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Old September 22 2009, 12:33 AM   #1
V
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Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

Like many, I was afraid upon watching the trailers for it that "Wolverine and the X-Men" was a shameless attempt to make a Wolverine-centric X-Men show when the comics are an ensemble cast

After about 3-4 episodes, I assure you, you'll be totally won over.

This thing has literally everything I ask not just of an animated show but ANY scifi, and it now ranks alongside Dollhouse and Fringe for me as "best of 2009" (alright, extra points were added for "NOT screwing up a beloved franchise" but after X3 and X-Men Wolverine, it was quite a relief)

The series started airing in Canada Fall 2008, and in the USA spring 2009...due to a break between March and May, they're up to about episode 20 now and they're nearing the finale of their 26 episode first season.

minor spoilers for those who haven't seen it (and somehow never read the comics OR watched earlier series)

  • This is NOT a Wolverine show. While he is a main character and arguably the "lead" character, *the TV commercials you see, and the name itself ("Wolverine and the X-Men") are UTTERLY misrepresenting the actual series. If you were worried by how it was presented and haven't seen it yet, I assure you; just watch it and ignore the bad commercials and name (remember when UPN would run INSANE commercials for Voyager and Enterprise? it's like that; ignore them)
  • Arguably its like what the comics shifted to doing in the mid-1990's; Wolverine is one of the "main cast" members and many episodes involved him at least on the periphery, but there are also many episodes either not focusing on him or focusing on the group as a whole.
  • I think the basic plot setup was ingenious: because on the one hand...they sort of acknowledge that people KNOW what "the X-Men" are at this point from other shows/movies, but nonetheless they sort of "restart" everything by having a mysterious explosion in the first episode that leaves Prof. Xavier and Jean Gray mysteriously vanishing. The X-Men disband without Xavier, and Cyclops is so wracked by grief that he becomes an inconsolable wreck (he just sits around moping in his room utterly bereaved...at first; by episode 20 he turns great again, and its actually a good arc)
  • In WXM's timeline, Magneto has already taken over Genosha and treats it like a Mutant Homeland (so long as you play by his authoritarian rule there, which he claims is to further the cause of the mutants)
  • A year later, they find that Xavier washed up on the beach in Genosha. Magneto lets them take him back, but he's in a coma. Xavier starts astral-projecting to them telepathically, and explains that he's communicating with them from the *future*; 20 years later he wakes up from the coma, and he's stuck in basically the "Days of Future Past" storyline with the Sentinels overruning the world.
  • The great part about this is that it allows the show to slowly reintroduce every character one at a time, as Wolverine re-forms the X-Men by running around finding everyone that left. Xavier made it a point to say that *Wolverine* should lead them, apparently giving Cyclops the cold shoulder because he's such a wreck about Jean
  • Spoilers: we ultimately find out that the explosion at the mansion was caused by Jean Gray transforming into the Phoenix, and of course the Hellfire Club get involved...
  • Spoilers: Without a functional telepath to run Cerebro, they grudgingly let Emma Frost join the team, and she kind of warms up to Cyclops, who nevertheless is still bereaved about Jean. At first, it seems like a stupid reason to make Wolverine in charge of the team (at other times, you realize just how much of a wreck Cyclops is)...but apparently, its that Emma Frost was pulling the ol' mind-controlling Cyclops to stab everyone in the back routine, and its ultimately revealed that Xavier intentionally didn't make Cyclops teamleader again for what was actually a very good reason.
  • Rogue is...okay. The weird thing is "how does this compare to X-Men Evolution"? Well again thats odd, because XME was *unwatchable* in its first season or two, then surprisingly hit its stride in the second half of its run. Most people including me say that the teenaged angsty Rogue on XME was one of the better parts of the series. ***I assure you now that there is no "teen angst" everyone is their appropriate age (well, Shadowcat and Iceman are both 18ish, but they're not playing that as the teen-in-school angle at all). Rogue crosses over to the Brotherhood for much of the first season....mirroriing how in the comics, she was kind of straddling the fence for a while.
  • Why isn't Storm teamleader? Apparently she needed to go back to Africa, where she's worshipped as a goddess...uh...she does come back right in like the 4th episode, and while I'll admit she doesn't get THAT much to do, they don't wreck her character, either. It feels balanced.
  • WXM's Gambit is pretty good, unlike the recent movie
  • The one problem I have is actually a problem from the comics so whose to blame them: sometimes the female characters aren't distinct enough. Rogue is good but could use more to do, and Shadowcat while used prominently has little characterization. Jean Gray gets little fleshed out beyond her Phoenix storyarc, but then again the same could be said of many shows (in XME, Jean was a major character; Jean only returns in the last 6 or so episodes of the 26 episode first season). It's just that Shadowcat while nice kind of in my head runs over what I think of both Jubilee and Rogue as.
  • The Beast is very well done I think, in terms of characterization and also voicing. Angel also gets good characterization and screentime relative to his role.
  • Their Brotherhood is more interesting than XME's but that's because they're not whiny teenagers. A problem I have is that Domino is used to good effect but is too similar to the role Mystique should have had (she's in there too)
  • Overall, Wolverine...rather than feeling like an over-used character, is actually pretty well done and the voice acting is also top-notch; even in terms of simple writing, he's hands-down better than the Wolverine in X-Men: Evolution.
  • MASSIVE SPOILERS: at the end of season 1 they manage to avert the "Days of Future Past" future...only for it to be revealed that the future timeline (and main plotline for season 2) is now the "Age of Apocalypse"!
Seriously, is there anyone here who never gave this show a chance?

