X-Men '97: To Me, My X-Men + Mutant Liberation Begins
March 21, 2024 2:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

One year after Professor Charles Xavier left Earth, the X-Men continue their mission to defend mutants and humans alike.

(Since they were dropped at the same time, a combo post for the first two episodes seems appropriate.)

I think this is great so far! I'm a childhood fan of the original show and the X-Men in general though my knowledge doesn't really extend much further into the comics lore beyond occasional dabbles. this is so far toeing the line nicely between "nostalgia bait" and "solidly written X-Men serial".

some random thoughts to start with:
  • the show looks great. honors the source material's aesthetic, but notches up the quality of animation and cinematography considerably.
  • in keeping with its source material, this show is a little too on the nose with mutant-as-racial-metaphor, but that's just par for the course and a nice reminder that X-Men is at its core a clumsy but earnest bit of allegorical storytelling, the kind of thing I wish superhero genre fiction were trying to be more often.
  • bring back Morph is a great way to, among other things, stick in egregious cameos without it feeling so, uh, egregious. but also Morph's great! a perfect sidekick for Wolvie, who typically badly needs one not to go off the boringly brooding deep end
  • I do find Cal Dodd's performance as Logan disappointingly mannered, especially considering he originated the role.
  • I assume this is not the last we've seen of Storm, but if so, a great swan song for the character; her imperiousness is so incredibly on point
  • lots of good minor beats involving superpower usage. I love the way the show uses the concussive nature of Cyclops's optic beam, the detail of Magneto's ability to manipulate his powers to touch Rogue, the way the team uses Storm as a trump card because she is so blatantly overpowered (not a bad reason to write her out, Hiro-in-Heroes style), the Gambit/Wolvie trick that takes out Master Mold. creative superpower mashups is a key part of the X-Men formula and it's here in spades so far
  • the other part of the formula is less the "clumsy allegory" and more the found family of it all, and the show's leaning into that hard, too, much to its benefit
in short: I was expecting to find this disappointingly cynical as I do most Marvel products these days but I'm delighted to find instead that there's a lot of genuine life and vigor in the making of this thing!
posted by Kybard (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't care for it at all, I'm afraid. I thought the dialog and voice acting was poor. Sure, maybe this was a callback to Chris Claremont's fraught writing style ("I can't hold on much longer! The pain is incredible!"). But the show doesn't appear to be self-aware enough to use that justification.

I was hoping for something more along the lines of the recent Masters of the Universe: Revelation/Revolution series. The same characters as the original series, the same look, (and the same ol' Skeletor), but with added thoughtfulness and nuance. An X-Men reconsidered for a modern audience would have been appreciated.
posted by SPrintF at 2:32 PM on March 21

Enjoyed this a lot! Refreshingly pacy and direct compared to a lot of recent MCU stuff, and while the speechifying is a little silly, I’m happy to see some earnestness in my entertainment after so much irony. Sure, the political metaphors are heavy handed, but these days they need to be.
posted by adrianhon at 4:44 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Finally a team that knows how to write Storm and utilise her immense powers - so excited to see where the story is going to go with this team..


:: sigh ::

Apparently it's an adaptation of a long (fairly contentious) comic run / arc but it's definitely drained majority of my excitement for the rest of series.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:21 AM on March 22

Watched the first episode last night. It perfectly met my expectations, which is to say, it was stilted as hell and the clothing choices were ridiculous and awesome. I can’t tell whether I enjoyed more Gambit frying beignets in a belly shirt or Morph walking into a rave in disguise wearing full X uniform.
posted by bq at 7:52 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]

It was bombastic fun with a heart, so best ingested in small, but delicious quantities. Never saw the original series, but can definitely see the appeal of both shows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Which arc, Faintdreams? (I haven't seen the show yet, but the odds are looking better than I will end up watching it, or at least part of it, and I'd appreciate knowing which plot line I'm getting myself in for.)
posted by sardonyx at 2:03 PM on March 22

Which arc

Look at episodes 4 & 6 from the list of episode titles for this season.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:22 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Nerdist outlines the comic run I am referencing.

Warning for a major character getting their powers Nerfed.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:15 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

Question: Would you recommend this series to someone who hasn't watched the cartoon it's a continuation of at all? (Assuming general familiarity with the X-Men, just not with that particular version of it.)
posted by baf at 3:54 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]

I think I was just slightly too old for this the first time around (after an X-Men-rich childhood, my 20-something Vertigo-reading self wouldn't be caught dead reading an X-Men comic until Grant Morrison started writing it in the early '00s), and it seems like now they're adapting the X-Men I don't especially vibe with (X-Men basically ends for me when Paul Smith leaves, though certainly JRJr and Barry Windsor-Smith are both great). Maybe I need to go back and watch the actual '90s X-Men?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:16 PM on March 22

I saved both episodes to watch on Saturday morning (I'm a little surprised that the episodes are released on Wednesdays rather than Saturdays) and despite feeling too pandered to by a lot of media trading on nostalgia, they were far better than I was expecting them to be.

