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Marvel Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series - 3-Disc DVD by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B0036EH3XO
Date: 20 May 2010 List Price $29.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com / Wikipedia - Iron Man (TV series) / Wikipedia - Force Works / Show Official Info /

Airing in syndication from September 24, 1994 to February 24, 1996 as part of "The Marvel Action Hour" along with the "Fantastic Four", Marvel Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series on 3-Disc DVD gives you all 26 episodes that aired in those two seasons.

Unlike the five volume animated X-Men which had major continuity issues because it followed the order in which it was aired, but not written, Marvel Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series on 3-Disc DVD has only one slight glitch on Disc 3 where Empowered originally aired the week before Hulk Buster.

Animation in Season 1 was produced by the Rainbow Animation Group, but unfortunately for us, it pales in comparison with the animated X-Men I also reviewed this month. Fortunately for us, the animation in Season 2 was provided by Koko Enterprises and is on a par with the animated X-Men.

Something that really did not make a lot of sense is that while the series is called Iron Man, all thirteen episodes in Season 1 featured Iron Man and Force Works (Century, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Spider Woman) against the Mandarin and his superpowered lackeys (Dreadknight, Blizzard, Blacklash, Grey Gargoyle, Hypnotia, Whirlwind, Living Laser, MODOK), as well as Fin Fang Foom (an alien dragon creature) and Justin Hammer. For the most part every single episode had the Mandarin and his lackeys trying to steal Tony Stark's newest invention and being foiled, sometimes by the most implausible means possible. The only compelling viewing were the episodes where we got some of the background of MODOK in Enemy Without, Enemy Within, the Mandarin in Origin of the Mandarin, and Iron Man in the two-part Origin of Iron Man.

At the end of The Enemy Within the members of Force Works leave Stark, all except for War Machine and Spider-Woman.

In Fire and Rain, War Machine's armor is badly damaged and James Rhodes' childhood claustrophobia returns and he decides he doesn't want to wear War Machine's armor any more.

During Cell of Iron Arthur Dearborn/Sunturion asks Iron Man if he knows what it's like to live your life in a cell of iron. Tony Stark's method of destroying all the self-replicating attack droids sent by A.I.M. was very reminiscent of the "Death Blossom" that destroyed all the remaining Ko-Dan fighters in the movie "The Last Starfighter".

Not Far From the Tree features the shocking return of the long dead Walter Stark, Tony's father. Ten years earlier Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. had traded Walter Stark to A.I.M. in return for one of their agents. A.I.M. has hired Crimson Dynamo to attack Stark Industries in collusion with what has proven to be an evil clone of Walter Stark. The organ music at the very end reminded me of "Phantom of the Opera". Quite good.

In Beauty Knows No Pain Stark's former flame Madame Masque returns in hopes of acquiring the Golden Sepulcher of Isis in order to restore her beauty and gain eternal life.

When Hawkeye is badly injured fighting Ultimo in Iron Man, On the Inside, Iron Man shrinks down to molecular size in order to implant a life-saving chip in Hawkeye's spine, something taken straight from Fantastic Voyage.

In Distant Boundaries, Iron Man and War Machine fly a spacecraft to a distant world where they have to fight against the evil Dark Aegis and his hireling Titanium Man - until Titanium Man realizes that Dark Aegis is out to destroy things, not take over.

The Armor Wars (Part 1) and The Armor Wars (Part 2) begins with Tony Stark discovering Iron Man components in Crimson Dynamo's armor, and he goes on a one man crusade to permanently disable the Iron Man technology in the armor of every hero and villain that he can. But it's all a plot by Justin Hammer. Quite good.

When one of the Mandarin's lost rings creates rifts in time in Hulk Buster, another green-skinned villain named the Leader tries to kill a young Dr, Bruce Banner and take his place to become 'Hulked-up' in Banner's place.

In Empowered, MODOK begins collecting the Mandarin's lost rings for his own world domination, only to receive a very nasty shock - the Mandarin is still very much alive.

The final two episodes of the series are called Hands of the Mandarin (Part 1 and 2). Here the Mandarin has finally recovered all ten of his rings and now he is out to rule the world.

Iron Man has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters and although I missed this series when it originally aired in 1994 to 1996, I eagerly looked forward to enjoying it. Unfortunately the animation in Season 1 was very uninspiring and Season 2 was superior only by comparison. Compared to Volume 5 of the animated X-Men, the animated Iron Man came a distant second. I would only recommend it to diehard Iron Man compleatists.

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