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Iron Man: Armoured Adventures volume one
voice cast: Adrian Petriw, Daniel Bacon, Vincent Tong, Anna Cummer, and Mackenzie Gray
producer: Joshua Fine
312 minutes (PG) 2008
ITV DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by J.C. Hartley
With Disney's acquisition of Marvel one would imagine that the animated serial side of things would be something that the company would want to make fly. As regards the bigger picture, can the time be far away when kiddies are met at the gates to the Magic Kingdom not by Mickey Mouse and Snow White but by smilin' Stan Lee and an animatronic Michael Jackson? Hey, just a thought.

This is pretty good. In fact it's very good indeed. Intelligent scripts, great characters, and good plots. It recasts the Marvel universe in a way that only lonely obsessive could object to (apologies to lonely obsessives). The idea of rebooting Iron Man as the secret identity of a teenage Tony Stark really makes you want to hurl, but it works goddamnit!

Tony Stark is the genius-level son of a genius millionaire dad. His best friend is Rhodey, son of a hotshot lawyer mum and a career soldier dad stationed overseas. Stark senior has become obsessed in his interest in archaeology particularly after discovering an ancient Chinese ring hidden in a temple in Jersey. Associate Obadiah Stane is eager to militarise Stark Industries output but is confounded at every turn. Ultimately, Stane engineers a plane crash that kills Stark senior. The terms of his father's will hands Tony into the care of Rhodey's family where he is to have a normal life attending school at the Tomorrow Academy. Tony has, in his spare time, created a suit of armour packed with miniaturised electronic devices, and donning the armour he takes on the role of Iron Man. Initially seeking to discover the truth about his father's death, and gain revenge over Stane, Tony/ Iron Man increasingly comes into conflict with various other super-powered individuals with various agendas of their own.

The school setting reads a bit like early-day Peter Parker/ Spider-Man but introduces 'happy' Hogan as the resident basketball jock, and 'Pepper' Potts, who discovers Tony's identity as Iron Man. Bizarrely, the Mandarin also attends the academy, only this time he is Gene Khan who has usurped his stepfather as head of a crime tong, and is in possession of the ancient Chinese rings that so intrigued Tony's father. With appearances by the Crimson Dynamo, Count Nefaria and the Maggia, AIM, the Living Laser, et al, the series is great fun if you can accept the new premise.

DVD extras to this first two-disc volume of 13 episodes include character galleries, and a storyboard comparison to the Madame Masque episode.

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