Monday, September 10, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Wolverine and the X-Men

Wolverine and the X-Men is the fourth X-Men cartoon. It was released in 2009 and lasted for one season, totally 26 episodes.
Wolverine and the X-Men
After three prior X-Men cartoons, the show's creators were faced with a problem - how do you say something new about the X-Men? Their answer was to blow up the X-Mansion, put Xavier in a coma, "kill" Jean, and disband the X-Men. And that happens before the beginning of the first show!

This sets the tone for the series - the gloves are off and no holds are barred. Forget what you read in the comics - anything can happen to these X-Men. This fact makes watching the show all that more interesting. Sure, the characters are familiar but the situation isn't and the fact that these stories aren't just rehashing old comic book tales opens up a world of possibilities. 

Wolverine is the focal character of the show. He rebuilds the X-Men to fight the looming threat of the Mutant Response Division (a government program) and the Sentinels. The X-Men's roster is large with more than a dozen X-Men and includes Emma Frost. Beyond this, the show hosts another hundred or so characters that appear and reappear throughout the show such as Magneto, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Polaris, Senator Kelly, and Boliver Trask to name a few. The large X-Men roster means that besides Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Professor X, and Cyclops most of the X-Men exist as secondary characters - given a chance to shine a few times but for the most part they're in the background. I appreciate the inclusiveness of the vision but sometimes the size of the cast of characters makes remembering storylines from episode to episode somewhat difficult. 

This problem is compounded when we start seeing visions of the "Days of Future Past" world from the future. We are then introduced to alternate future versions of the same characters that exist in the present with parallel storylines between them. 

As always, time travel is messed up. Xavier can contact Wolverine from the future, appearing as a hologram. But time seems to pass at the same rate for future Xavier and current Wolverine. What would cause this? Why can't future Xavier choose when in time to contact Wolverine? And then there's the issue of the timeline correction. When the X-Men prevent the future timeline, future Xavier retains his memories of a timeline that never existed. But if that timeline never existed then future Xavier never would have contacted Wolverine in the present, thus creating a time paradox. 

Characters are designed to be very tall and sleek. The women are drawn with impossibly narrow waistlines. Overall, the art is very clean and bright with a visually interesting design style. Most of the characters either draw direct inspiration from the comics or the movies. 

Overall, the show capably blazes its own trail while keeping the familiar nearby, carefully weaving together several major X-Men storylines (Hellfire Club, Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, etc.). The complex story takes far too long to coalesce, however, and by the time the great ending comes at the end of the show many viewers will lost interest. 

1LR REVIEW - 13 out of 20! It's a Glancing Hit!

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