Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cartoon Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Ep. 1 and 2

With how big comic book movies have become, especially after The Dark Knight and Iron Man, there was no doubt that companies would go back to creating cartoons from some of the most popular comic book characters. We already have the great Spectacular Spider-Man and the kid-oriented Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Evidently we also have a new CGI-type Iron Man cartoon with a teenage Tony Stark becoming Iron Man (?) in April. And yesterday the first two episodes of Wolverine and the X-Men premiered on Nicktoons. So I decided I would give my two cents on these cartoons and review the ones that catch my interest. I will definitely be reviewing The Spectacular Spider-Man when it comes back for its second season. But since Wolverine and the X-Men premiered yesterday I thought I would start with that series.

"Hindsight: Part 1 & 2"

Like many X-Men fans I winced when I heard the new cartoon would be called "Wolverine and the X-Men." Now I have always liked Wolverine and he is one of my top 5 favorite Marvel characters but to see his name be in the title ahead of the X-Men doesn't really sit right to me as an X-Men fan. But I see why Marvel and Nicktoons would do this. With Wolverine being one of the most popular characters amongst the general public and having his own movie coming out this year it is understandable why he would be the star of the show and be mentioned in the title. It is nothing new for Marvel since they have always been all about marketing and what would make there product sell to both long time fans and new fans.

Now the first two episodes of this series was decent. It was nothing spectacular but Yost and crew set up some nice ground for the future of the series. I will give credit to the writers on this series for not having these first few episodes starting from the very beginning of the teams history. Instead the X-Men are already an established team with all the character being in their late-teens or early twenties, outside of Wolverine and Xavier. It is a good move that the writing team already assumes that their viewers will already know each memeber of the team is most of them are X-Men fans, have seen the X-Men movie franchise, and/or the recent X-Men: Evolution cartoon from a few years ago.

It seems that this series really doesn't take from just the comic book or the movie history of the characters but instead is a combination from both source material. Wolverine and Rogue share a relationship similar to their movie counterparts with a bit more romantic implications to the relationship. We still have the usual Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle. Scott is shown as a depressed (and drunk?) character due to Jean's "death." Iceman's parent are ashamed about their soon being a mutant like in the movie. And so on. Outside of the depressed Scott we are presented with in these two episodes I am fine with how each character is portrayed.

While the character relationships are already in place the first episode did start of with the X-Men disbanded due to the "deaths" of Xavier and Jean Grey. The main focus of that episode was Wolverine, and later Beast, as he frees the family who saved him and some mutants from the Mutant Response Division (MPD) prison. And like Wolverine said at the end of the episode it was weird seeing him be the one to get the X-Men back together. Wolverine has always been more of a loner than a leader and even though he will be the leader of the X-Men, due to the title of the show, I hope that Scott is able to clean himself up and assume the role of the leader of the team in future episodes.

The story of this series seems to be set up around the "Days of Future Past" and "Age of Appocalypse" storyline since we see a world were the mutants are being hunted or forced to registered and Xavier missing/dead. But the problem about these two episodes they seem to have to be seen with the third episode since both episodes seem to be incomplete story and I hope that with the next episode we discover what happened to at least Xavier.

Now the character designs for this series were alright and seem to be a combination of Whedon-run on Astonishing X-Men and X-Men: Evolution. All the designs were fine except for Wolverine's. Wolverine is suppose to be the short 5 foot guy with an attitude problem. But the appearance of Wolverine is much more like his movie counterpart since he is the same size of all the other X-Men, or taller, and doesn't have that mountain man from Canada look he should have.

Even though I had my problems with these two episode the series is of to a nice start that has things for both long time X-Men fans and its target market. It seems that this series will lead to a darker story in the future. And I hope that we see Magneto and if he is connected to the Brotherhood and we see what happened to Xavier in the next episode.

Episode Rating - 7.6/10