MORE MARVEL "AVENGERS" ADVENTURES IN ANTICIPATION OF THE UPCOMING MOVIE @ 5 November 2011 02:23 PM
Even though studios other than Disney, who owns Marvel, have their names on the recent hit live action movies based on the characters (Captain America, Thor, etc.), Disney owns the licenses and is now releasing some of most recent animated TV episodes featuring Iron Man, X-Men, and The Avengers.

Volumes 1 and 2, released a few months back, contained episodes that traced the origins of several characters and their assemblage into the powerful, but (in the Marvel tradition) angst-filled, dysfunctional crime fighting Avengers family.



Since the two new DVDs  -- Volume 3: Iron Man Unleased and Volume 4: Thor's Last Stand -- offer 13 additional episodes, all interconnected in some way by story arcs and character relationships, it's tricky business for the uninitiated to start with them "cold," though each set includes one fact-filled "Avengers Unmasked" version of a key episode as a bonus feature.



This information comes in mighty handy, even as a refresher. Part of the fun of the Marvel Avengers is keeping track of who's got a beef with whom, which couples are an "item," and which villains are either bent on controlling the galaxy or just tortured souls who are lashing out.

Therein lies the Marvel charm: the good guys are not perfect, they bicker and even hurt each other, yet united they are the only hope against the total destruction of the entire universe, which is threatened roughly every four episodes.

I know that's a little snide. Actually, the stories are laced with humor, characters are always given opportunities for development between battles, and the animation is staged with the epic scope of a blockbuster Hollywood action movie. This is quality stuff.

But if you don't know the Wasp from the Enchantress, you'll enjoy following the proceedings in Vols. 2 and 3 by either watching 1 and 2 first or catching up with the "Unmasked" features.

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