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RELEASES - DVD - VOLUME TWO

Legion of Super Heroes - Volume Two
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 5th, 2008

Synopsis: Kids WB! Brings you a new series inspired by the DC Comics legend Superman. In Legion of Super Heroes, a team of superheroes from the 31st century heads back in time to enlist Superman's help in battling their nemeses, the Fatal Five. But when they arrive in the Man of Steel's hometown, Smallville, they discover that they've miscalculated a bit. Instead of a powerful, confident Superman, they find the introverted, insecure young adult Clark Kent, whose abilities need fine-tuning and who knows nothing of the legend that comic book history says he'll become.It takes some effort, but Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, and Saturn Girl convince Clark that he's special and may be able to help them. Although he sincerely doubts that he's the "Superman" they keep talking about, his curiosity is piqued enough that he goes back to the future with them. The legion itself is a group of well-meaning, undisciplined and unpredictable, super powered young adults who just happen to be the Universe's only hope. The Legionnaires are still light-years away from becoming the seasoned (and cynical) pros of the Justice League.

DVD Review
by Zach Demeter

Click Here!I know what you’re saying. “They’re still releasing Legion of Superheroes in volume releases?” Yes, as Warner Home Video seems to like to do, they continue to test the waters to see if a Legion of Superheroes season set would sell with the volume releases. This latest volume, collecting another four episodes from the shows first season, brings about stories that focus more on the secondary characters rather than on Superman himself.

The evidence that this release is more focused on the other heroes is evident from the start. The first episode, “Champions”, revolves around Legion member Lightning Lad, who has consistently been a jerk to Superman from the get go. Not only do we get to see a lot of what makes Lightning Lad act the way he does, we also see the return of his brother in “Lightning Storm.” In many ways this episode seems to parallel the Teen Titans episode “Sisters”, in that we get to see two individuals who are essentially the same person but have two very different moral centers. Other episodes on the set revolve around Brainiac 5. The first, “Fear Factory”, encompasses the entire Legion, but being the odd man out (being an android and all), the play on fear on this episode seems to lean more towards Brainiac’s side. Finally in “Brain Drain” we have Brainiac 5 suffering a system failure that forces the team to discover how to fix their android friend.

While I didn’t notice it so strongly in the first volume, this second volume really paints so many parallels between Teen Titans and Legion of Superheroes. Teen Titans had such a strong run, however, it’s no surprise that there seems to be some inspiration running throughout the show. It also has to do with that both shows focused entirely on teenage superheroes; there are, admittedly, only a few variants of stories you can do before it starts to look and feel the same.

Ultimately I think that’s what makes Legion of Superheroes such fun to watch. It’s a “safe” show in that it doesn’t take too many risks (though the second season does switch things up) and because of that you can always find solace in the fact you aren’t going to have to wrack your brain trying to figure out why something happens in the show. It’s a simple show, which can lead it to becoming predictable and boring at times, but as with most superhero shows—it’s just fun to watch.

While kids may be expecting a bit more in this volume in terms of Superman, they’ll only find episodes focusing on two of the Legion members. This is the flaw of volume releases (on top of it costing people more money in the long run) in that it’s hard to really recommend a group of episodes solely by themselves. While the first volume was an easy recommendation to see if you liked the show, this second volume is a bit harder to peg down. The episodes included here are fun and enjoyable, but nothing that really screams “must own.” If you enjoy the show, then you may want to pick up this title, but otherwise I’d say just Rent It.

Moving onto the quick and easy release for this DVD, we get a single disc amaray case with the disc inside featuring art that actually doesn’t mirror the cover at all. Menus are simple and easy to navigate…and why wouldn’t they? There are no extras on this release, so it’s strictly an episodes-only affair.

As far as technical aspects go, this release is your standard fare. A 4:3 transfer with a Dolby Digital Stereo track (in English and French) makes for a satisfactory release for this show, although I’m beginning to wonder why, now with the deeper penetration of widescreen television sets, Warner just doesn’t give up the ghost and release these shows in widescreen. I doubt it would honestly harm the market that much, plus they’d be getting the episodes out on the market in a format they’ve never been seen in before, something they could easily use to their marketing advantage.

Aside from the episodes there’s a handful of trailers (including one for Legion of Superheroes second season which plays before the menu loads) and that’s pretty much all you’ll find on this release. There’s nothing of grand importance here that would require you to purchase this DVD. My advice to fans of the show is to give this one a Rental if you absolutely need to see the episodes over again; otherwise, just Skip It.

