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The Falcon's Nest

The Falcon's Nest

90’s Marvel Shows: X-Men ’97

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After 27 years, the widely-loved X-Men:The Animated Series is returning after being canceled in 1997. The show left off on a cliffhanger, so it only makes sense that the story be given its rightful closure. Today, I will be reviewing each individual episode. I also reviewed the original series in one of my other articles, titled “90’s Marvel Shows: X-Men”.

For context, the X-Men are a group of mutants, or people born with mutations in their genes that give them powers. If you are thinking about watching this show, you don’t need any prior information about the original series and you’ll still enjoy it just fine.

Ep. 1: “To Me, My X-Men”

This episode takes place a year after season five of X-Men, and at this point, Professor X is dead and Jean Grey is pregnant with her husband, Cyclops. In this episode, the X-Men discover that the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant group, has acquired Sentinel technology to attack the mutants. They also have kidnapped a mutant named Sunspot who they say they are selling to an unknown buyer. The X-Men then attack the Friends of Humanity and free Sunspot. They then decide to visit Henry Gyrich in prison, who helped invent The Sentinels. They worry that more sentinels may be being created by Dr. Bolivar Trask, the creator of The Sentinels, who had been missing for years. Jean Grey uses her powers to search through Gyrich’s mind and locates Trask in Egypt. The X-Men then locate Trask and have a massive fight against the Sentinels, which they eventually win and successfully capture Trask. Once they return to the mansion, they hear a rustling coming from the room. They realize the invader is Magneto, Professor X’s long-time friend and enemy. Magneto says that in Professor X’s will, he left everything he owned to Magneto, making him the new leader of the X-Men.

This episode was a little slow, but I still enjoyed it. It continues the story in a very natural way and all of the characters feel the same. This episode doesn’t advance the overall plot a whole lot, but I don’t mind it since the episode was meant to catch the viewer up on what is happening. All of the characters feel the same and have some personality, especially Cyclops who is actually cool in this show.

Ep. 2: “Mutant Liberation Begins”

In this episode, Magneto is put on trial for his crimes against humanity. While on trial, there is a massive group of protesters who believe Magneto isn’t deserving of a trial. At the same time, a member of the Friends of Humanity decides to assassinate Magneto for what he’s done. He takes on the name The X-Cutioner and gets into position to shoot Magneto. At the same time, Jean goes into labor and Wolverine rushes her to the hospital. Once they arrive, the doctors refuse to operate on mutants. Rogue then arrives and siphons the doctor’s operation skills and performs the delivery herself.

Storm then notices X-Cutioner and once X-Cutioner takes the shot, Storm jumps in the way and takes the blow. A furious Magneto uses his powers to lift up the council of judges and X-Cutioner into the sky and talks about how if this happened a while before. He wouldn’t hesitate to drop them to the ground, but he decides to carry on Professor X’s dream in honor of his death and safely puts them down. The council decides to let Magneto go, and the X-Cutioner is arrested. Once the mutants arrive home, Beast examines the bullet Storm was hit with, and tells her that the bullet has taken away her powers, permanently. That night, Storm quietly leaves the mansion and leaves a note, thanking the X-Men for being her family. Magneto and Cyclops then see a news report that NATO is considering inducting the mutant island of Genosha as an actual country. The next morning, Jean and Cyclops announce they’re going to be leaving the X-Men to raise their son, Nathan. They then get a knock on the door, and then the person outside, is another Jean Grey?

This episode was a huge step up and was better than most of the original series. It gives a lot more focus to prejudice against mutants and the struggles the X-Men face. The scene where Magneto delivers his speech about Professor X is simply fantastic and tense. This also gave a lot more characterization to Storm and Magneto, who weren’t given a lot of depth in the original series. It left off on a great cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait to see where it goes.

