Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther
©2006 Lions Gate Entertainment
Even so, it's not all about the script. What it really comes down to is making these productions distinctly Marvel. The irony here is that the animated DC adaptations have worked so well precisely because they work with concepts that Marvel pioneered over the last forty years. Dysfunctional teammates, alienation, personal problems, the public's mistrust of super-powered beings and the uneasy relationship superheroes have with the government are all ideas that Marvel introduced in their comics; in fact, it could be argued that they're the company that kick-started the increased sophistication of superhero comics in the first place.

So if DC is now squarely in what used to be Marvel's territory, then what makes a Marvel comic a Marvel comic? One is a sense of place: almost every Marvel title is focused in or around New York City, rather than fictional Metropolis or Gotham. Second, the level of introspection. Marvel characters always had their own personal problems, but the most important thing was that they thought and talked about them. A lot. How many times was Spider-Man distracted in the middle of a fight because he was worried about Aunt May's health? How many times did characters engage in extended soliloquies? While there are few things more boring in animation than watching someone think, Ultimate Avengers 2 could stand to slow down here and there, and let characters work through the issues that they obviously have. Done well, that could make all the difference in the world—and future animated Marvel projects would complement DC's forthcoming direct-to-video offerings quite nicely.

DVD Features: 16:9 aspect ratio; English and Spanish audio tracks; Region 1.

DVD Extras: "The Ultimates" featurette; gag reel; Iron Man and Dr. Strange previews; DVD-ROM game.
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