If I haven't said this before, let me say again that I love the X-Men Animated Series. There probably isn't any other X-Men property or adaptation that has influenced me more (and I feel confident saying that goes for most people my generation). I've been dying to dive back into the series, but I restraining myself so that I only watch the episodes based on their release date, after I read all comics published up to that release date. This has taken some discipline, but it helps me to know that when I watch an episode, I know everything that may have inspired it up to that point, and nothing more. This has been a blast.
Season 2 has WAY better graphics. The first Season was a huge hit and you can instantly tell that the budget and production value shot up.
I also noticed that this Season is balancing mutliple storylines, much like Claremont's comics. For instance, there is a B plot of Magneto and Professor X in the Savage Land which we get a little bit of throughout the season and it culminates in the final 2 episodes where all the waiting and connected points are paid off.
When it comes to characters, I can tell that this series is really putting Jean front and center. In the first season, she mostly stayed at the mansion with the professor, but now she's right there on all the away missions. You can also see that she is lynchpin for all other characters, which is perfectly in sync with what's been happening in the comics around this time. Also, Professor X is away from the team for the entire series, which reminds of of the late 80's and early 90's when he was practically written out.
1-2 Til Death do us Part
In this episode, Jean and Scott officially get married (or do they?) Morph Returns and pretends to be the minister, which means they didn't really get married. We learn that Mr. Sinister had found Morph after the events in Season 1, restored him, and brainwashed him.
Wolverine refused to come to the wedding, instead brooding in the Danger Room. Jean visits him and you can tell there is something there, but she goes off to marry Scott anyway. The animated series is much more explicit about the relationship and feelings between these two.
Since last we left off, Senator Kelly has become President, pardoned Beast, and appears to be more favorable towards mutants. This angers the bigots and a group of mutant haters called the Friends of Humanity, led by Graydon Creed.
Morph sticks around in Episode 2 to impersonate various characters and turn the team against each other. Meanwhile, Mr. Sinister and the Nasty Boys (Ruckus, Hairbag, Slab, and Gourgeous George) attack Scott and Jean on their honeymoon, introducing the concept of Sinister being obsessed with the two of them and their DNA.
The friends of humanity are seen attacking Morlocks, with Mole being the only one I recognize.
This is a surprisingly close adaptation of the Wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Morph is not a character (at least not going by that name or having any connected stories) in the comics so that entire storyline is made up for the show.
While Jean and Wolverine do have some unresolved feelings for each other in the comics, it's really not as explicit or as central as it's made in the series.
3 Whatever it Takes
The Shadow King escapes the Astral Plane and takes over a mutant speedster in Kenya, who happens to be Storm's adopted son. Storm and Rogue take him on and ultimately defeat him.
Meanwhile, Wolverine is looking for Morph who makes it clear that he wants to be left alone. We'll stop seeing him for the most part until the finale.
Morph turns into both Deadpool and Maverick while fighting Wolverine.
Other than the Shadow King existing, this is really a story made up entirely for the series. I have never seen any reference to an adopted son in Kenya, nor had the Shadow King every terrorized people in Kenya. If you squint hard enough, you can find some parallel's with the Muir Island Saga, but the connections are pretty thin.
4 Red Dawn
Omega Red is awoken and tries to restore Communism to Russia. Russian mutants Colossus and Darkstar are joined by the X-Men in an epic battle, where he is eventually beaten by being re-frozen by Storm.
Illyana is shown on Peter's farm! I would also consider Colossus, Omega Red, and Darkstar to be important cameos.
This story is primarily influenced by Omega Red's first appearance in X-Men # 4 - 7, however he is made into a nationalistic Soviet for the animated series, which is not his arc in the comics. There is also a smidge of the Soul Skinner story in here.
Omega Red never interacted with the other Russian mutants like Darkstar, as those characters were actually first introduced to the X-Men audience in X-Men vs. Avengers.
The rivalry with Wolverine is consistent with the comics, but any rivalry with fellow Russian Colossus was made up for the show.
5 Repo man
Vidicator (AKA Weapon Alpha, Guardian) and Alpha Flight (Shaman, Snowbid, Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch, Puck) show up to bring Wolverine back to Canada. This gives us some flashes into what happened with the Weapon X project and Wolverine's Adamantium skeleton.
In the Savage Land, Professor X and Magneto run into the Savage Land mutates.
In addition to Alpha Flight, we see Dr. Cornelius in a Weapon X flashback.
As Jean is looking for Professor X we see Domino, Cannonball, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch.
The Savage Land story gives us Calypso.
Man, the animated show really jumps around. The last episode with Omega Red was based on comics that had been published in the year before the episode aired. Here we go into the way back machine with the original introduction of Vindicator from Issue #109 (1977) and the first full introduction of Alpha Flight in #120 - 121 (1979). It's worth noting that Puck was not part of the original squad as characterized here, with him not joining until the separate Alpha Flight series came out.