Ep. 3: “Fire Made Flesh”

This follows up to the last episode and we find out that the Jean that showed up at the end of the last episode was the actual Jean Grey, and the one with the X-Men was a clone. The clone, unable to handle this information, loses control and takes on the name Goblin Queen. The two Jean Greys then find out a scientist called Mr. Sinister kidnapped Jean at one point and experimented on her, creating the clone. They also find out Sinister wanted Goblin Queen to have a child to experiment on. Sinister successfully gets Goblin Queen’s child, Nathan, and injects a virus into him. The X-Men eventually defeat Sinister, although he escapes. The X-Men realize they’re unable to get a cure for Goblin Queen’s child, Nathan, as the virus is spreading too quickly and is too advanced. Then one of the X-Men, Bishop, decides to return to the future with Nathan as there may be a cure by then. Goblin Queen then leaves the mansion and takes the name Madelyne Pryor. Meanwhile, Storm has been traveling and a person named Forge finds her and says he wants to help her regain her powers.

This episode wasn’t as good as the last one, but it was still enjoyable. It was great to see Mr. Sinister again and the ending with Nathan and Bishop leaving was very emotional. This show has also given a lot more depth to Cyclops, who wasn’t that interesting in the original show. This has been making me like him more and more and he’s becoming one of my favorite X-Men characters.

Ep. 4: “Motendo/Lifedeath Part 1”

This episode had two 15-minute parts that were widely different. The first one is about Jubilee celebrating her 18th birthday with Sunspot while the X-Men are busy with NATO. Jubilee then discovers a new game system in her room but when she turns it on, she and Sunspot are sucked into the game. It turns out a villain called Mojo is behind it and instead of making TV shows, he’s now investing his time in making video games based on characters his audience likes. Jubilee and Sunspot eventually escape the system with the help of an older AI version of Jubilee. Sunspot and Jubilee then share a kiss.

The second part of the episode follows up on Episode 2 where Storm loses her powers. A mutant named Forge with the power to make a thorough layout of anything he can think of has been trying to help Storm. Forge has appeared in the original show as the leader of the X-Force. He’s been trying to make machines that may be able to morph her genes to give her powers back. The machines are unsuccessful. Storm eventually finds out Forge made the design for the collars that are sometimes put on mutants that disable her powers, which are commonly seen throughout this show and the original. Forge then says his guilt for creating the collars is the reason he wants to help her regain her powers. Forge then begs Strom not to leave and confesses his love for her. Storm then slaps him in the face and runs off. A villain called The Adversary then breaks into Forge’s home and bites him. The Adversary then captures Storm and says it feasts on people’s misery and is about to feast on Storm.

These episodes were mixed bags. I didn’t like the first part; as nice as it was to see Mojo again, I was reminded why I dislike him. Jubilee and Sunspot are two characters I don’t care for, so it didn’t excite me that they got a full episode centered around them. Another problem is that Jubilee’s character sort of went backward. Throughout the original show, she is very annoying and might’ve been my least favorite character. However, at the start of this show, I didn’t mind her and thought the creators of the show wanted to make her more likable. This episode does the opposite and returns to the more annoying Jubilee. The romance between her and Sunspot was also really undercooked as they don’t have enough interactions and don’t have great chemistry when they do interact. I feel this was a missed opportunity as it could’ve been really interesting if Jubilee had to guide the newest member, Sunspot, through the X-Men. For the entire original show, she was the newest and youngest member and I think it could’ve shown how she matured throughout the show and how she’s changed.

The second half was much better. One of the greatest things about this show is that it gives the characters more personality and emotion, which was a huge thing the original show was missing. Storm in the original show had no personality and just said dramatic things when she summoned her powers. I thought it was a really interesting plot twist when they revealed Forge designed the mutant collars. It shocked me that a mutant-designed device meant to control his own kind was made by a mutant. The romance in this episode was also a little undercooked, but I didn’t mind as much as Storm and Forge were together in the comics, while Jubilee and Sunspot aren’t, as far as I know. In fact, in a Marvel/DC crossover, Jubilee’s love interest was actually Robin.

