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The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 2 - Captain America Reborn! DVD Review (Marvel DVD Super Hero Collection)

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 2 DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume Two (2010)
Show & DVD Details

Executive Producers: Alan Fine, Eric S. Rollman, Dan Buckley, Simon Philips / Co-Executive Producers: Joe Quesada, Stan Lee / Supervising Producers: Joshua Fine / Producer: Dana C. Booton / Line Producer: Leanne Moreau / Supervising Directors: Ciro Nieli, Frank Paur

Writers: Christopher Yost (Also Story Editor), Brandon Auman, Joshua Fine, Michael Ryan, Kevin Burke, Chris Wyatt, Paul Giacoppo / Directors: Vinton Heuck, Sebastian Montes

Voice Cast: Eric Loomis (Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man), Rick Wasserman (Thor Odinson, Absorbing Man), Colleen O'Shaughnessey (Janet Van Dyne a.k.a. The Wasp, Vapor), Wally Wingert (Hank Pym a.k.a. Ant-Man/Giant-Man, MODOC), Brian Bloom (Captain America), Fred Tatasciore (The Hulk, Mandrill), Gabriel Mann (Bruce Banner), James Mathis III (T'Challa a.k.a. Black Panther, Bulldozer), Phil LaMarr (Jarvis, Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man), Alex Desert (Nick Fury), Chris Cox (Hawkeye), Jeffrey Combs (The Leader), Kari Walgren (Enchantress), Vanessa Marshall (Black Widow, Mme. Viper), Troy Baker (Clay Quartermain), Cam Clarke (Doc Samson, Vector), Robin Atkin Downes (Baron Zemo, Abomination), Dawn Olivera (Pepper Potts), Grant Moninger (Armin Zola, Doughboy), Mark Hamill (Ulysses Klaw), Lance Henriksen (Grim Reaper), Kevin Michael Richardson (Man Ape, N'Gassi), Jim Ward (Baron Strucker)

Running Time: 137 Minutes (6 episodes) / Rating: TV-Y7-FV
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish; Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled and Captioned
Volume 2 Airdates: October 27, 2010 - November 26, 2010
DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Keepcase in Embossed Holographic Cardboard Slipcover

Buy Volume 2 from Amazon.com • Buy Volume 1 from Amazon.com

The Avengers have assembled.

Last week, production began on The Avengers, The Walt Disney Company's first in-house Marvel Comics movie. Directed and co-written by cult fandom icon Joss Whedon (of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Firefly", and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog fame), this May 2012 release is highly anticipated and has been so since the comic book movie became prevalent in Hollywood.
Centering on a dream team of superheroes from the Marvel Universe, the project sees lead actors from past and upcoming tentpole films reprising their roles: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America.

Alongside them, the film returns supporting cast members from the two Iron Man movies (Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, and Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis) and Thor (Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig, Tom Hiddleston as Loki). Rounding things out are newly-cast actors: Mark Ruffalo as the latest Bruce Banner and performing motion capture for his incredible alter ego The Hulk, Cobie Smulders of "How I Met Your Mother" as Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, and two-time recent Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town) as Hawkeye. To top it all off, Lou Ferrigno will once again voice The Hulk, a role he's been identified with for over 30 years since playing it in the late 1970s, early 1980s TV show.

With that big budget enterprise still a year away from opening, you can get an idea of what to expect in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!", the second and latest animated TV series devoted to the powerhouse team that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created in 1963. As film cameras started rolling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first thirteen episodes of the Disney XD cartoon hit store shelves in two single-disc releases. Volume 1, reviewed here, dealt backstories for key players and culminated with the two-part episode establishing the union.

The closing shot of the opening title sequence changes depending on the current Avengers lineup as of that episode. By episode 12, Hulk has stepped out, Captain America has stepped in, and Black Panther is also in the mix. After decades on ice, Captain America is back in business and immediately welcomed into the Avengers by Iron Man and company.

Volume 2, subtitled Captain America Reborn!, puts The Avengers in action as they combat threatening supervillains typically in two complementary storylines. With their origins detailed in the first seven episodes, the next six settle us into the dynamic, a bit like a larger, more eccentric, and less familial Fantastic Four, which Lee and Kirby created two years earlier. (If I was more familiar with the X-Men, they might be a better comparison, debuting the exact same month as the Avengers.)

As they would have to, every member of the team brings something different to the table. Funding the group is Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Stark, an egotistical billionaire who has made his fortunes in arms manufacturing. Supplying some Norse mythology is the mighty hammer-throwing Thor, who has shunned his home planet Asgard in favor of Midgard, our Earth.
The most reluctant founding member is The Hulk, who harbors much resentment in his monstrous green state and quickly bails (but later returns). Lesser-known size-shifting scientists Wasp and Ant-Man again do not feature on the cover and apparently are not in the movie (though speculation on the parts gave rise to Nathan Fillion and Eva Longoria rumors, and the great Edgar Wright has long been attached to direct a reputation-repairing Ant-Man movie from his and Joe Cornish's script).

