Monday, May 14, 2012

Iron Man: The Complete Series (1994-1996)

The bad guys consist of pretty much every Iron Man villain ever, lead by Mandarin (who is green in this series – seems like every time cartoon producers had to deal with a villain based on an Asian stereotype, they just turned them green. For another example, see Ming the Merciless from Defenders of the Earth). The villains include M.O.D.O.K. (done serious, as opposed to his Super Hero Squad version), Blizzard, Backlash (a.k.a. Whiplash. He had both names in the comics.), Whirlwind, Grey Gargoyle, Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, Ghost, Living Laser, Dreadknight, Fin Fan Foom (!) and some made-up villain named Hypnotia. Justin Hammer is all over this show too. I think I’m missing some villains in this list, but the list is effin’ crazy! They're all one big happy evil team in this show, like the Legion of Doom from Superfriends.

Later in the series, Marvel changed production companies and the show became more 90’s with Stark fighting one villain at a time, much like Batman. They also managed to include S.H.I.E.L.D., with Nick Fury (the real one, not the Sam Jackson version), and Dum Dum Dugan showing up, and another episode with Hulk and Leader. Of the 26 episodes, the ones from season 2 are by far the best (episode 14 onward). Mardarin and Fin Fan Foom teaming up in The Beast Within, an appearance by obscure but cool Marvel villain Madame Masque in Beauty Knows No Pain, some appearances by tech-terrorist group A.I.M., an adaptation of the classic Iron Man saga Armor Wars, and Iron Man vs. the Hulk in the episode Hulk Buster.

The show is simplistic at times, mostly in the first season which tries to ape old 80's cartoons and becomes repetitive really quickly), but I love the bright, colourful artwork and fast pacing. And really, if you're a fan of Iron Man and Marvel in general, it's crazy to think that there's a show out there that pertty much incorporated most of Iron Man's villains, had origin episodes for Mandarin and Iron Man, had most of Iron Man's allies (for eff sakes, Century is in this!!), incorporated Force Works, had Armor Wars, and even Fin Fan Foom!!! If you’re an Iron Man fan you MUST own this, if for no other reason than for the sheer awesomeness of its amazing cast of characters.

I don't know why Iron Man wasn't one of the more popular characters in the mainstream before the movies came out, but the current Iron Mania is well deserved and a long time coming.

I give the DVD 3.5/5.


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