“Hindsight” Parts 1-3 (pilot episodes)/ Wolverine and the X-Men/ 2009
Wolverine and the X-Men is the new X-Men animated series that debuted this past January on the NickToons network (With teenage Iron Man heading to NickToons as well, it seems like NickToons is the place for your new Marvel Comics cartoons).
I’m going to come right out and state this, I am a BIG fan of the X-Men: Animated Series from the 90’s , my taste favors the more Jim Lee style X-Men designs, and I believe that the X-Men: Animated Series from the 90’s was the most faithful to the comic book.
The next X-Men Series, X-Men: Evolution, even though many people enjoyed it and thought it was a better series, was a disappointment for me. Yes, the character designs were more streamlined to help with the fluidity of animation (as opposed to the bulky un-evenly animated X-Men from the 90’s), but the big No-No was making most of the characters teenagers and in “regular” high school.
So how does the Wolverine and X-Men pilot episodes stack up?
Two words: Very Promising…
Hit the jump for the rest of the review…
The story of Wolverine and the X-Men starts as Wolverine is about to leave the X-men. As he is saying his good-byes, the Xavier mansion explodes. The attack apparently targeted at the telepaths, Professor X and Jean Grey, and they both go missing. The X-Men disband soon after and Cyclops begins to suffer from depression. One year later, the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is starting to detain mutants. Wolverine seeing what the world has become decides to gather up all the X-Men and bring them back together.
If you’re a fan of the comic book, you can tell right away that they are starting with a “Days of Future Past” storyline, which I thought was a good idea. We know who the X-Men are, no need to explain it again. Although, you can definately tell they were trying to stretch the pilot story as long as they could, because the first and 2nd episodes go at a snail’s pace, with the 3rd being the one with the best pacing and action as a patchwork X-Men team battles Magneto in Genosha. All 3 episodes culminate in a disembodied Professor X warning the X-Men of a dark future. I think this could’ve been done in 2 episodes.
I have to admit though, the idea that Wolverine, the constant loner, as the one person who brings back the X-Men and leads them seems odd. He laments on this fact a little in the first 3 episodes, and maybe this gets answered later on in the series, but still odd to me. Another huge question, Why did the X-Men disband in the first place? I think it’s strange that just because Professor X is gone that they all go off on their own, I mean Storm was still around right? Once again, maybe future episodes shed light on these concerns.
The animation, like X-Men: Evolution, is very fluid thanks to the streamlined character designs. Most of the character models look good, especially Wolvie which makes sense since this is technically his show. There are some who just seem off though, an example would be Rogue. The colors of the show are more dreary browns and yellows, perhaps to give a sense of the story, which works (thinking back the X-Men 90’s series used similar colors).
Steve Blum, (who voiced Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop), lends his voice to Wolverine, and he does a good job of bringing out the softer more human side of Wolvie while keeping that gruff voice. And dare I say, I think he surpasses Cal Dodd, who did the voice of Wolvie from the 90’s X-Men series.
I think the writers and creators of the show had a crazy idea of trying to mix the continuities of the comic book, the movies, and the X-Men Evolution series (Wolverine and the X-Men has no connection with any of these) into one show. This way they could tap fans from all those iterations of X-Men. And to my surprise it worked, for the first 3 episodes.
Only time will tell if Wolverine and the X-Men will be a good X-Men series. I liked how the creators took a chance and plopped the X-Men into one of the most memorable storylines in X-Men history to begin a new series. Wolverine’s character is especially good, and will tie-in nicely with the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. Hopefully some of the weaker characters and story elements will be resolved in future episodes.
Here’s the trailer:
Definately worth watching… if only I had NickToons!