X-Men Legend of Wolverine
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // $19.99 // April 29, 2003
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted June 16, 2003
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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 are:

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 them.

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 no exception.

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 to hear.

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 foe.

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.

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