8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Some Stumbles for the Venerable X-Men, but a Worthy Addition,
This review is from: X-Men: Volume Four (Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection) (DVD)
Volume 4 is best summarized as a mixed bag. There are some stellar episodes contained on this two disc set and some stinkers. Such should be expected considering the creative crew was admittedly running low on ideas and did not expect the series to receive a fifth season. The four part "Beyond Good and Evil" was actually to be the last set of episodes (like with the other releases, the episodes here are in broadcast order and not production order) and would have been a fitting way to end the series. I for one, am glad the series continued as there are still some good ones to come but the best days for this series are unfortunately behind them.
The already mentioned "Beyond Good and Evil" is an engaging set of episodes centered around Apocalypse. As I mentioned in the review of Volume 3, it is a pseudo-Age of Apocalypse but differs greatly. We get a lot of cameos from villains and hero's past and Psylocke even gets some dialogue. Overall it's a fun time travel story and one I enjoy more than the other two long arcs for the series. "Sanctuary" is another excellent two-parter that sees the creation of Magneto's Avalon and the introduction of his Acolytes. It captures the story from the comics of the betrayal of Magento's right-hand man Cortez, as he attempts to assassinate Magneto (in a Saturday morning kid's show kind of way). And for good measure, an old flame of Xavier's is thrown in to spice things up. The other two-part arc "Proteus" takes the popular classic X-Men story and adopts it for television in an appropriate way
As you can see, I think highly of disc one, so why the passable three star rating? Well, there is a disc two to this set and unfortunately it is not the equal of disc one. "Have Yourself a Morlock Little Christmas" is the series lone holiday themed episode. I suppose it's surprising it took this long for the series to have one but perhaps it is another example of the team running out of ideas. It is a typical Christmas special and Jubilee gets some screen time. One thing that does bug me about the episode is that we are to believe it is Jubilee's first Christmas with the X-Men, nevermind that the show has been on for years at this point. I guess the X-Men really pack a lot of excitement into one year! I'll admit this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, I'm a sucker for these kind of episodes, but it is typical holiday fare. The episode "The Lotus and the Steel" is another Wolverine centered episode that sees him make a journey to Japan and introduces the television audience to the Silver Samurai. It's not a bad episode but it has the feel of "haven't we been here before" as numerous other Wolverine episodes have dealt with similar issues. "Family Ties" gives us the big reveal of who Magneto's children are, but outside of that the episode is mostly uninteresting. Rogue's old flame Cody returns in "Love in Vain" and the results are about as interesting as the episode premise sounds (though one thing that always bugged me about this episode is why didn't the creators use this opportunity to give us the Brood?). "Xavier Remembers" is an okay episode that details the backstory of the Shadow King, a villain I personally have no use for. And lastly, Cyclops gets some face-time in "Secrets Not Long Buried" but the results are probably the worst episode of the series. I don't know if the series writers just felt burned out by Cyclops and Jean following the Phoenix Sagas but they do not surface much on these two discs (Cyclops also famously had an episode delayed until season five which seems to irritate fans to this day as it takes place between the two Phoenix Sagas).
That's one man's opinion anyway on these set. In short, disc one is excellent and disc two is mostly throw-away. I fear Volume Five will be the same case though likely worse but it shall at least conclude the series. If I have one last gripe with Volume 4 its that the cover art is definitely lacking when compared to the other three releases. Still, for the completists out there, this is a must buy. Disc one is essential viewing and hopefully you will find more to like about disc two than I did.