By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! I’m here to bring you the second of our X-Men animated series reviews. This one is on X-Men: Evolution. A lot of hardcore fans didn’t like this series, while others did. I think it’s because of the high school element. People didn’t want to see their characters as whiny teens. Personally, I enjoy any chance to see my main Marvel mutants in action. Plus, we can now begin comparisons between this series and the prior one. I’ll be doing that with each new entry. Maybe at the end I will post a battle royale and leave it for the fans to decide. Let the geeks begin!
Even though there’s an opening scene before the credits, I’m gonna comment on them first to avoid distraction from the plot. Like X-Men ’92, we get an intro to each character, although not all of them are in this episode. Oops, Spoilers. Anyhow, we’ve naturally got Cyclops, then Jean Grey, who once again doesn’t get any kind of code name. I’m guessing her identity isn’t as important to protect as the others. Next up, Spyke. Side note, someone recently commented on the Deadpool trailer that Spyke is traditionally male. To that person I say, there is a female character in the Marvel Universe that has bones growing all over and can use them as weapons. Her name is Sarah, aka Marrow. Do your research before you upset the community as a whole. Where was I? Oh yes, Wolverine, of course. Followed by Storm, Rogue, Shadowcat, and my main man, Nightcrawler. Any series featuring Nightcrawler automatically ranks high for me. After Spider-Man’s metabolism and agility, and Wolverine’s healing factor, teleporting is the power I’d want most. I get sidetracked easily. You know this by now. On with the show.
We open with cheerleaders and a football game. Something so many of us comic fans can relate to. They’re just pandering to the straight fans. It’ll get good real soon. The lead sports guy, Duncan, gets slammed into by other guys and everyone cheers. It’s like the Roman Coliseum, but in Ancient Greece. That wouldn’t make for kid-friendly tv. Back on topic. Jean takes his picture, but it isn’t for the yearbook, it’s for her private collection. Ugh, why to straight people have to flaunt their lifestyle like that. There are impressionable kids watching that may try experimenting with heterosexuality because they saw it on tv. America is doomed, and we’re only forty-five seconds in. In the stands, Scott is fumbling a quarter though his fingers. I’m gonna peak in high school and end up a gas jockey for life, Duncan, sees “Toady” Tolansky picking pockets, and rather than telling the security guy that’s right there, he and his cronies decide to handle it. Since Bayville is currently winning, their coach excuses them. I wonder what the coach thinks they’re going off to do. Quick circle jerk in the locker room? Is it a circle if it’s only three people? Triangle jerk just sounds weird. I’ll ponder on this. Scott drops his quarter, but sees Toad picking pockets from underneath the bleachers. His friend, who isn’t named, asks if they should call the cops. Nark. Scott says he’ll keep that option open. Duncan and his goons threaten to crush Toad. Scott tells them not to, suggesting Toad can just give back the cash. Duncan asks why he cares. Scott’s not crazy about three on one. Clearly he’s never been to Babylon on fetish night. They throw Toad into the mud. Scott intervenes, and Toad literally hops away. Duncan falls in the mud, and in his cro magnon rage goes after Scott. Jean shows up, and despite being able to read minds to know what’s up, shouts at Scott not to fight, which gets him punched in the face. His glasses fall off, and the eye beams come out, hitting a nearby propane tank, and causing an explosion.
Firemen, police, and Professor X show up. Under the bleachers, Jean says “it’s too hot to touch, at least with my hands”. I swear there’s an adult film that starts with that exact same line. Jean finds Scott’s surprisingly non-melted glasses under a burning piece of rubble, and gives them to Scott, who promptly puts them on his face. They’re both kinda stupid. Jean tells Scott to split, as we see a medic examining Duncan. Fortunately he has a concussion, and doesn’t remember what happened. As the cop looks around, and starts to announce what he thinks happened, the professor uses his powers to make him think there was a problem with the gas line. Let’s think this through, since Charles didn’t. A normal, human, police officer, who doesn’t know what a mutant is, isn’t going to leap to the conclusion that a student used his optic blast by mistake, and blew up the snark bar. Maybe if Charlie had checked the cop’s mind to see what he was thinking, he wouldn’t have needed to meddle at all. Jean asks Duncan if he’s ok. Duncan admits he has a skull like concrete. Scott watches with obvious longing. Toad approaches him, and thanks him for what he did. Being a teenager, Scott sulks off. Toad eats a fly out of the air. Bleh. The professor says things are under control, and tells his driver, Storm, they need to go. I’m sure there’s some racism in there somewhere. Sexism too. Anyhow, they go to the train station to pick up a cloaked boy named Kurt.
