Are they heroes? Are they Anti-Heroes? They are the protectors of the human race as they see it, but can they save them from the evils that oppose them?
This 2-disc Blu-ray gift set from Shout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animations contains all the motion comics of the ground breaking Astonishing X-Men written by the well known author of The Avengers Joss Whedon and the award winning artist John Cassaday. This set includes; X-Men: Gifted, X-Men:Dangerous, X-Men:Torn and X-Men:Unstoppable. This motion comic collection will have you on the edge of your seat, captivated in a well delivered story as we have come to accept from Joss.
In the first comic, which contains the first story arc of the Astonishing X-Men 3-part series we find the X-Men up against an evil alien mutation infiltration as well as a cure to eliminate the mutant gene. The X-Men come up against a formidable foe as they question the S.H.I.E.L.D’s involvement or lack there of. They seek answers to this alien invasion from S.H.I.E.L.D as the humans start to change into ticking time bombs to eliminate the whole race. The aliens find that this little girl holds the key to the destruction of the X-Men and mutants everywhere. Will the X-Men stop this from happening or will they be wiped out completely.
In the second installment of the Astonishing X-Men story arc, we find the X-Men fighting along side with the Fantastic 4! But after the tragic death of a student at the Xavier Institute come to the conclusion that an enemy with super powers is working from inside the mansion. The boy whom jumped is a ploy for this evil to gain an upper hand and release a power that will put the X-Men at risk of being eliminated! Fighting side by side for their lives, it is revealed that this evil was brought upon them by one of their own. This will change the integrity of the team forever as they start to question their brethren.
*A Conversation with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams: This is a bit with the two talking about how motion comics differ from “animation”.
*Astonishing X-Men “Rise Up” Music Video: A music video showing clips from the story. Lyrics and music done by David Ari Leon and Guy Erez, whom are known for their music on many TV shows as well as other super hero movies
*Astonishing X-Men:Gifted Trailer: Self explanatory.
In the third installment of this fantastic story arc, which is broken up into 3 parts, we find one of the X-Men’s own, Emma Frost in some sort of different form, The Phoenix. She has been acting weird, and trying to coerce Scott Summers, or Cyclops, into thinking that Xavier had misled him. She mentions about how the X-Men were never as famous as the other superheroes had become, and how he should help destroy his friends. This has a major effect on the X-Men, and as they become “torn” apart and up against each other. After they gain control they question if it is a good idea to form an unlikely alliance. Will this help them stay together or will this completely wipe them out! We also find out that after hiding out for months upon months, the new Hellfire Club, which is a group of evil do’ers, start to make advancements to cause havoc upon the world!
This is the conclusion of the Astonishing X-Men! Here we find our heroes, finally back to themselves, figuring out what had happened, and whom was actually behind all of this, Emma! Emma has been under the control of an evil voice, Cassandra, which caused all of the X-Men to face their worst fears. Now the X-Men are confronted with the challenge of protecting the humans, as well as their own kind. The ending has them being taken away on a large plane, but not all of them will return. Who could it be? Will this be the end of the X-Men forever?
*Behind the Scenes” Marcel Knights Animation: A nice little history and explanation of the motion comic genre and how it differs from regular graphic novels/comics.
*Trailers: These are various trailers from Marvel Animations; Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., Black Panther, Iron Man: Extremis and Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. The Iron Man one looks pretty awesome, though its weird not to hear RDJ’s voice.
The video comes at you in a pretty 1080p with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. The animation is pretty solid, though at parts you can get some artifacts. Being this is a motion comic, it was not made to be flawless, giving it that gritty feel. You can tell when characters get up close, though having high detail, that pixels are present. The colors are crisp and add to the refined character detail when in your face. Other than that, a great picture, and most will not care about these tiny visual miscues.
The audio is a solid 5.1 surround sound. The sound was pretty clear and the music was never overdone. That is one thing I hate is when dialogue gets drained out by the background music track. The sound effects were clear and crisp from Wolverines claws slashing through an enemy to the firing of a machine gun.
This is an amazing release! Shout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animations once again coming through with an amazing mixture of an exciting story and great picture! I found myself chuckling at some of the quips the characters would say (when Wolverine is fighting a beastie his inner thoughts are “I like beer”) as well as impatiently wondering what was going to happen to the X-Men next. If you are a fan of this franchise this is a definite pickup on November 13, 2012 for a nice low price of $34.99. You can do this by hitting up Shouts! website. I also read on there is you preorder you get a nice SPECIAL OFFER: Order this directly from ShoutFactory.com and receive an exclusive John Cassaday pen-and-ink lithograph featuring a sketch of our Blu-ray collection’s cover art! Only available while supplies last. So that is pretty cool! Once again another fine release!