Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wolverine and the X-Men: Episode One Review

Despite being a fan of Marvel Animation, Wolverine and the X-Men was never a series that I had much interest in. Perhaps this is due to my recent lack of recent interest in the X-Men franchise, perhaps it's more to do with Wolverine's prominent placement in the series title. Either way, up until earlier this evening I had made very little effort to watch the show. This all changed when I noticed a DVD containing the first six episodes on sale for £2 (for my American readers, I'm not sure how much this is in $ - probably not a lot). At such a knockdown price I could hardly turn it down and settled down about half an hour ago to watch the first episode.

And I was pleasantly surprised. The core plot of the episode is nothing to write home about and variants of it have been seen elsewhere in subtly different forms. Despite this however the series promises a lot so far, with various subplots and mysteries introduced already. Both the animation and artwork shine, with a delicate balance being struck between overly complex and too simple and some really fluid, realistic movement on show. While not many of the X-Men made extended appearances the designs looked generally solid as well.

One thing that annoyed me a little, and justified my fears about the series name, was the prominent role that Wolverine played in the episode. While Wolverine is a good character he has been horrendously overexposed at times, most notably (and annoyingly) in the X-Men films, which may as well have shared a title with this series. While a lot of his characterisation in this episode is good it is ground that has been covered before. I appreciate that this show is aimed at the younger viewer who may not have been exposed to the comics but this was something that harmed the episode for me. Despite this, once Beast was introduced the episode improved a lot. The voice actors nailed both the characters and they played off each other very well. Here's hoping that the chemistry between the rest of the team will be as good.

Perhaps this episode was helped slightly by my low expectations, but nevertheless I found it a very enjoyable start, one which certainly whetted my appetite for more. Very much recommended to fans of the X-Men or just Marvel Animation in general.