By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! I’m here to bring you the fourth of my X-Men posts. This one isn’t nearly as old or nostalgic as the others, but the genre and style this one takes is worthy of recognition. As long time fans of the gab will know, I like anime. It deals with darker and more mature subject matter, and the art style allows for more detail than most modern cartoons allow. Let the geeks begin!
Once again I’ll start with the credits, so as to not detract from the story. Giant metal girder X, with several X-Men around it, as the wind blows them dramatically. We begin the Mouseketeer role call with Cyclops, Beast, Storm, Wolverine, and. Professor X. We also get Armor, Emma Frost, and Jean Grey/Phoenix. I say Phoenix cause she’s in her green Phoenix outfit. For scorecard purposes, we’ll say she finally has a code name in this version. Throughout we also get a shot of the U-Men, and their leader, but that’s not the point of this episode, the point of this episode is…
Phoenix, more specifically, Dark Phoenix. Yes, you read that right, the opening scene of this series is the motherfucking Dark Phoenix. Since anime is more adult, my language may be as well. I’m allowed, dammit. Anyhow, a city is being destroyed as Dark Phoenix tells the X-Men she’s no longer the woman they knew. She’s in her red outfit, and her hair is literal flowing red flames. Diva is looking fierce! Scott tells her to fight it, and gets a giant hunk of building thrown at him for his trouble. He uses an optic blast to clear it. Meanwhile Storm is using lighting to break the chunks thrown at her. Beast is just dodging cause his powers aren’t offensive. Wolverine uses his claws to tear through it, and gets a girder to the face. Geez, why does he have a crush on her? Beast uses his communicator to tell Xavier that Jean is no longer in control. The professor tells him that she isn’t responding telepathically. It must be the Inner Circle, they’re doing something to her. Logan says Jean is an omega level mutant, and if she goes supernova, they’re all dead. Scott charges at her, and she blasts most of his shirt off. Good, Jean. Now the pants. The pants! We see the Inner Circle nearby. Scott keeps saying please, and we hear Jean telepathically call his name, as the jewel on her necklace glows. In her mind, she tells Scott that it has to be done. She’s hanging by a thread. Part of her even likes it. Now just shove a finger in there and finish her off already. Ew. I grossed myself out a little there. Moving on. Jean cries onto her necklace, as Scott sees a vision of Emma behind her. Snow/frost blows at him, and he shouts to Jean that he loves her. Back in the real world, Dark Phoenix starts to power up. We see the real Jean say she loves Scott and always will. Scott tells her to fight it. The Phoenix fire blazes with intensity, and then blinks into nothing. Cut to Scott and the others in the ruins of the city as it’s raining. He clutches Jean’s necklace, and screams, while the Inner Circle smiles. Now that’s how you start an X-Men series. Not with angsty Jubilee, not with a football game, not even with a friendly training game in the Danger Room with my man Nightcrawler. Dark. Fucking. Phoenix. *mic drop
Voiceover from Xavier, talking about creating the institute. How he had hoped that it would give his students a safe place to learn about their powers, and be themselves. The X-Men were his faculty, and believed in his dream with all their hearts. He goes on to say that it’s been nearly a year since the Inner Circle tried to destroy them. Why is takes a year to get over the loss of Jean, I’ll never know. Xavier says they still haven’t recovered, as he sits at her gravestone, which reads SHE WILL RISE AGAIN. Spoilers? Wishful thinking? Clever Phoenix metaphor? You be the judge. In his mind, we see the return of the hover chair, as the professor goes to console some crying students. He tells them that he will keep them safe. He tries to read the mind of a different student, but can’t. As he chases him, and reaches out, he wakes up still next to the gravestone. A dream. The same dream as before, again and again.
In a snow covered Japan, a young girl is running. Two creepy, robotic looking men track her down. One shoots her with a shot of some kind, and it triggers her armor to rise up around her. The robotic guy’s leader watches as the contents of the shot take effect, and she passes out. I’m gonna ho out on a limb here and say that’s Armor, and some U-Men. I’m actually guessing, cause this is the one X-Series I haven’t seen all the way through. Plus there’s a girl with armor in the opening credits, not to mention Frost. Kinda spoiler-y, if you ask me, but cutting new credits probably costs money. Besides, they aren’t worried about people like me picking their work apart. More people should. I’ma come to your room at night and cut up your wigs. Anyhow, back at the institute, Xavier is one the phone. He asks when it happened. Then says he’s been looking for a reason to reassemble the team. As soon as he does, they’ll be in touch. He heads down to cerebra, and put out an emergency “urgent summons” message in his fancy touch screen. Time to assemble the team.
Cruise ship near sunset. A smaller ship is alongside it, with several semi-automatic guns being fired into the air. Pirates! Someone shouts. Um, pirates should be a little concerned about wasting ammo on clouds, rather than say, I dunno, hostages and getting what they want. Whatever. Clearly they have no brains, or they wouldn’t need to rip people off and could make an honest living. At ant rate, Storm says she’s got this. Her eyes glow with lightning, and she summons freezing winds and snow to blow on the ship. They’re encased in ice, and Bobby Drake is somewhere wondering what good he is to anyone. Storm says you don’t get between a girl and her cruise. Someone asks her if she’s one of those X-Men. Guess they aren’t hidden in this series. The urgent summons goes off, and she says it’s about time.
