Review copies provided by the studio.
Collecting the second half of the first season, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes volumes 3 and 4 are now available on DVD. The first batch of Avengers episodes was a pleasant surprise, with solid designs by the late Boyd Kirkland, smooth animation by Film Roman, and stories that modernized classic Avengers battles with only a small amount of annoying Ultimization. The series clearly improves as the episodes continue, as the character designs tighten up, the digital color palate grows more complex, and the stories develop into multi-part, Avengers-worthy epics. Plus, that irritating mall punk theme song has been chopped in half in the later episodes.
It’s hard to imagine an Avengers fan not getting a kick out of most of these episodes. The storylines draw inspiration from everything from Walt Simonson’s “Casket of Ancient Winters” Thor arc, to Kurt Busiek’s global Kang vs. the World storyline from his final Avengers days. Characters you never really expected to see, such as Mockingbird and Ms. Marvel, even make appearances. Actually, Mockingbird does more than make an appearance; she’s a lead character for a few episodes. This must be what DC fans felt like when characters like Vixen and Captain Atom showed up on Justice League Unlimited. Not that Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is quite on Justice League Unlimited’s level, but it’s the closest any Marvel series has come so far.
Whether or not you wish to own these episodes on DVD likely depends on your level of fandom, but the sets are absolutely worth a rental. The entire first season has also been available via Netflix’s instant streaming service for a while now. I’m not sure when season two is set to begin, but hopefully the wait won’t be too long. This is a show that could easily match the episode runs of the ‘90s Spider-Man and X-Men series, assuming Marvel plays its cards right.