By Chaz Lipp
Article first published as DVD Review: Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Season 2, Vol. 2 on Blogcritics.
If your knowledge of Iron Man is primarily limited to the live-action movies, this animated series about a teenage Tony Stark may not hold strong appeal for you. The Tony of Iron Man: Armored Adventures is an undeniably smart kid, but he doesn’t have the strong personality that Robert Downey Jr. has brought to his feature film depictions. That said, the show is well produced, with often striking animation. Its approach is basically analogous to DC Comics’ Young Justice, though that show exhibits slyer wit and more sophisticated storytelling.
The second volume from season two includes six episodes. Because Armored Adventures presents an on-going storyline, jumping into season two midstream (as I did) isn’t entirely advisable. However, the generally exciting action sequences help keep the proceedings entertaining nonetheless. Tony is accompanied by his high school classmates Pepper Potts and Rhodey. They act as assistants to Tony, who is busy trying to keep the secrets of the Iron Man armor out of the hands of Hammer Industries. Even more dangerous than Justin Hammer’s Titanium Man design (unveiled in the disc’s first episode, “Titanium Vs. Iron”) is Obadiah Stane’s gargantuan Iron Monger (in the fourth episode in this collection, “Enter: Iron Monger”).
Guest appearances by other characters in the Marvel universe occur throughout. “The Might of Doom” centers on the Fantastic Four’s archenemy Doctor Doom, who has partnered with Stane in an attempt to steal the Iron Man armor. Nick Fury and S.H.E.I.L.D. members turn up, with Black Widow and Hawkeye factoring in significantly in “The Hawk and the Spider.” The six episodes don’t constitute a very satisfying viewing experience on their own. A complete season would be far more preferable. Plus it usually adds up to a more costly total when the episodes are piecemealed out one disc at a time.
The somewhat annoyingly catchy theme song is performed by the rock band Rooney. It provides a blandly energetic way to kick off each episode. The voice cast is entirely competent but unremarkable. Adrian Petriw is earnest and good natured as Tony. I just miss the edge that Downey Jr. instills in his live-action interpretation of the character. Daniel Bacon and Anna Cummer are similarly serviceable as Rhodey and Pepper, respectively.
Special features on the 139 minute DVD are limited to a pair of original artwork galleries. One is for Titanium Man, the other is for Doctor Doom. A list of credits is also included under the “special features” menu. While these folks certainly deserve recognition for the work they do, I’m not sure this constitutes an actual “special feature.” Fans of the series will of course enjoy Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Season 2, Vol. 2, but it would be a better value if they had packaged the whole season together.