DVD Review: Iron Man The Complete 1994 Animated Series

DVD Review:

Iron Man The Complete 1994 Animated Series

Iron Man 1994

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (has some great sound effects)

Video: Full Screen (1.33:1) (the video is grainy and dusty in some places but overall the DVD does the cartoon more justice then youtube quality)

Voice Cast By Season:

Season 1:

Robert Hayes- Iron Man

James Avery- War Machine

Casey Defranco- Julia Carptener/Spiderwoman

Ed Gilbert- The Mandarin

Jim Cummings- M.O.D.O.C.K.

Tony Steedman- Justin Hammer

Neil Ross- Fin Fang Foom

Season 2:

Robert Hayes- Iron Man

Dorian Harewood- War Machine

Jennifer Hale- Julia Carpenter/Spiderwoman

Robert Ito- The Mandarin

Jim Cummings- M.O.D.O.C.K.

Neil Ross- Fin Fang Foom

Efrem Zimbalist Jr.- Justin Hammer

Let us step back in time to 1994. Marvel Animation was really taking off. With X-Men The Animated Series that launched in 1992 and now in 1994 we have Spider-Man The Animated Series and of course Iron Man The Animated Series. I liked all three of these cartoons however in this review I’ll be focusing on Iron Man.

Over the past two days I’ve been watching the DVD set that Disney finally released. They released it in conjunction with Iron Man 2 hitting theaters 5/7/2010. I wanted to pick this DVD set up immediately as it was released. I waited a few weeks and now have it in my clutches! After watching the series again I have a clear stance on this cartoon. That stance being that Season 2 is better than Season 1. The 1st Season of the series has a generic rock type anthem for a theme. The intro shows images from the 1st season and it gets you into the cartoon. Then we open to the cartoon itself, most of the Season 1 stories start with Tony Stark in the Iron Man armor fighting someone, or out of the armor playing the business man type. One of the biggest things that turns me off about these first 13 episodes of the series is the horrid 3D CGI image after he gets all of the armor on except the helmet. Just the transition between the regular cell animated to a CGI shot is god awful in my opinion. Thankfully they stopped doing that after a while.

You’ll notice at the top of this review that I listed the majority of the voice cast by season. I did it this way because there are different voice actors in each season of Iron Man. There are some from season 1 that I prefer and there are some from Season 2 that I prefer. I barely noticed the change  from Casey Defranco to Jennifer Hale as Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman. While Ms. Defranco did a excellent job I prefer Jennifer Hale’s version. The biggest change in the voice cast in my opinion was War Machine. In season 1 he was voiced by James Avery, yes that’s right Uncle Phil and the Shredder voiced War Machine. Then in season 2 they switched to Dorian Harewood who has also voiced Tombstone in the Spider-Man 1994 cartoon, Jax from Mortal Kombat Defenders of the Realm, and many others. I remember first seeing him on screen in Viper as Julian Wilkes in 1998-1999. I actually prefer Harewood’s Rhodey to Avery’s. Two other voice changes I want to bring up in Season 1 Ed Gilbert voiced The Mandarin I like this one the best and in Season 2 Robert Ito took the reins of The Mandarin. The other voice actor change I wanna bring up is the character of Justin Hammer in Season 1 he was voiced by Tony Steedman and in Season 2 voiced by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. While I love Zimbalist as Alfred in the DCAU I hardly noticed the change here. Both versions of Hammer sound too similar to me. One of my favorite Villain voices in this comes from Jim Cummings as M.O.D.O.C.K. it was very entertaining.

OK with the voice cast taken care of now let me talk to you about the actually stories in Season 1. These are very good I especially liked The Origin Of The Mandarin episode and the two parter The Origin of Iron Man. These episodes are very revealing as far as retelling the origins of both the hero and the villain. Season 1 ends on The Wedding Of Iron Man as he and Julia tie the knot… maybe?

There is no real finale between Seasons 1 and 2 however they do keep within the continuity of season 1. Season 2 however was wayyyy different animation and different production crew I believe. The biggest change besides the random voice actor changes is the way the show feels. It opens with a prologue type of story kinda like what Justice League did. After that it goes to an all new theme and opening title card. I like this theme infinitely better than Season 1. It has kinda a Black Sabbath “Iron Man” feel. With the main chorus being ….. I am….. I am… Iron Man. I love this theme so much it’s a ringtone on my cell phone. As I said there is a huge difference in the animation style. There’s also a difference in the War Machine armor. I actually prefer the Season 1 designs of the War Machine armor. The Season 2 suit just looks off to me in the coloring. Just look below on the top is a Season 1 model and on the bottom a season 2 model.


Watching this cartoon back has actually made me want to seek out some Iron Man comics. Although I have no idea where to start after all Shell head does have 40+ years of comic history. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series again. Even though I take a few issues with it I can over look most of them for the sheer nostalgia factor of 90’s Marvel Animation. Even though there are no Special features on any of the Disney released Marvel cartoons I really enjoy the packaging. There are slip covers that are embossed and have very neat designs on them.

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