Comics On TV: ‘X-Men’

by Ryan Rigley

With the release of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” still a year away and “The Wolverine” just around the corner, we here at MTV Splash Page have mutants on the mind. Especially with the ever-expanding amounts of “Wolverine” clips and featurettes surfacing in promotion for the film. Last week, we got a first look at one of the new villainesses that Logan will be facing off against in Japan: Viper.

Before that, we got a glimpse Yukio and Kenuichio Harada (a.k.a. the Silver Samurai) as well as two epic fight scenes: one on a train and one that takes place during a funeral. While the wait for “The Wolverine” is almost over, we can’t help but think back on some of the more popular adaptations of the X-Men. Specifically “X-Men: The Animated Series,” which premiered on FOX Kids back in 1992!

Series Statistics
Network: Fox
Broadcast Date: 1992 – 1997
Seasons: 5
Episodes: 76

Making its big television debut two months after “Batman: The Animated Series” (and on the same channel no less), the success of “X-Men” helped usher in the golden age of comic book cartoon series. Like “Batman,” the “X-Men” series has always been praised for its comparatively sophisticated take on popular comic book storylines. While it never won any Emmys, in its prime the series did receive very high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon.

In addition to its spot-on adaptations, “X-Men” also featured a number of awesome cameos from fan-favorite comic book characters like Cable and Bishop. On the flip side, villains of every size and stature made an appearance on the series, at one point or another, ranging everywhere from Mr. Sinister to the Juggernaut.

Good luck not getting this theme song stuck in your head.

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Notable Episodes

Night of the Sentinels
Kicking off the series with a two-part episode, “Night of the Sentinels” introduces us to both the evil mutant-hunting robots known as the Sentinels and the newest X-Men recruit, Jubilee. Through the eyes Jubilee, we are introduced to the entire mutant team as well as their antagonists behind the Mutant Registration Program.

Enter Magneto
Giving us our first look at the infamous metal-manipulating mutant, Magneto attempts to break Beast out of prison with the hopes that the blue brainiac will aid him in his war on homo-sapiens. After Beast reveals he’d rather stay with the X-men – and in prison – Magneto goes on to attack an entire military missile base.

Days of Future Past
Loosely based on the “Uncanny X-Men” story arc of the same name, this two-part episode takes place in a hellish future ruled by Sentinels and features fan-favorite character Bishop as he travels back in time in order to eliminate Gambit. Yes, you read that correctly.

The Dark Phoenix Saga
Taking place over a span of four episodes, this adaptation of the groundbreaking storyline sees Jean Grey loosing the battle for her mind to the power-hungry entity known as the Phoenix Force. Her friends and teammates, the X-Men, must race the clock in order to save Jean before the Phoenix eradicates all life as we know it.

Beyond Good and Evil
Another four part episode, “Beyond Good and Evil” revolves around Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister kidnapping every known psychic in the universe in order to recreate our society in a way that only Apocalypse sees fit. The X-Men enlist the help of the time-traveling Cable and Bishop humanity and mutantkind from a fate far worse than death.

Still don’t think “X-Men: The Animated Series” is worth a watch? Well then, check out this 8 minute supercut of every one of Wolverine’s sassy one-liners:

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This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like “Arrow,” “The Walking Dead” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” If you have any favorite episodes of this week’s series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!