Monday, September 24, 2012

X-MEN Episode Nine - February 20, 1993



The Cure
Written by Mark Edward Edens

Summary: Cable ambushes Angel, who’s funded the work of Dr. Adler, a scientist who can allegedly neutralize mutant powers. Cable travels to Muir Island to confront Dr. Adler, just as Rogue arrives to research his treatment. She rescues Adler from Pyro and Avalanche, who have concocted a kidnapping scheme out of boredom. Unbeknownst to everyone, Mystique replaced the deceased Dr. Adler months earlier. When Cyclops and Jean Grey arrive to check on Rogue, they meet Dr. Adler just as Cable locates him. They stop Cable from harming him, and after Rogue uses her powers to rescue Jean, she decides to abandon the treatment. However, Angel agrees to the treatment, which pleases Mystique’s master, Apocalypse.

Continuity Notes:
· Moira MacTaggert makes her first appearance in the series. She’s providing lab space to the mysterious Dr. Adler on the Muir Island Research Centre.
· When exactly Dr. Adler died isn’t clear, but the implication is that Mystique killed him. (How she ended up a captive in Genosha during the period she was impersonating Dr. Adler isn’t explained.)
· Cable believes Dr. Adler is the creator of the power-inhibiting collars used by the Genoshan government, which coincides with a line in “Slave Island” referencing the collars as a creation of a scientist in Scotland.
· In the cartoon’s continuity, Angel has never met the X-Men before. This is later contradicted when various episodes flash back to the early days of the team and Angel is included in the group shots.
· Rogue’s history with Pyro and Avalanche has also been ignored, even though a second season episode will show them working together during her days with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At this point, only Pyro recognizes Mystique in her true form.
· Wolverine alludes to Gambit’s past as a thief when they get into an argument while rebuilding the mansion. He’s also the first to notice Rogue’s attraction to Gambit.

“Um, Actually…”: Obviously, Angel is a founding member of the X-Men, and Mystique’s true form is known to all of the former members of the Brotherhood. Mystique was never an obedient slave to Apocalypse in the comics, either.

Saban Quality: Xavier has a hilarious case of googly eyes when he speaks to the X-Men via satellite from Muir Island. I understand that time and budget concerns can prevent even egregious mistakes like this from being fixed, but what I don’t understand is why this embarrassing footage showed up yet again in the next episode’s “Previously…” opening. I would think this was the last bit of footage the producers would want to reuse.

Approved By Broadcast Standards: Angel gets shot twice in the opening sequence, once by Cable and once by his confused girlfriend. Both guns are laser blasters set on stun, of course.

Review: Hey, I said I was reviewing the series in broadcast order, not production order. And if you were a fan of the show in 1993, I hope you remember what it was like to hear Rogue blame “that ol’ boy Juggernaut” for destroying the mansion during the X-Men’s first appearance in the episode. “What?! JUGGERNAUT?!?!” was the only appropriate response from any fan of the comics who was paranoid he or she missed an episode. You couldn’t run to the internet, check IMDB, and then curse FOX for running the episodes out of order or Akom for not finishing the episode in time. You just had to sit there and contemplate how badly your VHS copy of the series would now be out of order.

"The Cure" is another solid script from Mark Edward Edens, even if it does bring us the first instance of the series flagrantly ignoring the established characterization of someone in order to hammer them into an existing plot. Mystique isn’t going to serve anyone as a slave, and even though the show does straighten out her characterization later on, it’s hard to ignore how badly her character’s been twisted in these opening episodes. What the episode does get right is the bizarre connection “Dr. Adler” manages to make with a varied cross-section of mutantkind. Everyone from Cable to Angel to Apocalypse appears in the story, yet it never feels cluttered and all of the characters have clearly defined motives. It’s also impressive that the episode’s able to resolve the dangling threads of “Slave Island” while also setting up the “Days of the Future Past” arc, and exist as a credible story independent of the ongoing continuity.

Cable is the highlight of the episode, as he brazenly travels the globe, just shooting anyone who he believes has a connection to the Genoshan slave collars. He’s willing to set his giant Liefeld gun on stun for Angel, but he clearly intends to kill Dr. Adler in the episode’s climax. Lawrence Bayne’s portrayal of Cable hits all of the deadpan notes, making it hard not to root for the guy. Edens’s script also creates a sympathetic portrayal of Rogue, touching on all of the beats the comic fans are already familiar with, but not in a hackneyed way. It’s also worth noting that the internal debate over mutants choosing to erase their powers is handled with the same level of thought that the third X-Men movie managed to produce, in one-fifth of the time and one-one thousandths of the budget.

So, what’s more galling than Mystique, the obedient slave? How about pastel Apocalypse?



Unfortunately, the color scheme of this show can still be unfathomable.


Credit to http://marvel.toonzone.net/xmen/ for the screencaps.