The artwork is good, the characterization better than I had thought...it's about as mature as (lets face it) the comics actually are most of the time...which is MORE than XME....*this* is the X-Men outing that we were denied with both X-Men Wolverine *and* X3!! In all seriousness, even though X-Men Evolution wasn't TOO bad by its final season, I literally have not felt this good about an X-Men franchise project since the movie "X2". It's that well done.

Were I to....hypothetically describe "a good X-Men cartoon series" this would be a near-match (it's not TOO violent, it's not one of the niche uber-dark one-shot comic series which are a bloodbath, but its about what you'd expect a good cartoon to be like; there's no obvious censorship)
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Old September 22 2009, 01:03 AM   #2
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

I really think much about when I saw the preview last year, and the first two episodes are so-so (establishing the "universe" is always tedious), but now I think it's overall the best X-Men cartoon yet, maybe the best superhero toon series since Justice League Unlimited ended. I liked Evolution, but it's teenage angle took some getting used to.

I like the Prof. X in the future aspect. Wolverine straddles the line between hero and asshole, which is about right. (In the 90's Fox show he was an asshole, in Evolution he was grumpy and gruff but otherwise heroic).

I like the one episode where the Brotherhood attacks the mansion and the X-Men kick their asses fairly quick.

Season 2 in production or already produced, IIRC.
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Old September 22 2009, 01:30 AM   #3
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

I have watched a few episodes here and there. I'm most likely going to buy it on DVD (I think the complete first season is coming out soon) I also like some of the costume designs and plot devices mentioned in the opening thread. Blink! I like Cyclop's costume design, it reminds me of Alex Ross rejected X-Men proposal, before Grant Morrison was chosen, or maybe it was before Joss's run. I'm pretty sure it was prior to Grant.
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Old September 22 2009, 02:08 AM   #4
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

yes, I think they struck a nice balance with Wolverine being not exactly heroic and indeed like a jackass at times; oh, he's usually pretty heroic....in that he's got a gruff exterior but always helps the powerless, etc.....but what really impressed me is around episode 20 they do this flashback episode showing Cyclops' entire life in retrospect (which was sorely needed because he'd been kind of on the periphery of the story up until then)....and it was pretty accurate to the comics (we even see that his parents died in an airplane accident in Alaska which orphaned him and put him in a coma for 2 years, during which time his brother was adopted by another family and they lost contact....we only hear about this as young Scott discusses it with his doctor when he wakes up from his coma, but they ***left the door open for the Shi'ar Empire and Corsair)

anyway, when we get to the parts where Cyclops is remembering how Wolverine came in and messed things up by getting into a love triangle with Jean....this was surprisingly one of the more mature cartoon outings I"ve seen handle this kind of thing. It's not teen angst, no, it's dealing with the age-old thing the movies also did which was "does the girl go with the Nice Guy or the Bad Boy?"

because Wolverine is presented as kind of kick-ass but in a very VERY gruff way, he just kind of sweeps into the mansion and REALLY you can see why Cyclops eventually just started shooting him with optic blasts....before this we saw things largely from Wolverine's perspective and a year after they'd split up, but they portray it as it should be: not some idiotic fight but really ingrained and irreconcilable differences between the characters.

