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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Animated Series
Season 3 - Volume 4


Starring (voice): Cedric Smith, Cathal J. Dodd, Norm Spencer and Iona Morris
Clear Vision
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: PG
Available 14 September 2009

After Seasons 1 to 3 and Season 4 Volumes 1-3 were consumed for breakfast by the Dread Dormammu (they must have been; I never received them for review), we now have Volume 4, the conclusion to the fourth season. This animated interpretation of the X-Men Marvel comics adventures centres mainly on the nucleus of Professor Xavier, Scott Summers (Cyclops), Jean Grey, Storm, Beast, and of course the perpetually bad-tempered but essentially good Wolverine. Like the recently reviewed excellent Spider-Man animated serial, this X-Men one dates from the same period. You would be forgiven for assuming then that they are of the same standard in quality. The truth is they couldn't be further apart.

Admittedly, being more of a Spider-Man and Batman comics reader as a kid, I have more knowledge of those characters and situations. But it doesn't disguise the fact that I've come across the X-Men several times before, and also enjoyed the more recent feature films (particularly the second). The first thing I noticed is that the imagery comes across as tacky and seems to be aimed at a younger audience than Spider-Man. The colours are very deep and the outlines much more prominent than is necessary. Very few of the voices match the corresponding characters in terms of tone and resonance. They uniformly sound young, and I would even go as far as to say that Professor X comes across as slightly effeminate.

For anyone determined to press on, this disc incorporates six episodes with an accumulative running time of 2 hours, 5 minutes. Villains (and they're always super-villains) on display here include the Soviet megalomaniac Omega Red, the Shadow King spirit, and old favourite Magnito, who in the two-part Sanctuary story is outdone by Fabien Cortex. For me the best of the bunch here is Secrets, Not Long Buried. This is probably due to the fact that Cyclops loses his powers whilst tracking down an old friend in a town full of hostile mutants.

I really couldn't summon up much enthusiasm for this collection episodes. I'm sorry but it just hasn't got the X-factor.


Ty Power

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