The X-Men saga hit a dry spell of really iconic stories for about a decade, but thanks to the partnership of Joss Whedon and John Cassady for Astonishing X-Men, we have stories that take full advantage of Professor X’s roster. The third chapter in their installment, titled Torn, follows an aftermath of events including the incarceration of Ord, the resurrection of Colossus, the emergent sentience of the danger room, and the reformation of the Hellfire Club. It made for two particularly action-packed books that led nicely into Torn, a very twisted third part that relies heavily on psychic trickery and fear. It’s a fantastic piece which leans heavily on Kitty Pryde as well as some younger, less renowned mutants for pivotal moments.
With the Hellfire Club reborn and Cassandra Nova at its helm, they invade the X-Mansion as Emma Frost begins to play havoc with the minds of the X-Men and their students, effectively reducing Beast to an animal, Wolverine to a frightened child in a man’s body, Scott to a powerless and brain-dead shell, and Colossus to a victim of his own rage. Through it all, Kitty Pryde struggles to figure out exactly what’s going on as a surge of troubling thoughts convince her that the child she bore with Colossus is locked in a metal crate in the basement and so she sets out to free it. Meanwhile, Ord is freed from his incarceration in space by the reconstructed Danger who then head straight for the X-Mansion.
As with the previous two installments, the life brought to the artwork through the imposed animation is fantastic and it’s very easy to forget you’re essentially watching a still image with pieces cut out and set to motion. The voice work is mostly beyond reproach, though there are a few instances where it sounds as if the actors are just reading the lines straight out of a script without actually emoting. Otherwise these are the most true to source and well-acted animated X-Men features Marvel fans have ever seen.
DVD Bonus Features
There are none.
"Astonishing X-Men: Torn" is on sale August 14, 2012 and is not rated. Action, Animation, Sci-Fi. Written and directed by Joss Whedon. Starring Eileen Stevens, Gregory Abbey, Marc Thompson, Mike Pollock, Shannon Conley.