Two recently released Blu-ray sets offer superhero fans a couple of seasons of popular television shows based on characters from the Marvel and DC Comics’ universes.
Marvel’s Daredevil: The Complete Second Season (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, rated TV-MA, 704 minutes, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $29.99) — Arguably the grittiest episodic superhero saga around returned to Netflix for another 13-episode story arc about Marvel Comics’ Man Without Fear.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), blind lawyer by day and masked vigilante by night, is still on a mission to purge New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen of criminal influence.
After his bloody struggles with the girthy Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin) in the first season, the Big Apple is now under siege by gangs trying to take over the fat man’s illegal business interests.
Enter Marvel’s famed executioner, the Punisher (John Bernthal), to lend a helping bullet and ratchet up the graphic violence on the show.
To further complicate Matt’s life, former girlfriend Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung) shows up with a Japanese Yakuza problem that the pair will need to handle before the criminal group infects the city.
Netflix “Daredevil” delivers some of the best close-quarter fight choreography, mixing martial arts styles and traditional fisticuffs, in the history of the serial medium. I’ll reference Daredevil’s single-handed battle against a biker gang in the episode “New York’s Finest.”
It also features a strong supporting cast to Mr. Cox including Elden Henson as Matt’s best friend and law partner Foggy Nelson; Deborah Ann Woll as Murdock and Nelson’s able assistant Karen Page; Rosario Dawson as former love interest and nurse Claire Temple; and, of course, Vincent D’Onofrio and his brilliant portrayal of Mr. Fisk.
My suggestion is to first digest the entire season via the four Blu-ray discs in a binge session.
Next, find the spectacular Marvel Knights’ “Daredevil” comic book series by Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada from the late 1990s as well as Frank Miller’s epic run of the comics from the 1980s for a thorough and eye-popping appreciation of this legendary hero.
Best extras: The Blu-ray set offers all 13 episodes, but no extras. That’s right, one of the best shows on Netflix and one of the coolest superheroes ever created, and nothing worthy to add to the package?
No optional commentary tracks, no background on some of the iconic characters, no featurette on the history of Daredevil, no digital code to stream the series and not even a code to read a few comics online.
Suffice it to report, that should be quite a disappointment for the fan compiling his permanent home entertainment library.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, not rated, 714 minutes, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $44.98) — The famed super-powered protectors of Earth’s timeline were back for another 17 episodes of crime fighting and temporal abnormality investigations on the CW cable network.
Mostly based on characters from the DC Comics’ universe, the group consists of Atom (Brandon Routh), Firestorm (Victor Garber and Franz Drameh), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell).
With the Time Masters decimated and Vandal Savage defeated, the story arc finds the team continuing to hunt for time disrupters, looking for the Spear of Destiny and expanding its lineup, adding Justice Society of America heroes Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Citizen Steel (Nick Zano).
Their time-shifting adventures allow the group to meet real legends such as Albert Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Washington and even George Lucas while taking the team back to a 1940s New York City, 1920s Chicago, the American Revolution and Civil War.
“Legend’s” second season, playing out like a mix of “Dr. Who” and more recent “Timeless,” gives plenty of reasons for a weekend binge, as a comics geek will dive into the Blu-ray set.
This season excelled through appearances by the Justice Society of America (that also included Doctor Mid-Nite and Stargirl), the Legion of Doom (featuring Captain Cold, Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, and the Reverse Flash) and Jonah Hex.
Best extras: Fan will first enjoy a 10-minute look at the cross TV shows team-up between the Legends, Supergirl, Green Arrow and Flash that found the superheroes fighting the Dominators, aliens from the famed DC Comics, late 1980s comic book crossover event “Invasion.”
Next, a now obligatory, San Diego Comic-Con panel from 2016 offers a 30-minute interview session with most of the cast and a few producers as audience members fawn over the actors portraying these mighty heroes.
You can pass on the gag reel and deleted scenes.