The Brotherhood of Mutants In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six

The literally named Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were created to be Magneto's lackeys. They existed as shock troops for the X-Men to mow through until they faced off with the X-Men.

These guys were D-listers, losers with monosyllabic, four-letter names. (Blob, Toad.) Their members and even leaders were interchangeable in their various animated incarnations. They were cameos who didn't even get mentioned by name in their first animated appearance.

But somehow Boyd Kirkland and the crew of X-Men: Evolution turned them into show-stealers.

This is the retrospective of how the Brotherhood rose from the D-list to the, well, let's say B-list.

The Brotherhood's first ignominious appearance was as damsels in distress. Well, not literally.

Mastermind, Blob and Toad appeared in Spiderman & his Amazing Friends' "The Prison Plot." Magneto threatened the free world unless his lackeys were released. Mastermind, Blob and Toad's contribution to the plot was minimal. They were briefly released from jail and then re-arrested without much effort.

Not exactly a star-making turn, between the three of them, the Brotherhood had no lines.

The Brotherhood contributed significantly more in its second animated appearance, "The Pryde of the X-Men."

In Pryde, the Brotherhood consisted of three four-lettered mainstays, Blob, Pyro and Toad, and two comics villains who had never been members of the team, Juggernaut and Emma Frost.

Now, Juggernaut had some namebrand recognition of his own and may have been included for that reason; but Emma is a bit of a head-scratcher, especially because she never does anything that is remotely telepathic. Instead, she just flings the occasional "mental" lightning bolt. If the creative team wanted a female villain, why not the Scarlet Witch who actually used hex bolts?

I would suggest (but can in no way prove) perhaps the White Queen character started as the Scarlet Witch but was later changed because Wanda was currently a hero in the pages of Avengers. Either that or the creators really wanted to use a woman in a corset. The villains don't receive too much development. Toad is established as sycophant, Juggernaut as a guy with a familial grudge, and Pyro as an Australian stereotype. Emma is pretty much the token girl. (She gets less than a half-dozen lines. None of them qualify as character development.) And the Blob... well, he's fat.

Say it with me now:

Nothing moves the Blob!

The antagonists only exist to match off against the X-Men: Dazzler v. Pyro; Toad v. Wolverine; Colossus v. Juggernaut; Emma v. Cyclops (as a prelude to their romantic dalliance, no doubt); and Nightcrawler v. Blob.

Short of insisting nothing can move them or wearing a corset, the Brotherhood get none of Pryde's memorable moments. But why would they? "Pryde" was essentially a cartoon pilot. If you only had one episode to convince networks they wanted to buy your show, would you focus on the heroes or the villains?

So the Brotherhood remained fringe characters, but important enought to be animated the next time the X-Men were.