‘X-Men ‘97’ series review: Much to enjoy in this old-school adventure from Marvel

A scene from ‘X-Men ’97’

The concluding chapter of X-Men ’97 skillfully completes the journeys of our beloved characters after 10 episodes, while dropping hints about the upcoming season 2, which is thankfully confirmed. This revival of the beloved X-Men animated series, originally broadcast from 1992-1997, comes from Marvel Studios’ animation department. Each half-hour episode is a nostalgic throwback to lazy Sunday afternoon cartoon marathons, sure to engage long-time fans and newcomers alike.

X-Men ’97

Episodes: 10

Run time: 30 to 37 minutes

Creator: Beau DeMayo

Voice cast: Ray Chase, Jennifer Hale, Alison Sealy-Smith, Cal Dodd, J. P. Karliak, Lenore Zann, George Buza, A. J. LoCascio, Holly Chou, Isaac Robinson-Smith, Matthew Waterson, Ross Marquand, Adrian Hough

Storyline: Fresh challenges arise for the X-Men as they encounter internal and external threats

Created by Beau DeMayo, this show is so much more than just a warm homage to its animated predecessor. The compelling storytelling, fiery action, and vibrant colors are a feast for the eyes. The bad guys reach new lows, and the romantic plots are deeply moving, adding a nice touch of heart to the saga. The clever humor, literary references, and delightful guest appearances add layers of richness to the series.

Continuing a year after X-Men: The Animated Series, the show explores the repercussions of an assassination attempt on Professor Charles Xavier (voiced by Ross Marquand), who departs Earth to receive healing from the aloof Shi’ar species. Cyclops (Ray Chase) has his hands full leading the X-Men and preparing for parenthood with Jean Grey (Jennifer Hale). The team wrestles with their feelings about Xavier leaving Magneto (Matthew Waterson), former rival, in charge.

A still from ‘X-Men ‘97’

A still from ‘X-Men ’97’

Storm (Alison Sealy-Smith) faces a personal dilemma over her powers, Wolverine (Cal Dodd) remains fiercely loyal and infatuated with Jean, and Beast (George Buza) masterfully juggles lab work and literary quotes. Rogue (Lenore Zann) navigates a complex emotional terrain, torn between past affection for Magneto and her current love, Gambit (A. J. LoCascio). Jubilee (Holly Chou), the team’s youngest, uniquely connects with a troubled newcomer, Roberto (Gui Agustini), while Morph (J. P. Karliak) and Nightcrawler (Adrian Hough) bring their own dynamics to the mix.

Villains like Dr. Bolivar Trask (Gavin Hammon), the Master Mold supercomputer (Eric Bauza), and Mister Sinister (Christopher Britton) excel in their chaos. The series also finds time for quieter moments that explore the deeper questions of identity, love, fear, and self-worth. The heartfelt storylines, such as Forge’s (Gil Birmingham) interactions with Storm and Nathan’s (Chris Potter) struggles with family, add emotional depth to the narrative.

The visual spectacle of X-Men ’97 doesn’t disappoint, with events like the destruction of Genosha and an over-the-top video game to celebrate Jubilee’s 18th birthday. With a mix of original voice actors and new voices, the series is accessible to those unfamiliar with the mythos but is especially rewarding for the informed fan. X-Men ’97 serves as a seamless entry point and continuation into the captivating world of mutant and human relations.

X-Men ’97 is currently available for streaming on Disney+Hotstar

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