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X-Men, Volume Five (Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection) by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B0036EH3XY
Date: 12 May 2010 List Price $23.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: / Wikipedia / Show Official Info /

If you're a fan of the X-Men animated series that ran from October 31, 1992 to September 20, 1997, you'll be delighted to know that the fifth and final volume has been released. Added to the first four volumes, you now have all 76 episodes in your hands.

Created by Stan Lee

Cast (Series Cast Summary - 9 of 61):
Cathal J. Dodd ... Logan / Wolverine
Cedric Smith ... Professor Charles Xavier / Professor X
Norm Spencer ... Cyclops / Scott Summers
Lenore Zann ... Rogue
George Buza ... Beast / Hank McCoy
Catherine Disher ... Jean Grey / Phoenix
Alyson Court ... Jubilee / Jubilation Lee
Chris Potter ... Gambit / Remy LeBeau
Alison Sealy-Smith ... Storm / Ororo

Beginning with Season 3, the episode continuity on the "Fox Kids" Saturday morning lineup on the Fox Network is almost non-existent.

From Wikipedia:
Each episode was assigned two different numbers internally. One is for Script Order, which indicates the number assigned by the production company. The other is for Production Order, which are the official episode numbers assigned by FOX Children's Network, indicating the order in which they received the episodes. These both vary from the order in which the series actually aired after season three. According to series writer Steven Melching, the Script Order is the "best guide in terms of overall series continuity, as this is how the stories were originally envisioned to flow together."

How else would you explain the fact that Volume 5, Disc 1 has three episodes from Season 3, one episode from Season 4, and two episodes from Season 5. At least Volume 5, Disc 2 has eight episodes from Season 5. But that's how they were aired originally and to Disney's credit, they decided to package the five volumes in this order and they did so consistently from start to finish.

Phalanx Covenant, Part One and Phalanx Covenant, Part Two was an interesting two-parter, mainly due to the unusual allies the X-Men teamed up with in the fight against the alien Phalanx. My quibble with this story was that the organic/inorganic Phalanx was that they came across as a snaky version of the Borg.

A Deal With The Devil was an interesting team up from Season 3 since Wolverine and Storm are forced into a reluctant team up with Omega Red, a former Soviet Union human superweapon. Not surprisingly he has a secret agenda of his own at cross purposes with those of the people who rescued him from his icy prison.

No Mutant Is An Island is an excellent peek back into the childhood of Scott Summers before he became Cyclops as he goes back to McNeil Orphanage in another Season 3 episode.

In the final Season 3 episode Longshot, we get a return visit from the uberdisgusting Mojo as he pursues Longshot, his biggest star and the leader of the rebellion that has turned Mojo's world upside down.

The final episode on Disc 1 is Bloodlines from Season Four. Nightcrawler's birth mother wants to meet him again face-to-face. Graydon Creed, founder of Friends Of Humanity (FOH, a rabid anti-mutant faction) and father of Sabertooth has served his time in jail and upon his release, he tries to wrench control of the Friends Of Humanity back from the ruling council who had replaced him. When both encounter Mystique at the same time, she tells them that she is their mother - or is she?

In Storm Front, Part I and Storm Front, Part II, Arkon, ruler of Polemachus brings Storm back with him so that she can save the planet. After she does so, he asks her to be his queen and she accepts. The problem is that he is the Snake in the Garden of Eden and is a cruel tyrant, an important fact that she and the X-Men discover before the wedding ceremony.

Jubilee's Fairytale Theatre begins with a reluctant Jubilee having to serve as escort for a bus full of high school kids. While touring nearby underground caverns, they're trapped by a cave-in and in order to keep the kids from panicking, Jubilee begins telling a D&D style fairy tale with her as the heroine and her fellow X-Men as secondary characters in the tale. A fun episode.

In The Fifth Horseman, evil mutant Fabian Cortez helps Apocalypse escape from the astral plane, but when he fails the task given to him by Apocalypse, his punishment for failure is to have Apocalypse take his body for his own.

Old Soldiers is a wonderful episode with flashbacks to Nazi-occupied Paris, France during World War II where Logan is working as an operative for the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA). Often acting alone, Logan ends up paired with a surprise partner - Captain America.

Descent takes place in Victorian-era London where two scientists, Dr. James Xavier and Dr. Nathaniel Essex, argue hotly over Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. We discover that Dr. James Xavier is Professor Xavier's grandfather and we see how Dr. Nathaniel Essex becomes the evil Mr. Sinister.

In Hidden Agendas Rogue goes back to the Deep South to investigate Cannonball, another young mutant, but living openly in what appears to be a tolerant society - on the surface.

Graduation Day, the series finale begins with a Mutant/Human Relations Summit, where Henry Peter Gyrich attacks and badly injures Professor Xavier using an energy weapon. When the X-Men and Moira MacTaggert are unable to save Xavier, they have to contact Lilandra in the Shi'Ar Empire, but there's a big problem. Xavier and Lilandra share a psychic bond across light years, but even Jean Grey can't contact Lilandra by herself. Meanwhile Magneto makes final preparations to take over the world with his army of angry mutants on Genosha. When a desperate Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jean Grey infiltrate Genosha they tell Magneto that Xavier is dying, he is shocked and halts the assault on humankind out of respect for Xavier, who is simultaneously his greatest enemy, his one equal, and his only friend. Magneto returns to the Mansion with them and momentarily rouses Xavier from his coma whereby he contacts Lilandra who arrives in time to save him. The big problem is that in order to save Xavier, she must take him. The series ends up with Magneto and the assembled X-Men saying a tearful goodbye to the couple before they leave for the Shi'Ar home world. A worthy finale.

Our reviews of the previous four volumes can be found at:

X-Men, Volume 1 (Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection) (Released AL-28-09; Went Live MA-01-09)

Marvel X-Men Volume 2 (2-Disc) (Released AL-28-09; Went Live MA-01-09)

X-Men, Volume 3 (Released SE-15-09; Went Live OC-01-09)

X-Men, Volume 4 (Released SE-15-09; Went Live OC-01-09)

X-Men, Volume Five on DVD provided me with lots of entertainment, but if you haven't watched the four previous volumes, watch them first. If you already own them, then buy Volume Five and complete your collection.

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