Wolverine and the X-Men is the fourth time Marvel Studios have decided to animated the Uncanny X-Men into a show. Despite the successful runs of Evolution and the Animated Series, this show didn’t quite fare so well. It only lasted the typical twenty six episodes that a lot of animated shows go through. However, Marvel has stayed true to the fans and released this sixth and final volume of the show chronicling the last three episodes.
Jean Grey has been kidnapped by unknown assailants. The X-Men look up and down for her captors but can not find them. However, with Wolverine’s special sense of smell he realizes that Emma Frost, a fellow team member had something to do with it and locks her up despite until he knows more information. Cyclops protests but Wolverine is not having it. Wolverine proceeds to the room where they are keeping Charles Xavier who is in a deep coma.
All of the sudden while Xavier and Wolverine are communicating through some sort of telekinesis, Xavier’s mind vanishes. The mind is transported into the future to be with other mutants such Bishop, Domino, Marrow and others. However, this version of the future X-Men is under attack from the Sentinels. They eventually defeat the X-Men and take Xavier hostage. Their sinister mission with Charles unwilling help is to find all of the mutants and destroy them.
Meanwhile, Magneto is still looking to take out the human race with a plan that involves Quicksilver kidnapping Senator Kelly. Then with the help of Mystique to impersonate the Senator, they will initiate an attack on Genosha that will unite the mutants (since they would think the humans started this unprovoked action) against the humans. However, Magneto is finding a hard time in convincing Scarlet Witch to join them.
It is finally revealed that Emma Frost is indeed a double agent, working for the X-Men and the Hellfire Club (or the Inner Circle if you like the PG version) simultaneously. They kidnapped Jean Grey because they wish to unleash the Phoenix inside of her. Wolverine and his fellow X-Men must fight on three fronts against the Hellfire Club, against Magneto and against a future that could only mean the destruction of mutant and human kind. Can they stop these forces before it is too late?
This is my first real experience with this version of the X-Men. I take that back, I did catch a couple of episodes during the run but didn’t pay it too much attention. Most of you who are reading this review probably enjoyed my reviews of the five volumes of the famous Animated Series. Located here, here and here. These three episodes included a lot of mutants, some we are pretty used to seeing (Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Rogue, Nightcrawler, etc) and some we are not as used to (Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat, Emma Frost, Quicksilver and a whole lot more).
It made for an interesting mix though by the opening sequence I was a little confused by where Iceman (he does show up for about two seconds) and Angel were. Furthermore, Storm was something of a footnote. It also didn’t seem right for Wolverine to be the leader of the group. But I will note that this works out beautifully because of the excellent storytelling and concludes in the way it should. One more thing for the purists, Rogue would never steal a power of an X-Men for a cheap save gimmick.
However after those minor faults with the show, it really boasts a quite chaotic and well told storyline. The action sequences are fantastic and the time-travel don’t seem to be full of holes (which did happen in the original animated series a lot). It’s not perfect but time travel never is. I also liked the use of characters and how they worked in some of the more interesting ones from the long standing comic series. The ending is satisfying and also chilling as they had ever intention to animate a second season.
The video is the standard 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation. Despite the fact that this show was in HD, I wasn’t entirely happy with the video presentation. All of the females as well as most of the males had this very slender (almost runway model) quality to them. These heroes are supposed to be muscular, not paper thin. On the quality side, it does look good throughout with vibrant colors and effective use of the widescreen presentation.
The sound is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo Sound. The X-Men have also came a long way in the audio department with this excellent track. Dialog is perfect and there are effective use of surrounds in battle scenes. It is not quite up to movie magic but it certainly is the best you are going to find in television land. From Wolverine’s claws to Sentinel’s pulverizing energy blasts, fans will be satisfied. Subtitles are not included that I could find.
- Automatic Trailers: Alpha and Omega, Thor: Tales of Asgard, The Spy Next Door, Planet Hulk, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow and Speed Racer Next Generation: Fast Track the Movie.
- Audio Commentary – Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson, and Chris Yost: Three members from the writing crew of the show (including the two creators). They narrate each of the episodes and turn in one of the best commentaries in recent animation memory. They are energetic, funny and informative. The first episode they pretty much riff on everything on the screen before settling down and give us some key information for the last two. Fans of the show should be pleased.
As mentioned in the header, Wolverine and the X-Men did not get a chance at a second season due to issues in funding. It’s honestly a shame as this version of the X-Men was unique and presented a very interesting story that had only begun to develop. I’m not a fan of volumes when they only include 3 episodes on a single disc but it is a fitting end if you have the previous five discs. If you don’t, you will be happy to know that in October there will be a complete series release in dvd and blu-ray.
The disc has excellent video and audio (though honestly I’m not in love with the animation style) and one of the best commentaries I have listened to in animated super hero history. I only hope that with the complete series release looming that this commentary does not go missing outside of this disc. I certainly recommend this disc to those who own the first five volumes. The rest should probably wait until October.