Astonishing X-Men

SF elements: X-Men, mutants

2012 / Blu-ray

4 × 6 × 10 min episodes


This is an animation of the Joss Whedon run of the Astonishing X-Men comic book series, 2004–2007, comprising the four stories “Gifted”, “Dangerous”, “Torn”, and “Unstoppable”. Each story is split into 6 roughly 10 minute episodes, presumably one per issue of the original books.

The animation is in motion comic form, made directly from the comic book artwork. As well as being more detailed than classic animation, this approach gives a rather strange combination of actual movement, whilst feeling static. However, the plots are sufficiently strong that the story draws you in, and the strange flavour of the animation only distracts during some fight scenes.

There’s plenty of the classic wry humour, and the stories are good, if confusing in places. But then, I watched the original X-Men animated series (traditionally animated), comprising multiple sub-plots, alternate worlds, and flashbacks, on TV out of order, so I’m used to feeling confused.

So, everything’s fine. And then it all. just. stops. On a massive cliffhanger. The last episode of the last story is not on the disc! Fortunately, it is available to watch somewhere on the Web, but still. How could that possibly be a good idea? So, ten out of ten for story, maybe, but minus several million for presentation. Should have gone for the dead tree version.

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 14 November 2019