With the live-action Avengers movie breaking all kinds of records and already surpassing a billion dollars internationally, if you’re an Avengers fan, visiting the Disney XD animated series isn’t a bad idea. It’s not as if the nearly fifty-year-old collection of superheroes hasn’t been given enough media. From the original comic books, to countless books, TV shows, films, and video games of the combined or individual heroes on the team, The Avengers are a well-established franchise.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volume 3 & 4 covers the end of the first disjointed season of Disney XD’s animated series that started in early 2010. Like the original 1963 comics, The Avengers started with Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor, The Hulk, and The Wasp to quickly be joined by Captain America, Black Panther, and Hawkeye. Although, how and when they all get together varies between the media. Besides maybe Joss Whedon’s feature film though, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the best iteration of the ensemble you’ll find.
Volume 3 of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is titled Iron Man Unleashed and contains six episodes where Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers face Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil to defend earth from an alien invasion led by long-time Iron Man nemesis, Kang the Conqueror. Included is a bonus feature, “The Avengers Unmasked: Masters of Evil,” an animated in-episode comic book loaded with Avengers villains facts.
The disc runs approximately 132 minutes and the clean transfer is presented in a 1.78:1 Widescreen ratio, enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The collection is rated TV-Y7-FV and offers English and Spanish audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. The voice cast is a veteran group and though some may now be used to live action counterparts, the animated voices shouldn’t turn anyone off.
Volume 4 is titled Thor’s Last Stand and contains another seven episodes of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This time The Avengers must stop Ultron and an army of robots from ending all of humanity and at the same time prevent Loki from unleashing his armies from Asgard on Earth. Running 148 minutes this time and also in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio and rated TV-Y7-VF, Volume 4 includes :The Avengers Unmasked: Hail Hydra.” This volume is also recorded in English and Spanish in Dolby Digital 5.1.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes series is directed by Ciro Nieli from TV’s Transformers, Vinton Heuck from The Batman, and Sebastian Montes who worked on the Ben 10 series. While created by animation veterans, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes may be too juvenile and preachy for some older, more cynical fans. Remember it is a Disney production and their target demographics aren’t jaded 40 year-olds.
Not available on Blu-ray, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volume 3 & 4 is an adequate transfer for most High Def TVs. The color and sharpness are well maintained, and 5.1 Dolby Digital is more than what should be expected for a children’s animated series. The lone pop-up video bonus feature is a little weak considering the history of the series, but again, this series isn’t really for us old folks. The prior attempts at animating The Avengers are laughable compared to Disney’s new series and there are some nuggets, more obscure references thrown into the mix for us longtime fans. If you’re a fan and haven’t watched Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, you should.