Just like Independence Day weekend used to belong to Will Smith at the box office, the month of May has become synonymous with Marvel Comics over the past few years. And to coincide with the return of Iron Man back at the multiplex, a slew of new Marvel titles have been making their disc debuts from Elektra on high-definition Blu-ray and two animated releases from Buena Vista Home Entertainment's parent Disney – now the proud adoptive parents of Marvel Studio as well.
Although I was less than thrilled with the lackluster Iron Man animated title that chronicled the entire 1994 series, once again, I found myself completely taken in by yet another installment of the Marvel universe with the fifth and final volume of the '90s series X-Men that takes us from fighting the Phalanx in another dynamite two-part episode all the way through the tense finale “Graduation Day.”
Following the recent releases of the other installments, the collection continues by numbering the episodes numerically by broadcast air date so that we pick right back up in the 60s from where we left off in Volume 4.
And despite a few logical inconsistencies when episodes filmed one or two seasons earlier were inserted into this fifth season run, the ultimate chapter of the show contains some of its most compelling efforts including “Bloodlines” and “Old Soldiers,” both of which deal with the recurring theme of prejudice and the need for tolerance in a wise and sophisticated manner.
Far more mature than one would assume given its TV rating of ages 7 and up as we're continually given allegorical plots that deal with disability, race, tolerance and other issues that ensure this series will never age, while it's always fun to watch Wolverine and Cyclops engage in battle, the brilliance of X-Men is in its reliance on emotional and intellectual muscles as well.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.