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Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous Motion Comic

A movie review article by: Jason Sacks

With Avengers right around the corner, it only seems right to revisit another work written by Joss Whedon. Thankfully the good folks at Marvel Knights Animation have released their latest motion comic, this time of one of Whedon's Astonishing X-Men arcs, "Dangerous".

As someone who didn't read these comics when they first came out, I really enjoyed watching the story play out. The story abounds with twists and turns and betrayal and the hints of future betrayals. It's full of action and excitement and kept me glued to the screen. There are a number of moments in the DVD that are unpredictable and unexpected, from a Danger Room betrayal to Emma Frost's potential future betrayal. The story is sometimes a bit hard to follow for those of us who have never read the original comics, but once I allowed myself to be swept away by the story, I was able to figure out what in the world was going on.

If you have read these comics, there are obviously no surprises on this DVD. Like most motion comics, it's adapted directly from the original comics. Panels and scenes are presented directly from the artwork of John Cassaday, sometimes extremely awkwardly. What works extremely well on a printed page doesn't always work great on a DVD. For instance, there is a battle with a giant monster at the beginning of the DVD that is extremely hard to track because we have no sense of space or motion or characters in comparison to the events that they are part of.

And as usual with a motion comic, the animation is really awkward. I just couldn't get used to the jumpy, weird, awkward style of this motion comic. The rhythms that would have worked great on the comic book page just do not work well on the screen. Everything seems just a bit off, strangely out of sync with the scenes that are portrayed.

This DVD contains six episodes of the web series Astonishing X-Men.  We get absolutely no extra features – no context on the characters or story, not even a series of short little biographies of the characters. You'd better know who these characters are before you watch this DVD; your friend who hasn't read these comics but who wants to check out Joss Whedon's work may be really lost in watching this.

These original Astonishing X-Men comics are probably really great stories. I liked the base story that's being told on this DVD. But the lack of bonus features on this DVD, along with the lack of context and the weird animation style, make this an experience for which you have to bring an awful lot to the table.


Jason Sacks is Publisher of Comics Bulletin. Follow him at @jasonsacks, email him at jason.sacks@comicsbulletin.com or friend him on Facebook.

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