Reviews: Iron Man; Armored Adventures – Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

While Iron Man; Armored Adventures isn’t strictly canon, with the storyline of the series altering Tony Stark’s origin story beyond recognition, it is strictly entertaining. Featuring an experienced cast and a solid production team, the series takes us back to Stark’s youth. Despite being an animated series, the tone of the show takes its cues from the recent live action feature adaptations rather than the comics or previous animated series’. Echoes of Robert Downey Jr. can be heard in Adrian Petriw’s performance of a young Tony Stark, all impudence and passion and budding genius. The series follows Stark’s adventures following his father’s death, with Tony living with friend James Rhodes (voiced by British actor Daniel Bacon) and attending school with Pepper Potts (Anna Cummer).

This series is definitely aimed at the tween-teenage audience, taking place in and around school and focusing on the trials and tribulations Stark the teenager has to overcome. Sure, he’s also fighting supervillains and flying around in a robotic suit, but he’s a kid and he does things the way a kid trying to be a hero would. You have to admire the audacity of the producers – the story of this series disregards almost everything previously established regarding Iron Man’s origins. The series takes more than just the Downey Jr. bravado from the feature films – Obidiah Stane’s dubious morality and potential involvement in the death of Papa Stark harks back to the first live-action Iron Man film. The suit also bears strong resemblance to the one depicted in the recent films, with only slight differences.

The young Tony Stark’s adventures are rendered in beautiful cel-shaded animation, however the Blu-ray release doesn’t exactly flatter it which is a shame. The 2-disc Blu-ray set includes all 26 episodes of the first season, however there are no special features to be found on either of the two discs. The audio is stereo-only; no 5.1 surround sound.

The series is definitely worth a watch, especially for younger viewers (read; kids in their early teens) however it’s hard to recommend the Blu-ray if you’ve already seen the series on television for the reasons mentioned above.


review by Ben Vernel

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