Ep. 5: “Remember It”

I don’t know how many people actually watch the stuff I review, but this episode was simply indescribable. This singular episode is one of the best pieces of Marvel entertainment ever made. This episode actually broke me. So much happened in such a short amount of time, but I should probably give my summary first.

In this episode, Magneto arrives on the island of Genosha as the people prepare for the island to be inducted into the United Nations. Several characters make cameos in this episode including Multiple Man, Iceman, Pixie, Azaezel, Boom Boom, Dazzler, Leech, Callisto, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Banshee, Moira McTaggart, and Nightcrawler. Many of the people on Genosha want Magneto to be their ruler while some don’t because he is technically a terrorist. Magneto dismisses this as believes many other leaders have done acts worse than him. Madelyne Pryor also returns in this episode as part of the council.

Magneto then asks Rogue to be his queen and she tells him he’s out of his mind, but she still thinks about it. Once she makes her decision she decides to explain her history with Magneto to Gambit. She says that she met him after she ran away from her parents who kicked her out for being a mutant. She says that due to Magneto’s electro-magnetic abilities, she could touch Magneto without siphoning his powers and energy. She eventually explains that this made her feel close to him, and they may have gotten a little too close, despite their age difference. Rogue then tells Gambit that he doesn’t care that he can’t touch her, although Rogue believes that it’s such a big thing that she doesn’t believe they can stay together. She tells Gambit that she’s going to take Magneto’s offer as she thinks that if she does, she’ll be able to help other mutants, which was the entire reason she joined the X-Men. Genosha later has a gala that night where she tells Magneto that she’ll become her queen and kisses him right in front of Gambit, devastating him.

Meanwhile, a news company is interviewing the X-Men and Cyclops loses it saying that mutants aren’t like humans and that they shouldn’t have to try to fit in before storming off. His wife, Jean, tries to comfort him, but she accidentally looks into his mind and sees a memory of him kissing Madelyne Pryor, even though by now Jean returned. Out of anger she runs off and starts looking through her own memories and vents to Wolverine and actually kisses him. Wolverine does love Jean but he knows that wasn’t right and tells her not to do that since she’s married to Cyclops. Back at the gala, suddenly a mutant called Cable who’s appeared previously tells everyone they need to evacuate but then his time band runs out of energy, but right before he gets sucked back to the future, Madelyne realizes that Cable is his son and that Bishop did find a cure.

Then a massive invasion of Sentinels led by a massive Tri-Sentinel attacks and starts annihilating the island, killing hundreds of mutants. Magneto watches a group be crushed, cries out that they will be avenged, and he does everything in his power to fight the Sentinels, but he doesn’t make a dent. He tries to protect a small group of mutants by putting a shield up with his metal powers. As he starts to lose power, Rogue tries to go after Magneto but Gambit pulls her away saying Magneto is trying to protect them. Inside the shield, a child mutant called Leech holds onto Magneto saying he’s scared. Magneto speaks his final words as he says, “Don’t be scared” in German, referencing him being a Holocaust survivor before the Sentinels destroy Magneto, Leech, and all the mutants inside the shield bubble. Rogue then flies straight towards the Tri-Sentinel that killed Magneto, but Gambit pushes her away, knowing she’ll get killed. Once Gambit pushes Rogue out of the way, he gets stabbed by one of the Sentinel’s legs. Gambit then uses his power to shoot energy into the Sentinel where he says his famous line, “The name’s Gambit, mon ami. Remember it.” before the Tri-Sentinel explodes, killing Gambit. The episode ends with Rogue holding Gambit’s corpse and leaving off on a cliffhanger as she says, “I can’t feel you sugar. I can’t feel you.” This shows Gambit died, given that if he were still alive, she would’ve sucked his energy when she held him.