Elsewhere, the next day, we see a motorcycle driving through a forested area. The driver stops at a mom n pop store, and sees a newspaper about the explosion. Pop asks if he’s gonna buy the paper. Logan says yes, and a cold water. Pop starts in about the unusually warm weather, and we hear a slice off camera. Wolverine downs his water and tells pop to recycle the glass. As he leaves, we see that Sabertooth is watching him. Furry stalker.
At the X-mansion, Scott wants Jean to get out of the bathroom, but she’s busy primping. Whoa, mutants have problems just like the rest of us. This is so relatable. Scott threatens to blow the door down, and Jean opens it like he’s the tardy one. Before they can leave for school, the professor calls them to his office. He introduces them to Kurt. Scott offers him a handshake, but Kurt moves away. The professor tells him he’s among friends. Kurt removes his blue, three fingered, hand from his pocket, and shakes hands with Scott. Prof. X say he set up his school for gifted youngsters whose talents aren’t always an asset. Scott asks if he heard about the prior night. Not admitting he was there, the professor says it was on all the news channels. Scott says it was an accident. The professor says he’s lucky the true cause wasn’t discovered. Scott says he’s packing a bazooka behind each eyeball, and asks what he wants. Control, which is what he’s there to learn. The professor turns to Kurt, and explains Scott’s power. Jean asks Kurt if he has a special gift, implying beyond the blue appearance. Kurt teleports to the other side of the room, and says, maybe.
At the school, Toad is waiting outside the principal’s office. She looks like the kind of fierce diva bitch that adult gay men love, as long as their bitchcraft isn’t directed at them. Principal Darkholm holds her nose as Toad walks by, and opens a window. It’ll be a running gag the rest of the episode. She asks about his new friend, Scott Summers. Toad says he’s cool, and he saved him from the jocks. The principal says he’s got powers, and there are others like him. She wants him to find out more. Toad doesn’t wanna be a rat. The principal’s hand changes to claws, and she yells at him to do as he’s told.
Back at the X-Mansion, Kurt is marveling at the size of his enormous, er, room. He can’t believe how big it is, and that it’s all his. The professor says his parents sent him there to be happy. Storm sets a package on the bed. Out of context, this sounds like the start of some weird, interracial, cripple porn. Kurt says he can’t be happy looking like he does. He frightens people. The professor hands him a watch. When he puts it on, Kurt becomes an average white teenager. I’m guessing Charles went with white cause Kurt had already been harassed for being a different color, and didn’t wanna give him flashbacks. Kurt is happy to look normal. All five fingers flex on their own. After this episode, index and middle move together, as do ring and pinky. Storm says he was already normal as his natural self. Kurt is still overjoyed. They leave him to explore his new look in the mirror. We see Kurt open the box, and reveal his X-Men uniform.
At school, Scott is getting ready for lunch when Toad approaches him, and leaps on top of the lockers. Toad snatches Scott’s glasses with his tongue, and says Scott should open his eyes. Scott says they both know what will happen if he does. So, does Scott shower after gym with the glasses on? If so, I find it very hard to believe that he’s never had an accident up until the previous night. High school kids are brutal and single out anything that isn’t their homogenized version of normal. Anyhow, Toad eats Scott’s lunch in one slurp, and says they should talk sometime. In the X-Mansion, the professor gets an alert that a mutant is using it’s powers openly. The phone rings, and the professor greets Scott before he can say hi. Scott says he’s creeped out by that, and Xavier apologizes. Scott tells him about Toad being like them, though he has the hygiene of a dead pig. The professor says he’ll see about letting Toad join them. Kurt enters the room, and sees Toad on the monitor. The professor explains about cerebro being able to identify mutants. Kurt asks if he’s one of them. The professor says maybe. He speaks telepathically to Storm, who is watering her plants with rainwater, to see if she’ll audition someone for him.
