The X-Men In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six
Part Seven - Part Eight - Part Nine - Part Ten

In the last part, we watched as Robert Drake was turned into a blond, Wolverine was turned into an Aussie and Videoman was (nearly) turned into an X-Man.

Today's entry is on Pryde of the X-Men, an animated special that aired originally in 1988 and was proliferated through home video sales. The episode receives its own entry because it's hard to group. It wasn't truly a pilot for X-Men: TAS, nor was it a spin-off of any other Marvel animation from the 80's. It merely is (to be zen about it.)

First the line-up. The X-Men selected were an odd bunch. Of course, we got Xavier, Cyclops and Storm. The baffling Australian Wolverine returned (though this clearly isn't in continuity with Spidey and his Amazing Friends). Colossus, Nightcrawler and Dazzler rounded out the team. You don't know who Dazzler is? She's the mutant disco goddess. She's a crimefighting, tail kicker who zips around on roller skates listening to her headphones; but what she really wants is to be a pop star. Yeah, Dazzler made the cut, but Jean Grey didn't.

The villains, for the most part, are the usual suspects. We get Magneto, of course. Blob and Toad make their triumphant return to animation. Pyro makes his debut. (If life were fair, he would have sounded like a Canadian.) Juggernaut and Emma Frost are also lumped into this version of the Brotherhood. Emma, as the White Queen, shows up in full stripper-garb, corset and all. Of course, as a six-year-old watching this, I assumed she was wearing a swimsuit. The Brotherhood even have a pet, purple dragon. (That's right. No Jean Grey, but we have Lockheed.)

Our POV character is Kitty Pryde, a 14-year-old who recently discovered she was a mutant. She whines more than Jubilee did in X-Men: TAS, and her character design screams "Breakfast Club." She meets the X-Men, and in the span of a half hour, becomes one of the team.

The plot is campy fun. Magneto uses a stolen Cerebro to throw the Scorpio comet at Earth. This leads to a showdown on Asteroid M. The X-folk square off against Brotherhood members: Juggernaut v. Colossus, Pyro v. Dazzler, Wolverine v. Toad... By the end, good triumphs, and the comet gets tossed at Asteroid M instead. Oh, and Kitty gets a purple dragon pet.

The best thing about the special is the animation. It is immaculate. The character designs are dead-on. (Australian Wolverine is tolerable because he is wearing the brown and tan costume.) It trumps anything in X-Men: TAS, and I'm a fan of the series.

Unfortunately, the dialogue is nowhere near up to par. A sampling of actual lines:
"Nothing moves the Blob," -- Blob
"Don't you just love a good barby," -- Pyro (I assume he meant barbecue, and not the doll.)
"Leave this one to the Dazzler," -- Dazzler
"Who are you calling whiny (pronounced warny)?" --Kitty Pryde
And Wolverine kept using the word "dingo."
On the whole, the episode is a lot like a Britney Spears music video. It looks great but sounds awful.

Next entry: X-Men TAS--the good, the bad and the ugly. (The good: Logan is finally Canadian.)