Again, its pretty quick, and much like MOST of her appearances in media Jean Gray isn't developed very well (it's come to the point that she exists TO BE the Phoenix in every adaptation, or to be the object of Cyclops and Wolverine's fight, without really doing much)

****but anyway, this episode 20 last week was great, because up until now Cyclops did indeed seem like this moping emo guy, bereaved that Jean was gone, but now you see in JUST ONE EPISODE focusing on Cyclops that:

1-we see things from Cyclops' point of view for an entire episode for a change, where before he was the moping guy on the edge of the story; in flashback seeing events from his perspective makes you actually sympathize with his position, and ***AND see him as this actually heroic noble guy who overcame a lot of hardship in his life

2-by the end of the episode, Cyclops "gets back in the saddle" again: the whole thing WITHIN the narrative was that Emma Frost was telepathically replaying his memories and he was watching them, and he told her to basically hit the "slow down" button on his memory of the "explosion" that made Jean disappear (and the Professor disappear for a year and end up in a coma).......and by the end of the episode they've finally figured out that what happened was that Jean turned into the Phoenix and probably isn't dead....anyway this is all to do with the finale arc, but my point is that ***Cyclops doesn't stay "the moping guy" stereotypically like in episode 1, by the end of the season they've got this amazing flashback episode seen from his perspective that makes him seem....basically exactly like the comic books original version in tone, and then realizes Jean isn't dead, and he gets back into "active" mode again...
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Old September 22 2009, 02:46 AM   #5
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

Eh, the flashback episode basically establishes him as always having been a bumbling whiner who needed Professor X constantly handholding him and finally a codependent relationship with Jean to be any good. And he dishonourably shoots Logan in the back.

I enjoyed the series overall. It had a solidly-executed overarching plot, and delivered good versions of Wolverine, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler (easily the best character in the show), Scarlet Witch, Magneto, Angel, and Professor X. The rest of the team is pretty much just there, though, especially Storm, poor dear, who's basically an extra. There's a lot of things they could do better, though, and Cyclops is one of them (another one is actually rendering them as a team rather than Wolverine and the odd teammate who goes on a mission with him most of the time).

My favourite episodes were the Nightcrawler ones, the one where Gambit tries to steal Magneto's helmet, and the Archangel one.
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Old September 22 2009, 02:46 AM   #6
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

My thoughts on the show? It's pretty good, but far from perfect. I do like the story arc and the sophistication, and it's an interesting take on the mythos. However, I do think there's too much emphasis on Wolverine. There have been at least two episodes that have been Wolverine solo stories or nearly so, and few of the other characters (other than Xavier in the future) have gotten that kind of focus. And Steve Blum is too bland a Wolverine, without the intensity his predecessors Cal Dodd and Scott McNeill brought to the role.

Mixed feelings on the character designs. Kitty is very attractive with her hair down; Wanda is gorgeous; but I don't care for this Storm. Wolverine's big triangular muttonchops are silly. Beast's design here is much better than X-Men Evolution's version, probably due to the Kelsey Grammer influence. My main problem with the character design is that the average female bust size is ridiculously large. Aside from Kitty and one or two other young characters, it seems every woman in the show's universe is at least a D cup, which is ludicrous and sexist.

As for the animation quality, I recently caught up on XME again, and this show's animation, while workmanlike, is a major step down from that show, which was one of the best-animated TV shows ever, even though its writing was a lot weaker. I wish this show could've been made with something closer to the look and quality of XME's animation.
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Old September 22 2009, 03:08 AM   #7
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

I was initially a little put off by the "Wolverine and", but the show really worked for the most part. I loved that so many different characters make an appearance (BLINK whoot), but the main thing I liked about the series was the absence of Jean Grey.

Thus removing the Jean/Scott relationship from the show and then the whole Logan thrown in at times thing. But I have ALWAYS hated how melodramatic Jean/Scott is. I loved that the series just jumped past it. I really thought we were going to get the Emma/Scott relationship that the comics eventually went to which I personally love. I was never a big fan of Scott because of how much the Jean/Scott thing grated on me.

