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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animated > Science Fiction > TV > Iron Man: Extremis/Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D. (Marvel Knights Double Feature/Shout! Factory Blu-ray)

Iron Man: Extremis/Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D. (Marvel Knights Double Feature/Shout! Factory Blu-ray)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Features: C



Marvel Comics has had a mixed history with animated versions of their characters, starting in the 1960s with fun series that usually used actual frames from the pages of their comic books, but with cool vocal theme songs, the shows were hits and the 1967 Spider-Man was more fully animated.  Since then, the series that followed have been a mixed bag.


A new series direct to home video of Marvel Knights has had a mixed reaction and I was not particularly impressed.  Now, two of the titles have been paired on Blu-ray after being issued on DVD for a while: Iron Man: Extremis/Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D. and we covered both of them separately as follows at these links:


Iron Man: Extremis



Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D.




Almost a throwback to the 1960s shows, they are more like drawings with some animation in spots not unlike some early PC animation and video games.  I could have tolerated the animation style, but the writing is uninvolving and may even expect the view to have read some issues of the comics, which is not a good thing at all.


Despite liking only one of the two programs, my fellow critic Ricky Chiang was very hard on the picture and sound on both discs, similar to his critiques of the Tintin theatrical animated features he covered as an import DVD set a while ago, though I liked those transfers much more and they came from impressive HD masters.  In this case, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on both programs can make them both look a little better and cheaper for the worst.  These is barely a step-up from the 1960s Iron Man and 1980s Spider-Woman shows respectively and maybe really a step backwards overall.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes fare a bit better and are a little warmer and richer than their DVD counterparts, yet this is far from the best state-of-the-art sound design and is some dialogue recording can sound too forward or even fake.  Extras repeat the DVD versions.


That Spider-Woman has had this much animation at all is surprising, but I remember the 1980s show being a bit more engaging.  I still like the first Iron Man series from the 1960s the best, but recent animated versions have been a mixed bag, as you can see from these Blu-ray links:


Invincible Iron Man/Next Avengers: Heroes Of Tomorrow w/young Iron Man



Iron Man Armored Adventures: The Complete First Season import




The former examples have some good animation, while the latter used more still cheats and CG than I would have liked, but the character has had more overall success than you might think including other animated shows that have only appeared on DVD if that.  However, Marvel is behind DC Comics in the animation department and new owner Disney has to decide if they are going to get serious and start making more fully animated adaptations of the characters in new shows.


Reissuing the 1967 Spider-Man and the rest of the entire Marvel catalog of 1960s animated TV shows (including Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Sub Mariner) on DVD and all on Blu-ray (they were all filmed, have great color and that art would look great in HD) would be a smart starting place before getting behind some serious animated revivals.  Fans might like this Iron Man: Extremis/Spider-Woman: Agent Of S.W.O.R.D. Blu-ray, but I expect the audience to be limited to mostly that diehard crowd.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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