This particular story is apparently conflating the Weapon X project with Canada's Department K. Department K, the military wing of Canada that recruited both Wolverine and Vindicator was a bit shady, but is separate from Weapon X that infused Wolverine's adamantium skeleton without his permission.
6 X-Ternally yours (Gambit)
Gambit gets word from his family in New Orlean, causing him to race off with Jean, Wolverine, and Rogue following close behind. We see an age old rivalry between Gambit's Thieves Guild being deceived by Gambit's former wife, Bella Donna, the leader of the Assassin's Guild. The two groups give a tithe every generation to the External Candra in exchange for prolonged life and powers.
Apocalypse, Juggernaut, Mr. Sinister, and Omega Red all appear via flashback.
I'm just gonna come right out and say it. This story is way better than the actual Gambit limited series. Lol, it's true. This is better. This is a much condensed version of the Bella Donna story originally brought up in X-Men # 8 - 9 and then touched up more in the Gambit Limited Series (which I've only recently blogged about). The animated series simplifes things by making Gambit's wife, Bella Donna, a pure villain, but that is far from the case in the comics.
I also want to point out that Jean is finally going on away missions.
7 - 8 Time Fugitive Part 1 and 2
Bishop learns that his time was not repaired as a mutant virus ruined society after he left. As he goes back to undo the virus, which is being spread by Graydon Creed, he captures the attention of another time traveler, Cable. Cable's time is blinking out of existence due to Bishop's actions, so Cable goes back in time to stop Bishop.
It turns out that Apocalypse is behind both the virus and Graydon Creed's doings (without his knowing). Luckily, Cable decides that instead of killing Bishop, he can save all of the timelines by using Wolverine's mutant healing factor to cure the Legacy Virus.
In the future, we see Cable's wife (Jenskott), son (Tyler), and friend (Kane).
We also see glimpses of Gamesmaster, GW Bridge, War Machine, Nick Fury, Illyana and Colossus, Warpath, Feral, and Cannonball.
Boy, I don't even know where to start with my citing. These two issues pull stories quite liberally from the source material, essentially making up new stories. There are hints of the story from Bishop's first appearance, but it's very different here.
We also get to see Cable's wife and son similar to the Cable solo series, though they are portrayed quite differently, especially Tyler we never see as a kid and is spent most of the time as an adult going by the name Tolliver.
We also very clearly get the Legacy Virus, however the show has Apocalypse behind it, when Stryfe was very clearly behind it in the comics, as evidence in X-Cutioner's Song. This episode wraps the virus up cleanly while it's still raging out of control in the comics when the episode aired (and in my current reading where I really have no idea when and or if it will ever end).
9 A Rogue’s Tale
Rogue is struggling with an inside voice, which turns out to be Ms. Marvel, the person who's identity and powers she stole in her younger years. Rogue also learns that Mystique was the woman who raised her, therefore her "momma" because Mr. Sinister tells Mystique she can get Rogue back if they attack the X-Men.
So I guess this is primarily pulling from Rogue's origin as told in the legendary Avengers Annual # 10 when Rogue stole Ms. Marvel's powers and put her in a coma. It also pulls a bit from one of my favorite stories, the Savage Xavier stories when a zombified Ms. Marvel becomes corporal and Magneto helps end the struggle forever (or at least so far.)
10 Beauty and the Beast
Beast is working as a doctor for the blind, falling in love with a patient who is about to get her sight back. Meanwhile Gradyon Creed, that asshole, is attacking the hospital and kidnaps Carly (the patient Beast fell in love with). Wolverine blends in with the Friends of Humanity, pretending to be a fellow bigot, but eventually figures out that Gradyon Creed is the son of Sabretooth and uses that information to break up the group and help Beast escape.
Well the titles comes from the actual Beauty and the Beast Miniseries, but the episode's similarities stop there. The story of Graydon Creed finding out about his parentage and freaking out is similar to what happened in the Sabretooth Limited Series, however in the comics he already knew and tried to hire Sabretooth to kill his mother, Mystique (yea, she gets around).
This is basically a silly episode where Mojo and Spiral capture the X-Men and put them through various trials for entertainment value. Longshot convinces Spiral to help him defeat Mojo and free the X-Men.
Longshot, Mojo, Spiral.
This loosely pulls from the Longshot Limited Series, but mostly just cherry picks all of Mojo's random appearances to create a single, condensed story.
11 -12: Reunion
We finally get the conclusion to the story of Magneto and Professor X being stuck in the Savage Land. It turns out that Mr. Sinister is behind everything, using the Nasty Boys, Sauron, and Magneto's former mutates to lure the X-Men into a trap.
Ka-Zar and an escaped and powerless Wolverine rescue the rest, giving them their powers back and temporarily destroying Mr. Sinister.
The Nasty Boys, mutates, Ka-Zar.
This is really a brand new story which cherry picks quite liberally from every Savage Land, Sauron, Mr. Sinister, and Nasty Boys appearance from the comics.
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