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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Iron Man: Armored Adventures DVD vol. 2 Impression

Kron Man: Armored Adventures DVD 2
How’s the story go? Something like this. Popular comic gets the big screen treatment. Movie does well, comic company decides to cash in a bit more, enter merchandise, video games and of course an animated series. Spider-Man, X-Men, Hellboy (to DVD) and this articles subject, Iron Man. Tony Stark is a rich, genius, womanizing hero with a bit of a drinking problem and Robert Downey played him perfect in the first Iron Man feature which is getting a sequel in 2010. Unlike Spider-Man or the team of X-Men this type of personality may not transfer very well for a kids series, so what to do? Make him a teenager of course.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures released first on Nickelodeon and now on DVD was first shown back in 2008 and while it could have been cheap cash in; it’s not. The second volume picks up the adventure of a teenage, orphaned, Tony Stark as he takes on the challenges of school with best friends Rhodey and Pepper. They are the only ones who know of the armor and help Tony in his fights and school work. Even with Tony’s father deceased his legacy of technology lives on and the Living Laser is just one foe who manages to obtain this tech which Tony feels responsible for. One issue after another presents itself including have to stash is armor in the Stark International building which is under the control of Obediah Stane, not the nicest guy. The Field Trip ‘mission’ is a success but Obediah’s suspicion of Tony goes to new levels, but no time to worry as Tony joins his friend Gene in the search for another of the Makluan Rings, of which the Mandarin wields one (now two). Next foe, the group A.I.M. and The Controller who does just that, controls via technology. Not enough yet, how about an encounter with Madame Masque and the Crimson Dynamo Buster armor. Yes, Tony has a lot going on from school to these enemies and the fact he just unleashed a consuming, aware virus … well things are going to get very, very interesting and puberty isn’t’ even part of it yet.

Six episodes total, not too shabby for a DVD collection. The story is really solid as it touches on so many of Iron Man’s famous and not such much so foes. The risk with this series is the turning of Tony to a teenager, but it works. Tony has issues from keeping his grades up to retain the company to his budding romance with Stane’s daughter Whitney. The only complaint about Tony is he feels more like Peter Parker at times. Not a bad thing especially when the final episode shows the darker side of Stark fins know and love. The feeling of responsibility for his father’s technology is also a nice deep story point that shows this series has a depth beyond what most viewers would expect from Nick. Translated, this means the series is great for fans of all ages. The voice talent is solid, delivers great emotion and really gives life to these … interesting looking characters. Tony and Rhodey exchange barbs as only true friends can and Pepper, well she has a personality to match her name. The opening theme is also catchy. The character design is reminiscent of the comic broken down to the teenage look but it’s not traditional animation, its computer animation and feels clunky at times. This is the only knock on this series as it feels like a cell shaded game from the GameCube.

Overall any fan of Iron Man should check out this series, either on DVD or online. The episodes are fun, full of adventure and the teenage setting works. Seeing the settings and villains of the franchise brought to life in a new light is a lot of fun, something the movies have helped to re-establish and comic fans should not miss out.

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