DVD Review
by James Harvey

Click Here!In the last DVD release for Legion of Super Heroes, we saw the first four episodes of this relatively new series. The series was still finding its footing early on, but, as the first season progressed, it gained more of a firm grasp on the material. As we see in the batch of episodes included here, we're starting to finally explore the background and personal lives of all the main characters. For example, we get to see Lightning Lad's rather jerky brother in the first episode included within. It's another four episode volume release, but is it worth checking out?

Superman discovers his weakness. One thousand years in the future, the universe's only hope for survival is an awkward teen named Clark Kent, who has no idea he will become one of the greatest heroes of all time. Brought to the 31st century by teen super heroes Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad, Superman joins their unending fight for galactic justice. Known as the Legion of Super Heroes, they battle villains like archnemeses the Fatal Five, a deranged professor who is fascinated by fears and their most difficult face-off: Lightning Lad's brother Mekt Ranzz. Not even super heroes can avoid sibling rivalry. With every adventure, Superman continues to grow into his destiny, until a journey to a distant world shows him the limitations of his powers. Fly with the best teen heroes in these cosmically cool adventures!

Like I said in my review for the previous volume release of Legion of Super Heroes, it's not a great series, but it is a good one. Although now we're seeing it taking the first steps to be something really special. The episodes included here are "Champions," "Fear Factory," "Brain Drain," and "Lightning Storm."

While this show is primarily Superman And The Legion of Super Heroes, this volume seemed to focus on Lightning Lad and Brainiac more than the rest. For Lightning Lad, not only do we meet some of his family, but we also get a closer look at what makes him tick. In the episode "Champions" we actually see him be more than just a jerk to Superman, we actually get some depth to his character as we meet his brother. Secondly, in the episode "Lightning Storm," we get a closer idea at what makes him tick, even through his mistakes, as he tries to join a different team. And, of course, we also get to see more of his "evil" brother. Overall, this volume release really belongs to Lighting Lad.

The other two episodes throw the spotlight on Brainiac 5. In "Fear Factory," each Legion member has to face their darkest fear, but Brainiac 5 seems to get more of the focus here, as well as some interesting interaction with Superman. After that, we hop over to "Brain Drain," where Brainiac 5 suffers s major malfunction and the rest of the team has to basically put him back together. It's a fun episode, but nothing special. If anything, the episodes that stand out the most on this release are "Fear Factory" and "Champoins." I found both did a better job at character exploration and actually added some dimension to the Legion members the respective episodes focused on. The other two are fun and worth at least a look.

Overall, this release is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it's another volume release with just four episodes, totally less than ninety minutes of animation. On the other hand, the episodes included within are definately Recommended to check out, especially "Brain Drain" and "Champions." Also, for the hardcore comics fan, we also get a few nods to the comic books as well. For example, in "Brain Drain," during one of Brainiac's fits, he spouts out a list of various colors of Kryptonite. It's a bit disappointing that Warner Home Video is still releasing these types of DVDs, but one can assume a season collection is around the corner.

The DVD comes in your standard Amaray case with no inserts to be found within. As expected, the audio and video is pretty standard. There is a little bit of ghosting and interlacing, but nothing that's distracting. The audio is crisp and clear, naturally. Even though the menus are presented in 16:9 widescreen, the episodes themselves are presented in the standard 4:3 format, the format typical for this type of release from Warner Home Video. Hopefully future releases, such as a complete season release, will be in widescreen.

The only extras are a handful of trailers. There's a 90-second trailer for the second season of Legion of Super Heroes the automatically starts before the main menu, and the rest are accessible through the main menu. There's no documentary, featurettes, or anything. Just trailers, and that's it. One can only assume that the more informative extras are being held for a complete season release later down the line. It's disappointing to see such a bare disc, but this isn't anything new for these types of DVD releases. It's also bizarre that, like the previous Legion of Super Heroes DVD release, Warner Home Video didn't place this under the “DC Comics Kids Collection.”

Overall, Legion of Super Heroes - Volume Two is a rather barebones release, but one that is at least worth checking out. If we've learned anything from past Animated DC DVD releases, a season set is likely just around the corner. If you're a hardcore Legion of Super Heroes fan or a completist, this disc is a good way to spend an evening. The four episodes featured are pretty enjoyable and worth checking out. However, if you can wait for the inevitable season release, I'd say hang in there just a little bit longer. The lack of extras is disappointing, but not unexpected. I'd say this release is Recommended for at least a rental for hardcore fans or parents looking to provide their children with some fun superhero fare, but anyone else can likely wait just a little bit longer for a more thorough release.

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