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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

April 25th, 2011

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Buy from Amazon: Volume One and Volume 2

Thor is opening in a couple weeks and Captain America is opening in a couple months, not to mention The Avengers just started shooting. Clearly Marvel is ramping up promotions for its properties, so it's a great time to release the first two volumes of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Is this show a worthy successor to Marvels recents shows, like Wolverine and the X-Men, for instance?

Volume One

Let's get right to the confusing part. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes started out as a webshow that ran for 20 episodes and was used to introduce the characters in advance of the show debuting on TV. When the show aired on TV, it started with a two-part episode and then showed the combined 20 episode from the web series as five separate episodes. On this DVD, they show the introductory web series first, which makes a lot more sense.

The first of these five introductory episodes deals with Iron Man, who steps in when HYDRA attacks the U.N. and S.H.I.E.L.D. is unable to get to the fight in time. However, during the battle Tony Stark learns HYDRA is using some of his technology and is determined to figure out how he got it. He also learns that S.H.I.E.L.D. is setting up several jails to hold super villains in, and of course there's a problem at one of them. Next we see Thor help defend innocent humans from some super villains before he is called to Asgard to stop the Frost Giants from attacking. But after the battle he must choose to follow his father's order to remain, or go back to Earth to be with the mortals. In Hulk's introductory story, he's almost a side character. Bruce Banner tries to find out more about the S.H.I.E.L.D. prisons and he is worried that they are trying to create super soldiers. When he's captured, he warns Hawkeye about that possibility, and Hawkeye continues his investigation. We then flashback to World War II and learn of the heroic exploits of Captain America and Bucky. Finally, we are introduced to Ant Man and Wasp, two scientists who have different opinions on what to do with their super power tech, but that doesn't take long, so we are also introduced to The Black Panther.

After setting up the characters, the series begins in earnest. We learn those super jails S.H.I.E.L.D. was setting up really were a bad idea and after simultaneous failures across all of them, there's a massive escape. Among the villains freed is... someone too powerful for any of one of the super heroes to defeat, so they must team up. (And no, I'm not going to tell you which one.)

The Extras

There is a seven and a half minute long featurette on season two and the changes we can expect.

Volume Two

After the team formed in volume one, they get to work capturing those escaped super villains, and there's a lot of them. In the first episode, The Enchantress (of the of Asgardians) starts messing with the Hulk's mind to get him to turn on his new companions. After the battle he runs away to cool off, in the arctic. When the rest of the Avengers follow, they find Captain America. Meanwhile, as The Avengers assemble their members, there's a new super villain group that is also actively recruiting members.

I'd like to give more details, but this show has strong continuity, so you can't get into a lot of details without hitting unacceptable spoiler territory. This is actually a good thing for fans of the show, even if if makes my job a lot harder.

The Extras

There is a 6-minute sneak peak at season two. It's in the same format as the first one, but this time they are focused more on the plots than on the characters.

The Verdict

There were a lot of characters that needed their origins explained in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and over the first and second volumes the writers did an excellent job of handling that task. They balance the character bits with the overall storyarc moments, while still leaving plenty of time for action. If you are a fan of cartoons aimed at a more mature audience, like Wolverine and the X-Men, then these two DVDs are definitely worth picking up.


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