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The HeX Factor
Review by Screw On Head, Media by Stu

Episode #28 - The HeX Factor
Original Airdate April 20th, 2002

Mystique returns to The Brotherhood with a new weapon, Pterio's sister Wanda! With the help of The Scarlet Witch, will The Brotherhood finally be able to defeat The X-Men?

Written By: Cydne Clark, Steve Granat
Directed By: Gary Graham
Music Composed By: William Anderson
Guest Starring: Kelly Sheridan as Wanda and Pauline Newstone Agatha Harkness

Review: "The HeX Factor" is a very effective introduction and set-up for Wanda Maximoff, the daughter of Magneto and the sister to Quicksilver. I think this episode is required viewing for "X-Men Evolution" fans, because as usual, there’s a lot of interesting character interaction, and there’s also a few little bits of this episode that deserve a second look.. It’s difficult to discuss this episode and not manage to spoil the two-part "Day of Reckoning", so if you haven’t seen this season’s finale please skip this review.

Right off the bat we’re shown that Wanda’s very powerful, when she attempts to break out of the mental institution with her powers blazing. After her failed effort to escape, she has a short meeting with Professor X. There are some great little touches in the animation for this scene, for instance, as Wanda speaks her eyes open widely emphasizing every other word out of her mouth. It may seem odd to comment more on facial features in this scene rather than the action that came before in the opening sequence, but quite honestly action isn’t the selling point of this episode. Wanda breaks out of this institution with the help of Mystique disguised as a male doctor. Shape-shifted Mystique walks Wanda through the facility to the exit as the building rumbles and shakes making for a very tense sequence. Wanda is subdued by Agatha Harkness once Mystique walks her outside to a limo that awaits them. Rather than go with Wanda and the elderly Ms. Harkness, Mystique morphs into a guard and warks back into the facility. The reason for this is one of the two spoilers covered in this review. On the subject of Agatha Harkness, this woman doesn’t do much more in this episode than help Wanda a bit to better control her powers, demonstrating that Wanda doesn’t quite have a handle on them yet.

When Wanda arrives at the Brotherhood house, we’re treated with a bunch of interesting and even comical little moments that work pretty well… much better than Kitty’s magical bouncing muffins. Mystique makes her return known to the Brotherhood boys. Boom-boom meets Mystique before vacating and destroying Mystique’s bedroom. Most importantly, Wanda meets Pietro for the first time in years and fires off another interesting display of her powers. I like that friction is created between these two siblings right when they meet again. Wanda still resents Pietro for siding with her father when Pietro was only a boy. Later they both have a conversation revealing her true vendetta lies with Magneto, as it logically should.

This is the paragraph to skip if you don’t want to be spoiled for the two-part Day of Reckoning, one of the best X-Men Evolution stories. Obviously if you’ve read this far you’re not shy for spoilers but don’t spoil yourself on the season’s finale. With all that said, two very interesting things happen which I missed when I saw this episode the first time. Early in the episode, when Mystique walks back into the institution as Wanda and Agatha leave, she was actually going in to take Professor X’s place. We never find out how, but Mystique goes in to knock out the Professor and go to the X-Mansion posing as him in his very own wheelchair to boot. Later on in the episode, posing as the Professor, Mystique fools Cyclop, Jean, Kurt, Kitty and Spike into a fool’s errand battling Wanda and the Brotherhood boys at the mall.

Overall this isn’t an eye candy episode. The animation on the whole here is about average by Evolution standards, though it is quite above average in terms of nuances. The final fight between the X-Men and the Brotherhood ends with the X-team’s defeat at the hands of Wanda ultimately. The fight isn’t much to speak of, but seeing the X-Men defeated certainly is. The team, especially Scott, do a walk of shame while eating humble pie. Professor X offers some poignant commentary on their defeat. It’s a very cool way to end the episode, seeing them walk shamefully off in the distance. This 22 minute intro to Wanda sets up her and "Day of Reckoning" perfectly, proving Wanda has the chops to give her father a run for his money if the way of super-powers.