The Avengers finally get the animated series treatment they deserve in Disney/Marvel's The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the new animated show that helps put Marvel Comics' most famous collection of superheroes on par with their respective rivals DC Comics and Warner Bros. I think a lot of comic book fans (myself included) were leery when Disney bought Marvel, as many thought future productions of their most famous faces would have their wings clipped for general audiences. But as they so often are, the nerds were proven wrong with a stellar effort that not only brings out the very best of the whole crew, but is easily one of the best animated shows on television right now. After an impressive debut with the first release, things really start to heat up in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Vol. 2, which packs even more episodes onto a budget-priced DVD to keep most fans happy, which is a small relief.
Volume two picks up where the first ended, with our newly-assembled Avengers fighting against evil, and sees them coming together at their new headquarters, the Avengers Mansion built by Tony Stark. From there, they plan out how they're going to round up the villains who escaped. Naturally, the bad guys have other plans, such as placing the Hulk under a spell and causing him to go on a rampage in the episode "Some Assembly Required" (yup, "Avengers Assemble!" pun). The team finally recruits Captain America in "Living Legend", while Black Panther fights the team to test their skills and then joins in "Panther's Quest". After a few other amazing episodes, the DVD ends with the thrilling two-parter "Gamma World", where most of the Avengers and America become gamma mutated monsters, leaving only Hawkeye and the Hulk to save the day.
This volume continues the great job of awesome characters and stories from the first, as the show is one of those series that gets better as it goes along. Again, I'm glad Disney decided not to pull too many punches with the violence, as it's always cool to see big guys like Hulk and Abomination go at it without cutting away or lots of 'white flash' edits. I really enjoyed how one of my favorite characters, Captain America, is portrayed in this series. He comes off as a strong, courageous guy that's still a little unsure of himself after losing a friend in the past and suddenly being thrown nearly 70 years into the future. Though as the series progresses, he becomes more and more of leader, hopefully which will lead up to his destiny in the second season of the show.
Disney has done a great job with transfer on this DVD, as the picture and sound are sharp and crisp as we saw in the first volume. Again, with six episodes packed on the disc, there wasn't much room for special features, with this disc containing just one called "New Stories, New Threats". Here supervising producer Joshua Fine and story editor Christopher Yost get to speak of characters and storylines fans can expect in Season Two, while also talking about how they pulled (assembled?) various plots from both classic and modern comics to make such great stories for the series.
While I still wish they'd opted for a proper complete season set of the show, I'm glad Disney and Marvel collected enough episodes on the single-disc The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Vol. 2 to keep fans happy, especially those who enjoyed the first volume as much as I did. With most of the team finally assembled there's even more action and adventure on the six collected episodes here, including the introduction of favorites Captain America and Black Panther, to make this collection more exciting than ever. Those who've been waiting for Marvel to produce an animated series on par with rivals Warner Bros should look no further, as their collaboration with Disney seems to have been just the thing they needed to give them one on par with the great Justice League. Bring on Vol. 3 (and the Blu-ray editions, please!).
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Walt Disney Video