Wolverine and the X-Men: Hindsight

Marvel's mutants get a makeover in this Wolverine-centric new cartoon. Snikt!

Cunningly released to coincide with the arrival of X-Men Origins: Wolverine at cinemas around the world, this latest animated X-Men series puts Wolverine front and centre by sidelining many of the franchise mainstays.

Already a bit of a hit on CBBC here in the UK, the series kicks off with a huge explosion that destroys Professor X's School for Gifted Children. As if that wasn't enough of a problem for the X-Men, Xavier himself and psychic Jean Grey both vanish in the explosion. Fast forward twelve months and the X-Men have disbanded and mutants are hunted by government forces. After a run-in with the Mutant Response Division, Wolverine decides it's time to get the X-Men back together, and starts gathering the troops. This three-part opener is all that appeared on the R1 DVD, but here in the UK Contender has been a little bit more generous, including the following four episodes as well.

Days of future past
It's all clearly aimed at a younger audience than the live-action films, and for old-school comic fans it lacks the fidelity to source material that the late '80s animated series brought to the fore. But, that's not to say that this latest incarnation of the series isn't fun. With a bold new world to inhabit, the creators have been able to cook up plenty of original situations for the X-Men to get stuck in. And thankfully the show runners aren't ignoring the rest of the Marvel Universe as they shake things up, pitting Wolverine against the Hulk in the final episode on the disc (although, it doesn't really hold a candle to the more brutal outing that appeared on the earlier Hulk Vs. disc).

As for the disc itself, I'm not going to grumble too much about the complete lack of extras because the target audience for this release isn't necessarily going to be too concerned about the commentaries and character profiles that appeared on the R1 release. And anyway, we get four extra episodes of the series instead, which is better value for money as far as I'm concerned. The episodes themselves look pretty good, thanks to colourful anamorphic 1.78:1 transfers. However, the actual quality of the animation isn't always the best (fill-in frames are rather rough in places), something that becomes more apparent then ever thanks to the clarity of the DVD image. The stereo soundtrack is pleasingly lively, although I believe that the R1 disc also offered a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that isn't included here.

While I prefer to see TV shows getting full-season boxsets, at around £13 for seven episodes, Wolverine and the X-Men: Hindsight isn't bad value for money. It's not a classic show, and skews slightly more towards a younger audience, but there's still quite a bit here for older X-fans to enjoy.

Contender Home Entertainment, R2 DVD, £13 On sale now