The X-Men In Animation - A Retrospective
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Part Two -
Part Three -
Part Four -
Part Five -
Part Seven -
Part Eight -
Part Nine -
As we proceed... season two of X-Men: TAS developed many plot lines established earlier. Xavier and Magneto
spent the season sequestered in the Savage Land where they were accosted by mutates, originally created by Magneto
(true to the comics.) They argued over ideologies and took turns saving the other's life. (They also couldn't use
their powers because... because... if the two most powerful mutants in the world had their powers, they would beat
the living fecal matter out of the mutates.)
The Savage Land setting allowed for Marvel Golden Age characters Ka-Zar, Shanna (the recent recipient of
some gratuitious Frank Cho cheesecake) and Zabu to make appearances.
Morph came back with a psychosis akin to schizophrenia. He was now under the tutelage of Mr. Sinister who was
fascinated by mutant genetics, specifically Summers' genetics. Sinister was accompanied by the Nasty Boys and not
his usual lackeys, the Marauders. The Marauders were a violent bunch (Sabretooth was a member), and the creators
might have wanted to avoid the possibility of the Mutant Massacre--a plot line where the Marauders slaughter the
Morph's return was not originally planned. The creators had intended to let him stay expired; but the
shapeshifter had developed a cult following, so the decision was made to bring him back. Granted, being
left for dead by your friends does things to a guy, and Morph was less happy-go-lucky. More angry-go-crazy.
Scott and Jean nearly got married. Unfortunately their priest wasn't ordained. It was Morph. Besides, Sinister
kidnapped them on their quasi-honeymoon. (They would continue to have bad luck with honeymoons in later seasons.)
The season finale had the X-Men rescue Xavier and Magneto from the Savage Land, and it was revealed that Sinister was
pulling the mutates' strings, as well.
Also, with the Sentinel program ended, vigilante humans calling themselves the Friends of Humanity
(who were a great metaphor for hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan) took to committing hate crimes against mutants.
Due to a limited animation budget (hate AKOM), it seemed like there were only three of them, though the audience
understood they were an expansive cabal. Usually they got their butts handed to them in three minutes. Four, tops.
They were led by Graydon Creed. (An Upstart in the comics, astonishingly the series kept all of Creed's extensive
familial ties intact.)
Season two guest appearances showed a deep understanding of Marvel--not just X-Men--history. In addition to
Ka-Zar, Darkstar, Alpha Flight and Ms. Marvel made appearances. (Punisher even showed up as a sight gag in
Mojovision; and Captain America and Maverick had cameos in Red Dawn.)
The season included the return of Bishop, Cable and Forge in a story that proved you don't need Stryfe to do the
legacy virus. Shadow King squared off against Storm and her "son" Mjnari. (Mjnari was a boring character created
for the series. Oddly, he still received a wordless cameo in FF:TAS.) Gambit was spotlighted in an episode with the
Assassin and Thieves Guilds. (For some reason, Sinister was kept out of his backstory even though they share an
extensive history in the comics.) Longshot showed up with his mullet and reminded us why nobody bought the
Australian era X-comics. Omega Red bumped heads with the Colossus. (Why not? They're both Russian.) Illyana
even got some screen time.
The best episode of this season was Beauty and the Beast. In which, Beast falls for a blind, human patient. There
are overtones of Ben/Alicia. But when her father and the FOH disapprove, the episode transcends a simple love story
and becomes the embodiment of what the X-Men are about: acceptance, understanding... I blather on. See you in season