Friday, May 30, 2014

X-MEN Episode Fifty-Eight - May 4, 1996


Family Ties
Written by Marley Clark

Summary:  Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch learn from their father that they were adopted.  He claims that Bova might know who their true parents are.  They discover Bova at Wundagore Mountain, the home of the High Evolutionary.  Bova reveals that their mother Magda died shortly after giving birth to them; she also reveals that Magda was terrified when she arrived at Wundagore Mountain, after witnessing Magneto destroy a human village.  Meanwhile, Magneto informs Xavier that he’s received word Magda could be alive.  Xavier orders Wolverine to follow Magneto in case it’s a trap.  Eventually, High Evolutionary makes his move.  Magneto, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Wolverine are all kidnapped, with the goal of using their DNA to enhance his evolutionary experiments.  The mutants are stunned to learn from High Evolutionary that Magneto is the true father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  Xavier and Beast arrive in the Blackbird to rescue Wolverine, as Magneto frees his children.  The High Evolutionary teleports away, leaving the mutants behind.  Magneto tries to reconcile with the twins, but they refuse his offer.

Continuity Notes:  
  • The only X-Men appearing this episode are Wolverine, Beast, and Professor Xavier.
  • The Scarlet Witch and High Evolutionary make their first real appearances on the show.  Bova also makes her animated debut, along with the New Men.
  • Magda is Magneto’s wife, who is referenced for the first time on the show.  The story of Magneto destroying a Russian village and Magda fleeing in horror was told in the backup story in Classic X-Men #12.
  • The High Evolutionary turns Wolverine into a werewolf after capturing him.  He’s magically restored to normal, along with everything else on Wundagore Mountain, after High Evolutionary teleports away.

Approved By Broadcast Standards:  The full story of Magneto destroying the Russian village, including his daughter Anya dying in a fire, isn’t detailed.  Merely stating that Magneto “destroyed an entire village” is somewhat daring, though, creating a pretty clear idea of what he did.

Review:  “Family Ties” should’ve felt like a momentous event, yet I’ve rarely been able to stay awake while watching the episode.  Perhaps one reason is the fact that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have never played a real role in the series.  Quicksilver was just one of the faceless members of X-Factor in one episode, while Scarlet Witch only appeared once in a half-second cameo.  From the perspective of the cartoon’s audience, the questions are 1) who are these people, and 2) why are we suddenly being told they’re Magneto’s children?  These revelations were cornerstones of an era of Marvel Comics, but only because the readers were already familiar with the characters, and the actual confirmation was teased over the course of a few years.  There was a real sense of payoff when the information was verified; here, it just comes out of nowhere.  When High Evolutionary informs Magneto that he IS the father of those babies, it’s hard to comprehend why it’s supposed to matter.

And bringing the High Evolutionary, Bova, and the New Men into this…sheesh.  I can appreciate the fidelity to the source material, but these are all characters that ultimately have little to anything to do with Magneto, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch.  If you’re looking for the comics for inspiration, the meatiest material comes from Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s time (grudgingly) serving Magneto in the Brotherhood.  Introducing the High Evolutionary into the story just seems like an excuse to turn Wolverine into a literal wolverine -- and the episode doesn’t even make that much sense.  Instead, he turns into a werewolf, in perhaps the dumbest moment in the show’s run.  Add this to the lifeless animation and washed out colors and the viewer is left with one of the most disappointing episodes of the series.

Credit to for the screencaps.

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