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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animated > Anime > TV > Book > Blade + Wolverine: Complete Marvel Animated Series Animes (2011/Sony DVD Sets)/The Dark Knight Rises – Novelization By Greg Cox (2012 Paperback/Titan Books/Softcover)

Blade + Wolverine: Complete Marvel Animated Series Animes (2011/Sony DVD Sets)/The Dark Knight Rises – Novelization By Greg Cox (2012 Paperback/Titan Books/Softcover)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Episodes: C+     Novel: C+



Here are some of the latest superhero releases to consider, but not what you might normally think of.



To try something different with their characters, Marvel has decided to make Anime versions of two of their more cutting-edge characters.  Both Blade and Wolverine have been given limited series Complete Marvel Animated Series Animes that are now on DVD.  Debuting in 2011, they offer slightly different versions of the characters.  Blade is even more steeped in his martial arts than usual, while Wolverine is more on his own than usual, but both have their new challenges ahead and are given situations more challenging than they might find in English-market animated variations.


Though some origins ideas surface in both, it is the new, different angle that makes seeing both of these worth a look.  Blade hunts down Deacon Frost in Southeast Asia and Wolverine takes on members of the Yakuza because his newest girlfriend is from Japan and he is not just going to abandon her.  Both work much better in their Japanese language track versions than the surprisingly flat English dubs.  They are not to be taken as normal installments of their main storylines, yet they are not so divorced form them as to be too different.


Both offer nice alternate storylines that are a nice change of pace from their last feature film appearances and fans in particular will want to try out each of them in their entirety, though some choices did not work as well as others.


Extras in both cases include two featurettes on the making of the respective shows.  I’ll be curious to see if more Marvel characters get this unique and interesting treatment.




The Dark Knight Rises – Novelization By Greg Cox (2012) attempts to make the 2 hour, 45 minutes conclusion to the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale trilogy into a readable novel and it is readable, but like most such tie-ins, it also lacks some of the visual impact of actually seeing the film and can read more like a screenplay.  Especially since the motion picture (which I have seen and liked very much) is so visual and speaks its own visual language, the novel can only play as secondary to the film, but it is not bad and still pretty detailed at 413 pages as Batman has disappeared for 8 years after capturing The Joker.  Now he must take on the threat of a radical Bane and uncertainty of a dangerous other opponent in Catwoman.


Still, it is missing some detail from the final film and should only be read after seeing it, though a few will read the book first for whatever reasons.  Some of these tie-ins have been thin and others infamous (like Christopher Wood turning his screenplay to the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker and somehow making it a long book while the original Ian Fleming novel went out of print for a long time starting then).  AT least this is not flimsy and cheap.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both Marvel/Sony DVD sets look good, but they have the styled-down Anime look which wants to use slightly bleaching white to soften the look throughout, so this affects playback and likely would do the same if these were Blu-rays.  Otherwise, they look just fine and are in the style of the genre.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixed on both are good in Japanese, but do not always have consistent surrounds.  The English dub versions are not as good and again, the readings and translation are disappointing, especially when compared to the English subtitles.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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