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

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 Morlocks wholesale.

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 three.