Continuing the adventures of Wolverine and the X-Men from the new Nicktoons Network animated series, the appropriately-titled Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies expands on the set-up from the previous DVD release, with Wolverine bringing the famed X-Men back together. But now, we get to look at the larger world outside of the X-Mansion, including the first appearance of the Hulk and Mojo. For those who enjoyed the three-part opener to the series from the previous Wolverine and The X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy DVD release, I have no doubt that the five episodes found in here will keep you just as hooked.
Wolverine and the X-Men continue their fight to prevent an unspeakable future as menacing opponents await in Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies. The X-Men fight to save Storm’s life after the parasitic Shadow King infiltrates her mind. And Wolverine teams up with Gambit to ‘steal back’ a technological collar that inhibits mutant powers, before Senator Kelly can use it against them. On the high seas, Nightcrawler battles devious pirates, in the business of kidnapping mutant refugees for their mysterious master, Mojo. In order to protect his friends, Wolverine must face-off against the Incredible Hulk, but he soon discovers there is a new enemy lurking in the darkness. And in a shocking request from Professor Xavier in the future, Wolverine and the X-Men must return a young mutant to the custody of their most relentless adversary, the MRD.
Showcasing the next five episodes in proper order, Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies slowly moves the overall storyline along, leaving enough interest to ensure fans will be coming back for a third volume release, but also providing some pretty satisfying episodes to avoid anyone from feeling cheated by any lack of resolution. Now, every episode includes here doesn’t move the story ahead, but each do help establish the overall mood and tone of the series.
The episodes featured in this collection include “Overflow,” “X-Calibre,” “Theives’ Gambit,” “Wolverine Versus The Hulk,” and “Time Bomb.”
The episodes includes here are all good in their own rights, but some are more enjoyable then others. If I had to pick my least favorite in this release, that would go to “Overflow.” I’ve never been a big fan of Storm and her history with the villain Shadow King and this episode really does nothing to change that for me. Now, I know there’s a pile of Storm fans out there and, believe me, if you like Storm then you’ll love this episode. Keep in mind that while I say that episode is my least favorite, it’s not a weak episode. There’s some really cool elements in it, like the very cool way the Shadow King makes his way to Storm, for example.
The remaining episodes are all enjoyable and, for the most part, solid episodes. “Wolverine Versus Hulk” is a fun episode bringing the rivalry between two of Marvel’s greatest heroes to the forefront. While this episode is obviously not as violent as the recent manic Hulk Versus Wolverine short film released earlier this year, it’s still a fun episode that definitely opens up the Wolverine and The X-Men universe a little bit. “Time Bomb” is a great episode, showcasing both the Brotherhood and the X-Men in a desperate race to stop a mutant from causing a cataclysmic event. “Theives’ Gambit” introduces the popular character Gambit into the mix, clashing against the X-Men instead of joining their cause. A smart move for a character, one who can get tiring if overexposed. And finally, while “X-Calibre” introduces Mojo – one of the worst X-characters ever created – it’s balanced out by the fact that we get a rip-roaring fun swashbuckling Nightcrawler tale. It’s just a fun series that both the die-hard X-Men fan and casual fan can really get into.
Expanding upon the previous Wolverine and The X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy DVD release, Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies brings us more of what we want in an X-Men series. We have compelling heroes, great villains, good stories, and tone and feeling that stays true to the core of the X-Men storyline. Backed with solid animation and an impressive voice cast, Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies really is something worth picking up. I can’t see how X-Men fans would be disappointed in any way with this series. Sure, putting Wolverine in the forefront may upset more than a few X-Men purists, but it’s handled in a way that doesn’t seem like a blatant cashgrab but an actual extension of the story. The creators on this series have really put together something great here, and the five episodes in this collection are just the tip of the iceberg for bigger things still to come. If you want to hop on the animated X-Men bandwagon, then Wolverine and The X-Men is a good place to start. Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies definitely comes Recommended for viewing.
Much like the previous Wolverine and The X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy DVD release, Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies looks and sounds great. The 1.78:1 picture is vibrant and really pops off the screen, with the only noticeable defect being some slight interlacing and compression on the image. Even though the audio is standard Dolby 5.1 English, the sound is still excellent with loud sound effects and action sequences coming out loud and clear. An alternate Spanish 2.0 dub is also available.
And what about the all-important extras? Each episode comes with a commentary track featuring supervising producer Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson, and what appears to be a rotating chair of other creators (usually Chris Yost). The tracks are pretty informative, providing a nice amount of behind-the-scenes information amongst the joking and ribbing between the creators. As the only real extras on this release, I was hoping for a more information-drive track, and for the most part we do get that, but not as much as I hoped. But still, I really enjoyed it when Kyle, Johnson, and Yost get going on their Marvel Comics knowledge. These guys just really know their stuff and, boy, they don’t hide it. The info they spout at times, who premiere in what issue, etc., is fun and quite impressive. After the commentary, the bonus material on the disc is wrapped up with a collection of trailers.
Without the prospect of a complete season collection coming from Lionsgate Home Entertainment any time soon, these individual DVD volume releases are currently the only Wolverine and The X-Men titles available to American consumers (of course, there are other releases in other regions…). And with that being said, these collections seem to be increasing in quality. Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies contains five episodes with commentary on each. Now, it’s not as much bonus material as the previous release but it’s still a solid volume release with five heaping episodes. I’d rate the Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies DVD release as Recommended, but with some reservations. It’s worth picking up, especially with the release priced to move at most outlets, but the single-disc volume release will no doubt turn away fans waiting for a bigger collection. The main feature, the series, is a solid interpretation of Marvel’s Merry Mutants, and we get to see their world greatly expanded on in this second Wolverine and The X-Men release. There’s plenty of action, great characters, and some solid episodes that should keep fans engaged.
Wolverine and The X-Men: Deadly Enemies will be available to own on DVD July 21st, 2009.