A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Astonishing X-Men is a motion comic, which is something halfway between reading a comic book and watching an animated cartoon; there's lots of detail, but little movement. The short episodes contain superhero battles, with some realistic and fantasy weapons; the tone is a bit more serious and dramatic than you might expect, with a bit more at stake. Expect some mild language, like "damn" and "hell"; some characters are in romantic relationships, complete with lovers' spats. Female characters wear skimpy, sexy outfits, and there's some brief innuendo. Written by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the show could appeal to a wide range of genre fans.
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What's the story?
Told in little "chapters" of about 10-12 minutes each, the stories of ASTONISHING X-MEN -- written by Joss Whedon -- focus on dramatic changes in the lives of the X-Men and raise complex themes. On DVD, groups of episodes are separated into different story arcs with titles like Gifted, Dangerous, and Torn. In one episode, the team members must decide whether to take a "mutant cure" derived from illegal, immoral experiments. In another story, the mutants' practice space ("The Danger Room") becomes sentient and attacks them, using all the knowledge of their skills and powers. Additionally, Colossus returns to the team after a long absence and must deal with his traumatic experience.
Is it any good?
In this "motion comic," the focus isn't on slick or fluid movements; rather, it aims to stay true to the original comic book art. It's as if the original pages were scanned and figures were moved just a little bit to suggest action, instead of showing it. It takes a little while to get used to it, and it can look like "bad" animation, but the artwork is quite powerful, and it makes the drama a bit more mature than in a simpler animated cartoon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Astonishing X-Men's violence. Does it seem more intense and less playful than what you've seen in other superhero stories? Does the motion comic aspect make the action less intense?
Who's the most admirable member of the X-Men? Are any of them good role models?
Most of members of the X-Men are given problems to deal with, which makes them seem more human. How do they go about solving or dealing with their problems? What tools do they use? Can you relate to any of their problems?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love superheroes
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