As we dive into the second half of Wolverine and The X-Men’s first season, the stakes are definitely raising. The X-Men are doing everything in their power to prevent an apocalyptic future, Magneto and the Brotherhood are working to instigate a global war between mutants and humans, and innocents are caught in the middle. All the while, both Wolverine and the X-Men are being attacked on all sides from assorted foes. For viewers who have been with Wolverine and the X-Men, the second half of the season promises lots of revealed secrets and new villains, and that starts right here with this new volume release of the popular animated series.
Wolverine and the X-Men race through time to regain control of their destiny in Wolverine And The X-Men: Fate of the Future. Evil attempts to rewrite the past, and the mutant heroes must prevent a perilous future in these five time-bending episodes. History repeats itself when Wolverine’s past resurfaces, forcing him to repay old debts in “Stolen Lives.” In “Code of Conduct,” Wolverine’s history returns again when the X-Men are threatened by the Silver Samurai, who challenges the adamantine hero to another duel. In “Badlands,” Logan’s captivity helps spawn a new breed of Sentinels to terrorize the future. And before Mojo rips their friendship apart, Nightcrawler struggles to convince a brainwashed Wolverine of their lost days together in “Hunting Grounds.” Finally, in “Backlash,” when Wolverine learns that Master Mold is the same nemesis for tomorrow’s X-Men, he must protect his fellow mutants before the future becomes obsolete.
With the start of second of Wolverine and The X-Men’s inaugural outing, we continue with the formula that has worked well for the first thirteen episodes. We get a mix of mythology episodes and standalones focusing on the shadowy past of the X-Men’s leader. Not every episode included is a home-run, particularly the one which includes the absolutely worst X-Men villain of all-time, but there’s a fair amount of good to be found here. While the episodes continuing the show’s season-long epic story remain the strongest, the “done-in-one” episodes manage to stand up nicely, for the most part.
To get it out of the way, “Hunting Grounds” is a neat idea that’s nearly ruined due to the episode’s protagonist. In my personal opinion, this episode includes the worst X-villain of them all – Mojo. Such a horrible, horrible character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. And despite the creative team on this show doing their best to improve this vastly inept blob, it just doesn’t work for me. The episode itself is fine, yes, especially Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch struggling to survive against a mind-controlled Wolverine, but every second Mojo is onscreen it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Now, others may get a kick out of the villain and that’s great, but this is my own personal feelings on this character, and I needed to get this out of the way so I could focus on the good.
And, thankfully, “the good” encompasses everything else on this release. We get a couple Wolverine-centric episodes with “Stolen Lives” and “Code for Conduct” along with more mythology-themed episodes “Badlands” and “Backlash,” episodes that push the overall season-length storyline forward. “Code of Conduct” is the weaker of the two Wolverine-centric episodes, but it still provides a nice look at Wolverine’s past in Japan. “Stolen Lives” is a great episode that harkens back to Wolverine’s Special Ops days, and includes a great little surprise cameo at the end of the episode. Nice stuff that fans of Wolverine will appreciate. “Badlands” gives us an extended look at the apocalyptic future that Xavier finds himself stranded in. Not a bad episode by any means, but I’m sure some will find that it drags a little here and there. “Backlash” however is likely the cream of the crop for this release, an equally balanced episode that jets back and forth between the present day and the future, providing a great taste as to what we’re going to get in the season finale.
Overall, it’s a nice assortment of episodes. For those who have been enjoying Wolverine and The X-Men so far, I have no doubt this volume will continue that. The episodes follow along nicely from the previous home video release, building on what’s come before and also tossing in a few “done in one” installments. Wolverine and The X-Men: Fate of the Future contains a nice set of episodes that both push the forward ahead and delve into the past of our lead here. As to what should be no surprise, this latest collection of episodes comes stamped as Recommended.
Like the previous Wolverine and The X-Men DVD releases, Wolverine and The X-Men: Fate of the Future 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. The Dolby 5.1 English mix sounds 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 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, we do get a good helping of behind-the-scenes info mixed in with the playfulness, bringing a good balance. The disc is then wrapped up with a collection of trailers. Not much, admittedly, but I admire Yost, Johnson and Yost coming back release after release to share their thoughts on the release. The consistency is great and you get a real sense of pride and accomplishment when these three talk and rib back and forth during the course of the episodes.
Wolverine and The X-Men: Fate of the Future features a solid collection of episodes. While it is another single-disc collection, much to the chagrin of many fans, the quality of the episodes can justify the price-tag. Without the prospect of a complete season collection coming from Lionsgate Home Entertainment any time soon, at least until the entire first 26-episode season is released in single-discs releases beforehand, these individual DVD volume releases are currently the only Wolverine and The X-Men titles available to American consumers unless they wish to import. Thankfully, however, the quality is solid. Wolverine and The X-Men: Fate of the Future is another well put-together collection of episodes, deserving of the Recommended stamp of approval.
Wolverine and The X-Men: Fate of the Future is now available to own.
–Wolverine and the X-Men: Fate of the Future DVD Talkback (Spoilers)