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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:


“Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs”
a review by Darby O’Gill

For some reason this is the true sequel to the classic Joel Schumacher film, The Lost Boys. But, why make it a movie when you can just release it as a four issue comic book series instead? I would have to guess that the answer to that question has something to do with the two Coreys.  Seeing how Corey Haim was such a mess during the filming of Lost Boys: The Tribe, they couldn’t use any of his footage in the film at all. So, Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs is the prequel to Lost Boys: The Tribe, but I think it’s the one that should have been filmed.

The story in Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs mostly takes place in 1990, but this is mainly due to being told through flashbacks of what became of the Frog brothers after the first movie. Edgar Frog tells a young protégé his tale at his surfboard shaping shop. Yes, even in this story we have to deal with the bullshit surfer storyline, but it’s easy to block out. Shortly after the events from the The Lost Boys, the Frog brothers become the go to vampire hunters, as more covens popup around the country. They’re even hired by the White House to deal with blood sucking politicians in Washington D.C., but upon their return home are faced with the return of David, the vampire played by Kiefer Sutherland in the first film, who is still looking for Michael and Star. The Frog’s quickly realize that if David is alive they must not have killed the head vampire after all. With this realization the boys team back up with Sam Emerson to kill Santa Carla’s head vampire once and for all. With a nice little twist, that will put the Frog brothers against one another in a future storyline. This story maybe hokey, but is so much better than that of the Lost Boys: The Tribe story, and who knows maybe this is the story we would have gotten had the Haim disaster not happened. We’ll never know.

The artwork in these books, by Joel Gomez, is really quite well done. My only problem with it is that the books where put out by DC Comic’s Wildstorm division, and authorized by Warner Bros., who owns of the original film rights; but Gomez’s drawings didn’t truly resemble the characters from the film. I would have just liked the characters to have been a little bit more familiar. Over all it was a fun read and was definitely a nice palate cleanser to the shitty film I had just sat through. If you did heed my review of Lost Boys: The Tribe, this should help ease the pain.


2.5 Little People