Episode #8: Time Bomb
Original Airdate - March 6th, 2009

Nitro, a young mutant turns himself into the MRD because he can’t control his explosive powers. Toad, who is also in MRD custody convinces the Brotherhood to bust him out and to take Nitro too. The Brotherhood use Nitro against his will to blow up the MRD bunker where all the data on every registered mutant is kept. Rogue is distressed by Nitro’s pleas but can’t stop the Brotherhood’s plan. Nitro explodes leveling the bunker and the Brotherhood barely make it out on time. They realize Nitro is a actually a danger to them and decide to take him to Genosha. Psylocke uses her psychic abilities to keep Nitro powered-down as their stolen plane zips to the island. But having been alerted from the future by Xavier that Nitro would wipe out half the world’s mutants with his uncontrollable powers, Wolverine and the X-Men go after him. They manage to intercept the plane and after some brute force, convince the Brotherhood that they’re taking him back to the MRD facility where he will be safe from himself and safe for others. Wolverine doesn’t like turning in a fellow mutant but knows it was the best thing for everyone, including Nitro.

Story By Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle
Written by Zoe Green
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
Susan Dalian as Storm
Yuri Lowenthal as Iceman
Grey DeLisle as Psylocke
Mark Hildreth as Quicksilver
Michael Ironside as Colonel Wraith
Liam O'Brien as Nitro
Stephen Stanton as Blob
James Patrick Stuart as Avalanche
Kari Wahlgren as Emma Frost
Gwendoline Yeo as Domino

Review: Arsenal - After the last episode, I said I wanted to see the X-Men working as a group. Ask and I shall receive. Time Bomb features the practically the entire cadre, even the estranged group.

The next item on my wish list: character development for the X-Men.

Eight episodes in, that’s slightly less than a third of the episodes and we have seen almost no character development from Kitty, Bobby and Ororo. Wolverine has received the lion’s share of the screen time, understandable in a series in which he is the titular character. Emma, Scott, Hank and even Forge have received reasonable amounts of development. We understand what their motivation is and something of their disposition.

By contrast, the Brotherhood is astonishingly well developed. In only two appearances we have a very good understanding of Rogue, Quicksilver, Domino and Toad. (Though I still suspect some trickery from Domino in the future.) Only Blob and Avalanche remain ciphers. Time Bomb focuses on The Brotherhood. The story is told predominantly from their perspective. The X-Men (like in the outstanding X-calibre) are an afterthought. Pietro and company have kidnapped an uncontrollably explosive mutant named Nitro. First, they use him to detonate an MRD data stockpile. Then, they plan to take him to Magneto.

However, there is a problem. Nitro cannot control his detonations, and he’s tired of putting people at risk. Pietro hires a telepath—Psylocke, in a nice little cameo—to do a hack job of suppressing his power. Rogue, meanwhile, is concerned that no one else on her team has Nitro’s best interests at heart.

Pietro is the recipient of some subtle, clever development here. We learn that he is persona non grata to his father and must do something to prove himself to Magneto. Once again, it’s more motivation than we have for Kitty or Bobby.

The X-Men then arrive to brawl with the Brotherhood over the wellbeing of Nitro. The team looks good while fighting as a group. Team combat is hell. It’s extremely difficult to track where everybody is at any given time. The creative team gives everyone something to do. The fight even has a narrative flow. (Wolverine is repeatedly saved by his teammates and it irritates him.)

This episode is suitable. It starts slower than most of the others, but it’s still a well-told story. Somehow, this episode is less than the sum of its parts. The writing is fine, the animation is fantastic, and the voice acting is solid. Nothing is deficient, but the overall result is not memorable. It is an enjoyable 22 minutes that you will not feel the need to rewatch.

Granted, this seems like a necessary episode. It established divisions in The Brotherhood that will probably be important later, but that does not make Time Bomb any more entertaining.

Postscript, the awesome character designs. I suspect there are a couple Betsy Braddock fans who will geek out at her House of M-inspired garb, if not her portrayed power levels. Screenshots:

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