Friday, July 18, 2014

X-MEN Episode Seventy - November 9, 1996

Storm Front (Part Two)
Written by Brooks Wachtel

Summary:  The X-Men try to understand Storm’s decision to marry Arkon during their stay in Polemachus.  Arkon’s advisors suggest he turn off the planet’s Central Energy Transmitter, the cause of Polemachus’ weather problems.  He refuses to abandon the power source for his servant’s collars.  Eventually, Storm realizes that Arkon’s servants are truly slaves.  Simultaneously, the X-Men meet a rebel leader fighting against Arkon’s rule.  Storm refuses to marry Arkon and the X-Men use his teleportation portal to return home.  Storm’s decision to destroy her monument before leaving sparks a larger rebellion against Arkon.

Um, Actually…”:  The X-Men and Arkon parted as friends after their first meeting in the comics.

Production Note:  Original intro and standard closing montage, again.

Review:  The second chapter of this storyline doesn’t do enough to redeem the concept, but there is more of an effort to make this work as a Storm story.  Parroting a scene from Uncanny X-Men Annual #3, Storm states her desire to help people in ways that don’t involve violence, which is partially used to justify why she’s willing to stay in Polemachus.  Wolverine speculates that the citizens’ worship of her as a “goddess” is reviving feelings she felt as an adolescent worshipped by her tribe in Africa, a clever callback to a part of Storm’s past that’s been largely ignored on the show.  Perhaps these ideas should’ve been set up sooner (Claremont establishes Storm’s desire to have a life outside of the X-Men in the original story before she even meets Arkon), but at the very least some effort is made to present why this would be a legitimate choice for Storm.  

The marriage to Arkon, however, is still a foolish idea that’s never justified within the story.  This is a character with no charisma, no innate qualities that could attract Storm, with nothing in particular to offer her.  He also makes no real effort to hide the fact that he’s a tyrant, keeping his citizens as slaves while plotting to invade a neighboring planet that has resources he desires.  It takes Storm two full episodes to realize this guy’s not marriage material, which is utterly insane.  Perhaps her first hint that something’s not right here should’ve been when he admitted to creating the horrific storm that threatened Washington, DC…on the day they met.  Was Storm just under the spell of his washboard abs?  Using this as a character conflict was just incredibly misguided.  Making this more frustrating is knowing that the source material has already given the producers some angst to explore, since the comics established that using her powers to save Polemachus will ultimately kill Storm.  She’s eventually saved when Cyclops devises a plan that involves merging his powers with hers, with the help of the mechanical skills that Wolverine and Nightcrawler have learned from Banshee.  That’s classic Claremontian melodrama and “give every cast member something to do” writing right there, and it could’ve been adapted very easily for the show.

Credit to for the screencaps.

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