Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous DVD Review

THE SET-UP

After the death of a student at Professor X’s School for the Gifted, the X-Men discover a new enemy bent upon taking revenge against them all. A motion comic based on issues of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men written by Joss Whedon and drawn by John Cassaday.

THE DELIVERY

Motion comics are a relatively new medium that has not quite won over the fan bases they are aimed for. Some dislike the manipulation of static images meant for the printed page, while others feel they are nto quite “animated” enough to qualify as actual animation. 

Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous should win over all of those fence-riders who wonder if motion comics can bridge the netertaiment gap between comics and animation. Released by Shout Factory under the Marvel Knights Animation banner, Dangerous is based on the outstanding story arc from the Marvel comic series written by Joss Whedon and featuring John Cassaday’s art. I first met Cassaday years back when he rebooted Captain America, and I’ve always enjoyed his work. It’s classically modern with a hint of Jack Kirby.

Joss Whedon, of course, carries with him the hopes of fanboys worldwide as he brings the big-screen adaptation of The Avengers to us all this summer. Even at his worst, Whedon is immensely entertaining, and his work here hits all the right notes. Dangerous is an interesting tale with some nice spins and a cameo from the Fantastic Four. With a running time of 69 minutes, this could have easily tested a viewer’s patience, but a good story and fantastic art is enhanced with inventive animation, excellent voice acting, and a strong soundtrack. Atomic Studios handled the animation, and it is smart enough to focus on Cassaday’s art rather than trying to “animate” the art too much. Overall, there is less animated manipulation than you might expect, but you won’t really notice it at all.

Fans of the X-Men films and cartoons (its many incarnations) will relate to and enjoy this. It doesn’t stray too far from the X-Men mythos as we expect it, yet provides an original, riveting story. With a retail price of $14.95, this is priced to move, and it is well worth a pick up.

VIDEO AND AUDIO

The standard DVD features an excellent, full image in a 1.78:1 format. If you’ve never seen motion comics before, know that the art will not be shown in comic book format as originally printed. Rather, the individual panels fill the screen, and the various elements are digitally manipulated. The transfer is so good, it likely used the original digital scans of the art, providing the best resolution possible. In fact, it looks sharper and brighter than the comic books ever did. The audio is only Dolby Digital 2.0, but it has nice clarity and there appears to be some subtle separation of the voices, sound effects, and music between the two channels.  

SPECIAL FEATURES

No special features are included.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?

Ratings (1-10 scale)

Movie: 8

Video: 8

Audio: 7

Extras: 1

Overall Grade: 6

The lack of special features really brings down the overall grade of the DVD, but Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous is a first-rate motion comic that will likely thrill X-Men fans of all types. Do not expect incredible animation (see the videos for an idea of what you will get), but you will take in a great story told through some outstanding artwork and a strong supporting soundtrack. I have been less than impressed with other motion comics, but I could watch Dangerous again and again. It is that good. Retailing for only $14.99 and sporting a low-profile comic book style case, this is an easy “buy” recommendation for X-fans everywhere.

DVD SPECS

Release Date: April 10, 2012

Running time: 69 minutes

Rating: Not rated (violence, adult themes, not suitable for young children)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: None

Special Features:  None

Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous is now available on DVD from Shout Factory.

Click here to purchase Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous on DVD from Amazon!