DVD Review: THE AVENGERS: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volumes 1 and 2.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Vols. 1 and 2)Disney Home Video
Release date: April 26, 2011
MSRP: $19.99 each

Not having the money to collect comic books, I learned about comic book characters from cartoons. I grew up favoring Marvel over DC. Marvel’s characters lived in real-world cities, not Metropolis, Gotham City, Central City, or Coast City. Marvel’s characters also seemed edgier, not all-encompassing.
My allegiance shifted to DC in the early 90s with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series, and DC’s cartoons maintained that level of quality while Marvel’s lagged. With The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which premiered on Disney XD last October, Marvel has won me back.

Simply put, the animation is eye-popping and the voice acting is top-notch, particularly Eric Loomis’s mimicry of Robert Downey Jr.’s popular Tony Stark/Iron Man. My other favorite character is Janet van Dyne/The Wasp, voiced by actress and comedian Colleen O’Shaughnessey, but as I say, the acting is uniformly excellent.

Volume 1 lists seven episodes, but five of these 22-minute episodes originally appeared online as a 20-episode “micro-series” featuring the heroes before they teamed up. Episodes 6 and 7 are the two parts of the TV series premiere “Breakout”, in which S.H.I.E.L.D.’s four major prisons fail and seventy-four supervillains escape, prompting the first team-up of Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk..
Together, the two volumes (one disc each) cover the first half of Season One, telling classic stories of the team’s earlier days, yet successfully giving them a contemporary vibe. Each episode closes hinting at a season-long arc, duplicating the feel of comics’ “See You in 30”.
Speaking of that, each volume includes a different featurette with producer Joshua Fine and writer Christopher Yost teasing what’s to come in Season Two.

–Gerald So