Episodes Included: "Joyride"; "Walk on the Wild Side"; "Operation: Rebirth"; "Mindbender"
Month Released: June 2004
Average Price: $15 (U.S.) (Although I have seen them as cheap as $10 at Wal-Mart)
DVD Extras: Meet the New Mutants; Behind the Brotherhood with Mystique; Wolverine's Trivia Challenge; Family Favorites
Packaging: The "Enemies Unveiled" packaging, oddly enough, has no actual enemies on the front of it. Ah, well. The art's pretty good, if not spectacular; you've got Beast, Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Shadowcat running through a hallway at the camera, with good ol' Captain America leading the charge. Nevermind that Captain America was never actually in stable condition in the series when Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, or even Beast were alive. It's just a publicity stunt to catch the eyes of Captain America fans, anyways. The actual art is prety good, and reflects the actual in-show art better than most of the past DVD covers did. Wolverine's face is a little asymmetrical- one half is slightly lower than the other- but otherwise, I don't have any complaints about the artwork on the front. (Nightcrawler looks entirely too happy, though.) The back gives the usual semi-corny paragraph explaining the X-Men and some of the episodes on this DVD, though if I read "EXTREME TEENS" one more time, I'll scream. There's the profile art of Shadowcat and Avalanche there, too. On the inside cover, there's the profile art for Magneto, along with screen caps from each of the four included episodes, and the DVD has the profile art of Avalanche on it. Again. Still, the whole packaging deal is pretty good-lookin'.
Meet the New Mutants: Hosted by Professor Xavier, you're taken on a brief tour through each of the New Mutants, after a short explanation of why he recruited them in the first place. No real new info is given, although I suppose this is the first time many of their full names have been said in any Evolution-related material. Although some of the "profiles" can reach 30 seconds in length, some are pitifully short- Berzerker's especially, which can't be more than 6-8 seconds long. I would have appreciated a bit more analysis of some of the characters that we didn't get to see much of in the actual episodes, but considering that I don't think the actual show writers are behind these extras, I can see why this particular option was avoided. Boom Boom is oddly skipped over- I realize that she had left the X-Men by this time in the show, but she isn't really introduced in the "Behind the Brotherhood" extra, so she kinda gets the short end of the stick on this one. Still, a pretty solid, if short, extra.
Behind the Brotherhood with Mystique: This one's a fake "recruitment video" for the Brotherhood- hosted by Mystique, of course. She explains the Brotherhood's mission, the facilities, and gives a (very) brief walkthrough of the current members- including the Scarlet Witch, even though she hasn't entered the series at this point yet. Even though Boom Boom is shown in some of the clips, she herself isn't introduced, which seems to be kind of an oversight. Mystique doesn't butter up the Brotherhood situation at all- a fact which rather surprised me, since you'd think that someone as deceitful as her would want to get all the recruits she could, by any means necessary. It's a rather minor point, though, in what is otherwise a good extra. The best part of this, though, is the rockin' electric guitar music in the background. I want an MP3 of that, you fiends! Don't tempt me!!!
Wolverine's Trivia Challenge: This has got to be one of the most ridiculous extras on any of the X-Men: Evolution DVDs, and that's saying quite a bit. Wolverine asks you ten questions (multiple choice, of course) about the X-Men, gives you a little time to respond, then tells you the answer, usually with a smarmy comment, then goes onto the next one. Then at the end, he tells you the different ratings so you can see where you stand. Sounds pretty good, right? Too bad the execution was absolutely terrible. The questions are so ridiculously easy that even someone who barely knows what the X-Men are could get the majority of these questions right. One of the main reasons for this is that the incorrect answers are just so darned ludicrous, it makes the correct answers obvious. (For example; Wolfsbane's power is her ability to tap dance, according to one of the choices, and Wolverine's claws are made of tin foil. Er, yeah.) Not to mention that even if the incorrect answers weren't so stupid, the questions themselves are so easy that even casual X-Men fans should get them. If you get anything less than a perfect 10 on this quiz, you probably don't follow this series anyways, and thus you wouldn't have picked up this DVD. Lame.
Family Favorites: Ah, the joys of cross-promotion. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic, you ninny.) Included here are short trailers for the New Scooby Doo and Mucha Lucha cartoon shows, and no, I'm not watching them unless you pay me a good amount of money. And I want it up front. The other two are the Mutants Rising and Powers Revealed DVD commercials, and although they're somewhat cool, are these actual commercials or not? 'Cause I've never seen these on any television station. But I digress. Anyway, nothing really worthy of note here.
Last Words: The "Meet the New Mutants" and "Behind the Brotherhood" extras are actually pretty nice, if not a bit too brief. But "Wolverine's Trivia Challenge" is embarrassing to even watch, it's so easy, and the "Family Favorites" cross-promtion I could have done without. I paid money for this DVD, I don't need more commercials on it, thank yooou. But the four episodes on the DVD- which should be the main drawing point, after all- are all winners, and the $15 price isn't TOO bad. (Although $10 for it at Wal-Mart is a much better price.) I do miss the Episode Intros with Boyd Kirkland that the earlier DVDs had as well, le sigh. About middle-of-the-road as the Evolution DVDs go.
Overall Rating: 8/10 Great
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