Phoenix Saga (Part 5): Child of Light
Written by Mark Edward Edens
Summary: D’Ken traps the X-Men inside the M’Kraan Crystal, where he is a god. Phoenix explains that the Crystal will consume all of existence and destroy the universe as we know it. D’Ken believes he’s triumphant until Phoenix expresses her full power. She frees the team and traps D’Ken inside the Crystal. Drawing energy from her teammates, Phoenix finds the strength to take the Crystal to the heart of the sun, where no one could ever disturb it. Realizing that she’s sacrificing her life, the X-Men say goodbye.
Continuity Notes: D’Ken’s actions cause chaos on Earth, leading to cameos by Sunfire, M’Jnari (the boy from episode sixteen), War Machine, Alpha Flight, and Spider-Man (or his hand, at least).
“Um, Actually…”: Phoenix doesn’t have a death scene in the conclusion of the original storyline in the comics. She draws upon her teammates’ life force in order to repair the damage done to the universe, then returns home with the X-Men. Her death scene comes years later in the conclusion of “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” which actually has a happy ending in the cartoon.
Saban Quality: When Storm stops a flood on Earth, her lips don’t move even though she has several lines of dialogue. Rogue is also given all-white hair in one scene.
Approved By Broadcast Standards: Beast quotes the Emily Dickinson line: “Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell.” Even though it isn’t used as a profanity, this is probably the only time the word “hell” ever showed up on a FOX Kids program.
Review: So, over the course of five episodes, Jean Grey goes from bit player to the most powerful member of the team, saves the universe, and then dies. I don’t think any other cartoon on television was willing to do a story of this magnitude, and even if FOX and Saban soon blunted the impact of the finale by airing the subsequent episodes out of order, it’s important to remember that the show was still pretty daring by the standards of the day. Even ignoring Jean's "death" at the end, just the idea of a space opera on this level was insanely ambitious during the days when TV superheroes were still stopping bank robberies. Fans of the comics likely saw all of this coming (although I was kind of surprised to see Jean get a vague death scene so early), but that doesn’t take anything away from the adaptation. It’s interesting to witness how the dozen or so issues of the original storyline are shifted into place for the show, and it’s just fun to see obscure characters you recognize from the comics make appearances. The emotional beats are also played well, which is notable for a show known for some shaky voice acting. Following this, it’s hard to think of too many particularly bold episodes during the show’s run. There’s the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” which is fairly loyal to the comics, ignoring that aforementioned happy ending, and after that…not much. Some solid action/adventure Saturday Morning material, but very few are exceptionally memorable.
Credit to http://marvel.toonzone.net/
xmen/ for the screencaps.