This episode was absolutely amazing. I am speechless at how spectacular this was. This episode was the first Marvel product to ever make me cry. Gambit was my favorite character, so I was devastated to see him get his heart broken and get killed in the same episode. As sad as I was, he went out in the coolest way possible and his last line is a callback to when he says that in season two of the original X-Men. I was also really sad to see Magneto die. The mutant I mentioned earlier, Leech, was also killed, which was so unexpectedly sad. Leech was such a weird and innocent character from the original show that you just started to like him after a while. I might’ve been more sad about Leech dying than Magneto. This episode more than made up for the last episode and left off on a fantastic but devastating cliffhanger. The creator of the show, Beau DeMayo, posted online that this episode was just a warm-up, so at the time, I had no idea where this show was going to go.

Ep. 6: “Lifedeath Part 2”

This episode follows up to the ending of episode four where Storm meets The Adversary. The Adversary has been taunting Storm, who has been trying to find a cure for Forge’s bite mark. The Adversary tells Storm to let Forge die for what he’s done to mutants. Then, Forge tells Storm there’s a cure in the mountains. There’s a plant that grows from darkness that can cure the bite mark. Once they arrive at the mountain, Storm crawls into the cramped space where the plant is. Storm’s fear of tight spaces starts to get to her until she realizes that besides the bulley that neutralized her powers, maybe her doubt is also what was holding them back. Her powers then return and she destroys The Adversary, gets the plant, and gives it to Forge, who is then healed.

Meanwhile, on the planet Chandilar, Lilandra the queen of the Shi’ar announces her engagement to Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, who has now just been revealed to be alive. The Shi’ar look down on Lilandra’s marriage as they don’t want her to marry an outsider. LIlandra’s sister, Deathbird especially dislikes this and tries to remove her from the throne so she can take over. Before Xavier can convince the Shi’ar, he gets a vision that Genosha was attacked and that Gambit was killed. Xavier then decides it’s time for him to stop cowering and return home to his X-Men. Back on earth, Bolivar Trask is telling his boss to leave him alone since he gave the boss his blood and the designs for The Sentinels. The boss is revealed to be Mr. Sinister, who reveals he caused the attack on Genosha. He then says that the attack on Genosha was just the beginning.

This episode wasn’t as impressive as the devastating last episode, but it was still good. The story with Storm and Forge was just okay. It was cool to see her powers return and she uses the suit she wore in her first appearance back in Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975. The real highlight was the Xavier story. This show continues its streak of making characters more interesting and likable as it makes Xavier more interesting. The scene where he tries to convince the Shi’ar with his powers was really cool and was something we never saw in the original show. It was cool to see Lilandra again and left off on a great cliffhanger.

Ep. 7: “Bright Eyes”

This episode follows up on the attack on Genosha. It starts with Gambit’s funeral, where Rogue is nowhere to be seen. She is busy trying to find Trask as she believes he’s responsible for the attack on Genosha. She breaks into a military facility and gets a location that may have a lead on Trask’s whereabouts. When Rogue arrives at the location, it’s just a wooden cabin. Before she leaves, she is met by Captain America who says he is also hunting Trask. He says he’s not going at him as soon as he finds him as that wouldn’t help the UN gain any more sympathy for mutants. Rogue disagrees and flies off once she finds a hotel in Mexico where Henry Gyrich is staying. She finds Gyrich and siphons his energy and demands to know where Trask is. He says he doesn’t know and she lets go. Gryich wakes up in a hospital where a man called Bastion is waiting. Bastion then smothers Gyrich to death.

Meanwhile on Genosha, The X-Men and several volunteers are trying to find more survivors. They manage to find Emma Frost, a servant to Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club. Morph then says that Trask contacted the X-Men’s ship, The Blackbird, and says that he’s working for Mr. SInister and that he never intended for the attack on Genosha to happen. He tells them in a panic that he’s hiding under another government building. Back in America, Jubilee convinces Sunspot to confess to his mother that he is a mutant. Sunspot does and his mother says she’s always known since 4 of their homes caught fire from his powers. She says she didn’t want to tell him since it was his secret to tell. She says she still loves him, but he can’t reveal it to anyone else since it may harm their family fortune.