In the ruins of the city Dark Phoenix took out, the summons goes off on Scott’s bike, but he’s too busy staring at the necklace on the cross where Jean died to pay any attention. Angsty little ball of self-absorbed angst.
In a lecture hall, Beast is addressing some students, about how they can raise the intelligence of a cephalopod to that of a human or higher. The students laugh. Beast puts a mic in the tank, saying that the squid will talk to them. The summons goes off, and beast leaves the class in the hands of Mr. Cephalopod. They all start laughing, until the squid starts talking, then they’re gobsmacked. You would be too. Side note, how cool is it that in this universe, Beast is welcomed as a teacher, and no one seems to care he’s a mutant? I’m liking this world so far.
At the airport, a flight to Madripoor is boarding at gate X-23, which is a really fun reference considering which member of the team we’re up to. Don’t know what I mean? Educate yourself. I can’t do it all for you. Trust me, it’s worth looking into. A metal detector goes off, and we hear Wolverine bitching, as he’s asked to empty his pockets. A shirtless Logan tells them they won’t find anything. She says to empty the pockets or she will. Any excuse to reach into those pants, you know, for national security. Yeah, that’s it. National security. Logan says the problem isn’t in his pants. Hallelu! Though I’m sure he’s healing factor would cure any impotence he may encounter. Side note, Logan is voiced by the same actor that played him in Wolverine and the X-Men. Anyhow, Logan bares his, claws, and asks if now that she’s seen it if they’re good. I would be. Show me what you want to. The summons goes off, and he tells her she’s in luck, he doesn’t need the flight; he’s going to New York.
At the mansion, Storm touches down first. Logan arrives on his bike, telling Charles that some of them had things to do. Then he comments on him still being bald. Beast arrives next, commenting on staff meetings and cafeteria food. No Scott though, he’s too busy brooding into his coffee.
We see a picture of Armor holding a cat. Xavier tells the team about her disappearance, and that her parents contacted him. Storm deduces that this girl must be a mutant. Xavier confirms it, and says she exhibited her powers once when she was young. Hank says that’s unusual. Xavier says the X gene runs in her family, and though her parents don’t have it, they know that she does. Logan asks why the police can’t handle it. Xavier says every detective assigned to the case has been killed. Beast says someone clearly doesn’t want this girl found. Gee, thanks, professor. Xavier says even cerebro can’t detect any mutant activity in the area. Logan says his gizmo probably has a worn-out doohickey, and Charlie ain’t getting any younger either. Storm takes offense, and Logan tells her to keep her wig on, he’s just pulling Xavier’s chain. Beast asks if they need to go to Japan. Storm asks about Scott. They aren’t the X-Men without Scott. Um, there’s 4 of you, that’s hardly an X-Team as it is.
Cut to ruined city of Dark Phoenix delight. Damn, that would be a great name for a dessert. Logan asks Scott if he’s been out here all this time. Then asks where he takes a dump. You guys don’t need toilet humor, you’re good as is.
At the mansion, Beast says there’s nothing wrong with cerebro, so something must be cloaking that part of Japan. Xavier says they’ll find out when they get there. Beast asks if it was wise to send Logan to get Scott, given their history. Xavier replies that if he noticed, Storm went with him.
Back at Jean’s last stand. Scott says he can’t fight any more. He needs a reason, and he’s lost his. Storm says they aren’t fighting, they’re trying to find a missing girl. Logan says if emo Scott wants to cry about something that happened a year ago, let him. He’d be useless anyways. Scott acts like he owned her, and Jean meant nothing to the rest of them. Logan says Jeannie would die all over again if she saw how he’s been living. Scott blasts Logan right in the face. Is that hair gel? Sorry. Logan asks if he struck a nerve, and says that would’ve been bad without his healing factor. Scott says if he wants to feel real pain to say her name again. “Jean”. Damn I love Wolverine. Claws come out, and Storm steps in between them. She asks Logan why he has to be such a guy and pretend he doesn’t care. Storm tells Scott that if they don’t find the girl, no one else will. It’s what Jean would have wanted. There are still people who need him.
Fade to sunset. Scott remembers watching the stars with Jean, and her commenting on how every moment is precious, since they’re given so few of them. They hug under the starlit sky. Back at the ruins, it’s morning. Scott clutches the necklace in his hand, as the music of dramatic determination fills him.
At the mansion, in the hangar, the team is getting ready to board the blackbird. Logan stops and sniffs the air. He’d know that scent anywhere. Well well, if it isn’t the guy who put shoulder pads and tights back in fashion. Scott says he couldn’t miss another minute of the witty repartee. Xavier says the X-Men received a call for help, and they answer every call, from human or mutant. This sounds very A-Team to me. People just ask the mutants for help around here? It’s like the ’66 Gotham police. What good are they? Anyhow, Xavier welcomes Scott back to the X-Men, and they take off. End credits.
Alright, time to tally up the score cards. Xavier, Scott, Storm, Logan, and Jean? Check. No Magneto or Danger Room though. No clean sweep there. All in all, each series has it’s high and low points, but those 5 seems to be the current staple for any animated version of the team. Well, there’s one exception, but that’s a post for another time. Until then, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!