Exploring the X-Men: Season Two

24 Sep
After a long hiatus, Marvel’s favourite mutants returned to syndicated television for a season of another 13 episodes.

The Episodes here have better production values, the animation is improved significantly while the cohesiveness and integrity of the episodes – for some time – hits a low. Plenty of new characters are introduced here; practically every one except the ones featured in the theme song are first appearances. Also, old characters are brought back from the dead. Enough hints for everybody, and for those who didn’t quite get it, or jumped on right now, read on.

Til Death Do Us Part, Parts 1 & 2
As seen in the end of the previous Season (see review here), Scott Summers and Jean Grey tie the knot. Anti mutant hysteria still prevails, aided by an organization calling themselves the ‘Friends Of Humanity’, led by Graydon Creed. Wolverine is in a bad mood, aggravated further by the wedding. Mysteriously, Morph who was supposed to have died in Episode 1, Night Of The Sentinels, Parts 1 & 2 is back amongst the living. But he hates the X-Men and blames them for leaving him behind. While Scott & Jean are on their honeymoon, Morph, using his powers creates havoc at the mansion, leaving Beast trapped in the Danger Room against a particularly nasty program, Jubilee alone in a branch of the Friends of Humanity; and Storm and Gambit injured, with Rogue having Gambit’s powers. And finally the mastermind behind it all, and the architect of Morph’s return is revealed to be a nasty being called Mr Sinister. Mr Sinister and his ‘Nasty Boys’ reach Scott & Jean and plan to use their child to further their evil ways. And for Professor X and Magneto, the troubles are just beginning. Their trek through the Savage Land beginning here would last the length of the season. In the Savage Land, both mutants lose their powers while Professor X regains the use of his legs, suggesting this has something to do with his powers.
Whatever it Takes
Storm’s godson, Missionary has been enthralled by the Shadow King and he wants Storm. Rogue and Storm face the Shadow King on the astral plane, while in the land of the living, Wolverine continues tracking Morph, resulting in an epic confrontation. Though the Shadow King appears for the first time, Rogue behaves as though Professor X has taken on him before.
Red Dawn
Colossus comes to the mansion to seek the help of the X-Men against Omega Red; a living weapon who has been revived recently and wants to unite the territories of the Soviet Union, through war and fire. Jubilee and Colossus set out for Russia, with Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men in tow. Wolverine knows Omega from before but by now, the whole concept of Super Soldier weapons seems too cliché.
Repo Man
A summons from Heather, one in a long line of Wolverine sweethearts brings him to Canada where he faces Alpha Flight and realizes that the summons is actually from Vindicator and General Chasen who want to re create Weapon X. First appearance of Alpha Flight. Wolverine’s past, after the Adamantium bonding is made clearer here.
X-Ternally Yours
And finally, Gambit gets the spotlight. The kidnapping of his brother brings Gambit back to his hometown as the Guilds of Thieves and Assassins get ready for the renewal of their pact with the Externer. This has to be the most inexplicable episode of the season, with no background information on the Externer and her powers (she took on all of the X-Men) and what the hell is in those yellow boxes that is so important? Then again, I haven’t yet reached the parts in the comics where Gambit joins the X-Men so it might be clearer there; but as part of a show audience who came here only to watch the exploits on television, I’m very dissapointed with this episode.
Time Fugitives, Parts 1 & 2
The animated series’ take on the Legacy Virus. Cable’s present is changing (the future to us) and the only way he can keep it as it is involves sabotaging Bishop’s mission to the past. In the X-Men’s present, a new virus is being propagated by Graydon Creed and Apocalypse, which infects only mutants. Bishop arrives in time to stop them, but Cable’s mission involves stopping them, and indirectly aiding Apocalypse. Cable, Forge, Bishop and Apocalypse all return in this two parter; which, story as well as animation wise, is a one parter screened again with subtle differences.
A Rogue’s Tale
Rogue is plagued with visions of a flying girl. On deeper exploring, she remembers events from her past with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when Mystique had forced her to absorb Ms Marvel’s (Carol Danver’s) powers permanently, leaving her a vegetable. Rogue being an enemy agent before joining the X-Men is touched on; albeit briefly.
Beauty And The Beast
Beast starts having feelings for Carlie, whose blindness he succeeds in curing but Anti mutant hysteria and the Friends of Humanity won’t let him near her. Meanwhile, Logan infiltrates the Friends of Humanity headquarters and finds that Graydon Creed is actually related to someone he knows. A somewhat tender episode, amidst more serious concerns.
Mojo is a televison corporation honcho from another dimension. He needs variety on his programming and so he kidnaps the X-Men to perform. Personally, Mojo is my least favourite character from the series.
Reunion, Parts 1 & 2
The Season finale provides for an explanation of sorts. It is a reunion – of Professor X and Magneto with the rest of the team, also of Mr Sinister and his nasty boys with the X-Men as they all gather in the Savage Land with Ka Zar for a final, epic confrontation.

My picks of the season:
Til Death Do Us Part, Parts 1 & 2
Beauty & The Beast
Repo Man
Reunion, Parts 1 & 2

Overall, the second season was an improvement to the first with a more cohesive storyline (the Savage Land running story), better animation, character pieces (Storm, Rogue, Wolverine, Gambit, Beast) and other than a few blemishes (Mojovision, X-Ternally yours), perfect. It also reiterated the comics concept, ‘Dead isn’t dead’. But more on that in Season 3, when we reach new characters, new heights and all round epic awesomeness! Stay tuned!

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