Episode #13: Battlelines
Original Airdate - June 19th, 2009

Rogue finds out that Quicksilver is Magneto’s son and that the Brotherhood are working directly for him, plotting to attack the X-Men. She races back to the X-Mansion to warn Logan. He doesn’t trust her even though Rogue insists it was part of her plan to get to the Brotherhood from the inside. Warning or not the team is caught off guard when the Brotherhood waltz in wreaking havoc. They didn’t realize until it was too late was that Magneto’s plan was to keep the X-Men busy while he attacked the MRD bases; releasing the most powerful mutants on Earth. Since receiving word that Senator Kelly wasn’t keeping up his end of their private deal to hand over ALL mutants to him, Magneto has decided to take down the MRD facilities. Kelly uses Magneto’s terrifying MRD takeover as a launch for his all-new Sentinel program, knowing that a scared population will endorse his anti-mutant campaign. Magneto in turn uses the release of the mutants to build hatred towards the humans that have been harboring these mutants as weapons. It feels the future war that Xavier forewarned of is close at hand.

Story by Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle, Chris Yost
Written By Chris Yost
Directed by Doug Murphy
Music by Dean Grinsfelder
Animation By Noxxon Entertainment

Steve Blum as Wolverine
Fred Tacasciore as Beast
Nolan North as Cyclops
Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey
Danielle Judovits as Shadowcat
Jim Ward as Professor X
Liam O'Brien as Angel
Micheal Ironside as General Wraith
Phil Morris as Randy

Review: Arsenal - And here we have it. The big setup, the hail mary before halftime.

This feels like an important episode. We have all the big players: The X-Men, the Brotherhood, Senator Kelly and Magneto. Loyalties change. Surprising alliances revealed. Punches thrown. Some heavyweights get knocked the heck out.

Oddly, it centers around a bit character from Joss Whedon’s run on “The Astonishing X-Men.” Tildie Soames, the little girl whose nightmares come to life, makes her animated debut in “Battle Lines” and the X-Men have to stop her.

Granted, a lot more occurs. Juggernaut makes his first appearance (and it will drive some of his fans to distraction.) We learn that some characters were lying and some were (surprisingly) telling the truth.

Most importantly, the X-Men work as a team. The show tends to improve when more than one team member appears in the given episode.

I won’t spoil any of the surprises in this episode (some of which are actually surprising,) but it’s fair to say that “Battle Lines” packs as much action as possible into its running time. We get X-Men v. Brotherhood, X-Men v. Soames, Mystique knocking heads, Pietro breaking Emma’s nose and Juggernaut getting clobbered.

Once again, we have an episode that qualifies as good, not great. “Battle Lines” has the trappings of an epic, but I was not shouting for more when it finished. I liked it. I didn’t love, and I’m running out of explanations. I suspect the perpetually dark tone is hurting it.

There are a couple of bits here that might irritate the fanboys. Juggernaut gets whooped offscreen. Juggernaut has been used as glorified jobber before. (Gladiator tossed him around in X: TAS and Evo used him to establish the kids were all right in “The Stuff of Heroes.”) But this was Jugg’s debut. Instead of establishing him as a powerhouse, they made him look like cannon fodder. It works in the context of this episode, but it will probably cheese Juggernaut fans.

Also, once again, we have Logan trying to pull Cyke’s punk when he defies an order. It seems overdone, especially since Logan just did the same thing in X-Cessive Force. With the exception of the first time, whenever the creators try to assert Logan over Cyclops as the leader, it feels forced and unnecessary.

However, “Battle Lines” is still a good episode. The show is consistently enjoyable, but it has not made the leap to great yet. I worry it might not.


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