Fantastic Four: The World’s Greatest Heroes arrives on DVD and, sadly, the release does not live up to expectations. Given the amount of time and effort put into current television releases, this set comes up short.
As the synopsis goes, the Fantastic Four are joined by The Incredible Hulk and the Astonishing Ant-Man as they face the evil of Doctor Doom and the Mole Man! These four electrifying episodes feature Mr. Fantastic trading bodies with Doctor Doom, The Hulk on a crash course with New York, the team miniaturized and in need of Ant-Man’s help to return to normal size and the Mole Man’s massive monster Giganto attacking the Baxter Building. Against such terrible evil, one hero isn’t enough…it takes Four! Own all the action and fun of the newest adventures from the hugely popular Super Hero franchise with Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes – Volume One.
The synopsis, provided by Fox Home Entertainment, gives away the problem with this DVD. This is a volume release, collecting just four episodes of the series. New series, even cartoon series that are only a couple years old, are usually given the box set treatment. But here, we get just four episodes. I suppose that’s not really the fault of Fox. Cartoon Network aired just seven episodes before putting it on the back-burner. In fact one of the episodes on this collection, “De-Mole-Itition” has yet to air on Cartoon Network.
As for the series itself, I seem to be in the minority to find it enjoyable. Is it perfect? No, but it recaptures the fun of the group. The interaction is pretty solid, and the animation look great. The designs may turn off people, and they do take a bit of getting used to, but they work for the series. And despite what so many people have said, so what if The Thing has “4” spray painted on his chest? The design works and it’s actually a smart idea on part of the show’s creative team.
The episode housed within are also pretty enjoyable. They include one of my favorite, “Hard Knocks,” and the rest showcase a nice amount of diversity. We get Dr. Doom, the Ant-Man, Mole Man, and the Hulk in the aforementioned “Hard Knocks.” I can’t say for certain if the release is worth the price, the but the episodes are worth watching.
The DVD itself is lacking. After a trailer for an upcoming Garfield CGI DTV, the main menu kicks in and . . . it’s the only menu. You have the option to “Play All” or go episode by episode through the set. There are no other language settings accessible from the menu. No extras, no trailers, no nothing. It’s a big letdown. I was hoping for something more given how somewhat controversial this series has been to the comic fans. The set is completely barebones, with all the disc-space put toward the actual episodes.
And, another knock against the release, the episodes are all full screen. While the title credits remain in widescreen, the episodes are given full screen transfers. Given that the show is animated in widescreen (and is actually shown in widescreen in Canada and other countries), this is unforgivable. It’s a huge mistake on Fox’s part.
Overall, I can’t say if I actually recommend this release. Little kids who enjoy the series will get a lot out of this release. Four fun episodes that look beautiful. However, fans looking for a bit more will be let down. No extras, no widescreen transfer, only four episode. Doesn’t seem worth it. I’d recommend passing on this release if you’re a fan of the show and hope for a better DVD set down the road. If you know small kids who like this classic superteam, Fantastic Four: The World’s Greatest Heroes – Volume One is for them.