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Astonishing X-Men Review

Another X-Men? Huh? That’s for kids! Well, this one’s written by Whedon, who is typically a pretty sharp writer. That whole mutant cure arc that X-men 3 drove into the ground? They originally stole it from Whedon.

Anyway, I’ve read the original comic version, but you can find a very faithful video version of it at Hulu. I say video instead of animated, because it’s not animated really. It’s some weird “moving comic” format. I didn’t mind it too much, because the great voice acting makes up for it, but some people may. Besides, it’s kind of different in a fresh way. Either way, at only 10 minutes a piece, Whedon’s writing skillz become apparent pretty quickly.

So, not willing to wait for the next release, I read all the comics. And…I’d rate the whole thing a 3/5. I’d recommend it to any X-men or Whedon fan, but probably not to anyone else outside those spheres. The writing was sharp in typical Whedon fashion, but the story felt really contrived at times. Maybe he was just emulating the stereotype of mainstream American comics, but I don’t really buy that. Unless someone was pushing and prodding him to do things a certain way, he’s the storyteller, and he determines how things unfold (unless FOX is involved). The rise of Danger (and the blight on Xavier) and her ultimately becoming another one of Whedon’s snarky, witty, Buffy-esque characters just felt extremely…lame.

Then the giant bullet flying through space, that was laughable. I actually chuckled a bit when I saw that pane. That truly would only have worked in the comic book medium. Transcribe that into film, and I think audiences would be laughing. P.S. I don’t want to get into a nerdy planet killer debate, but I suspect there would be far more efficient, less silly-looking, weaponry.

But yeah, that was my only major gripe: the story. Okay, I lied. The writing’s fun and witty. Maybe almost monotonously fun and witty. I kind of got the sense that a lot of his characters were just similar derivations of the same mold. Witty bitches for all the chicks, for example. The Danger character really made that apparent. Oh and then this odd gem from Emma Frost, “He has a disease if you recall: an inexplicably adverse reaction to being shot at.” Wow. YOU GOT SERVED. That was almost cool if it weren’t so long. Who the hell says that? It reminded me of the tactical martyrdom line from Avatar (which actually is not bad in comparison, wow). Awwwwkward. Well, a good effort from Whedon, but I think Neil Gaiman is still better at characterization, at least for this comic.

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