Nice to see Rogue being as powerful as she should be, which was often forgotten in the original series, despite the intro showing her flipping a Sentinel every week. And speaking of the intro, I know it's a standard feature of streaming services, but I was a little offended by the "Skip Intro" button even appearing considering how much I love the theme song, even in this inferior rendition (where's the ominous church bell?). I hope they continue with slight changes each episode like Magneto being added as an X-Man and the brief bits showing Storm's lightsaber duel with Callisto* and Asteroid M. I suspect that Storm might not be in the roster in the next episode(s).

I could go back and check, but it looked like maybe the cops at the UN had realistic sidearms rather than lasers? If so, we'll see if that's still the case when they aren't holding their fire on January 6 Friends of Humanity rioters. Other things that wouldn't have flown under Standards & Practices in the '90s are saying "death" rather than euphemisms like "destroy" as well as Wolverine saying "pissed" and "crap", but I liked that in contrast to, let's say, Star Trek: Picard, they aren't just dropping F-bombs because this is "adult" now. Fits well with the earnestness adrianhon mentioned, which I agree is refreshing.

Considering the somewhat elastic timeline or at least the lack of character aging, I was a little younger than Jubilee when the original show ended, and I don't remember hearing "bestie" until many years later, but that's the only potential linguistic anachronism that stuck out to me (I could have done with the music at the club being more '90s, but at least there were glowsticks, and it was fun to see Jubilee get her Dazzler on).

When I first saw the trailer I thought Cathal J. Dodd had been replaced as Wolverine and if I didn't know he was back, I might still think it was a replacement after these episodes. Hopefully he'll find his way back to being "covered with scorpions" or to delivering what should have become his catchphrase.

*See X-Men Season 1, Episode 5 "Captive Hearts", true believers!
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 9:24 PM on March 22

baf: I barely remember any of the original show and didn't bother with any recaps before starting this series, and it was just fine. The first ep does a very good (if quick) job of catching you up with everything you need to know!
posted by adrianhon at 9:49 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Madelyn Pryor!! Looking at the episode titles, it seems we’ll be wrapping up that throwback real quick which is a shame.
posted by politikitty at 11:18 AM on March 23

regardless of flaws, its the best x-men video media weve had in 20 years imo.
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 11:39 AM on March 23

I do wish the bar was higher
posted by eustatic at 7:11 PM on March 23

its the best x-men video media weve had in 20 years imo.

What about Logan?
posted by The Tensor at 11:58 PM on March 23

ridiculous and awesome indeed.

X men were a comic that made the most of the fact that comics are soap opera, these episodes did not disappoint!

Bigot, Ingrate, Sycophant, Worm!

How vast Earth is, against how small we make it
posted by eustatic at 9:20 AM on March 24

What about Logan?
posted by The Tensor

Ok, fair, Logan had the 'found family' drama that was somehow missing from 6 blockbusters.

But it was a 'gritty reimagining'. It was the Great Chalupa from Taco Bell.

Logan only wasn't disappointing because we had already seen these actors in several blockbusters, it played off the previous victories for the good guys

Here we are on a spandex speedrun some of the core Claremont drama. Which is what movies have been trying and failing at, so it feels good to see it on screen
posted by eustatic at 9:46 AM on March 24

As somone who only saw a few episodes that aired in the 90s, I'm confused about the other X-Men who show up randomly in battles, like Archangel, Colossus, and Psylocke. I guess that's Morph using his powers? Did the real versions die or go off on their own during the original series?
posted by crLLC at 1:33 PM on March 26

Question: Would you recommend this series to someone who hasn't watched the cartoon it's a continuation of at all? (Assuming general familiarity with the X-Men, just not with that particular version of it.)

Both series use a POV character to bring the audience into a world where a bunch of X-Men stuff has already happened in their first episodes, so it would probably work ok.

Did the real versions die or go off on their own during the original series?

Yeah that's Morph. The characters mentioned (And lots of others)were only in a few episodes, the core team stayed the same throughout the series.
posted by StarkRoads at 8:22 PM on March 26

Bigot, Ingrate, Sycophant, Worm!

Simon and Garfunkel are pretty dark in the MCU.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:27 PM on March 27

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