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EPISODE REVIEWS

Episode #1: Hindsight, Part One
Original Airdate - January 23rd, 2009

It’s been some time since the devastating explosion at the Xavier Institute. The X-Men have gone their separate ways after the mysterious disappearance of their beloved leader, Professor X. The MRD are stepping up the anti-mutant security backed by local politicians. Logan has turned his back on the team and the high profile life as an X-Man. These feelings change abruptly after saving a small child from a burning train wreck only to be turned in to the MRD. Logan narrowly escapes his captors but the family that gave him refuge in their home were not so lucky. The family including their young child is whisked away in an MD chopper. It’s then that Logan realizes what the world has become without the X-Men to stand up for the rights of mutants and human beings everywhere. Logan goes back to the crumbled Institute to find Beast. Together they locate the family at a nearby MRD facility and bust them out along with a number of detained mutants. Logan knows that it’s time to bring back the X-Men.

Credits
Written by Greg Johnson
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Music by Dean Grinsfelder
Animation By Noxxon Entertainment

Voices
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: Stu - This show has greatly intrigued me since the moment it was announced. There’s been a lot of negativity towards the show as its title promises that Wolverine will be the main focus of the show and people have been whinging that he already gets too much focus. I am not among them – Wolverine is by far the most interesting of Xavier’s mutants and my personal favourite so this is pretty much a dream X-Men show for me. The creative team have greatly impressed me with their previous efforts and the show doesn’t appear to have annoying network mandates to adhere to. Marvel bit the bullet with this one and appears to have financed and developed the show independently, much like they did with the recent live action Iron Man movie. Kudos to them – it must’ve taken some stones. Hopefully it will pay off because the show certainly deserves it.

The show has an air of intrigue about it as the full story behind The X-Men’s break up has yet to be told and we are unaware as to the current whereabouts to most of them beyond Wolverine and Beast. Logan is unsuccessfully trying to move on with his life but isn’t getting very far due to MRD and Beast is still investigating the irregular disappearance of Professor Xavier. Some mutants get a few lines or a brief appearance but this is only part one of a three part storyline – I do get the impression this was supposed to air together as a movie but the it’s still highly enjoyable in episodic format.

Initial casting impressions are very strong. Steve Blum reprises his role as Wolverine from various video games and fits perfectly. I was especially impressed with Michael Ironside as General Wraith. New casting usually takes some getting used to for me but I was suckered straight in here – everyone fits and nobody feels too out of place. I like the show’s designs too – they are admittedly very similar to X-Men: Evolution but feel slightly more mature (more than likely because everyone bar Kitty looks to be a good couple of years older than they were in Evo.)

The episode does everything it’s supposed to do – it’s a perfectly enjoyable 22 minutes and it sets up the rest of the series well. I am greatly looking forward to where things go from here.

Arsenal - It’s been more than two years since a new X-Men cartoon was announced. The show was supposed to use 2- and 3-dimensional animation and feature a team led by Wolverine.

Some complained about Wolverine receiving the spotlight. He is, after all, the most overexposed character this side of Batman. Little pieces of information trickled out to the fans. Certain characters would be used, certain voice actors were involved, but nobody saw anything concrete until a 3-minute trailer was released to the Internet.

It was a geek-gasm. In addition to having gorgeous animation, it featured a bevy of I-can’t-believe-we’ll-be-seeing-them cameos: Dust, Pyro, a Magneto-ruled Genosha, the Hulk. It was like someone was compiling a fan wishlist.

It also laid out a perfectly feasible reason for a loner like Wolverine to lead the X-Men. There was an explosion. Xavier and Jean Gray are missing. Storm is hurt. Cyclops is bereft without Jean. There’s no one to carry the mantle, and the X-Men have just disappeared. But someone’s got to be there to fight, and Wolverine decides that person may as well be him.

It was a smart idea, which shunts Wolverine into a leadership role without changing the character.

But a trailer is just a trailer, and a cool three minutes cannot necessarily be sustained for 26 episodes. So fans waited to see if “Wolverine and the X-Men” could live up to its self-created hype.

Having seen the first third of the three-part premiere “Hindsight,” my guess is it can.

The synopsis to “Hindsight, Part One” is short. The X-Men have dissolved after the explosion. Wolverine is alone. He saves the daughter of a family in peril, and the family repays him by letting him stay at their house while he recovers.

The MRD (government-sponsored, mutant-hunting entity du jour) arrest the family for harbouring a fugitive and Wolverine decides to rescue them.

We see little bits and pieces of many characters, but the episode focuses on Wolverine and Beast. The creators are going for a “classic approach” with the characters. Whether they are on screen for a few seconds or for most of the episode, the characters are all readily identifiable with their comic book counterparts.

Wolverine vacillates easily from avuncular guardian to homicidal slash-opath. Beast is a brilliant, bemused pacifist. (He and Logan have good comedic chemistry.) Kurt’s a playful swashbuckler. Piotr is an amused strongman. Kitty’s a bit of a prat.

There is one character who seems to be influenced more by the movies than comics, Rogue. She clearly thinks of Wolverine as a father figure/boyfriend. (Think Electra Complex.)

The antagonists are all human at this point. Much like X-Men: TAS with “Night of the Sentinels,” the creators have decided to establish the “world that hates and fears them” before giving us any supervillain shenanigans. That’s fine by me.

Fans and critics should hesitate to assume too much from just this first episode. We have not yet reached a status quo, so it is too soon to make more than a snap judgment. That having been said, there’s no reason to think this show is any less than the X-Men cartoon fans have been waiting for. It combines the fastidious devotion to the source material that X-Men: TAS had with the fluid animation and creativity that made X-Men: Evolution successful. Screenshots:













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