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X-Men, Volumes 1 & 2 (Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection) - animated DVD / family DVD / television series DVD review
X-MEN, VOLUMES 1 & 2 (MARVEL DVD COMIC BOOK COLLECTION) Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Cathal J. Dodd, Cedric Smith, Norm Spencer, Lenore Zann, Alison Sealy-Smith
Creator: Stan Lee Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 28 April 2009 Feature runtime: Vol. 1: 368 minutes, 2 discs; Vol. 2: 391 minutes, 2 discs
Format: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features, Volume 1: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish), Sixteen episodes (including 2-part "Night of the Sentinels"); Volume 2: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish), Seventeen episodes (including 5-part "Phoenix Saga")

Recently released on DVD are the first two volumes of the X-Men animated series. Originally appearing on Fox television from 1992 to 1997, these 4 DVDs cover 33 of the 76 total episodes of this series.

While the first couple episodes cover the obligatory origin stories of the main characters, we move quickly into adaptions of some of the most popular storylines from the various X-Men comic books (Days of Future Past and The Phoenix Saga are not to be missed). While some of these episodes have been released on VHS and DVD in the past, this is the first time they have been available as a complete set.

Now one might try and write this series off as a cheap Saturday morning knock-off and I'm sure the hardcore comic-book crowd won't touch this with a ten-foot [clever reference here]. But it really is a disservice to dismiss this series without giving it a chance. It is ambitious with its attempt to translate some of the adult themes of the comic book, such as racism and prejudice. Fans of the recent X-Men movies should jump on these episodes right away, as it will give them a detailed look at their favorite characters from those films.

The voice acting is superb, each character's unique voice and vocal style are unforgettable to fans of the original broadcasts. I had a chance to watch several episodes with headphones and was amazed by the music and audio efforts put into this production. The animation is on par with '90s standards, and I actually prefer it to the glossy CG fare that is today's standard.

The only thing lacking is in the special features department: there are none. We have the episodes themselves (in Dolby Digital surround) and alternate language tracks. I was hoping for a little more here; I would have loved to have seen some behind-the-scenes production details, maybe some interviews or details on the actors providing some of the voice work. Seriously, I'm a huge fan of the voice work on this show, and I swear I'll mention to every one who asks about this series. I'd like to think there may be more special features on Volumes 3 & 4 when they arrive in the near future, but I doubt it.

While I loved this series, there's no escaping the fact that these collections were kicked out the door to coincide with the release of the latest X-Men movie, X-Men Origins Wolverine. Ignoring that however, leaves us with a great addition to the library of any X-Men fan.
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reviewed by Ryan Strampe
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