9 comments:

Matt said...

I actually liked Apocalypse's colors on the show. Mainly the purple parts, which I liked better than the black from the comics.

I get the impression that in the early episodes of this series, the intention was that this group of X-Men were the X-Men -- the first X-Men, and the only X-Men. It was only later that they apparently decided to revise that and say that there had been an "original" team. So we wind up with some of the continuity glitched that you mentioned.

wwk5d said...

"It’s also worth noting that the internal debate over mutants choosing to erase their powers is handled with the same level of thought that the third X-Men movie managed to produce"

Didn't Seagle also do a similar story with Rogue during his run on Uncanny?

Dan Lichtenberg said...

@Matt
I get the impression that in the early episodes of this series, the intention was that this group of X-Men were the X-Men -- the first X-Men, and the only X-Men. It was only later that they apparently decided to revise that and say that there had been an "original" team. So we wind up with some of the continuity glitched that you mentioned.

I agree. I remember wondering what the X-Men of this show did in the old days if they only met Magneto in the third episode (and having the 1991 incarnation be the first to face Magneto was just odd). Much later, they had revealed that Iceman was a founding member and apparently left before Wolverine joined as the two didn't know one another. And I thought the Angel stuff was ridiculous; there were at least two instances of flashbacks showing him as an original member, one of which showed footage of the 1960's team battling Magneto (which is even more stupid). The show was only a few seasons long, didn't they realize us nerds were at home noticing this shit? :)

As far as characters not recognizing Mystique, there was a flashback episode showing Rogue's origin (complete with Ms. Marvel) that implied Mystique was disguised as a normal woman the entire time she raised Rogue (and while working with Avalanche and Pyro). Not sure if that makes a difference as I honestly can't remember how all the episodes fit together.

And the Apocalypse from this show was a freaking hoot. His voice and dialogue was scary and completely ridiculous at the same time. Easily one of the best villains from the show.

Anonymous said...

wwwk5d-Yeah, there was a story in Uncanny by Seagle that used that plot as the premise.

Re:Apocalypse-You know, his look was always sort of problematic, even in the comic. He was more a Kirby throwback design, ala Galactus or the Celestials.
It's just hard to represent concepts like those characters do in artform, and adding purple to a colour scheme just doesn't help.
Don't get me wrong. I love every one of those characters and what they represent in the comics.

I shouldn't complain at all though. If it wasn't for some quick thinking by the creative team on X-Factor, we'd be dealing with the "unstoppable mutant Owl" instead.
The editor wanted to use Owl as the mystery villain during the story-arc that introduced Apocalypse.

Teebore said...

I was always a big X-Factor fan, largely because their back issues were easier to find/cheaper than the X-Men ones when I was first getting into the franchise, so I remember being really excited at the introduction of Apocalypse and the setup of Archangel.

As Dan says, this version of Apocalypse was pretty great - serious and laughably over the top at the same time. It's a tricky balance.

You just had to sit there and contemplate how badly your VHS copy of the series would now be out of order.

As someone who religiously taped this series (as well as stuff like The Simpsons) back in the day, that was me...

Dan Lichtenberg said...

@Teebore

I remember a great two parter with Bishop and Cable. Apocalypse had been in disguise as a mutant hater working with Graydon Creed. Cable sees through it and shoots him, making him reveal his true form. Creed is in shock and shouts, "You're a mutant!" to which Apocalypse says something like, "I am as far beyond mutants as they are beyond you."

Great stuff. Silly, yet so damn cool. If I recall, Apocalypse was actually kind of menacing in his early appearances (in spite of being purple) and got goofier as the show went on. He'd have these long monologues to himself about how eternal he was while while fighting the entire team of X-Men like they were buzzing flies. Made me laugh every time.

Sinister was well done too, but Apocalypse was easily the most fun. They went too far with Magneto's conflicted side and didn't make him menacing enough - there was no silver age Mags to be found here.

Matt said...

Dan -- "He'd have these long monologues to himself about how eternal he was while while fighting the entire team of X-Men like they were buzzing flies."

That's a pretty accurate adaptation of the source material, when you think about it! Did we ever see an episode where Wolverine had a monologue while in mid-leap?

Adam Farrar said...

Speaking of the memorable voices in this episode (Apocalypse and Cable) I can’t help but hear Rouge’s voice when I read “Dr. Adler.”

emisan said...

I actually thought The Cure story was handled much better and with more nuance in the cartoon than in the abysmal movie. In the show, Rogue chooses not to give up her powers because she realizes all of the good that she can do with them. It's selfless, yet undeniably tragic.

Compare that to the movie, where she readily gives up her powers for a boy. We never really see the internal conflict there. Instead, she essentially chooses to take the cure because that bitch Kitty Pryde is making moves on her man. Uggh.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...