If you’re a fan of comic books and not simply a general lover of the X-Men mythos, then Astonishing X-Men – Dangerous will open up (or re-open) one of the most memorable mutant story arcs of the past decade. However, if you prefer your mutants in feature films and/or fully animated cartoons, the Astonishing X-Men – Dangerous DVD may be a bit of a disappointment. This is not your typical animated movie, but rather a motion comic with minimal animation. Anime lovers will also find this three-part series (broken down into six parts) easier to digest. The video stays wholeheartedly true to Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men issues 7-12 and will expose the darker side of Professor X’s quest to train his “gifted” students.
In Astonishing X-Men – Dangerous, Professor Xavier’s school for gifted children is attacked by an internal threat. The Professor is away in Genosha, while Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) is left to lead the team. If you didn’t read the comic, you will still get the sense that something is amiss between the classic Professor X and Summers, father-son relationship. Also, you’ll be surprised to see Scott with the White Queen. This isn’t jumping the shark, but rather takes place some time after Jean Grey’s last run as the Phoenix. The internal threat opens up a closet of secrets dating back to the first X-Men comic book and delves into the concept of larger mutations within mutants.
From the moment you begin watching Astonishing X-Men – Dangerous, you will immediately notice that this isn’t your typical cartoon. The animation is limited to mouth movements, small environment changes and a few quick body movements during action sequences. Motion comic animation is more about tossing away the barriers between each comic panel to create one seamless viewing experience.
As a comic lover, this was perfect for me. All of the great panels are still captured, for instance the closing panel of Professor X telling the threat that it has never faced an opponent like the Professor. The DVD is broken down into three episodes with six parts, about ten minutes each. It’s easily digestible in the shortened format. Each part represents one of the six comics in the story arc. If you’ve ever read a graphic novel, you will quickly get used to the motion comic style. The storytelling is that good.
Astonishing X-Men – Dangerous brings back one of the best story arcs of the Astonishing X-Men comic series. It’s a great story for both comic fans as well as those fans who have just followed the X-Men on TV and in film. Unfortunately, there are no creator special features. It would have been nice to hear something from Whedon on his work on the series or even on seeing the comic turned into a motion video.