SUPER POWERS, SUPER PROBLEMS @ 13 May 2010 05:46 PM
Among the reasons that so many Marvel comic book characters make a successful transition to film and TV is that the viewer can live vicariously through their super feats yet feel reassured that having super powers isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
Television's longest running Marvel series is X-Men, and with the new Volume 5 of X-Men the Animated Series, fans can now own all 76 episodes by completing their library with this 14-episode, 2-disc set. And they can hear a slightly different version of the oh-so-cool theme song.
Four episodes are two-parters ("The Phalanx Covenant" and "Storm Front"). The others are self-contained and their are quite a few gems. The challenge with a long running series is keeping the stories fresh and avoiding repetition and this collection is some of both. "No Mutant is an Island" focuses on the tormenting social and family issues of Nightcrawler. Being an outcast is at the core of being an X-Man or X-Woman.
For changes of pace, look for Wolverine fighting in WWII with Captain America in "Old Soldiers," or Jubilee telling a once-upon-a-time super story to children.
The oddest episode is perhaps "Descent," a Victorian era combination of Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and...evolutionary theorism? Yes, an animated Charles Darwin has a guest role in this story about an experiment gone mad and resulting in lots of misunderstood mutants. it does not come as a total surprise to see him, since the premise of X-Men is about mutation, genetics and socio-political dynamics, but imagine if he was on The Flintstones! How would he explain Fred and Wilma, much less The Way-Outs?
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