DVD Season II, Volume IV:

"Mystique's Revenge"

Episodes Included: "Shadow Dance"; "Retreat"; "The HeX Factor"; "Day of Reckoning, Part 1"; "Day of Reckoning, Part 2"

Month Released: November 2004

MSRP: $15 (U.S.) (Though I have seen them as cheap as $10 at Best Buy)

DVD Extras: Toad's Test; X-Men: Evolution: Turning Point; Sneak Peeks

Packaging: The main cover for the packaging looks kind of weak, really. The art itself is oddly blocky and chalky when compared with previous DVD covers. The drawings themselves aren't bad-- the proportions and everything are spot-on-- it's just that the lines are too rough and jagged. The overall picture is, again, of several of the X-Men running in various poses at the camera, with the lower right quarter of the picture dedicated to an eeevil portrait of Mystique. (This portrait doesn't look nearly as jagged as the rest of the picture, but maybe it's just because there's not as much detail in it.) There's also a flash of light emanating for whatever reason from either Mystique's pendant on her forehead or Wolverine's armpit, take your pick. (Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that X-M:E Wolverine has no hair in his armpits, even though he's quite a shaggy guy overall? Odd that he shaves his pits regularly, but not his face...) Still, it is original art, which is a bit of a plus. The back side features a VERY high-quality picture of the assembled Season 1 X-Men + Beast, which was used in earlier times as promotional art for Season 2. It's an excellent rendering of all the X-Men, battle-ready, and is probably one of the best pieces of art done for the series, actually. Very nice to look at, if you're crazy for details like I am. And for once, the couple of paragraphs of description given about the DVD aren't corny! Hallelujah! It gives you a straight-up description of the episodes and the exciting stuff that awaits in them. No corny "They have to save the world... AND do their homework!", or anything like that. It tells you what's at stake, what goes on, and that's it. Oh, and there's also the mandatory highlighting of the DVD episodes and extras on the back, too. Inside the cover, there's screen caps from each of the five included episodes, as well as a picture of the last scene seen in Season 1, with all of the X-Men (plus Havok) gathered and posing in front of the camera. On the DVD itself has a picture of, appropriately, Mystique (in her Season 1 duds) on it. Pretty nice packaging, overall.

Toad's Test: In a similar vein as "Wolverine's Trivia Challenge" from the "Enemies Unveiled" DVD, Toad's Test is a ridiculously easy, 7-question multiple choice quiz that should be a cake walk if you follow the series with any regularity. Though to its credit, there are very few obviously ridiculous answers when compared to Wolverine's Trivia Challenge, so that if you don't watch the show, most of the answers seem at least plausible. The last question is also obviously a trick question (and a fairly funny one at that). Without giving away too much, it's a funny play on Toad's illogically high opinion of himself. However, even though I expected this quiz to be lame and far too easy, I was looking forward to hearing Toad's funny and entertaining voice read out the questions and give snappy comebacks. No such luck. There are clips of Toad playing in the background during most of the quiz, but some cheezy announcer guy reads the questions, not Toad. Which pretty much takes away the main draw of the quiz, right there. C'mon, Toad's voice actor isn't exactly the busiest actor in the animation industry-- I don't think he would have asked too much to do this. Meh.

X-Men: Evolution: Turning Point: This, on the other hand, is a fantastic extras, and the first in quite a while to feature new interviews with Greg Johnson, Boyd Kirkland, and the rest of the X-Men: Evolution creative staff. In this rather lengthy (8-minute) extra, the creators discuss how the Season 2 finale arc changed the series forever (and they're not exaggerating, it did), and some important plot points revealed. They talk about Mystique posing as Xavier, Magneto's team the Acolytes (yes, we do finally get official confirmation that they're called the Acolytes here), the revealing of Mutants the world, the Sentinels, and the introduction of the Scarlet Witch. This is also probably the first extra where we learn previously-unknown (though still minor) things about some of the characters. For example, Pyro, Gambit, and even Colossus are all teenagers, yet a couple of years older than most of the X-Men. (Colossus-- a teenager!? He looks like he's in his late 20s or early 30s to me...) They also tell us the exact age at which Wanda was taken into the asylum (6, and she was broken out at 16), and that they had always planned to bring her in from the very beginning of the series, given her relationship with Magneto and Quicksilver. Oh, and one last thing-- there was apparently an enormous amount of fan demand to put Gambit in the picture. (Gee, whoda thunk?) Overall, a great extra, and it's nice to finally see the creators interviewed again.

Sneak Peeks: As with all the other Evo DVDs (at least as of this writing, 11/04), this is merely a couple of the commercials for these exact same Evo DVDs, available for you to watch. One is for the collection of Season 1 DVDs, and the other is for the Mystique's Revenge DVD. Neither of which I have yet to ever see on TV. And it's rather pointless, advertising buying a DVD on that exact same DVD, but whatever. It's not advertised as an extra on the box, so at least it's not being put out as something you should watch.

Last Words: Considering that, if you buy this DVD at a place like Wal-Mart or Best Buy, you're getting each Evo episode for less than $2, it's hard NOT to recommend this baby to Evo fans. Toad's Test and the Sneak Peeks are pretty lame extras, but the Turning Point extra is probably the 2nd best extra to be released on an Evo DVD so far (next to the voice actor interviews in "Xposing the Truth"), so as a whole package, I'd say it's a pretty good deal.

Overall Rating: 9/10 Excellent

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