That night, Toad, in his own uniform I might add, hops up to the mansion gate. He leaps it in one jump. Storm steps outside, summons some weather, and tries to zap toad with lightning. Luckily, she doesn’t ask what happens to a toad when it’s stuck by lightning. Let’s all pretend that horrible line was never spoken in the movie. Speaking of, with the exception of Spyke and Nightcrawler, this team is basically the team from the X-Men movie. Just throwing that out there. The wind blows a door open, and also blows Toad right into Nightcrawler. Toad asks if he’s a ratty plush toy. Kurt says he reeks like unwashed lederhosen. Ooh, German burn! Wait, that’s a historically bad thing. Never mind. Toad leaps at Nightcrawler, who teleports away. The two begin chasing and taunting each other through the mansion. Why do the kids always roughhouse when it rains? Storm enters, and Xavier says that Tolansky could be an X-Man. Storm says his heart blinds him. Nightcrawler and Toad continue their chase, knocking things off the walls, and breaking a bust. Xavier tells them the test if over, and Toad is welcome to join them if he wants. The only thing Toad wants is Nightcrawler’s head. I hear he’s the talk of the underground gloryhole scene in Düsseldorf. Toad latches on to Kurt, and in his panic as they fall, he teleports them into the Danger Room.
Nightcrawler asks where they are. Toad says he should know, since he brought them there. The defense system activates, and the two begin to freak. The professor telepathically tells Scott and Jean that Kurt and Toad are in there. Scott says it’ll attack with everything it’s got. Um, why would that happen? If the control room isn’t even in the DR proper, what exactly could an intruder do just standing in there? Why would it need to try and essentially murder anyone that stumbled into it? Good luck mind wiping those memories away, Chuck. Toad screams, as he and Kurt try to dodge giant scissors, lightning, and laser blasts. I’m gonna assume that it’s able to detect that these were mutant intruders, cause if a regular human was in there, they’d be dead by now. Scott and Jean hit the scene. Scott takes out the cannons, while Jean saves Kurt. He calls her and angel. She asks if he’s a demon. Toad nearly gets crushed, but Scott saves him. Meanwhile, Storm and Xavier hit the control room, and he uses a voice code to disable security. That’s great and all, but in a world where Mystique exists, a voiceprint isn’t that secure. Besides, they have image inducer watches, but he can’t disable security from his non-hover wheelchair? Whatever. During the five second delay before the kill room stops trying to kill, Nightcrawler realizes that it is a training room. Toad has seen enough, and wants out. Nightcrawler apologizes for messing up, and teleports away.
On his way off the property, Toad runs into Logan, literally. Snikt, and Toad is ready to wet himself. The professor tells Logan to let him go. Logan smelled trouble, but maybe it was stink boy. Poor Toad. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler is in the hangar and is looking at the Blackbird. Cyclops enters, and starts bro-ing out over how fast it is, and the firepower. Nightcrawler asks if it’s his. Scott says it’s theirs, and if Kurt sticks around, he’ll show him how to fly it. Kurt says he almost got Scott killed. Scott laughs it off, and says not to do it again, but that’s what they’re there to learn; how not to make those mistakes. Kurt asks if Scott minds the way he looks. Scott says as long as he’s not hassled about his shades, they’re cool.
At Bayville High, we hear the principal yelling, and all the bikes outside fall over. She can’t believe he was inside, and he ran away. Toad says he freaked. She says the professor probably wiped his mind so he can’t remember a thing. Toad shakes his head. Clearly he remembers enough to know he freaked out, but not why. Weird. She orders him out of the office, closes the door, and screams as she shifts into her Mystique look. We hear a voice telling her not to be too hard on the boy. Paper clips start moving around on their own. We see Magneto’s form outside the window, saying this is only the beginning.
Speaking of voices, as fans of the blog will know, I love me some good voiceover talent. Evolution has several of my favs, one of which plays Nightcrawler. More than that though, is that three characters on this show are also in Death Note. Nightcrawler, Cyclops, and Mystique play Light, Mikami, and Rem, respectively. Just another fun tidbit. Now, for those keeping score between ’92 and Evolution, let’s recap. We have accidental Danger Room, and a glimpse of Sabertooth, and Magneto in episode one, check. Xavier, Scott, Jean, Logan, Storm, and Rogue as regulars in the series, check. Jean not having a code name, check. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!