Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
a review by Darby O’Gill

When I first got my screener copy of Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, I was really excited to watch it, but then I quickly realized it wasn’t an animated movie of the hit comic book series, but rather a motion comic on DVD. For those of you completely lost right now, I’ll take a moment to clarify; a motion comic takes the original art from the comic books and manipulates the images into a somewhat animated format. With the addition of voice talent, the comics come to life… Well, as much alive as they can, when they’re not being fully animated. As you can probably tell, I’m not that big of a fan of motion comics, which pretty much catches everybody up. So as I was saying, when I found out that Astonishing X-Men: Gifted was a motion comic, I was really disappointed. And, that would probably be the end of this review, if I hadn’t received this DVD as a screener. But, luckily I did. And because of that, I made myself sit down and give it a fair chance.

When a so-called “mutant cure” is developed, the X-Men find themselves once again battling against science, prejudice, a newfound alien threat and not to mention themselves. I was already a really big fan of the Joss Whedon penned comic book series when it first came out, and knew that the story would be fantastic, but I still didn’t think it would be strong enough to save it. So, I sat down and decided to watch at least two out of the six, almost fifteen-minute episodes, and before I knew it I was on episode five. Okay, I was wrong. Not about motion comics. I’m still not a big fan, although in this series they did start to grow on me. No, I was wrong about the writing not being strong enough. It was the story that made me want to keep watching them, and I think the longer you watch them the easier it is to get into the motion comic aspect of it all. There’s only one thing I would like to see different on the next volume of this series, and that is a play all, which this DVD has, but you still get the open and close credits popping up every fifteen minutes. I realize that the biggest market for motion comics is on the iPhone and iPad as downloadable content, and the episodes are pre-packaged as fifteen minute shorts with those downloads in mind, but a play all with no interruptions would probably be a nice selling point for the DVD sales. Just an idea. I know, I would have enjoyed not seeing those end credits every ten minutes. Surprisingly, I find myself looking forward to the next release in this series, and I’m glad I gave this one a chance. I must say it did surprise me.


DVD Special Features:

  • A Conversation with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams
  • Behind-The-Scenes Look at Marvel Knights Animation
  • Visual History of the Characters
  • “Rise Up” Music Video
  • Trailers
  • And More!

The interviews and behind-the-scenes footage does manage to give you a better idea of the reasons for making a motion comic, but I personally would have liked to have heard from Joss Whedon somewhere on the special features. It would have been great to hear how he came up with the story idea, and his thoughts on the way his story came to life through the use of the motion comics. Oh well, maybe next time.

DVD Special Feature Rating: