TV Review: Wolverine and the X-Men

Hey all…

Every few years, we see the X-Menu franchise get reinvented, either on the big screen or in animated form. X-Men was its own series for several years in the 1990s. A few years ago it was X-Men: Evolution. This year we get the new Wolverine and the X-Men series on Nickelodeon.

Wolverine and the X-Men
Image via Wikipedia

Of course, Wolverine and the X-Men ties in nicely with the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie coming to the big screen in May 2009 starring Hugh Jackman. The new animated series premieres January 23, 2009 with two back to back episodes on the Nicktoons Network. The 26 episode, half-hour series follows Wolverine as he tries to reunite the X-Men and avert a war between humans and mutants. Episodes will run regularly on Fridays at 8pm (ET) on the Nicktoons Network.

The first episode, “Hindsight, Part 1” sets the stage for the upcoming battle. Multiple forces are at work, with the Mutant Response Division (MRD) trying to capture and register mutants and the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto, is trying to fan the flames of dissent between mankind and mutants to spark an all out war.

After a strange explosion caused Professor X and Jean Grey to disappear and destroyed the Xavier Institute, Wolverine had to leave. A loner, Wolverine was comfortable on the road until he saved a family from a train derailment and they were accosted by the MRD for helping him in return. Harboring a fugitive mutant is a crime now, and the MRD aimed to make the family pay.

Nicktoons  logo (2003-2005); alternate version...
Image via Wikipedia

Wolverine enlists the aid of Beast, another of the X-Men, and together they rescue the family and many captured mutants from MRD headquarters. Wolvie and Beast didn’t make any friends among the MRD with that operation, but they did get the family out safely. Wolverine knows it’s not the end of this struggle. He’d have to bite the bullet and start pulling the X-Men together again.

In “Hindsight, Part 2”, Wolverine and Beast are having a tough time convincing the X-Men to get back together and the Brotherhood of Mutants isn’t making it any easier as they try to teach Senator Kelly a lesson as he gains more and more support for the Mutant Registration Act.

Cyclops was devastated after the Professor and Jean disappeared. He’s fallen into a deep depression and doesn’t want to rejoin the team.

Angel is working closely with his father at Worthington Industries and is doing more good hiding and distributing funds quietly to pro-mutant organizations while his father helps find supporters for Senator Kelley. He can’t help.

And Rogue is mad at Wolverine for leaving in the first place. She always felt a close kinship with Wolverine and grew angry at him for choosing to leave her. This festering anger against Wolverine and the MRD took her to the door of the Brotherhood of Mutants, who are more than happy to use her to get at Senator Kelley and the X-Men.

I’m assuming that we’ll see more and more of the X-Men gather to fight the coming war, but we do catch glimpses of a few in the first couple of episodes, including Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Colossus. And this series is mixing new and old X-Men along the way… So it should be interesting seeing the plot unfold.

The style of the new series is traditional 2-D animation, which is nice. I’m not a big fan of entirely CGI animated television shows. The quality is still too low in my opinion. So a traditional cell-based (or at least the appearance of that style) works better for me.

The first couple of episodes opens strong, so I’m hopeful that the episodes that follow continue to be strong and worth watching. X-Men Evolution took some wrong turns in its four seasons, and I’m hoping that Wolverine and the X-Men can avoid those potholes along the way.

Be sure to check it out this Friday on the Nicktoons Network at 8pm Eastern. Let me know what you think!

–Fitz

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