Shout! Factory // 2010 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // December 12th, 2010
Marvel Knights tackle Iron Man with their latest motion comic.
Marvel Knights Animation is back with their latest motion comic interpretation of a stellar comic book miniseries. Setting their sights on Iron Man: Extremis is no small task, as the six-issue series, written by Warren Ellis (Marvel's Excalibur), with art by Adi Granov (Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas), is regarded by many Marvel fans as one of the must-read tales of the Iron Avenger. The series even inspired Jon Favreau's first Iron Man film and fans of the two projects likely recognized nods to both aspects of the re-imagined origin story and a resemblance to Iron Man's Extremis armor.
Rather than risk wandering off into spoiler territory, suffice it to say that if you haven't read the comic miniseries, start there before you give the motion comic a spin. It's not that the motion comic can't stand on its own, but it's like seeing a Harry Potter film before you read the books: the experience is much richer done in the right order. At its heart, Iron Man: Extremis is a great work of fiction that has it all: great characters, fantastic art and an engaging storyline that will keep you turning pages.
In its motion comic incarnation, Extremis is split into six episodes, following the chapter format established by the comic miniseries. That's all fine and dandy, but it's pretty puzzling, since the story lends itself better to a feature-length presentation, and that's clearly what the comic series' creators intended. Freed from the one-issue-at-a-time restrictions of the comic format, the motion comic should have been pulled together into one long feature without the annoying intro and credits that bracket all six episodes; just when you get into the story, you're jerked out again by the format.
Issues with the chapter format aside, Marvel Knights Animation are clearly learning and honing their craft with every new project. Extremis is smoother and more engaging overall than their previous effort Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, featuring more natural animation and smoother character transitions. Where Gifted wound up looking in many scenes like a child's scrapbook brought to life, Extremis feels better suited to the motion comic approach. The success is largely due to Adi Granov's unique and engaging art style, and as we learn in the extra features, Granov's apparent understanding of the motion comic format and its potential.
Extremis features a solid audio/visual presentation that reproduces Granov's beautiful artwork perfectly and sets a sound stage that is immersive and compliments the visuals well. This release also includes a decent assortment of extra features including a short interview with Granov as he recounts his career and art style; a behind the scenes look at how the comic was brought to life; another episode of the moronic "Marvel Super Heroes: What The?"; an image archive that shows how Iron Man's look has changed over the years; an exclusive music video (meh); and an assortment of trailers.
I'm still not 100% sure I get the target audience for the motion comic format, but it's clear Marvel Knights Animation have no intention of giving up any time soon. As long as they keep improving the process, I'm happy to keep watching.
Review content copyright © 2010 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Image Gallery
* Music Video
* Official Site
* Marvel Comics