A teenaged Tony Stark? Well, it’s a risk, I’ll give it that. Iron Man: Armored Adventures had a lot going against it when it was announced. A CGI cartoon with a drastically reworked Tony Stark was, as you could expect, not received warmly among fans. I can see why, honestly. It’s not the Tony Stark that fans grew up with. However, I’m one of those fans who is somewhat more open-minded to different interpretations of a character, with every one as valid as the next as far as I’m concerned. Some may not be as well-received, but each take it a valid one, and Iron Man: Armored Adventures is no different.
Join the adventures of teenage prodigy Tony Stark, and his alter ego Iron Man, as he uses his technological inventions to battle villains and save the world! When new threats like Living Laser and Madame Masque bring their own brand of chaos, it’s up to Iron Man to answer the call! Suit up and get back in action with Tony and his best friends, Rhodey and Pepper, as they risk it all to defeat evil and save the day using their futuristic gadgets and a little teamwork. Enjoy 6 action-packed episodes filled with bigger challenges, more secrets and pulse-pounding showdowns. Prepare to blast off with Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Volume 2!
To describe the show “Peter Parker as Iron Man” isn’t far off, in all honesty. Stark is a brainy high schooler by day, butt-kicking crime-fighter by night. While he may not suffer the tumultuous beatings at the hands of Flash Thompson and his ilk, the comparisons are apt. Thankfully, the creators behind the show seem very blissfully aware of this, and even run with it. So, what we get is a basic formula which does work for the most part. While I wouldn’t say this show is extraordinary on the level of The Spectacular Spider-Man or Batman: The Brave and The Bold, it’s still a totally watchable show that does have its own merits and drawbacks. Though, I will say, for the traditional Iron Man fans, turn back now. I can’t see those who’ve grown up with the comic series enjoying this take on the character.
To move on, the episodes featured in this release include “Meltdown,” “Field Trip,” “Ancient History 101,” “Ready, A.I.M., Fire,” “Masquerade,” and “Seeing Red.” Here we find Stark doubting whether or not he should bother staying in school, going after Obidiah Stane in a new suit, searching for the Makluan Rings, duking it out with A.I.M., being framed by Madame Masque, and, finally, going up against the Crimson Dynamo again with yet another new set of duds. Definitely a nice set of adventures with an homage or two to Iron Man’s bright comic book past.
Nice yes, but, sadly, not every episode rises above average. Iron Man: Armored Adventures is a good show, one with plenty of room to grow, but we don’t see that much potential here. We get hints of an ongoing story-line, yes, but a lot of these episodes lack an urgency to really draw the viewers in week after week. Admittedly, many of the villain redesigns really, really work, some improving upon the source material. And while they can be annoying at times, particularly Pepper Potts, the supporting cast does add a nice balance to the series. Adrian Petriw, voice of Tony Stark, does an excellent job here, effortlessly skipping between hero, orphaned son, and high school student with ease.
Overall, it’s a different take on the Crimson Avenger, but it’s enjoyable for what it is. I’ll give Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Volume Two the stamp of Recommended, but with some heavy reservations. I can guarantee there will be folks who will not like this series, and it’s understandable. If you’re insulted by the idea of Tony Stark struggling through high school, then this show may not be for you. I’d still recommend at least giving the show a bit of a test drive before dismissing it completely. This is an enjoyable show, but one that I believe will really need to improve if it is going to win new viewers over. It’s a competent show. Good, but not great, but for a show like this to deviate so much from the source material, it needs to be better.
Much like the previous Iron Man: Armored Adventures release, here we get a simple release packaged in the standard Amaray case. No frills, really, which is a bit disappointing considering that other recent Marvel Animated releases are getting some really fine looking releases, both inside and out.
Audio and video for this release is pretty impressive. The video transfer is undeniably strong here, looking crisp, clear, and near perfect. The audio is just as solid, managing to really pack a punch during the action sequences. A remarkable amount of work has definitely been put into Iron Man: Armored Adventures look its absolute best.
As great as this release looks, it gets bogged down with a really light load of features. Extras includes a couple trailers for Wolverine and the X-Men and Iron Man: Armored Adventures and a The Super Hero Squad “Day in the Life Of” short. And that’s it. Less than ten minutes of additional content. True, we get a lot of content with just the main feature, but something more than barely 10 minutes of promotional material would have been nice.
This is a serviceable release, yes, but I feel there should have been more included. Where are the commentaries and featurettes? Perhaps being saved for a more in-depth collection down the line?
For die-hard fans of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, you have no reason to pass this up. You get six more adventures in one tidy little collection. However, for the casual viewer, you may want to consider holding off for a possible box set collection in the future. With the lack of extras and the episodes included here playing in heavy rotation on Nicktoons Network, these episodes are easy to catch at nearly any time. To play it safe, simply Rent It before testing out Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Volume Two. The episodes included are enjoyable, and shows plenty of promise for improvement down the road, but the lack of extras strike a serious blow for this DVD release. Still, for parents looking to add some iron to their kid’s DVD collection, this should do just fine.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Volume Two is now available to own.