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X-Men - Marvel Comic Book Collection Volume 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   7/10
Audio:   7/10
Extras:   0/10

Finally!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
4/29/2009

    Experience the classic Marvel legacy as the popular 1990s X-Men animated series explodes onto DVD! With stories adapted directly from the original comic books, this collection is a piece of Marvel history and a must-have for every X-Men fan.

    Discover the origins of your favorite characters and uncover the secrets of Magneto and more of the world's most diabolical villains in X-Men: Volume 1. Relive the first 16 episodes, beginning with the 2-part "Night of the Sentinels," in this thrilling collection.
Companies are always looking at ways to tie existing properties to new ones, either a reinvention of a TV show, or a big theatrical movie. That's why it's almost incomprehensible to understand why Disney didn't release this NINE years ago when the first X-Men movie hit theaters, or why they didn't release it in 2003 or 2006 when the second and third movies came out. No, they waited for X-Men: Wolverine (out May 1) to be released to theaters. Keep in mind this is the same studio that owns the 1994 Spider-man series as well (maybe we'll see that released in time for Spider-man 4 or 5). I know studios have to plan their releases far in advance, but this is a bit ridiculous.

Anyway, back to the show - X-Men hit TVs back in 1992 during a period where I was "too grownup" to be interested in cartoons, yet not old enough that I looked at cartoons as a way to reconnect with my childhood. That's a fancy way of saying I haven't seen the show before, but I've been looking forward to this release because of all the positive things I've heard over the years.

This 2-disc set from Disney includes the first 16 episodes of the series:

Disc 1 (2:50:00)
Night of the Sentinels Part 1 (21:16)
Night of the Sentinels Part 2 (21:16)
Enter Magneto (21:16)
Deadly Reunions (21:07)
Captive Hearts (21:15)
Cold Vengeance (21:17)
Slave Island (21:16)
The Unstoppable Juggernaut (21:17)

Disc 2 (2:50:18)
The Cure (21:17)
Come the Apocalypse (21:17)
Days of Future Past Part 1 (21:18)
Days of Future Past Part 2 (21:17)
The Final Decision (21:16)
Till Death Do Us Part Part 1 (21:17)
Till Death Do Us Part Part 2 (21:18)
Whatever it Takes (21:18)

Video

The X-Men is presented in Full Frame (1.33:1), which isn't a surprise for a 90s cartoon series. The episodes look pretty good, though they suffer from a couple of problems. You'll notice specks of dust and debris in some of the episodes, a sign that this isn't a new series. I also noticed something that I found a bit distracting, but something many people won't notice at all; the animation has a weird motion in it, almost as though some frames aren't displaying properly. I paused the DVD and stepped through each frame to confirm what I thought I was seeing, some frames on the DVD are a combination of two frames of animation. I've seen this on other animated releases, and I think I even took a screenshot to illustrate what I was talking about, but I can't find it. Basically the image shows half of frame 1, and half of frame 2, and results in a weird image that's neither frame 1, nor 2. I find it distracting, but I think I'm more susceptible to these things than the average person (I can't stand looking at a monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate, for example). I've never been able to get a proper explanation as to what causes this weird problem, or whether it's an encoding problem with the DVD, or something inherent to the masters. There are chapters in each episode, but not one directly following the opening of the show. Each disc contains a "play all" feature.

Audio

Though Disney is known for using Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on their newer releases, X-Men is a bit too old for the format, so they've included Dolby Surround audio tracks in English, French and Spanish. I found the rear speakers were rarely used, and the majority of the audio comes from the center channel. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles on the episodes.

Extras - How we rate extras

Nothing at all.

Summary

Well, I finally got the chance to watch the famed X-Men series, and I quite enjoyed it. I enjoy shows that build from one episode to another, like X-Men does. I can understand why this was one of the most-requested shows on the site, it's just a shame it took so long to come out. Unfortunately for fans of the show, there aren't any extras on the set at all. Disney owns a ton of animated shows, but they don't like putting extras on the set, which is a shame when you look at the work that BCI did on He-Man, and Shout! Factory continues to include on their sets.

Alright guys, burn the bootlegs because the real thing is here at last. Run and pick it up (along with Volume 2), and hope that we see them continue to release sometime in the next decade (hopefully before the 8th X-Men-themed series is out in theaters).


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