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Created by Stan Lee, Matt Edward Edens, Michael Edens,
Starring Cathal J. Dodd, Cedric Smith, Norm Spencer, Lenore Zann, George Buza, Alison Sealy-Smith, Catherine Disher, Alyson Court, Chris Potter

I’ve already commented on just how influential I believe this X-Men series to be on animated television series. It offers more complex storylines that often take many episodes to complete and it’s geared toward older fans as well as children. It’s crazy to think that it has taken as long as it has for this series to come to DVD.

Volume Three

The centerpiece of volume three is the “Dark Phoenix” story arc. Last season Jeanne Gray had become the Phoenix a powerful entity that saved the universe by taking a crystal into a sun to destroy it. The Phoenix returned to Earth though, still inside Jeanne’s body. The Phoenix, through Jeanne’s body and personality, has learned what feelings are like. She wants to experience more feelings, the good and the bad. With a little prodding from the Hellfire Club, she descends into experiencing very evil feelings and she becomes the Dark Phoenix. This epic story arc was one of the most famous in the comic book series and while it is watered down a bit for the television series it’s still the best the show has to offer.

The biggest problem here is that the four part Dark Phoenix story arc is leaps and bounds above the other episodes in the two disc volume.  The episodes that come after the dark Phoenix story are good and are a bit of a break from the long story arc and the two parter that started the volume off as they are a series of single episode stories.  The two part Savage Land story that starts the volume off is just plain boring though.


Volume Four

This volume, like the previous, kicks off with a fairly uninteresting two part story arc. Things get interesting with the next story arc that focused on Magneto. Any time he’s central to a story it’s sure to at least be entertaining.  Magneto ahs good intentions but he only cares about the mutants so when he tries to help them if humans are harmed along the say it doesn’t matter to him. Xavier was always a proponent of humans and mutants finding a way to live together while Magneto wants to take the mutants to a place where they can live without human interference.

There’s a four episode story arc in this set that is easily as good as the Phoenix story arcs if not better. These episodes were at one point meant to be finale of the series as the creators thought they were being canceled. Then they were given more episodes and some of these are the worst installments of the series. The very worst is the Christmas themed episode that was just as insulting to the younger viewers as it was to older ones. The final two part story arc was an interesting look at Magneto’s and Xavier’s intertwined pasts but it doesn’t offer up enough detail, especially compared to the other story arcs in the series.


The Video

The full screen presentation offers up a mixed experience. Early episodes feature fairly good colors with the exception of some blooming reds. There’s also some heavy grain and some really irritating blurring during action scenes. As the series progresses the blurring lessons a good bit, the grain gets a little lighter and the colors are even more vibrant. The image always looks worn and dated but by the last disc of volume two everything is fairly clean considering the age of the source material.


The Audio

The audio is extremely basic but watchable with dialogue usually coming through clean even if some of the effects are a bit muddy. There are times when the overall audio feels a bit soft too.


Packaging and Bonus Features (Both Volumes)

There’s absolutely no reason for these two volumes to be packaged separately. Each package features two discs that could have been combined into a single four disc collection. Honestly it feels a little like money grab to put out two volumes rather than one set. The cover art for the two volumes is extremely similar too which makes them hard to differentiate from one another. Speaking of the art there’s an image of Dark Phoenix on the cover and that character is never featured in the episode making it misleading for fans that know that story and character.

Finally there are absolutely no bonus features! This series is one of Marvel Entertainment’s most important franchises and they’ve provided no extras, nothing. This is an epic fail of mammoth proportions.


These two volumes are uneven in quality but the high points are still better executed than current animated shows. Fans of the comics and fans of good animated TV should give this series a look for sure.

Overall Volume Three (Not an Average) 7/10
Overall Volume Three (Not an Average) 6/10

The Review
Volume Three 8/10
Volume Four 7/10
The Video 6/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 0/10
Overall Volume Three (Not an Average) 7/10
Overall Volume Three (Not an Average) 6/10