I’ve got some sad news for you, something that may come as something of a shock. The cartoons you and I loved growing up, shows like G.I. Joe or Thundercats or even Transformers, they don’t hold up. I’ll give you a minute to process that shocking information.
Now I know you may have read that last statement and thought to yourself, “Andy Burns, you don’t know what you’re talking about! G.I. Joe still rocks!”. Well, here’s the thing. It may still rock, I’ll give you that, but I can promise you that it’s not nearly as good as you or I remember it to be. Watching G.I. Joe today may give use that sense of nostalgia that all our past loves still emit, but it just isn’t the same as when we were watching those shows after school.
Now the 90’s, they served us better. For proof you need not look further than Batman: The Animated Series. It was timeless even back during its initial run, and remains so to this day. Even the 90’s incarnations of some of the Marvel cartoons like Spider-Man and the X-Men are still worth watching, seeing as how they were clearly influenced by their comic book beginnings.
Speaking of X-Men, they’re what bring us to the party today. I’m a long time fan of the comic book series, though I do find myself going back and forth on picking up runs. As for the films, I’ve enjoyed all of them for the most part, though I think that the first one is actually the most flawed of the three (yes, I think X-men: The Last Stand is a better overall film. It never lets up and things of consequence actually occur). Even still, I have to say that in my opinion, the greatest non-comic incarnation of the X-Men hasn’t come with the live-action films, but with their most recent animated series, Wolverine and The X-Men.
Wolverine and The X-Men has been on television for the better part of the year, but it was recently released in a complete 5 disc Season 1 set, which is what I’d been waiting on. It had been a long time since I’d enjoyed animated X-Men. As mentioned, the 90’s series still has its moments, but I had absolutely no interest in the X-Men: Evolution series from a few years back, which seemed a little too 9021X to me.
With some popcorn beside me, last I night I put on Disc 1 of Wolverine and The X-Men and set out to watch Hindsight, the 3 episode arc that kick of the series. Man, was it impressive. If the powers that be at Fox want to figure out how to kickstart the live action film franchise once again, the blueprint is right there a little over 70 minutes of tight storytelling. The set-up is simple. The X-Men are living their usual lives when an explosion occurs at the X-Mansion. Fast forward one year and the Professor Xavier is missing and the X-Men are no more, leaving Wolverine a reluctant leader charged with the task of putting the mutant’s world back together while saving ours.
Simple. Concise. And totally compelling. Established characters like Beast, Kitty Pryde, and Emma Frost act how one would expect them to, and the ones that don’t seem to have good reason to. The voice acting is excellent, the animation is superb, and the creative team includes top notch talent like former Batman: The Animated Series director Boyd Kirkland and writer Craig Kyle, one of the architects of the Marvel Mutant crossover Messiah Complex. In fact, it’s the writing that really helps make Wolverine and The X-Men worth any fan’s time. The dialogue is strong (love the Star Wars references) while the storyline is clever and intriguing – it won’t go over a kids head, but it will also keep an older viewer watching, wondering where are favourite mutants will go next.
I’m looking forward to making my way through Season 1 of Wolverine and The X-Men. I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to it again and again.
Unlike Thundercats. Sorry, Lion-o.