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G.I. Joe Renegades Season 1 Volume 1
Review by Phillip Donnelly
Today I'm taking a look at Shout! Factory's G.I. Joe Renegades Season 1 Volume 1! This is a two disc set that contains the first thirteen episodes of what Shout! Factory optimistically calls "Season 1." As many of you know, Renegades was put on hiatus to as not to interfere with the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which as of this writing, was just postponed nine months. Oops.
The DVD set itself is the same high quality presentation we normally get from Shout! Factory. The cover's design utilizes the same scheme as Hasbro's 30th Anniversary line from 2011. Fitting, as that's the line in which they released the Renegades toys. This same look carries over into the discs, as well.
As you can see from the screenshots posted here, the video itself is crisp and clean, a result of having new animation saved in the best formats for conversion. Unlike the Sunbow or DiC sets, image blur should not be a problem here. Additionally, the menus of the DVDs use what are no doubt the standard character models.
Sadly, there are no extras to speak of in this set, though my copy did come with a 5 dollar movie cash offer to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation that expires July 23, 2012. Well, that wasn't so awkward when I got this set a few days ago, but man does looking at that kind of throw salt in the wound! This is not fault of Shout! Factory's, obviously, and these coupons are usually good for other movies, at least. Still, I would have liked to have some sort of behind-the-scenes documentary, or creator commentary, or something.
Alright, so I just spent four paragraphs talking about the physical set itself, what about the actual cartoons? Count me as a fan. Sure, the first few episodes are a bit repetitive, and there's no avoiding comparison with the A-Team at times. But hey, I liked the A-Team!
Seriously though, once the series hits its stride, we're really in for a great time and a great series. No, it's not the same G.I. Joe we're used to, but perhaps that's a good thing. Reinvention may not always work, but the fear of trying something different can be just as bad. I think Spy Troops, Valor vs. Venom, and the Sigma 6 cartoon are prime examples of that - these really felt like shows aimed more towards kids with an eye for selling toys. A shocking revelation, I know, but it just felt like we fell in a rut here: G.I. Joe are the standard good guys fighting the standard bad guys of Cobra.
By throwing the status quo out the window, Renegades really allowed the creators to reinterpret these characters, while still keeping their core intact. Duke, Scarlett, and Snake Eyes are still the familiar characters, Ripcord is obviously based on his Rise of Cobra character (though they still managed to change this up by the end!), and Cobra Commander is still as menacing as ever.
Yes, even i did a bit of eye-rolling when the Bio-Vipers showed up, but I was glad to see they didn't totally overrun the show. Storm Shadow, Zartan, Tomax and Xamot, Destro, Major Bludd, and even the Baroness proved formidable foes over the course of the season.
This dvd set is definitely something I'm proud to have on my shelf. Truth be told, I would have preferred a Blu-Ray release, but as we haven't heard of one on the horizon, I'm happy to have this one in its stead. If you do prefer a high definition experience, your only choice at this point is to download from iTunes. Digital downloads just don't have the same impact as a shelf full of G.I. Joe discs, I'm just saying!
Lastly, I'd like to point out this screenshot to the right. There may not seem to be a whole lot of importance to this image of Zartan tipping his hat, but it's the credited writer I want to highlight. That's one of our site's founders creating a professional episode of G.I. Joe. We're proud of you, buddy!