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X-MEN '97 (2024)

Season One [2-Episode Premiere] 

Aired On: Disney+.

Release Date: 03/20/24.
Animation. Action. Adventure.

"Continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) ."


There was a time that existed before RDJ suited up in red-and-gold. And before an Australian stage performer was introduced as a Canadian badass with a penchant for cigars and peculiar hairstyles. For five seasons, way back in the mid- to late-nineties, Millennial kids were captivated by the animated adventures of brightly-colored, superhero mutants. These men and women – and some boys and girls – SNIKT-ed and BAMF-ed and ZAPPP-ed into living rooms and imaginations fighting the good fight against those who oppressed them, and even feared them.


Almost 30 years later, these outlaw heroes, these X-Men, are making a return under the guidance of Marvel maestro Kevin Feige. Loosely picking up where the animated series left off, X-Men ’97 is Marvel Studios’ nostalgic gift to fans – while playfully admitting this might be the only MCU mutant activity planned for the near future. Fans of all ages can easily jump into X-Men ’97 with its easy plots, fun characters, and subtle messaging proclaiming that no one should live oppressed.


The original Fox Kids animated series adapted canon storylines from the Uncanny X-Men Marvel comic and condensed decades-long plots into 22-minute morality plays of good versus evil where the bad guys fire non-lethal laser blasts and the heroes always win the day. Thirty years later, Feige keeps the formula in place.


The premiere episode begins with the announcement that Charles Xavier – the wheelchair-bound telepathic mutant known as Professor X – is dead. Fans of the original show suspect that Professor X is really in deep space with the sometimes-friendly alien race the Shi’ar. Scott (Cyclops) and Jean (Marvel Girl/Phoenix) are expecting their first child: a son. And the mutant team themselves are trying to stop a conservative militia, the self-appointed Friends of Humanity.


The X-Men jump into action and rescue a teen mutant named Roberto Da Costa that comic fans will recognize as the New Mutant known as Sunspot. To stop the threat against Da Costa, the team travels from a rave (ah, 1997, you do not disappoint) to the Sahara to a fight against the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots.


While the plot is Saturday cartoon simple, the premise does get cinematically deeper. Scott and Jean worry about their son and the future of an Xavier-less X-Men. Fan favorites Jubilee enjoys the chance to dance while Wolverine slices through a Danger Room workout. And you do not have to be a one-eyed mutant to see the distinct parallels between the Friends of Humanity and current right-wing posturing in America.


The animated series was light and light-hearted, often verging on cornball. Yet, the show successfully presented new takes on classic stories from the long-running comic series. Recently ousted showrunner Beau DeMayo continues that tradition as villainous Magento returns with renewed, not-so-villainous ways. Episode 2 couples the historic Uncanny X-Men #200 (Dec 1985) with events from Uncanny X-Men #185 (Sep 1984) in a beautifully animated retelling that works for both the comic book uninitiated while maintaining a wonderful What If… style callback for old school fanboys. 


Some of the original voice talent returns: Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, and Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm. However, there can be an auditory disconnect as many X-Men fans will always consider Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, and Halle Berry as the voices of these characters.


Charming and colorful, X-Men ‘97 might not be as refined as some modern day anime, but Marvel-ously captures a distinctive style from a specific - and slightly more innocent - era. 

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