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Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly
DVD Released: 7/21/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/18/2009
I've got a bone to pick with Wolverine and the X-Men. Well, that's not entirely true. I've actually got a bone to pick with NickToons, the cable network which broadcasts the show. What is up with your scheduling? You show a new episode like once a month? How is that supposed to build viewership? I realize that this show is primarily aimed at kids who most likely aren't scouring the TV listings every week to see if their favorite show is on, but you’ve got to have some sort of consistency. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, we can look at Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies and examine a show which is teetering on being good.
This DVD contains five episodes from the series.
-- “Overflow” -- This episodes shows us what happened to Storm (voiced by Susan Dalian) once she left the X-Men. She has returned to her home-land of Africa, where she is worshipped as a goddess, while using her manipulation of the weather to help the locals. Professor Xavier (voiced by Jim Ward), who is trapped in the future, sends a message to Wolverine (voiced by Steve Blum) warning him that a terrible tragedy will befall Africa. Wolverine gathers the X-Men, who now feature the newly returned Cyclops (voiced by Nolan North), and head for the continent. Meanwhile, Storm becomes possessed by The Shadow King, a presence who wants to use Storm's powers for evil.
-- “Thieves’ Gambit” -- Forge (voiced by Roger Craig Smith), the X-Men's resident tinkerer, has invented a collar which nullifies a mutant's powers. Wolverine uses it to stop a young girl from using her powers to harm others. Dr. Sybil Zane (voiced by Kari Wahlgren), who works for Senator Kelly sees the collar in action and decides that it would be a great tool for her team. She hires thief Gambit (voiced by Phil LaMarr) to break into the X-Mansion and steal the device. Wolverine uses his powers to track Gambit and learns that the thief is a mutant as well.
-- “X-Calibre” -- The first few episodes of the show introduced us to the idea that Magneto (voiced by Tom Kane) has created a sanctuary for mutants on the island of Genosha. Mutants book passage on freighters in order to get to the island. However, there are stories that some of the ships have disappeared. Nightcrawler (voiced by Liam O'Brien) stows away on a ship to get to the bottom of things. He's surprised to learn that the mutants are being targeted by Mojo (voiced by Charlie Adler), a TV programmer from another dimension. Nightcrawler rallies the mutants to help him fight.
-- “Wolverine vs. The Hulk” -- Nick Fury (voiced by Alex Desert) of S.H.I.E.L.D. approaches Wolverine and asks him to go to Canada to stop The Hulk (voiced by Fred Tatasciore), who has been wreaking havoc up there. Of course, Wolverine and The Hulk have tangled many times in the past, and Logan is reluctant to take the assignment. When he arrives in the Great White North, it doesn't talk Wolverine long to find The Hulk. But, he also quickly learns that a monster known as The Wendigo is also in the area.
-- “Time Bomb” -- A new mutant named Nitro (voiced by Liam O'Brien) is introduced in this episode. His power is simply this -- energy builds in his body until he explodes, destroying everything around him. Because of this, he turns himself in to the authorities. Sensing that Nitro would make a great weapon, Quicksilver (voiced by Mark Hidlreth) leads the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to kidnap Nitro. The X-Men learn of this abduction and rush to save Nitro...and everyone in the vicinity.
For me, the best way to assess Wolverine and the X-Men is to compare it another current Marvel show,The Spectacular Spider-Man. That show has several story arcs going which explore the private life of Spider-Man and the nefarious doings of the villains. On top of this, each episode focuses on a different bad-guy(s). Wolverine and the X-Men clearly wants to have a similar structure, but it just can't seem to get it right. If nothing else, the show seems to be attempting to please everyone at once. Each episode brings in another character from the X-Men comic book universe, as if to say, "Hey! Look at how we staying faithful to the comics! Hey! It's Nightcrawler! Hey! It's Gambit!" It's great that they want to have authentic (sort of) characters, but the story arcs come to a screeching halt in order to introduce them. The Nightcrawler and Hulk episodes work as stand-alone pieces, but they don't advance the series. One could watch these are individual pieces and be satisfied, but while watching them as part of the series, we are thinking, "Hey! I wonder what the X-Men are doing?" Granted, we are only eight episodes into the show (DVD wise), so hopefully thinks will gel and we will get a more cohesive show.
Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies is the best at what it does on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. The episodes are letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look fantastic and there's no overt artifacting. I don't know if Nicktoons Network is available in HD anywhere, but this looks much better than my digital cable broadcast and it's great to see it widescreen. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The audio is quite muscular and the stereo effects are well done. The surround sound effects are sporadic, but they are effective when they show up. We are also treated to a smattering of subwoofer effects during the action scenes.
The Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies DVD contains only one special feature. Each episode is accompanied by an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Producer Craig Kyle and Writer Greg Johnson. They are joined by Writer Chris Yost on the last three episodes. These are good talks, as the speakers alternate between discussing the stories and characters, while also delving into the production and why certain decisions were made.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long