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Marvel’s Iron Man: The Complete 1994 Animated Series DVD

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

May 28, 2010 Marvel Bookmark and Share


Fox Kids’ Iron Man animated series ran for only two seasons in the mid 1990s, and I remember watching regularly back then. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is banking on that twenty-something nostalgia and the timeliness of issuing this bare bones, 3-DVD set so close to the theatrical release of Iron Man 2. Well, after watching the episodes that aired during Iron Man‘s first season, I’m fairly certain my nostalgia was terribly misplaced.

The first season is awful in almost every possible area. The animation is shoddy, cheap, and the animators’ choice to recycle the same cruddy CGI sequences quickly grates on your patience. The character devlopment of War Machine and the Force Works team (Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, and The Century) is non-existent to undercooked, and there’s no discernable through-line(s). Also, the dialogue is really, really dreadful. The first episode jumps right into a random adventure about radioactive Russian soldiers-turned-zombies, without any character setup or even Tony Stark’s origin story. (We finally get the latter in episodes 11 and 12.)

One moment of salavation occurs during episode seven (“The Origin of the Mandarin.”) It actually kept my interest throughout and gave Iron Man’s greatest villain a reason for existing. Unfortunately, the season ends on with a deafening thud: episode 13 (“The Wedding of Iron Man.”) Stark is tying the knot with Spider-Woman(?) and Mandarin uncovers Iron Man’s secret identity. How the writers wrap up that predicament is utterly proposterous. (Spoiler: Mandarin deduces that Iron Man and Tony Stark are different people because he sees them together just once!)

The second season is almost like fine art in comparison. (Note: Season one’s animation was provided by the Rainbow Animation Group, while Koko Enterprises took the reins for season two.) The switch is a downright miracle. Pretty much all the negatives of the first 13 episodes mutate into positives. The writing gets a serious makeover and it shows. Multi-part storylines and a shift from using The Mandarin as a plot crutch seriously up the fun factor. The characters also feel like they’re real people and not mindless action figures. War Machine has to overcome his fear of water in episode 15 (“Fire and Rain”) to help Iron Man, and in episode 20 (“Distant Boundaries”), Iron Man feels sorry for inadvertently setting the madman Dark Aegis adrift in space during his brash past. There’s even an awesome, time traveling Iron Man/The Incredible Hulk team-up (episode 24 - “Hulkbuster”).

Season two’s animation may not be as polished as Fox Kids’ much better, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, but it gets the job done. (By the way, somebody needs to tell Disney to finally release that ‘90s Spider-Man series.) Even Iron Man‘s opening credits get a Black Sabbath-y makeover. The remaining 13 episodes are run-of-the-mill Saturday moring cartoons, but for kids (and nostalgic adults) they somewhat fit the bill. Plus, it’s pretty awesome to see Iron Man kick the asses of baddies such as Blacklash, Blizzard, Dreadknight, Fin Fang Foom, Grey Gargoyle, Hypnotia (created for the series), Justin Hammer, MODOK, Scarlet Witch, Titanium Man, and Whirlwind. That being said, you’d be better off buying some Iron Man comics and graphic novels instead. (www.4kids.tv / www.disneydvd.disney.go.com/home.html)

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10



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Binod Chourasia
November 10th 2010
12:28pm

nice blog…...