Animé and Toons
Astonishing X-Men – Unstoppable The Motion Comics on DVD
By Hervé St-Louis
November 11, 2012 - 14:07

Studios: Continuity Studios
Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Joss Whedon
Penciller(s): John Cassaday
$14.99 US
Produced by: Brian Ward
Running Time: 71 minutes
Release Date: November 13 2012
Distributors: Shout! Factory

In 2009, ComicBookBin reported that Marvel Comics was involved in a motion comics experiment with its new Spider-Woman series and an adaptation of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men. Here, the collected story involving Colossus and the X-Men being flown off world to participate in a prophesied Armageddon that will destroy an entire alien planet is available for viewers who might have missed the initial release on iTunes and other platforms. But is it good?

Storywise, I was captivated by the material from beginning to end. I had read some of those comic books previously, but I don’t recall ever finishing the storyline. Viewing this series catch up on a cool story. The voice acting picked for the series is what really can help make a difference in a motion comics or an animated feature. The story did annoy me a bit, because it seemed that Cyclops was all-seeing and could predict his opponents’ move all too well, for everything to play out the way it did. That was too much suspension of disbelief for me. However, I did like how the story had strong characters with intricate motivations and head butting between Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde.

I have already criticized severely the animation work done by Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios. As an animator myself, I resent half comics and half animated projects. If you’re going to make a comic book, make a comic book. If you want to animate something, create animation. Using comic book images poorly designed for a task and animating them proposes a lot of problems. Such series, which use similar techniques, such as South Park can get away with this stylistically because the whole series was build with a minimalist animation and basic geometric shapes. It’s part of the spoof. But Astonishing X-Men reuses material from a comic book and tries to give it animated form. First, the illustrations are not properly optimized for animation. Second, much of the material was distorted and twisted in order to make something look animated. I cringed every time I saw animated lip synch. After a while, nevertheless, I just focused on the story and attempted to ignored the “groundbreaking” animation I was doing when I was fourteen.  

Rating: 7/10

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