Animated property review: X-Men The Animated Series

X-Men the Ani­mated Series Vol. 1  |  Buena Vista Home Enter­tain­ment, 2009

X-Men ori­gins told correctly

If there ever was a quin­tes­sen­tial prop­erty in the 1990s of comic book ori­gin, it’s X-Men the Ani­mated Series. The Fox sta­ple in the early part of the decade was a great excuse to get up on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing to watch car­toons. It also was a great learn­ing tool for those who didn’t know much about the X-Men and wanted an intro­duc­tory course to the famous mutants.

What we love about the series is the fact that it takes itself seri­ously. It told sto­ries just as the comic book ver­sion told them 10 years before, and it’s pretty close to the ori­gin sto­ries with only minor changes. Our only gripe with some of the episodes in the first vol­ume is the brevity of the story arcs. Sagas such as Days of Future Past and The Cure are told in one or two episodes, some­thing that isn’t nor­mally be done in the comics. How­ever, some are revis­ited in later sea­sons of the show, so that can be forgiven.

The pro­duc­tion val­ues of the Ani­mated Series, for its time, were top-notch. The writ­ing was superb, and the col­or­ing and draw­ing were extra­or­di­nary for a car­toon pro­duc­tion. Few series, with the excep­tion of fel­low Fox pro­duc­tion Spider-Man, could match what the Ani­mated Series brought to the table in terms of visu­als and sto­ry­telling. The first vol­ume sets the pace with Night of the Sen­tinels, and it’s obvi­ous that care is taken with char­ac­ters and their back­grounds. Most char­ac­ters are true to their his­tory and those who have been re-established for the Ani­mated Series are well done and not out of place (i.e. Morph).

The voice act­ing is another stand­out estab­lished within the first vol­ume. The char­ac­ters all sound like they should, and it is this first set of episodes that estab­lished the stan­dard for future X-Men voice act­ing projects for the next 17 years. The best exam­ple: All X-Men char­ac­ters used in Capcom’s ver­sus series through Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 2 were voiced by their Ani­mated Series actors.

The first vol­ume of the Ani­mated Series hit DVD in 2009, a wel­come addi­tion to any X-Men fan’s col­lec­tion. The first 16 episodes encom­pass the two-disc set and were only $20 at the time of pur­chase. That’s a bar­gain for well-crafted X-Men sto­ries in a series known for its tech­ni­cal prowess that seemed to take for­ever to come to DVD.

How we grade

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

Voice act­ing: 10/10

Plots: 8/10

Like the comics?: 8/10

Over­all rat­ing: 26/30 or 8.6

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