The X-Men then find where Trask is hiding and so does Rogue, where they are reunited. Rogue starts to break down over Gambit and Magneto’s death and how angry she is, and she is comforted by the X-Men, and Nightcrawler says it’s normal for her to be unsure and scared at this time. The X-Men then find Trask. He’s standing at the top of a building saying he can’t handle the chaos he’s caused. He says Sinister is working for someone else, another mastermind. Trask then jumps off, but Rogue catches him and asks if he has any other information. Trask says he has nothing to say, and Rogue says she doesn’t either, before dropping him into the street.

Trask then flies up looking possessed, making the X-Men realize Mr. SInister possessed Trask into a Sentinel-like zombie. The X-Men stand no chance against Trask until he gets destroyed by Cable, who returned from the future. Meanwhile, Mr. Sinister goes to see Bastion, who says the X-Men might’ve been wrong about some of their fallen mutants and that Sinister will be compensated for his efforts by Bastion’s master. He then goes to a cell where an alive Magneto is being held which is where the episode ends.

This episode was very good and really used the TV-14 rating to the max. Throughout this entire show, I’ve been thinking about how much of this show wouldn’t have gotten by back in the 1992 series. This episode revealed that Magneto was alive, which I had already guessed before, but it was still a surprise to see him. I also wonder if any of the other mutants that were crushed near Magneto survived, especially Leech. This hopefully means that Gambit could return, although he is definitely dead at the moment. I was also surprised that this show used a character like Bastion. He’s not a character I’m super familiar with and is a pretty low-tier character, but at the same time, this show used the X-Cutioner who is another low-tier villain. Captain America being in this episode felt a little out of left field, but I liked seeing him voiced by Josh Keaton who has voiced Cap before and has also voiced Spider-Man a few times. I also thought Trask turning into a Sentinel zombie was really interesting and very creepy.

Ep. 8: “Tolerance is Extinction Part 1”

In this episode, it is revealed that Bastion is the mastermind behind everything. His plan is to turn everyone into Sentinel zombies and he has already done this to several people besides Trask. At the same time, The X-Men see a news report that Xavier is alive. This provokes a protest against the X-Men since now people think that they faked Xavier’s death to get sympathy from humans. Cable also reveals that he’s been trying to go back in time several times to stop the attack on Genosha and Bastion’s victory. Dr Cooper who was on Genosha is revealed to have survived the attack and has been captured by Bastion, who is trying to convince other villains to work with him. These villains include Doctor Doom and Baron Zemo who both refuse. Cable, Cyclops, and Jean Grey then locate Bastion’s childhood home where they find out Bastion planned this since he was a child and they meet his mom who then turns into a Sentinel Zombie. Then everyone in the entire village turns into zombies and try to hunt down Cyclops, Jean, and Cable. Some of the protestors also turn into zombies and lay waste to the X-Mansion. Dr. Cooper then frees Magneto who then uses his powers to shut down all the Sentinel zombies. This wave of energy is so big that Spider-Man and the Silver Samurai notice it. The episode ends with Xavier returning to Earth, hoping he isn’t too late.

This episode was very good. I would have never expected the season’s overall villain to be Bastion of all characters, who is not a very high-tier villain. I was really expecting the mastermind to be Apocalypse, but I was pleasantly surprised as Bastion is a pleasantly threatening villain. I was also really happy to have cameos from Dr. Doom, Zemo, Spidey, and the Silver Samurai. This episode also gave me a little more hope we could get a revival for the 90’s Spider-Man and Fantastic Four show. The Sentinel zombies were very threatening and kind of scary. I’m really starting to see what Beau DeMayo meant by saying episode five was just a warm-up.

