Friday, April 26, 2013

X-MEN Episode Twenty-Two - January 8, 1994

A Rogue's Tale
Written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

Summary:  Mr. Sinister informs Mystique that Xavier has been separated from the X-Men.  Mystique schemes to lure Rogue away from the team and back to her.  Posing as a mysterious blonde woman, Mystique causes blocked memories from Rogue’s past to surface.  Eventually, Rogue realizes that the mystery woman is Ms. Marvel, a superhero Mystique forced Rogue to attack while under her guidance.  Rogue’s assault left Ms. Marvel in a coma, while Rogue gained her superpowers.  Inside Rogue’s mind, Ms. Marvel surfaces and fights back.  With Jean Grey’s help, Rogue is able to quiet Ms. Marvel’s consciousness.  Later, Rogue visits Ms. Marvel’s comatose body in the hospital.

Continuity Notes: 
  • Rogue’s redneck father is seen for the first time in flashbacks.  In the comics, her father was still unknown at this time.
  • Ms. Marvel’s body, as it exists in Rogue’s mind, appears in the rotted form Jim Lee designed in Uncanny X-Men #269.
  • The flashbacks show Mystique living under the form of an unassuming middle-aged woman while mentoring Rogue. 
  • Blob, Avalanche, and Pyro are shown as Rogue’s teammates in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in flashbacks.  Why she didn’t recognize them earlier is explained away by saying Xavier placed memory blocks in Rogue’s mind.  However, there’s no explanation for why the Brotherhood members failed to recognize Rogue back in the first season.
  • Storm’s attic/nursery is seen briefly for the first time, as Rogue slams her way through the floors of the X-Men’s mansion while she’s fighting off her memories.

“Um, Actually…”:  Mystique is shown with the ability to transform into a monster, which ignores the comics’ rule that she can only shapeshift into human forms.  (Although the comics would also abandon this rule in a few years.)  Also, Rogue is shown as a runaway who’s rescued by Mystique, as opposed to the original continuity in the comics that claimed Mystique (in her true form) raised Rogue essentially from birth.

“Huh?” Moment:  Blob is somehow able to absorb Wolverine’s admanatium claws into his rolls of fat.

"Actiiing!":  You hear a lot of screaming from Lenore Zann as Rogue in this episode.  A lot.

Review:  This is the first time the show tries to retrofit its continuity in order to match the comic books, which means fans of the comic actually get to see Rogue as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  The decision also fits into a general theme of season two, solo episodes on (almost) every X-Man that reveal new information about their pasts.  The producers probably could’ve developed an easier explanation for Rogue’s super-strength and flight powers, but as a purist, I’m glad they decided to introduce Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel into the series. 

I believe Ms. Marvel is the first non-mutant superhuman to appear on this show.  (Well, Mr. Sinister we later learned was not a mutant, but no one knew anything about Sinister at the time.  And the members of Alpha Flight were labeled mutants for simplicity’s sake, even though that isn’t accurate for most of them.)  There’s no effort to give her an origin, we only know that she’s a superhero that regularly faces the Brotherhood, but that’s all the audience really needs to know.  The struggle between Rogue and Carol for control of Rogue’s body is executed rather well, and as a fan of the late ‘80s X-Men, I was particularly glad to see a few scenes of Carol’s persona taking charge of Rogue’s body.  I’m probably biased since this was the status quo when I was first introduced to the character, but I’ve always liked the idea of Rogue and Carol existing simultaneously within Rogue, and the X-Men never knowing which persona might emerge.  The setup also folds Xavier’s disappearance into the plot in a smart way, although it’s slightly annoying that this is the third episode in a row that hasn’t tried to advance that subplot.

Credit to for the screencaps.

1 comment:

Teebore said...

The flashbacks show Mystique living under the form of an unassuming middle-aged woman while mentoring Rogue.

That's always cracked me up, even as a kid.

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