Plot: What’s it about?
The lives of Reed Richards, Benjamin Grimm, and Johnny & Sue Storm were changed forever when cosmic rays bombarded their vessel during a space flight. Now Reed has a body he can stretch and manipulate like rubber, Ben’s body has turned into a rock hard exoskeleton, Johnny can ignite his body in flames and even take flight, while Sue is able to become invisible and create shields with her powers. Known as the Fantastic Four, the group resides in the Baxter Building and when evil strikes, they leap into action and use their powerful abilities to protect mankind. But with enemies like Doctor Doom, Super Skrull, Mole Man, and other super villains to contend with, even the Fantastic Four could use a hand now and then. But even with friends like the Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer, can the group keep the world’s evil doers in check?
This Fantastic Four might look a little different, but the core remains the same and in truth, this animated series has an old school feel, like the original comic books. The visuals are anime inspired, so the character design work has to be adjusted to, but I think the animation is quite cool. As I said, the look is new, but this is the same Fantastic Four as ever, with stories that would fit in with the early comic book adventures. The series is episodic for the most part, but development carries over between episodes, so there is some decent depth. Fans of Marvel will love seeing the various guest heroes and villains, with some big names brought out to spice up the series. As far as voice work is concerned, I think most of the casting choices work well and of course, The Thing sounds as gruff as he needs to. This first season offers some solid entertainment, so if you’re a fan of comic book style shows, then check out Fantastic Four- World’s Great Heroes: The Complete First Season.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is great work, as the show’s bright visuals shine and the animation looks terrific. The colors really stand out, with vivid hues that light up the screen, while contrast is solid and provides stark, accurate black levels. The style of animation used doesn’t have immense depth, but detail is good throughout and I noticed no print issues whatsoever. In short, the show looks great and fans will be pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
The episodes feature Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, which supplies an active, effective soundtrack. The audio is a notch or two above most shows of this kind, with a good deal of surround presence. The surrounds kick in some nice power when the action heats up, so those scenes are memorable. In non action moments however, the audio pulls back and seems more one dimensional, though still passable. The vocals sound flawless, while the music has good presence. This release also includes subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You can sample audio comments from writer Chris Yost and producer Craig Kyle on three episodes, which is sure to delight fans of the series. The two discuss the comic book series that inspired the show, how the source was translated to this format, the visual design process, and various other production elements. Not the most exciting tracks around, but there is some good information and fans will want to give all three a listen. From Origin to Animation is a eighteen minute look at how the Fantastic Four were born and have evolved over the years. This piece includes interview time with Stan Lee, which should pull in comic book fans of even the most casual nature. This release also includes a look at the show’s villains, an exploration of the visual design, and a selection of artwork from the series.