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Astonishing X-Men: Torn DVD Offers Very Little For Die-Hard Comic Book Fans8/31/2012 3:26 PM EDT
Again, all things are subject to change and the recent years have seen a new medium come to comics, that of the motion comic. Essentially a hand-drawn comic that is digitally altered so that it appears to be animated. Lend some voice talent to it and you've got yourself a movie. It didn't take long for the new X-Men title to receive the motion treatment. Each individual storyline, "Gifted", "Dangerous", "Torn", and "Unstoppable" all got their chance to appear on the small screen. Covered in this review is Torn, the second to last chapter in the series.
To try and explain the storyline up to this point would take away from the focus of this article, so let's keep it simple. The current lineup of X-Men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, Colossus, and Shadowcat) all face off against a newly reformed Hellfire Club. Much to the teams surprise Emma has rejoined her old cohorts in their villainous ways. Unbeknownst to Emma, the entire situation (fights, teammates, betrayals, etc) are all taking place inside her head thanks to the manipulations of Cassandra Nova (a telepath who rivals Xavier himself). Shadowcat is the only member to remain unscathed throughout these events and it is thanks to her that the team is able to reassemble to face off against Nova.
After a long struggle the X-Men beat Cassandra to a standstill only to be teleported away by S.W.O.R.D. (Don't ask) into their cargo hold and it is there that we are left hanging.
Whedon and Cassady's tale was an excellent run, both artists seemed to be well suited to one another and had this series actually been animated, in the literal sense of the word, it probably would have done even better. The problem, however, is motion comics themselves. It is essentially a cheap way to market comics to a broader audience. Regardless of whose voices get cast as what characters, the experience still leaves you feeling unfulfilled. There have been many arguments on the pros and cons of bringing comics to the digital world and frankly this critic is against it.
We can see the logical and commercial aspects of bringing these art forms to a new audience, but that audience should instead come to the art form. It shouldn't have to bend over backwards so a new reader can deem it worthy of their time. They should learn to appreciate the art as it is.
Regardless of where you stand, this latest addition to the motion comic medium does nothing for it. If you're a fan of the X-Men or a fan of comics, do yourself a favor and look to the comics themselves for entertainment, this is just not worth your time.
-- Chris Rebholz
Astonishing X-Men: Torn is available at your local retail store and online at Amazon.com.
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