Ep 9: “Tolerance is Extinction Part 2”

In this episode, it is revealed that the blast Magneto sent off shut down all electronics in the world, shutting down vehicles, machines, and computers. Magneto has refused to turn the power back on and brought down Asteroid M, which was an asteroid where mutants could live freely, isolated from normal humans. Rogue and Sunspot decide to go with him, despite Xavier begging them not to. The X-Men then make their plan that one team will fight Magneto on Asteroid M, while the other fight Bastion and the Sentinels in the Galapagos. Jean, Storm, Forge, and Cable go to the Galapagos where it is revealed that Cable has Jean’s powers and is then possessed by Mr. Sinister, who uses Cable to destroy Jean. The rest of the team continues to fight the Sentinels. On Asteroid M, the X-Men nearly defeat Magneto, but he gets the upper hand. Wolverine in a last-ditch effort stabs him through the stomach. Magneto responds by using his powers to pull out all of the Adamantium in Wolverine’s body, which is where the episode ends.

This episode continues the streak of doing really cool but creepy things. The scene of Magneto pulling out the Adamantium was horrifying and shocking, and I was stunned to see Jean Grey die. Considering this show has killed or pushed out nearly half of the main team, I have no idea where this last episode will go. After Gambit died, I was thinking in my head who could potentially be killed, and Jean was at the bottom of that list, as I thought there’d be no chance of her dying since she was one of the main characters of the original show. This episode also had the team use some of their other outfits from the comics, which is always cool to see. Rogue, Jubilee, Sunspot, Cyclops, Jean, and Wolverine all change outfits Jean uses her mArvel Girl outfit, wolverine uses his tan and yellow costume from the 80s, Rogue uses her green and white outfit, Sunspot uses his New Mutants suit, Jubilee uses her more modern suit, and Cyclops uses his classic 80s suit.

Ep. 10: “Tolerance is Extinction Part 3”

In this episode, Professor X manages to get into Magneto’s head and mind control him to turn the world’s power back on. Back on Earth, Jean Grey emerges, alive and uses the last of the Phoenix power in her to get rid of Mr. Sinister’s powers and control over Cable. Bastion then attacks Jean and uses the metal in Cable’s arm to make armor and fly to Asteroid M to end the X-Men. President Kelly is then convinced by Captain America to start the Magneto Protocol, which launches a bunch of nukes at Asteroid M. The rockets damage the asteroid, making it fall to Earth. The engine in the asteroid explodes, sucking in Bastion which kills him. This shuts down all the Zombie Sentinels, making them back to normal people.

The asteroid then falls towards Earth, and if it hits Earth it will wipe out humanity. Jean and Cyclops then contact Cable and say their goodbyes to him. The X-Men use all their powers to try and stop the asteroid, but some ulterior force sucks the asteroid away, making all the X-Men lost in different parts of time. Some end up in the future, while others end up in Ancient Egypt, where they find a young Apocalypse. Back in the present day, Bishop returns and tells Forge they’re going to go through time to find the X-Men. It is then revealed that Apocalypse is also alive in the present, where we see him walking through Genosha, which is where the season ends.

Great episode. This episode took the cameos to the max as we see Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Cloak and Dagger, Peter Parker, Mary Jane, Flash Thompson, Silver Samurai, Psylocke, Puck, Aurora, Northstar, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Polaris. The story was also really intense and made Bastion really threatening. It also left off on a great cliffhanger with the return of Apocalypse. It is also said someone else pulled them through time, and I think it was Immortus, a Kang variant who shows up briefly in the original show.

My Final Thoughts

Well, the season has finally come to a close, but has at least two more seasons on the way. Now I answer the question in the title of this article: Is this better than the original? Yes, 100%. This season was great and did what the original wouldn’t have the nerve to do. Everyone in the show gets their own moments to shine. I also thought this show did a great job at making the Sentinels threatening. They’ve almost returned to their status of threatening back in the movie X-Men Days of Future Past where the Sentinels absolutely annihilate the X-Men in the opening and final battle. I would absolutely recommend this show. You don’t need any prior knowledge to like this, just sit back and enjoy the show!

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