Monday, January 28, 2013

X-MEN Episode Seventeen - November 13, 1993



Red Dawn
Written by Francis Moss & Ted Pedersen

Summary:  Omega Red is resuscitated by a group of Communist generals determined to rebuild the USSR.  Colossus seeks the X-Men’s help, but finds only Jubilee is home.  She travels with him to Russia, leaving a note behind for the others.  Wolverine soon arrives to aid Colossus, revealing that he faced Omega Red during the Cold War.  When Storm and Rogue finally arrive, Omega Red is defeated when Storm uses her powers to force him into another cryogenic sleep.  The Russian mutant Darkstar places the generals in custody, and Colossus returns home with his sister.  Meanwhile, Xavier and Magneto evade dinosaurs in the Savage Land.

Continuity Notes
  • Presumably, Rogue and Storm are returning from Africa, following the previous episode.
  • An image of Captain America appears on a video monitor during the flashback to Omega Red’s creation, hinting at Omega Red’s comic book origin (he was Russia’s response to America’s super-soldier program).  Later, Maverick is shown fighting alongside Wolverine during his first encounter with Omega Red.
  • The producers clearly used Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert’s storyline from X-Men #17-19 for inspiration.  Not only do the armored soldiers (the ones that killed Colossus’ parents) appear, but Jubilee is wearing the same jacket and snowsuit in the episode that she wore in the comics.  Plus, Darkstar appears in both stories, as she’s obligated to do any time mutant heroes visit Russia.

Saban Quality:  Wolverine is wearing his current costume during his flashback to his days as a Cold War secret agent.  He’s even wearing his “X” belt buckle, decades before the X-Men are actually formed.

"Actiiing!":  Storm, as she attacks Omega Red:  “Forces of nature’s cold – FREEZE!!!”  The way Colossus continues to pronounce “my family” and “Illyana” has always cracked me up, as well.

Approved By Broadcast Standards:  The tanks the generals send to conquer Colossus’ town shoot laser blasts instead of mortar shells.

“Huh?” Moment:  Jubilee’s firecracker powers somehow manage to effortlessly remove anti-mutant graffiti from the walls of a convenience store.

I Love the '90s:  Colossus refers to Russia as his “newly-freed homeland.”

Review:  After hinting at Omega Red’s existence twice, viewers finally discover who the pale steroid-freak with unbelievable hair is supposed to be.  (They’ll have to wait a few years for Maverick to make a real appearance, while Deadpool remains a vague mystery figure.)  Colossus also returns, teasing fans of the comic yet again that he might join the X-Men, even though the producers apparently had no interest in ever altering the cast of the show.  I’ve stated before that Colossus’ voice acting is a major drag on his appearances, but there are a few entertaining moments between him and Jubilee this episode.  I assume the story is structured so that Colossus only meets Jubilee in the beginning simply to force her to fly a jet to Russia by herself.  It’s a silly gag, but I liked it.

Omega Red’s first appearance in the comics was notable because it also introduced one of the very first flashbacks to Wolverine’s past, an angle this episode curiously chooses to gloss over.  Without the Team X material, the basic story of Omega Red is pretty tame.  He has no personality traits outside of “evil” and doesn’t create much of a conflict for the team.  At the time, however, simply seeing Omega Red on television felt exciting.  This was a character, less than two years old, that would never be on an obvious list of villains to appear on an X-Men animated series.  If the producers were willing to use Omega Red, then surely any character from the canon could appear.  Not necessarily in good stories, mind you, but the unpredictability was a lot of fun.  

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

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always liked this episode a lot because I really liked Omega Red. not that they did the best job with him in this episode, but just having him in it got this episode some extra brownie points with me.

Benny l said...

ya man reds a powerhouse, the cold wars attempt at wolverine haha! wolverineclassified.blogspot.com! cheers!

Teebore said...

Not necessarily in good stories, mind you, but the unpredictability was a lot of fun.

Ha! Well said.

The whole Omega Red/Team X story came out just as I was first getting into comics, so I always felt a certain connection to Omega Red back in the day because he felt like one of "my" villains instead of the classic ones that had been around forever.

Agreed as well that divorced from the hints at Wolverne's past, there's not a whole lot to him. Dusting him off to occasionally serve as a generic heavy (like in the X-Men (vol. 2) story this episode is referencing) is fine, but centering a story around him (as in this episode) doesn't quite work.

yrzhe said...

"This was a character, less than two years old, that would never be on an obvious list of villains to appear on an X-Men animated series."

Maybe it's just me, but as a kid at the time, I remember Omega Red being really popular, so he seemed like a logical choice to be used in the cartoon.

Had the Capcom fighting game come out yet when this season aired? I believe that also had Omega Red as a playable character.

Dan Lichtenberg said...

Omega Red didn't really do squat for the remainder of the 90's, did he? He was down there with Stryfe and Exodus, villains who blew their wad pretty early.

Omega Red appeared in both the original Capcom X-Men fighting game and the SNES X-Men game in 1994, so it wasn't long after this.

Teebore said...

Omega Red didn't really do squat for the remainder of the 90's, did he? He was down there with Stryfe and Exodus, villains who blew their wad pretty early.

Yeah, he really didn't amount to much. His debut story, the one w/Colossus in Russia, the Cable/Acolytes arc, and that's about it. Just occasional generic thuggery since then, I think.

Dan Lichtenberg said...

They also tried tying him to Banshee in Generation X. Actually a cool little story, if I remember. Never remember it coming up again, though, even in that title.

Harry Sewalski said...

The tanks the generals send to conquer Colossus’ town shoot laser blasts instead of mortar shells.

Wait, tanks aren't supposed to shoot lasers?!

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