All right boys and girls, this is the first installment of Marvel Month, Tonight we’re gonna look at one of the most memorable cartoons of the 90’s and, if you didn’t see this show, you have no childhood, I’m of course talking about X-Men.
The show premired on Oct. 31st 1992, nine weeks after Batman The Animated Series, and just like Batman the show was very critically acclaimed for it’s time, and if not for these two shows we wouldn’t have had so many comic book-based TV shows and movies. Granted, there other comic-based cartoons beforehand, but unlike those shows these two shows didn’t consist of nothing but campiness and open-shut cases.
For those who don’t know X-Men are a group of superheroes, their not your common superheroes; now you most people would praise anyone wearing spandex, but in the X-Men’s case there fight for people who hate and fear them and mutants alike. A mutant activist named Charles Xavier trains a group of young mutants to live normal lives and protect the people that wish to shun them and combat various evil mutants like Magneto and Apocalypse, and to fight for the co-existence of humans and mutants.
Many episodes from X-Men are based on a number of famous storylines and events from the comics, such as “The Dark Phoenix Saga”, “Days of Future Past”, the “Phalanx Covenant”, and the “Legacy Virus”. The third episode, “Enter Magneto”, features a confrontation at a missile base: this is largely based on the X-Men’s first battle with Magneto, similar to X-Men #1.
Prejudice, intolerance, isolation, and racism were all frequent themes in the animated series, as they were in the comics. Anti-mutant prejudice and discrimination was depicted through minor characters as well as more prominent ones, including Senator Robert Kelly, the Friends of Humanity (kid-friendly versions of the KKK) and robotic Sentinels. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Professor Xavier and Magneto, much like their comic-book counterparts, bear similarities to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively. While Xavier advocates non-violence in the struggle for equality, Magneto takes on a more aggressive ‘by any means necessary’ stance; the duo’s differing views are the source of much discussion throughout the series.
The series also deals with other social issues, including divorce, Christianity, the Holocaust, television satire, hell at one point that actually (indirectly) reference the growing panic of the AIDS virus.
X-Men was an impressive feat for it’s time, and it looks like it really holds up even after 21 years. If you want to watch it for yourself go to Marvel.com to watch every episode (sans Mojovision). Tomorrow, we’ll look at the first half of the Marvel Action Universe: Iron Man
RANK: 5 out of 5