Movies / Animé and Toons

Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete First Season

By Hervé St-Louis
May 8, 2011 - 13:31

In 2008 Marvel Studios released through television broadcaster Nicktoons a new series of X-Men cartoons to correspond with the new reboot of the X-Men franchise and the X-Men Wolverine Origins movie of 2009. The series, set its in own continuity featured Wolverine trying to rebuild the X-Men after a vicious attack by anti-mutant forces and their gigantic Sentinel robots had destroyed the X-Men mansion and put Professor Xavier, the X-Men’s founder into a coma. The series contained 26 episodes but the second season was cancelled due to financing.

As well as battling anti-mutant forces, Wolverine tries to recruit a new team of X-Men from the wreck of the old team while battling evil mutants and a conspiracy by the Hellfire Club to revive the Phoenix through Jean Grey. The Hellfire’s White Queen, Emma Frost infiltrates the ranks of the X-Men although trusted by no one. She tries to piece together the mystery concerning the disappearance of Jean Grey and the attack that ravaged the X-Men’s mansion. Elsewhere, Wolverine discovers that he can telepathically communicate with the future Professor X who’s guiding him on how to avoid a scenario that will bring doom to the world.

I really liked this series. Initially, it was offered in the United States through individual discs that compiled about each episode each. In the fall of 2010 a three disc set was released in the United States containing all 26 episodes, including some that allegedly had not been been featured on Nicktoons. However this review is not about that version of the collected set My review is based on the Canadian version sold exclusively in Canada with an English and French dub in a metallic case containing five discs. If you’re a collector, this is the set to get.  For a while the Canadian version of Wolverine and the X-Men was the only way for fans to buy a copy of this series that was compatible with their region. I will admit that I prefer the Canadian DVD set to the American set because episodes are transpose over more discs which means potentially less compression was applied to the graphics and thus one should expect better quality. The metallic set also looks cooler and is a better collectors’ set than a cardboard case.

I’m not Wolverine’s number one fan. I think he’s overused and too omnipotent. In this series, he was very much portrayed as that and it seems even with a hint of super strength. I was also weary of the place that would given to the other X-Men. Well, some episodes focused entirely on characters like Nightcrawler and his budding love of the Scarlet Witch. Magneto, her dad was well handled and it is the first time that the story of all his kids had been clean up. Polaris is now, but the youngest daughter and Pietro / Quicksilver, the rebel. I really liked the episodes with Angel and how he was transformed in the Archangel. Only one episode crossed over into the formal Marvel Universe with Nick Fury and the Hulk involved in a plot to capture the Wendigo.

The animation in this series was one of the best of any Marvel-related animated series. The character design was even more realistic than the recent Avengers – Earth’s Mightiest heroes series. This might explain the financing difficulties Marvel had with this series and why season two was put on indefinite hold. The fact that this series does not fit in with the Avenger’s continuity which seems to be the official direction Disney, as Marvel’s new owner wants to take means that perhaps there will never be a season two. Nevertheless, the plot point of the first season was mostly resolved in this collection. It’s not the first time that a high quality series is cancelled after its initial season because it was more expansive. Even Warner Brothers cancelled the Titans although it was quite popular.

What this series also shows is that the new formula for such comic book-based properties follows the course of an underlying plot point that’s only resolved through the end of the series, unlike cartoons of a generation ago who at most had five-parts episodes. The Justice League series started doing that with great success over several seasons and this is how one should expect animated series to progress from then on.

Rating: 9.5 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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