It wasn't until the late 90s or whenever the switch finally happened when Jean stayed dead and he moved on to Emma that I finally was able to give the character a chance and then Joss Whedon's writing of him in Astonishing finally won me over. So to have this series say we're going to have that version of Scott start to be created from the first episode I was extremely happy.

Then we got the conclusion to S1 and umm yah... Thumbs down to that. Other then that I really enjoyed the show, some of the changes aren't bad and while I would like to see more violence then what they're able to show Wolverine do, I can deal with that aspect.

I'm kind of worried about S2 because of what I just said about the ending of S1 and that if Jean is back it'll be a suckfest of drama.
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Old September 22 2009, 03:15 AM   #8
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

I like the program. I haven't read any of the X-MEN titles in years. When it comes to the comic books today, I really wouldn't know where to jump on. But the animated show is reasonably newbie-friendly. I already knew the main characters (Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Jean, Angel, Beast, Nightcrawler and Wolverine). I only had to do a little research on the unfamiliar ones (like Bishop and Gambit).

Question: In the show, have Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch joined the Avengers yet?
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Old September 22 2009, 03:33 AM   #9
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

Everyone's talking about the season as though it's over. Did I miss something? The last episode I saw was not the season finale. I think it was episode 21, if the Scott-flashback episode was number 20.

Bad Bishop wrote: View Post
Question: In the show, have Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch joined the Avengers yet?
No, they're both on Magneto's side here.
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Old September 22 2009, 05:20 AM   #10
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

Bad Bishop wrote: View Post
Question: In the show, have Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch joined the Avengers yet?
There's no mention of the Avengers here. Quicksilver's a member of the Brotherhood, Wanda was one of the Acolytes/Genoshan government types until the finale.
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Old September 22 2009, 05:42 AM   #11
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
Bad Bishop wrote: View Post
Question: In the show, have Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch joined the Avengers yet?
There's no mention of the Avengers here. Quicksilver's a member of the Brotherhood, Wanda was one of the Acolytes/Genoshan government types until the finale.
Then would they be unlikely future Avengers, given their history on the show?
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Old September 22 2009, 05:56 AM   #12
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

The only non-X Men "heroes" seen are Nick Fury and the Hulk, at least up to episode 20. Fury also appears on IRON MAN (The Unwatchable) Armored Adventures, you know where Iron Man is a teenager, whose teenage life will never be the same, cuz being a teenager is totally lame! He's I-urn...TEEN...uh, Man!


Forge strikes me as odd, but I was never familiar with the character. I recall he once made Storm lose her powers in the comics for quite some time (Marvel's victimizing its heroines!).


V wrote:
we even see that his parents died in an airplane accident in Alaska which orphaned him and put him in a coma for 2 years,
And little Scott gets right up out of bed. He'd need lots of physical therapy. Or maybe he's some kinda mutant.
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Old September 22 2009, 06:21 PM   #13
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

MeanJoePhaser wrote: View Post


V wrote:
we even see that his parents died in an airplane accident in Alaska which orphaned him and put him in a coma for 2 years,
And little Scott gets right up out of bed. He'd need lots of physical therapy. Or maybe he's some kinda mutant.
eh...I chalk that up to adrenaline; he does fall down as soon as he tries to walk.

Either way, is it too much to hope for a long-running, essentially open-ended X-Men cartoon show? (mirroring how the comics are open-ended)
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Old September 22 2009, 06:26 PM   #14
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

Bad Bishop wrote: View Post

Question: In the show, have Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch joined the Avengers yet?
1 - In WXM - Magneto's Acolytes are his direct followers from Genosha...their relationship with the Brotherhood is vague/complicated, but loosely the Brotherhood are mutants *in* the USA already who indirectly follow Magneto's agenda so he doesn't have liability, and are kind of sucking up in the hopes of becoming Acolytes.

