X-Men 97 Ep 1 and 2 Review - BETTER than expected

Published: 24th March 2024, by Andrew Radbourne.

My musings on the first 2 episodes of X-Men '97: Disney Marvel's relaunch of the original X-Men animated series

Greetings everyone,

Recently, I decided to indulge in viewing X-Men '97, given my admiration for the original animated show. Although I never had the opportunity to watch the entire series back then, I have a sense of nostalgia for it and perhaps, I should consider revisiting it on Disney+.

the poster for x-men 97 featuring cyclops storm jean grey beast wolverine rogue jubilee  bishop gambit and morph
X-Men 97 roster
As an avid reader of the comics, I'v read most of the editions before the new X-Men in reprint. I started my collection with issue 162 and have since then managed to acquire all the back issues. Therefore, I was somewhat apprehensive about how this new series would pan out, especially with the usual "modern audience" talking points from Disney/Marvel and the unexpected reappearance of Morph.

To start with, the new rendition of the theme tune was disappointing. It seemed like an unnecessary update that was forced and lacked authenticity. The first episode didn't exactly captivate me, but to be fair, the same was true for the original series. The episode was loaded with exposition, which, while necessary for new viewers, felt superfluous for someone familiar with the X-Men universe.

However, the second episode substantially improved, with an increased sense of danger and threat. It also had a couple of inspiring speeches that conveyed the classic moral battle of good versus evil, setting up some potentially intriguing dynamics for future episodes.

The series borrows from the original comic book stories, adding its unique twist. For instance, episode 2 echoes issue 200. The animation quality is commendable, hearkening back to the original series while showcasing a polished look.

Morph's reintroduction was a move to incorporate modern ideologies, using a relatively unknown character. However, his presence disrupts the group dynamics, and each transformation into a classic X-man leaves one longing for that original character. How they will tackle the gender issue will be interesting as the only way is usually clunkily head on.

Disney plus x-men 97 featuring cyclops storm jean grey beast wolverine rogue jubilee  bishop gambit and morph
The X-Men in action
The voice acting was a mixed bag, with Rogue's voice resembling an abrasive Harley Quinn rather than the character we know and love. Interestingly though not unsurprisingly, Bishop, who is Australian Aboriginal in the comics, is once again portrayed as African American, adding a touch of irony as the series leans heavily on racial analogies.

Despite various opinions, the X-Men weren't initially created to represent racial issues, but the analogy does fit among many others. I plan to continue watching to see how the series evolves. While it's not a must-watch, the second episode piqued my interest enough to keep watching.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the series. Did it give you a dose of nostalgia or just make you want to watch the original instead?
Peace out!
I'm giving this a score of 6
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