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Featured DVD Review: Astonishing X-Men: Torn

August 12th, 2012

Astonishing X-Men: Torn - Buy from Amazon

So far I have really loved the motion comic adaptations of Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men. In fact, my biggest complaint about Dangerous was that it ended too suddenly. If that is your biggest compliant, it is high praise. Can Torn live up to this standard?

The Show

There were two major, major twists in Dangerous that I didn't reveal in my previous review, but that I will reveal here. Firstly, it was learned that the computer in charge of The Danger Room was sentient, and decided to fight back against the X-men, because it saw itself as a slave. We later learn that Professor X actually knew all along that this was true, but decided to force the computer to run the danger room anyway, because the X-men needed the training. The Second big reveal came at the end when we learned Emma Frost, a.k.a. the White Queen, was still a member of the Hellfire Club. However, when it comes to that second reveal, we learn quite quickly in Torn that she was first blackmailed by Cassandra Nova and then mind-wiped, so she wasn't in control.

The run begins with two parallel threads. Firstly, Kitty Pride, a.k.a. Shadowcat, is continuing her relationship with Peter Nikolaievitch Rasputin, a.k.a., Colossus. However, she's been plagued with nightmares. Secondly, Emma Frost is visited by the Hellfire Club: Cassandra Nova, Sebastian Shaw, Perfection, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. They want her to move forward with their plan, but Emma wants to postpone it. After the rest leave, Perfection says she knows the real reason why: Emma has really fallen in love with Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops. She still puts the plan into motion. What it is is clearly spoiler territory.

Meanwhile, we also look in on S.W.O.R.D., which is like S.H.I.E.L.D., but offensive. They are the ones who took Ord, the bad guy from Gifted. Ord was sent to kill all mutants, because one was going to destroy his world. While Special Agent Abigail Brand and her team try to figure out which mutant was going to be responsible, they are infiltrated by... let's just call them an old foe who is also interested in attacking the X-men and plans to do so by breaking Ord out of prison. This leaves the X-Men under attack by two powerful foes at once.

Two points. Firstly, I'm revising my previous review, because I realized that Dangerous didn't just end suddenly, it ended in a clumsy way. Had I not known there was another installment on its way, I would have been pissed at that ending. I still think it is worth picking up, but it is less of a cliffhanger and more ending a TV show with 10 minutes left. The same is true here, but to a lesser extent. Secondly, am I the only one who thought, when when Wolverine was saved by beer, "The Simpsons did it first."

Those are the only two points that I needed to add that are different than my previous reviews. Otherwise, everything I said before applies here. It is very engaging and although it is only 60 minutes long, I was shocked when it it ended. I thought there was at least one more part to go. This installment had less action than before, but it has a lot of character development and more emotional impact. It is also one of the best motion comics I've seen. Marvel's direct-to-DVD cartoons have been mixed, but the motion comics I've seen have all been excellent.

The Extras

Sadly, and this is my only real complaint, there are no extras on the DVD, unlike the first time.

The Verdict

Astonishing X-Men: Torn is a must have for fans of the X-Men or fans of Joss Whedon's writing in general. The DVD has no extras, but it is still easily worth the price.


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