DVD REVIEW: Iron Man - Complete 1994 Animated TV Series
The Armored Avenger's original cartoon adventures comes to home video...
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With the recent release of the Iron Man 2 live-action film in theaters and the release of Iron Man: Armored Adventures Complete Season One on DVD, it's only right fans get a helping of the original 1994 Iron Man cartoon as well.
Originally run as a part of the Fox Kids' Marvel action hour (opposite the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon), Iron Man featured a virtual "who's who" of fan-favorite second-tier Marvel characters - including a number of Forceworks characters (War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Spider Woman, Hawkeye, Century), the Hulk, Justin Hammer, The Mandarin, Ultimo, Fin Fang Foom, Madame Mask, MODOK, and more. Likewise, the cartoon includes a number of various comic-like storylines, including the Armor Wars, Hulkbuster, and more.
Surprisingly, the two seasons - which were created by different animation studios and written by different writers - couldn't be more different. The first season is a fairly straight-forward "baddie of the week," with Tony Stark and his Forceworks team battling a different villain or nemesis each week, the stories comprising individual episodes. Most of these episodes were penned originally for the show, which means fans of Iron Man probably didn't recognize the concept.
However, things changed in the second season when a new writer and animation studio was adopted and stories began spanning multiple episodes, finding a larger basis in the Iron Man comic. This also created a better on-going narrative throughout the season. Likewise, the many characters which appeared in the first season were used far less, allowing the focus of the series to remain on the title character and a few supporting characters (like War Machine).
Although the series (especially the first season) looks dated, die-hard fans of Iron Man won't be disappointed. In fact, if you're a 20-something and grew up watching this 15 or so years ago, you'll love kicking back and watching classic episodes like "The Origin Of Iron Man, Part One and Part Two" and "The Armour Wars, Part One and Part Two." It's episodes like these that make this series great and memorable, even today with the amazing CGI-laden live-action films. While the writing (again, especially the first season) is also not what it could be, it's fun to see these second-tier characters get their 15 minutes of fame.
Highly recommended for fans of Iron Man and classic early 90s cartoons, Iron Man: The Complete 1994 Animated TV Series is available on a 3-disc DVD set now.
- Jess Horsley