The Brotherhood of Mutants In Animation - A Retrospective
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The creators of X-Men Evolution did a thorough job of assessing their show's weaknesses between the first and second season. They noticed that the Brotherhood wasn't working.
They were like the bullies in those 80s films we pretend to never watch. We hate them because they are overbearing and always getting one up on our heroes, so we anxiously await their comeuppance... except they never got one up... so instead of bullies, they came off as hapless.
So the creative team had the brilliant idea of converting them from angry bullies to lovable losers.
Also, the group's morals became grayer. Instead of fighting the X-Men every episode, they could assist them ("Shadow Dance" and "Walk on the Wild Side"), save their lives ("Growing Pains") or even join them ("Joyride.")
But the could still fight them and even win ("The Hex Factor.") And, lest anyone think the Brotherhood went soft in season two, they still had a mad-on for certain X-Men.
Every member of the Brotherhood (except for arguably Pietro) received a slight tweak. One received a complete overhaul. Blob and Toad were less angsty and irritating, respectively. Instead, their punchlines were funnier and they bounced off each other well. Blob, Toad and Lance most definitely had Curly, Larry and Moe chemistry.
Lance was recreated almost from the ground up. All the bad "rock" puns were gone. He still hated Cyclops passionately (and it made for a great rivalry) but suddenly he was a de facto leader. He became the big brother to a group of misfits and a romantic lead.
Make no mistake about it. The Lance/Kitty relationship was not just shipper fodder. It completely changed the perception of the Brotherhood. They weren't just bad guys or lackeys any more. More than anything in "Growing Pains," the flirtation between Lance and Kitty indicated the loyalties of the group were changing.
They weren't Magneto's lackeys. They weren't good guys. They were rebels... and, yes, they could not decide upon a cause.
The Brotherhood also had two solid recruits in the second season. Both were token females and both changed the group dynamic substantially.
Tabitha, or Boom Boom as she insisted on being called, was a great example for the Brotherhood throughout most of season two. She wasn't bad, but she was fun, irresponsible and willfully rejected Xavier's discipline. She also gave Blob a mohawk. Gotta love that. She played both sides of the fence but was eventually evicted when the team took a darker turn.
Wanda singlehandedly made the team something it had not been throughout the entire first season--dangerous. In "The Hex Factor," they beat the X-Men. No "ands," no "buts." The Brotherhood wins. (Even Toad was surprised by the change of pace.)
The Brotherhood (Pietro and Wanda, especially) played a pivotal role in the season finale. Suddenly the Brotherhood weren't hapless. They, along with Mystique, outmaneuvered the X-Men and kidnapped Xavier.
So they were jokers, losers, dangerous foes, romantic interests and anything else they wanted to be. That's a remarkable turnaround from season one when they were essentially the X-Men's hacky-sack.
In the next installment, we'll see how their growth progressed in following seasons.