2- In the comics - About 5 years ago, Scarlett Witch basically psychic-nuked the world when she realized her children were nothing but the a fantasy produced by her reality-warping powers. This resulted in her first making a new reality where Magneto ruled supreme, but Wolverine remembered the old reality (the flip side of rewriting reality was that because Wolverine had no memories of his past originally, rewriting the world accidentlly just gave him his *original* memories back)....ultimately, they manage to stop her and loosely return things to "normal" (in the sense that instead of reality being rewritten 30 years ago and its an alternate timeline, at least now its the present-day again)....however, she then Depowered all of the millions of mutants in the world in an event called "M-Day"...all except for under 200 mutants who are left. Following The Decimation, mutants are in danger of going extinct within a generation or two (when 10 years ago, they said that in 7 generations mutants would be the dominant life form on the planet)

Meanwhile, Cyclops' long-lost "3rd Summers brother" finally appeared; turns out his mother was pregnant when D'Ken killed her, and they put the fetus in a maturation chamber and he was a Shi'ar slave for years. Then they said the whole story on Krakatoa with the 2nd set of X-Men from the 1970's was actually a retcon; many mutants died in the incident so Xavier wiped everyone's mind, including that Scott's other brother had returned. Years later, through a complicated set of events, the other brother - Vulcan - ends up absorbing ALL of the energy of the depowered mutants ("energy can't be destroyed it has to go somewhere")........he then promptly declared a one-man war against the Shi'ar Empire, and using his demigod-like power many Shi'ar ships and systems gradualy swore allegiance to him. Vulcan then woke up D'Ken himself (who has been in a coma since the Dark Phoenix Saga decades ago) only to then kill him, exacting revenge for his parents. So D'Ken is finally dead. Scott's long-lost other brother is now emperor of the Shi'ar, and is staging a war of galactic conquest against the Skrulls, Kree, and Inhumans. The Skrulls tried to invade Earth with sleeper cells (***they did actually bother to start this storyline 3 years or so in advance, dropping hints that major characters were actually Skrull shapeshifter replacements for a long time)

Now, Captain America was finally killed by Red Skull on the steps of the US Supreme Court at the end of "Civil War", a "superhero registration act" was passed (which would have been insane with millions of mutants around, but with only 200 left they count as just "superheroes" not an ethnic group)........and Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn has ousted Tony Stark as leader of the pro-registration side (which won), and basically the Green Goblin is now Director of Homeland Security and consolidating his power.....further, he stole one of Iron Man's advanced constumes and painted it in the colors of the US flag like the dead Captain America's costume, and in this new guise has named himself the "Iron Patriot", and now the US public is zealously giving him fascistic powers to stamp out all the superheroes who haven't submitted to his rule....i.e. "The Avengers" now are a group approved *by* Osborn and have basically turned into his Stormtroopers.


at least, it cut down on the expanding roster of useless characters

****Did they ever explain how Polaris is ALSO Magneto's daughter?
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Last edited by V; September 22 2009 at 06:38 PM.
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Old September 22 2009, 06:42 PM   #15
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Re: Your thoughts on "Wolverine and the X-Men"?

V wrote: View Post
Like many, I was afraid upon watching the trailers for it that "Wolverine and the X-Men" was a shameless attempt to make a Wolverine-centric X-Men show when the comics are an ensemble cast

After about 3-4 episodes, I assure you, you'll be totally won over.
{snip}
Seriously, is there anyone here who never gave this show a chance?
That would be me. I don't think it even occurred to me to watch this show.

Now that I think about it (cos you made me think), it's probably because as far as the comics are concerned, I don't "like" Wolverine too much. He's over-used and over-lionized. Often it's done at the cost of other characters - Beast (who I like a great deal) often gets the raw end of this. (eg. Beast has been written out of the Ultimate X-men since Vol 8 of the trades and we are at vol 20 or so now).

Also, for some reason, I mentally assumed this was aimed at kids. Small kids. I quite liked X-men Evolution too - with all it's teen-school angst but I thought this was going to be aimed even more "low-er" in age group than that.

I have watched some episodes of x-men evolution and the 90's x-men cartoon on the marvel.com website but always skipped/ignored the Wolverine and the X-men eps.

Now that you've given such a positive review, I will definitely check it out.

Christopher wrote: View Post
{snip}
the average female bust size is ridiculously large. Aside from Kitty and one or two other young characters, it seems every woman in the show's universe is at least a D cup...
Oh, now I absolutely have to watch it.

Christopher wrote: View Post
which is ludicrous and sexist.
Right. "Think clean thoughts, chum!" and all that...
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