. Rogue, gambit and Wolverine investigate sightings in a German
town where they discover Nightcrawler. All the basics of the character are here
and his religious beliefs weren't toned down for the kid audience either.
The Lotus and the Steel: In this episode Logan (Wolverine) travels
to Japan to see if he can find out more about his past. He digs up many memories
from his past and tries to decipher what's real and what was planted by
the Weapon X program. Following the plot of Kurosawa's Yojimbo, Wolverine
is drafted to protect a town from the Silver Samurai and his band of thugs.
It's a nice package, that when viewed together, give more insight into
the X-Men's most popular character and what makes him tick. Those not
familiar with the cartoon will still enjoy, as elements from the film and comics
are still the basis for the story, only the medium of delivery if different.
Video: As with other Marvel animation projects, the quality
is beautiful on this disc. The colors are bright, crisps and the blacks are
sharp with crisp edges. Animation has always looked good on DVD, and this is
Audio: As with most television discs, a Dolby Digital 2.0
track is provided and does the job perfectly well. It's the original format
and everything is mixed well. No abrupt highs or silences and dialog is easy
Extras: The animation sets that Marvel has been releasing
have had quite a few features. While this one lacks compared to others, it's
still fulfilling. There's an excellent interview with Chris Claremont.
While not the creator of the X-Men, along with artists like John Byrne, Dave
Cockrum and Paul Smith, Claremont chronicled the exploits (or is that x-ploits)
of the X-Men for over 17 year (which is a record run on comic book). He first
developed many of the plots and stories (including movie villain Stryker) that
have been mined and refined for the animation and live-action incarnations of
the X-Men. Up next is a short interview with Stan Lee. While not as interesting,
the man has charisma to spare and has a way with words that cannot be matched.
A bonus episode is also included on the disc entitles "The Final Decision"
n which the X-Men team up with Magneto to defeat the Master Mold and his army
of mutant killing robots, the Sentinels. Long thought to be the plot to the
second X-Men movie, this episodes serves as a "what could have been"
as it explores the theme of Magneto joining with the X-Men against a common
Overall: It's another strong entry in Marvel's
line of movie tie-in discs, which is now being followed with episodes of the
Hulk on DVD. As these movies continue, look for more sets like this, which only
serve to hold most of us over until they are released as full season sets, which
is what most fans of the show want.