DVD Review: Avengers Assemble!

There’s a moment in the final episode of Volume One of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, when the team assembles for the very first time, and it’s suddenly clear why the Avengers concept is so appealing. The combination of powers and personalities make for a very potent formula, the original “shock and awe.” Marvel’s biggest stars are all well and good on their own, but put them all together, and it’s quite a spectacle.

I missed this series when it debuted, so I was very happy to catch up via the first two volumes on DVD. Volume One contains the first seven episodes of the series, including the two-part “Breakout” story arc. Volume Two picks up with episodes 8– 13.

Being mostly a DC sort of guy, I’m not as well versed in the Marvel universe or Avengers history. So, how accurate the series is to the source material, I cannot say. Luckily, The Avengers takes careful steps to plot out a complex and layered universe of its own. And it’s that careful attention to detail that proves to be the show’s strongest asset. The uninitiated, like myself, who might expect a series about the Avengers to bring the team together by the end of the first episode will get a nice surprise. As I mentioned above, it takes seven episodes for the gang to join forces.

In that regard, the timing and careful plotting are perhaps truer to comic book storytelling than any previous animated superhero series I’ve seen. The series takes the time to introduce the audience to its world, the role S.H.I.E.L.D. plays in it all, plus the individual histories, strengths and weaknesses of its featured players. So, when the Avengers finally assemble, it feels earned and organic, a remarkable accomplishment for a modern animated series.

Joining the Avengers are some of Marvel’s most famous characters and villains. Add to the impressive mix of character and story a superb voice cast, led by Eric Loomis (Iron Man), Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Wasp), Rick D. Wasserman (Thor), Wally Wingert (Ant-Man), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk) and Brian Bloom (Captain America), and you’ve got a rare superhero action adventure that pleases diehard Avengers fans and newbies alike.

So, in the spirit of sharing the love, let’s give away Volumes One and Two of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Just post “Avengers assemble!” in the comments section, and we’ll have a drawing at the end of the week.