26 August 2006 | cosmic_quest
Excellent, more faithful to the comics than the mediocre films ever will be
I was in my early teens when I first saw this cartoon version of 'X-Men' on television and it was what ignited my long-standing interest in the Marvel universe. If there was ever a lesson to be learnt about what it is to produce a faithful, involving adaptation (be it from a comic or a book) this show was the perfect example as it managed to successfully transfer the characters and plots from page to screen without dumbing down or altering things for the sake of making them 'cooler'.
The cartoon focused mainly on 'X-Men' favourites including Cyclops, Jean, Wolverine, Gambit, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Jubilee and, of course, Xavier. But there were also episodes involving characters in supporting roles such as Archangel, Bishop, Nightcrawler and Cable. In terms of villains, all the usual suspects of like Magneto, Sinister, Mystique and Apocalypse turn up at some point. Unlike the recent films, aimed at pleasing teenagers and casual cinema-goers, this series was more intent on depicting the characters properly so there is the same interactions as seen in the comics including the Scott/Jean/Wolverine triangle, the love/hate relationship between Gambit and Rogue and the sibling bond that Storm and Gambit share. It also wonderfully portrays Wolverine's darkly sarcastic side, which brings humour to the show.
While the films (and the childish 'X-Men: Evolutions') show the X-Men having rather calm, settled lives on the whole, this series gave a darker view of the universe, showing the team striving to do good in a world where much of humanity loathed mutants and saw them as the threat. It also tackled story arcs, like Onslaught, Dark Phoenix, Days of Future's End and Angel's transformation into Archangel, that appeared in the comic-verse in a way that retained the essence of the stories.
This was certainly one of the best cartoons to come out of the Nineties and still holds appeal to me even now that I'm an adult. In fact, I think a few of the time-travelling episodes would probably be a bit too complex for the usual eight- to twelve-year-old demography who watch Fox Kids. I'd highly recommend this to fans of the comics and those who enjoyed the films but felt they were too flat and want to see something that preserves the spirit of the comics.