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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animated > TV > The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Vol. 3 & 4 (Marvel Comics/Disney DVD)

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Vol. 3 & 4 (Marvel Comics/Disney DVD)

 

Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Episodes: A

 

 

Finishing up the first action-packed season of Marvel’s finest animated effort to date, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes volumes 3 & 4 continue where volumes 1 & 2 left off.  Writer-Producer Joshua Fine and his crew go back to the well of ideas and draw forth some of the finest stories in The Avengers long history for these episodes.  We not only get enjoy some of the lesser villains you might never have thought to see animated (Serpent Society immediately comes to mind), but we also get treated to major battles with some of the Marvel Universe’s most significant heavy hitters.

 

Evil organizations A.I.M. and Hydra tangle, and M.O.D.O.C. floats right into the thick of the action!  One of Marvel’s visually strangest villains, M.O.D.O.C. vies with Hydra leader Baron Strucker for the Cosmic Cube, and Hawkeye finally finds some closure with the woman he believes betrayed him, the Black Widow!  As these stories develop the Avengers grow as characters and learn to trust each other more and more.  Captain America begins to assert himself, casting off his man- out-of-time malaise and adapting to his new role in modern society. 

 

The Masters of Evil make a comeback in a big way, and Asgardian heavy-hitter Malekith shows up to open the Casket of Ancient Winters, a dangerous artifact that threatens to bury the planet in perpetual winter.  Longtime comic book villain Ultron finally goes bad, but the way it’s done in the series is so clever that it becomes uniquely its own, not just pilfered comic continuity.

 

Throughout these episodes we glimpse a powerful, unseen hand behind many of the villainous machinations. Working through his catspaw, the Enchantress, Loki schemes to conquer all of the Nine Worlds of reality, and yes, that includes the Earth as well!  When the Avengers find themselves scattered across the Nine Worlds, they have to survive and reunite to free Thor and stop the cosmically powerful God of Trickery.  The story and visual surprises come at a fast and furious pace, and viewers who know the continuity will find plenty of winks and nods tucked into an otherwise extremely accessible series of episodes.

 

The disappointing extras on these two volumes will leave the viewer wondering about the amazing creative process that must have gone into each of these amazing episodes.  Why not interviews with principal writer Chris Yost?  Why no commentaries from producer Joshua Fine?  For example, fans would love insight into why the creative crew picked the members of the Serpent Society that they did for the episode they appeared in.  Instead we get a sort of lame re-play of one of the existing episodes with “Pop-Up Video” style information blurbs.  We can only hope that when a season one complete boxed set appears, this series is given its proper due in the extras department.

 

Despite that quibble, these two volumes represent required viewing for fans of Marvel animation.  Once maligned next to DC/Warner’s amazing offerings, now Marvel has a series that stands right up there with the best of them.  The surprise ending of the last episode of volume four has left me eager for more. Excelsior!

 

 

-   Scott Pyle


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