Wednesday, April 24, 2013

X-MEN Episode Twenty-One - December 18, 1993

Time Fugitives (Part 2)
Written by Elliott Maggin

Summary:  Cable time travels to the present and faces Bishop and the X-Men.  While recuperating from his battle with the team, Cable studies profiles of the X-Men and discovers Wolverine’s healing factor.  Later, he kidnaps Wolverine and puts him in position to be infected by Apocalypse’s virus.  Wolverine’s healing factor creates the antibodies needed to end the plague, allowing Cable and Bishop’s timelines to exist.  Cable returns home and is reunited with his son.

Continuity Notes: 
  • Cable’s son Tyler appears as a little boy.  Sadly, the cartoon’s audience never experienced Tyler’s evolution into such fantastic characters as Mr. Tolliver and Genesis.
  • After Jean Grey reads Cable’s mind, she strongly hints that he is Cyclops’ son (and presumably her child also, assuming that Madelyne Pryor doesn’t exist in this world).
  • Even though the animators know that Cable is Nathan Summers, they’re still running with the idea that Cable has cybernetic implants, as opposed to being infected with the T-O Virus.  His mechanical eye works like the Terminator’s, and he even repairs his metal arm, remarking “Good as the day it was made...”

Review:  Not surprisingly, Cable isn’t allowed to permit the spread of a horrifying plague throughout the world.  He comes up with a solution to his dilemma, and it’s a fairly obvious one the comics never bothered to explore during the protracted Legacy Virus storyline.  When a letter writer finally asked why the X-Men didn’t infect Wolverine with the Legacy Virus in order to develop antibodies for a cure, the editorial response amounted to nothing more than “Maybe it would work, but would you risk your friend’s life like this?”  Not exactly the most heroic response.

Even though the solution is the kind of harmless one you often find on Saturday Morning TV, the episode still has its moments.  Maggin has a nice handle on Cable’s one-liners, still keeping him as a fairly grounded character in spite of his retconned status as future savior.  (Thankfully, he never exclaims “Oath!”)  And I’m sure the audience of the day got a kick out of the extended Bishop and Cable fight, which is about as ‘90s as the show ever gets.  The time travel element is also used fairly well, as the viewer gets to see the events of the previous episode skewed by the arrival of Cable.  And I’m sure Saban didn’t mind saving a few thousand dollars by recycling around three minutes of footage from the last episode.

Credit to for the screencaps.


Matt said...

Cable transporting back to re-write the previous week's episode seemed kind of high-concept for a Saturday morning cartoon at this time. I was impressed with the idea.

j said...

I had no idea that elliot maggin wrote episodes of the 90s xmen cartoon

Teebore said...

the editorial response amounted to nothing more than “Maybe it would work, but would you risk your friend’s life like this?”

I seem to recall reading something about how Wolverine's healing factor wouldn't cure the virus because one of the things it did was feed on mutant powers, causing them to eventually burn out.

I can't remember if that was in-story or an editorial comment, or just wishful thinking on my part. Even it did come from someone involved with the books, it's certainly hand-waving of the first order, but it's not surprising given how long that storyline dragged out and how many permutations it went through...

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