In the early 1990s, when Marvel’s X-Men comics were at the peak of their popularity, Marvel Entertainment finally produced an animated series based on their wildly successful mutant superheroes. Cartoons, in general, were gong through a renaissance. Steven Spielberg attached his name to Tiny Toons, attempting to recapture the lunacy of the old Warner Brothers shorts, while Bruce Timm and Paul Dini were taking on the Batman legacy with their classic Batman: The Animated Series. Marvel’s X-Men may never have been on the same level artistically as those two shows, but it was influential in its storytelling and the way it managed to incorporate the nearly 30 year legacy of the X-Men comic books into a single series. Moreover, despite the clunky animation and some questionable voice over casting, X-Men is solid, fun entertainment for kids and adults alike, with themes of tolerance, loyalty and family that don’t get to preachy.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment has just released what they dubbed the Marvel Comic Book Collection. X-men Volume 1 and Volume 2 each have 2 discs each and contain the first 33 episodes in order from seasons 1 and 2 and the first 7 episodes from season 3.
When creating this particular series, it was apparent that the producers had a specific approach: Keep the X-Men team simple, with no more than 8 characters. That may seem like a lot, but considering that there are too many X-Men related characters in the Marvel Universe to count, this was a wise decision. They opted with the popular characters of the time: Cyclops, the pensive leader who shoots optic rays out of his eyes; Jean Grey, a beautiful and powerful telekinetic; Wolverine, (the most popular character then and now), a savage with claws in his hands; Gambit, a reformed Cajun thief with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy; Rogue, a southern misfit who is seemingly indestructible and can absorb other peoples’ powers; Beast, a brilliant scientist trapped in a furry blue body; Storm, a stunning weather goddess from Africa; and Jubilee, a teenage girl just learning to use her mutant ability. With a smaller group it allowed the viewer to get attached to the characters on an emotional level. Continue reading