Ahhh the X-Men Animated Series, so many great memories of watching the show as a kid and like a lot of people from my generation it’s what got me into the comics. It’s also unfortunately what started my love affair with Gambit which is painful because he’s been treated so terribly by writers in the comics over the years!. Anyway who can forget Wolverine slicing and dicing, Jean and Cyclops boring everyone with their lifeless romance, Beast wowing the world with his intellect and of course Gambit and Rogue’s much more interesting romance. It isn’t as fondly remembered as the Batman series from the same year which is fair enough but it still brought a lot of entertainment and for fans of the comics there are loads of stories adapted well for a cartoon. So let’s see which episodes make the cut shall we!.
25. Longshot-Season 5 Episode 5
Longshot is one of the weirder characters in the X-Men world and that’s saying something. A tv star from a parallel dimension who leads a rebellion against Mojo, ruler of his world who has turned everything into a game show. Longshot had powers of good luck when he is acting with a pure heart and is seemingly caught in an eternal struggle against Mojo. This is a concept that actually probably works better on a tv show than the comics as it’s parodying tv anyway. There’s lots of crazy fun to be had in this episode and it’s something a little different as Longshot stumbles into our world, hunted by Mojo. Jubilee finds him and vows to help him.
24. Beauty And The Beast-Season 2 Episode 10
I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of Beast…there I said it. When he’s written well and used as a sympathetic character I can get on board but normally in the comics he’s written in a way that just doesn’t connect with me at all. Here though we have a beauty and beast style story (obviously) and I love those kinds of stories. Beast falls in love with a lady named Carly when she comes in as his patient. The two strike up a relationship of sorts but her father is furiously anti mutant and angrily disapproves of his daughter seeing a “mutie”. Things change when The Friends Of Humanity kidnap Carly and he needs help getting her back.
23. The Unstoppable Juggernaut-Season 1 Episode 8
The X-Men return to the mansion to find it in ruins. They set out to find the culprit and stumble upon a construction site with workers complaining of a huge foreign mutant doing all the heavy lifting himself. It turns out their lead suspect is the Russian mutant Colossus. After being attacked by Wolverine he pleads his innocence and Wolvie believes him. It turns out the culprit is none other than Juggernaut in his first appearance. The behemoth reveals he’s not a mutant and his powers are magical and has a massive rumble with several members of the X-men including a scene where he and Colossus just lob cars at each other. suitably epic entrance to two fan favourite characters.
22. Jubilee’s Fairytale Theatre-Season 5 Episode 9
Uh oh! One of the most hated episodes of the entire series makes the list because….I knida like it. Even though my boy Gambit gets a horrible redesign and an even worse change in voice actor he’s not in it enough to make me mad. Jubilee is leading a group of mutant kids on a field trip in the underground area of the mansion. An earthquake causes a cave in and the kids are trapped along with Jubes. She decides to tell them stories to keep them occupied and we start off learning about a handsome prince and his love Jean who are terrorised by the master of metal, Magnus. Yea, you know what’s going on here and it’s a fun spin on the characters and an episode that stands out.
21. A Deal With The Devil-Season 5 Episode 3
YEA BOOOIIIII IT’S OMEGA RED!. A totally underused and underrated character. Maybe I’m a little biased as when I first got into the X-Men he was the new hip villain in town created by Jim Lee and John Byrne near the start of the early 90s relaunch of the comic series. A Russian serial killer turned super soldier, Omega Red is a visually interesting (in that 90s excess kind of way) who can produce spores that emanate from his body killing or incapacitating almost anything they touch. This is his second appearance after a couple of season’s break and in this one he is thawed out and demanded to retrieve a disabled nuke under the sea. He insists that Wolverine and Storm accompany him….what could go wrong?.
20. Love In Vain-Season 4 Episode 14
An interesting episode for Rogue fans as it brings a very important character from her past back into the limelight. When Rogue discovered her powers as a teenager it was at the cost of her boyfriend Cody who was sent into a coma by their first kiss. Now, the episode has so many questionable parts to it that it really isn’t well written but I love the whole back story to Rogue so it was neat to see them delve into it. Cody comes across as incredibly rapey and for her to be beguiled by him is crazy….especially when you find out his plan. Also, poor swamp rat Gambit….what about him?!. There’s also a meh subplot with Wolverine taking on the Brood.
19. Nightcrawler-Season 3 Episode 14
Well then….this is one of those episodes that is just completely batshit insane. Right from the off we are in a gothic, creepy medieval European city and….oh no wait it’s the writer’s depiction of mid 90s Germany….So we meet fan favourite mutant Nightcrawler but before that nonsense let’s look at the subplot that sees Rogue, Gambit and Wolverine go to the Alps on a skiing trip!. Gambit is trying to get his hole as usual and Wolverine is acting as the constant cockblocker. Seeing the X-Men in 90s ski clothing is just hilarious but anyway let’s get back to the meat of the story. We find him as he is being chased by medieval 90s German villagers with pitchforks and torches due to his demonic look. He ends up saving Rogue from trouble and convinces our heroes he’s one of them. Friendship ensues and it’s all lovely and we learn not to judge by looks.
