I clicked on the selection and lo and behold it was true. An X-Men motion comic, but not just any X-Men motion comic, but:
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Runtime: 14 minutes
Original Air-Date: October 28, 2009
Network: Marvel Knights Animation
Available: Now on Netflix Streaming
Joss Whedon could direct traffic and I’d show up to watch. Seriously. The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, the guy is a writing wizard and his run on Astonishing proves it (one of my favorite runs in the franchise). This mini-series ran as a bi-monthly with the last episode airing, January 6th 2010. The motion comic follows the first six print issues of Whedon’s reboot of Astonishing X-Men (currently running aside Uncanny, and several other X-Men related titles).
She is reunited with Beast, Cyclops and Emma Frost (who are serving as co-leaders of the school while Professor X is on sabbatical.) Wolverine shows up later at the bedside of Cyclops and Frost and promptly gets redbeamed out the window.
The two old rivals duke it out to a draw and the group is taken to a revamped Danger Room (complete with Hawaiian holiday hologram in the background.)
A truce is called, Cyclops reveals that the X-Men must get back together and repair the mutant public image and fast.
Across town there is a conference at Benentech where Dr. Kavita Rao, introduces a mutant cure. Meanwhile at a gala benefit Ord of the Breakworld is staging a little hostile partycrashing with mercs and stolen S.H.E.I.L.D. firepower. The X-Men arrive at the gala and take on Ord and his baddies, but the big alien brute doesn’t go down – that is until he gets a face full of Lockheed fire. Unable to track locate Ord, the Cyclops and Wolverine figure out where the weapons came from. Scott goes to Nick Fury and demands answers and comes up empty handed. Meanwhile the news of the mutant cure has divided the Xavier School including the faculty. Beast goes to Benentech to confront is old colleague Dr. Rao about the cure, to which she gives him a sample to study. Later Ord confronts the Dr. on her choice of giving an X-Men the sample to which Ord reminds the Dr. of her place. Wolverine confronts Beast on the sample in his lab and the two tussle across campus. The X-Men raid Benentech looking for answers as Kitty Pryde looks to go deeper into the complex.
Ord takes the opportunity to invade the unprotected Xavier school .
Kitty finds Colussus stuck in a heavily protected cell and frees him, where he revealed how he managed to survive the events that lead to his supposed death.The two storm the fire fight and help save their comrades. The showdown heats up as Ord returns to Benentech and joins the fight.
S.H.E.I.L.D. and S.W.O.R.D. arrive to try and clean up the mess revealing that Ord is behind the mutant cure – that he was trying to prevent the destruction of breakworld at the hands of a mutant – most likely an X-Man.
Negotiations break down as Agent Brand and Agent Fury intervene and after one last spectacular brawl, Ord is delivered into the hands of S.W.O.R.D. for safe keeping. Benentech in ashes and the mutant cure destroyed, the only sample left lies in the hands of Beast who is holding on to it for now.X-Men in cartoon form, a motion comic is just what the name implies. The series does a wonderful job of underscoring Whedon’s brand of quirky wry dialogue set to huge action sequences. The story was just as riveting on screen as it was on page.
It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was annoying after the second or third volume adjustment.
The voice acting was well done, especially for a motion comic – the genre is suffering from a case of audio-bookitis with cold reads that sound forced from cue cards.
The animation was nice, never too over the top, the crew at Marvel let Cassaday’s amazing illustrations do the work.All in all, Astonishing X-Men: Gifted delivered. It was a fun 84 minutes that flew by so fast, I watched it twice with an impending third viewing after I finish writing this!
Note- at SDCC 2012 it was revealed that a two-disc Astonishing X-Men Blu-Ray will be released on November 13, 2012. The set will include Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous, Astonishing X-Men: Torn, and Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable. Joss Whedon’s masterwork will also include a brand new cover illustration by John Cassaday is cohort on the series along with mutant-powered extras.
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