In anticipation of the many big-screen Marvel Comics adaptations heading our way in the coming months, two volumes of select episodes from the recent animated series, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

The premise is not unlike DC's Justice League, in which the all-star heroes form a group, but as is Marvel's style, the heroes have a bit more angst and dysfunction in addition to super powers--which can also be burdensome (though not as socially distaff as Marvel's X-Men).

The seven episodes on Volume One festure introductory (and semi-introductory) stories for Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Ant Man and others. The team is formed by the end of the two parter that concludes the volume, Breakout.

By Volume 2, The Avengers team is established. In some ways, the six shows on this second volume contain more character-driven material because these mighty folks don't always get along.

But every show is loaded to the brim with almost constant action, superb animation by Film Roman. This studio, but the way, is amazingly versatile, since they also produced more comedic cartoons like Garfield and Friends (which shares some voice cast members, including the wonderful Wally Wingert, now the announcer on The Tonight Show).

It's remarkable how the creators of these shows come up with so many interesting variations on the themes of gaining and losing power (usually by way of radiation) and megalomaniacal villains. The best way to really enjoy these shows is to leaf through the book, Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide, a nicely priced hardcover volume with color profiles of each character.

The two DVDs also include short bonus segments about "season two." 

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