18.Out Of The Past-Season 3 Episode 1
We open with a chase scene as Leech from The Morlocks is being hunted by The Reavers and we find out it’s because he stole something from their leader. Who is this leader you may ask? Well reader here we have the epic, gross intro of Lady Deathstrike as she slowly appears through a waterfall of green sewer sludge. This is also the episode that adds a huge bit of fan service, particularly for the ladies as a much talked about shirtless basketball scene ripped straight from the comics takes place with Wolvie and Gambit going at it (Jubilee is there too but doesn’t do much). We see some flashbacks of Wolverine and ex lover Yuriko and his emotions get him into hot water as usual. It’s a two parter with the second half dealing with an alien gas known as The Spirit Drinker is set loose but the first part is much better.
17.Red Dawn-Season 2 Episode 4
Omega Red is back on the list baby! This is actually his introduction to the series and it’s a cracker. This episode sees corrupt Ruskie generals resurrect him in an attempt to take control of the country. Colossus fears for his beloved homeland and travels to America to seek the help of his new pals.
16. The Final Decision-Season 1 Episode 13
The last episode of the first series definitely brings the epic with a lot of previous episodes building to this. Magneto actually teams up with the X-Men to take on a threat to mutankind with the Sentinels on the rampage and Master Mold planning to replace Senator Kelly’s brain with a computer. Kelly changes his mind on his fiercely anti-mutant political agenda when they save him. It’s nice to see that all it took was for a group of mutants to save his life before he realised they deserve the same rights…….lovely man.
15. The Phoenix Saga-Season 3 Episodes 3-7
A big ol’ epic five parter that takes on probably the most famous and popular (not my favourite) story in X-Men history. Chris Claremont’s tale of Jean Grey’s possession by the insanely powerful phoenix force and ultimately her sacrifice. There’s a lot of Shi’ar alien stuff that leads to the discovery of Phoenix that I could do without but the heart of the episode and the genuinely emotional moments make up for it. It actually continues later on in The Dark Phoenix Saga so if you watch this and wonder why it doesn’t end the same way as the comics….be patient. Plus there are some great Gambit bits with him going to a movie with Jubilee and hitting on everyone which is always going to be fun….until the last episode when it looks like everyone is going to die then it gets rather emotional.
14. Come The Apocalypse-Season 1 Episode 10
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Apocalypse as a character in the comics or the show which is a shame as he looks totally badarse which always suckers me in. It’s always about which characters he’s going to turn into his horsemen blah blah blah. I’m just bitter because in the comics, during a particularly brutal time for Gambit he was turned into Death by Apocalypse. Anyway there’s no real difference with this story but it actually works. This acts as a pseudo sequel to “The Cure” in which mutants are lured to Muir Island (Scotland represent) with the promise of a cure but they are tricked into becoming Apocalypse’s horsemen. One of those people is Angel.
13. Bloodlines-Season 5 Episode 6
A Nightcrawler episode which means loads of depressing themes like racism (a standard for X-Men) abandonment, judgemental behaviour, religion etc and this one is particularly grim. Our blue, teleporting hero gets a message that his birth mother, who gave him up when he was a baby, is in trouble and needs help. He sets out to find her and finds out that it’s none other than another blue member of the X-World…..MYSTIQUE. That means he has a connection to Rogue as she is the adoptive daughter of Mystique. It’s an emotional episode and a very solid one.
12.A Rogue’s Tale-Season 2 Episode 9
Rogue was definitely one of the standout stars of the show for me, along with her swamp rat love interest Gambit. That’s not just because Lenore Zann delivers one of the sexiest vocal performances in cartoon history but she’s a fun, strong and complex character. Much like in the comics she has a dark past and this episode delves into it. We also get to see a Marvel favourite in Ms Marvel who plays an important part in Rogue’s history. When she was adopted by Mystique, Rogue was led int a life of crime and villainy in her youth which culminated with her using her powers on Carol Danvers (Ms Marvel) which left her in a coma. Due to her absorbing powers, Rogue still has some of Danvers’ essence inside of her and needs the help of Jean Grey when that essence starts fighting back. It includes an interesting scene where Rogue visits the comatose Danvers in hospital.
11. Sanctuary-Season 4-Episode 6-7
Magneto has always been more than just a one dimensional evil villain. His tragic backstory gives loads of pathos and he and mutankind have been through makes it easy to sympathise with him. So here we get another episode ripped from the comics in which the master of magnetism relocates willing mutants to his very own asteroid in an attempt to give them a safe place to live in peace away from the constant war against humans. Their peace is short lived though as Fabien Cortez sells Magneto out and tricks him into being sent back into space in an escape pod as he takes control and fires missiles towards Earth. It turns out not everyone was on board with Magneto’s new peaceful ways. Also straight from the comics is Magneto kicking aboot in silky robes with his chest poking out. Sexy.
Ok that’s part one down so join me here for the top ten soon. Cheers x.