Episode #5: X-Calibre
Original Airdate - February 20th, 2009

Nightcrawler has secretly boarded the Avalon, a transport ship making lucrative business of transporting mutants to Genosha for a hefty fee. He wants to ensure a safe passage for a small group of mutants. Once at sea, the Avalon encounters the Wildways, a pirate ship of Reavers looking to collect mutants as gladiators for their boss’ games and amusement. They are vicious in their attack and take a handful of mutants with mature powers, leaving the children behind on the sinking ship. The abusive crew and captain are long gone in the only lifeboat. Nightcrawler gets the kids to use their individual powers to work together and fix the ship. The revived Avalon Captained by Nightcrawler takes off after the Wildways to successfully save the captured mutants. The X-Men show up in the X-Jet just as the Wildways sinks back into the ocean. Nightcrawler is excited the team is back together but decides to finish his journey to Genosha with the mutants before returning to the X-Mansion.

Story By Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle
Written by Christopher Hicks, Francis Lombard
Directed by Nick Filippi
Music by Dean Grinsfelder
Animation By Noxxon Entertainment

Steve Blum as Wolverine
Fred Tacasciore as Beast
Danielle Judovits as Shadowcat
Jim Ward as Professor X
Roger Craig Smith as Forge
Grey DeLisle as as Spiral
Liam O'Brien as Nightcrawler

Review: Arsenal - Squidboy for the win!

Wolverine and the X-Men hasn’t had a bad episode yet, but until “X-Calibre” it hadn’t had a great episode either.

And what were the ingredients for this great episode: Squidboy, Pixie, Spiral, Mojo and one Kurt Wagner. Who saw that coming?

This is basically a feature for Nightcrawler. The other X-Men are only window dressing, (though Kitty and Wolverine get an amusing training sequence.) Kurt Wagner and some mutants from the D-list are on the way to Genosha when they get hijacked by a group of pirates led by Spiral.

This could have been corny. It could have been cloying when little Sammy Squidboy tells Kurt what a hero he is, but it isn’t. Instead, it made for the best X-Men animation since Evolution ended, and a big part of that is Nightcrawler.

There are basically two Nightcrawlers. One is a swashbuckling, fun lover. The other is a thoughtful, religious man. X-Men: TAS and X-Men 2 used the latter to great affect. Evolution failed with the former. However, “X-Calibre” presents the swashbuckler perfectly. He’s noble, charismatic and nonplussed, even when things get serious.

The animation is also gorgeous. The complicated choreography of Kurt and Spiral’s fights are exquisitely storyboarded and animated. (It can get complicated storyboarding fights with two teleporters.)

Squidboy and the rest of the D-listers get some nice moments too; but this is Kurt’s show.


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