Cedric Smith as Professor Charles Xavier
Cathal J. Dodd as Woverine (Logan)
Norm Spencer as Cyclops (Scott Summers)
Chris Potter as Gambit (Remy LeBeau)
Lenore Zann as Rogue
George Buza as Beast (Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy)
Catherine Disher as Phoenix (Jean Grey)
Alyson Court as Jubilee (Jubilation Lee)
Exclusive Interview with Acclaimed X-Men Writer Chris Claremont
The Power Behind The X
Stan Lee’s Soapbox
Bonus Episode Featuring Magneto – X-Men: The Final Decision
Running Time: 79 Minutes
This DVD features 5 episodes of the X-Men animated series that ran from 1992 – 1997.
“Out Of The Past – Part 1” – Lady Deathstryke and the Reavers stumble across an alien spaceship hidden in the Morlock tunnels under the city. Wanting to steal its technology, they discover that only adamantium can penetrate the hull. Deathstryke realizes that they need Wolverine in order to get in. Deathstryke also has a hidden past with Wolverine that will be revealed. She lures him to the ship, but both of them get more than they bargain for when they unleash an energy creature that steals souls.
“Out Of The Past – Part 2” – As the energy beast rampages under the city, the rest of the X-Men must join in the battle to stop it. When Jubilee and Deathstryke have their souls stolen, it’s up to Wolverine to stop the alien beast and save them.
“Nightcrawler” – This cartoon features the debut of popular comics character Nightcrawler. When Wolverine, Rogue, and Gambit go on a European skiing vacation, they meet a mutant who’s on the run. Nightcrawler has a devilish appearance and the local villagers are out to kill him. The X-Men meet him in a monastery where hides from the villagers. There they must make a final stand against the hate-filled villagers to save their new friend.
“The Lotus And The Steel” – Worried he’s losing control of his animal rage, Logan returns to Japan to try and regain his inner peace. He begins to live a life without conflict, but that changes when a gang of thugs harasses the local villagers. Led by the Silver Samurai, they force the villagers to pay tribute to them. Should Wolverine help them or continue to shun violence?
“The Final Decision” (Bonus Episode) – Magneto kidnaps Senator Kelly only to have him stolen away again by a group of Sentinels. The Sentinels take him to their maker, a robot named Master Mold. Originally built to serve humans, Master Mold has broken from his programming and begun to attack both humans and mutants. It’s up to the X-Men and Magneto to stop Master Mold and save Senator Kelly.
Every time a Marvel Comics movie is released, some of the old cartoons based on the characters are also released in order to cash in on the hype. With X-Men 2 about to hit theaters, we now get 5 episodes of the old X-Men cartoon from the 90’s. The cartoons feature Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Lady Deathstryke – all prominent characters in the new movie.
As a fan of the comics, I was originally thrilled to see an X-Men cartoon hit Saturday mornings. Now, over time, it’s not quite as thrilling. Compared to the new Marvel cartoons, the animation doesn’t look nearly as good. It’s a heck of a lot rougher than the new stuff. The plots also mish-mash a number of the classic comic storylines into a cartoon script that you might wonder if kids can even understand.
The episodes showcased on this DVD are key ones. They deal heavily with Wolverine’s past and why he is the way he is. The fourth episode on the DVD even gets into his roots in Japan. You get the full origin of Lady Deathstryke, though it’s a somewhat loose interpretation of it. You also get the origin of Nightcrawler. Though he was a non-player in the cartoon, he gets his due in this single episode of the series. They are very faithful to the comic character. I was even surprised at how heavily they emphasized his Christian faith, something you wouldn’t expect in heavily PC kiddie cartoons. Overall, they were good episodes to feature on the DVD considering the ties to the movie.
The fifth bonus episode ties in a bit with the first X-Men film since it features the kidnapping of Senator Kelly. It also ties in with X-Men 2 since it features Magneto and the X-Men teaming up. But since it is an almost all action episode, it’s one of the more entertaining ones.
As previously mentioned, the animation is really rough. In fact, in some scenes you can see dust and scratches in the picture. It’s rather sloppy. But if you love the characters enough, you might be able to overlook it. If you want slick animation, check out X-Men: Evolutions.
Exclusive Interview with Acclaimed X-Men Writer Chris Claremont – This 15 minute interview features one of the writers most responsible for who the X-Men are today. What Claremont lacks in pizzazz, he more than makes up for in info. He discusses the origins of Wolverine, how he started writing X-Men, and more. He’s very thoughtful in his discussions and he has a lot of cool stuff to say. X-Men fans may want this DVD for his interview alone. This particular feature is more geared towards older fans than kids.
The Power Behind The X – This is a sort of audio commentary for the episodes featuring Chris Claremont. As you watch the cartoons, Claremont will pop in and offer trivia about the episode. He gives the backgrounds on Lady Deathstryke, the Morlocks, and more. It’s quite interesting, but you can’t hear the cartoon whenever he’s talking. X-Men fans will want to hear this, but it’s a bit tedious watching the episodes twice.
Stan Lee’s Soapbox – This 7 or so minute clip features Stan Lee. He talks about how he created the X-Men, the origins of their names, and more. It’s pretty interesting to hear him talk about the characters and a must-see for fans.
The Bottom Line:
While the cartoon doesn’t particularly hold up over time, X-Men fans and kids should enjoy the DVD. Comics fans will especially enjoy the extras.