Well, here’s episode two. While I gave grudging acceptance to the first episode, this one really shattered my expectations of the motion comic. Chapter 2 contains several favorite moments for me, as the new team faces Ord, learns of Dr. Rao’s mutant cure, faces the media and has their first family feud.
The artwork was still a nice representation of comics in motion, thanks to Cassaday’s directing. I especially liked how the characters’ mouths moved with the dialogue, and how Kitty phased. However, this was the first episode with action scenes, and the characters floated awkwardly through the air, as opposed to leaping; the attacks felt stiff and artificial, and the camera wouldn’t stop shifting in motion in a desparate attempt to fuse it with some excitement. All this is understandable, as it’s a motion comic. However, the entertainment value also deteriorates: I don’t have to imagine it in my mind, but I imagined it better than this in the original.
While I gave general kudos to the voice actors last time, I can’t do the same now: it was heavily misguided and truly hindered my enjoyment of the episode. The actors read their lines without any emotional baggage of their characters’ history, especially the actress who portrays Emma. While her haughtiness was appropriate at the beginning, there was no hint of a reformed villainess struggling to find her place. Cyclops sounds like a whiny Peter Parker; while I liked Kitty in the first episode, she carried zero anger with her little monologue against Emma (You didn’t read Dark Phoenix Saga, did you?); Wolverine and Beast’s actors do passable jobs imitating Hugh Jackman and Kelsey Grammar. I’m not sure what goes into the voice acting, and it may be really difficult to voice a motion comic, but this doesn’t represent the Astonishing X-Men that I fell in love with.
The funniest moments fell flat, particularly because of the voice direction. The banter with the reporters was split up with uncomfortable silence, and Beast’s little song was butchered (at least, how it seemed in my mind) and made me wince. To be fair, Wolverine’s beer line was done well, but was too close to the end to save the episode as a whole. It’s a shame when a motion comic, which should seem more life-like, instead takes away from the life of the original.
It no longer holds my interest–the excitement of a “motion comic” has worn off and I’m left disappointed. Maybe it’s because I’ve read and fallen in love with the book beforehand; maybe it’s because visual effects on shows and movies have spoiled me. But this motion comic doesn’t offer anything new. It just makes reading superfluous. I’ll see if I have the heart to watch the next episode, if it can be redeemed.
Kids, reading is fun! Read X-Men: Gifted. Now.
If you dare, watch the other Astonishing X-Men: Gifted motion comic episodes for free on Hulu.
Also see my review for the first episode here.
I have no idea how I put that video in there! Sweet.