As the subtitle indicates, World War II hero Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers, is discovered in ice and returned to life, almost seventy years after being presumed dead. With a bit of convincing, he joins the team, which continues to hold some ambivalence towards Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D. law enforcement agency, from whose four prisons 74 supervillains have recently escaped. Also entering the fray but not quite committing to membership is the arrow-slinging Hawkeye.

Mighty Thor and the Incredible Hulk, the two founding members taking residence at Avengers Mansion, do not get along in "Some Assembly Required." From businessman to bad guy: newly empowered as Wonder Man, Simon Williams lets Tony Stark feel his career dissatisfaction in "Everything is Wonderful."

8. Some Assembly Required (23:04) (Originally aired October 27, 2010)
The Avengers establish Tony's newly-refurbished Avengers Mansion as a home base,
Watch Captain America take on the Axis in this clip
from the "Avengers" Vol. 1 DVD:
but Hulk has doubts about his role in the group.

9. Living Legend (23:04) (Originally aired November 3, 2010)
The Avengers uncover Captain America in the ice, unfreezing him and bringing him up to speed. Zemo is eager to eliminate his old foe.

10. Everything is Wonderful (22:32) (Originally aired November 10, 2010)
With his business taken over by Tony Stark, Simon Williams gets a powerful evil makeover by MODOC and Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Nick Fury introduces himself to Captain America. Thor and Wasp take on MODOC.

T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, wields some of Wakanda's potent, treasured vibranium metal. Captain America, Wasp, and Iron Man turn hideously monstrous from gamma radiation.

11. Panther's Quest (23:03) (Originally aired November 17, 2010)
The Avengers formally meet Black Panther, a.k.a. Wakandan prince T'Challa, who enlists them to help protect his country's potent metal vibranium from Klaw and the Hydra as he stands up to Man-Ape.

12. Gamma World, Part 1 (23:04) (Originally aired November 26, 2010)
The Avengers take on dangerous gamma radiation surrounding compromised S.H.I.E.L.D. prison The Cube, which is threatening the world.

13. Gamma World, Part 2 (22:32) (Originally aired November 26, 2010)
As the radiation problem worsens and even turns most of the Avengers into monsters, Hawkeye tracks down The Hulk, hoping his intelligent alter ego can help him conquer The Leader.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though it may not deliver the resolution of hi-def broadcasts, the DVD's clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation leaves just about nothing to be desired. The picture is sharp and colorful. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is plenty lively, satisfying more like a film than a TV show. And closed captioning and English SDH and Spanish subtitles are provided for all show and bonus feature dialogue.

Story editor Chris Yost mentions new villains you'll see in Season 2 such as the pictured Kree. Wasp may not get a spot on the cover or have a role in the movie, but she does generate some buzz in her section of the main menu montage.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

In the same vein as Volume 1's extra, Volume 2's one bonus feature is "Season 2 Sneaks: New Stories, New Threats".
In this 6-minute piece, story editor Chris Yost and supervising producer Josh Fine separately talk about the show's adaptation process, choosing and combining different storylines from comics over the years that they find appealing. The focus is primarily on what is to come, making it slightly more promotional than relevant, but it's still substantial and interesting.

The disc opens with a 30-second Thor teaser, a longer Cars 2 trailer, and a spot for Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension. The menu's "Sneak Peeks" listing repeats those before playing promos for the video games Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier and The Lion King: Diamond Edition.

The animated main menu picks up where Volume 1 left off, devoting a few seconds to additional heroes and villains (Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, Graviton) while an instrumental version of Bad City's "Fight as One" theme song plays.

Like its concurrent predecessor, Volume 2 gets a cardboard slipcover marked by embossing and much holography. The only insert is a booklet promoting Blu-ray.

The Hulk and Bruce Banner, two sides of one individual, add some fuel to the negativity fire. The mighty Thor is immune to both radiation and Absorbing Man's powerhouse fists.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Even if continuity wasn't an issue, the second DVD volume of "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" would be slightly inferior to the stronger,
more varied, and 1-episode longer Volume 1. Still, the show continues to entertain with its fitting treatment of classic comic book storylines. The 13 episodes should have been released together, but at least the price is reasonable enough to consider collecting as is instead of waiting for a potentially more inclusive set. The DVD's one future-minded bonus feature is less than what fans will want, but the video/audio presentation is about as good as TV on DVD gets.

Buy from Amazon.com / Buy Volume 1

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
New: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 1 • Tron & Tron: Legacy • Teen Wolf (Blu-ray) • Dinoshark
Marvel Animated Series, 2000s: The Spectacular Spider-Man: The Complete First Season • Wolverine and the X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy
Marvel Animated Series, 1990s: Fantastic Four: The Complete 1994-95 Animated Series • Spider-Man: The Venom Saga
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Reviewed May 1, 2011.



Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2010 Film Roman, Marvel Animation and 2011 Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
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