It’s New To Me – X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (“Reunion, Parts 1 & 2”)

In my years of TV watching, there have been tons of well-regarded shows that have eluded my gaze. Thanks to the magic of Netflix and other online streaming sites, I now have an opportunity to watch these shows and share my thoughts on them. It may be a classic to you, but It’s New To Me!

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After nearly ten episodes of seeing Xavier and Magneto wander around in the Savage Land, we finally get a conclusion to their season-long journey in the two-part Season Two finale, “Reunion,” which of course involves the rest of the X-Men coming to the secluded Antarctic rainforest to rescue their mentor. While this finale does tie up nearly all the loose ends from this past season, it does so in a rather predictable way that plays almost like a repeat of the two-part season premiere. This is quite a letdown after the first season, which continually upped the ante throughout its thirteen-episode run.

“Reunion” begins with Xavier and Magneto once again running into the rogue Savage Land Mutates while trying to reach Xavier’s downed plane and are rescued this time by Ka-Zar, a wild human inhabitant of the Savage Land. Ka-Zar blames Magneto for creating the Mutates and for the kidnapping of his bride Shanna, whom the two depowered mutants witnessed being carried off by Sauron. The three make an alliance to try to rescue Shanna from the Mutates unnamed new Master. Meanwhile, Cyclops, Jean, and Wolverine respond to a distress call from their former teammate Morph, only to realize too late that it was a trap set by Mr. Sinister.

The still-conflicted Morph warns his former friends that Sinister has the Professor, outing him as the one behind all the events going on in the Savage Land before Scott and Jean are taken by Sinister and his mutant goons after a brief but contentious fight. Wolverine tries to rescue his friends but is thwarted when Morph turns on him yet again, and Sinister and his minions manage to escape with Jean. Back at the Savage Land, Ka-Zar leads Xavier and Magneto to the citadel that Magneto built that has now been taken over by Sinister, where they once again run into the Mutates. Ka-Zar puzzlingly bolts, leaving Xavier and Magneto helpless against Sinister’s lackeys. Sinister appears with Jean and reveals that he is behind the depowering phenomenon in the Savage Land that also gave Xavier back the use of his legs. Morph once again tries to resist Sinister’s control and is also taken captive, and Xavier is hypnotized by Sauron to call the rest of his X-Men to the Savage Land. Part One ends with Wolverine and Cyclops returning to the Mansion and taking the Blackbird to the Savage Land with the rest of the team in order to rescue the Professor.

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In Part Two, Sinister reveals that he once again plans to take the DNA of Xavier, Magneto, Morph, and the X-Men to create an army of supermutant slaves. When the team arrives in the Savage Land, they quickly find out that they are depowered and are quickly subdued and captured by Sinister’s army. Wolverine manages to slip away and eventually runs into Ka-Zar, and after the obligatory tussle, the two make plans to rescue the team. They arrive at the Citadel as Sinister selects the mutants one by one in order to steal their abilities. Just as they are about to drain Rogue, Wolverine shows up and attempts to rescue his friends but is unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Ka-Zar frees Shanna and the rest of the humans in Sinister’s prison, and they unsuccessfully attempt to rush Sinister’s team. Xavier and Morph manage to destroy Sinister’s power-dampening machine in the confusion, restoring the X-Men’s powers and enabling them to fight back against their foes, with Magneto fighting beside them. Morph once again falls under Sinister’s spell but is persuaded by Xavier to fight against it, and he shoots Sinister, shattering him into several pieces that Jean psychically disperses throughout the massive island before he can reassemble himself, T-1000 style. Sauron initiates the Citadel’s self-destruct commands, leveling the building after the X-Men, Magneto, and Ka-Zar’s people are able to escape. The team helps rebuild the Savage Land inhabitants’ villages and take Morph back home with them, and Magneto and Xavier once again part on amiable terms. The episode ends with Sauron flying off and Sinister’s face appearing in the sand, vowing to return and avenge his defeat.

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Despite the change in location and added characters, the central plot of “Reunion” is not that different from the two-part season opener “Till Death Do Us Part.” Both center on Sinister’s plans to use the X-Men’s powers to create his own advanced race of mutants, and the only difference here is that he plans on using the whole team plus Magneto as opposed to just Scott and Jean. It’s basically the same as the Empire building another Death Star in Return of the Jedi, only here there aren’t nearly as many distinct character beats to overshadow the fact that it’s basically the same threat. There are a few nice moments here, from Morph’s apparent final redemption to Gambit officially proclaiming his love for Rogue, but mostly “Reunion” just repeats and reiterates most of the beats from earlier episodes. The second part even repeats the same meeting with Ka-Zar from the first part, only with Wolverine instead of Xavier and Magneto. I was expecting a more dynamic and satisfying finale to justify the seemingly endless scenes of Xavier and Magneto wandering the Savage Land, only to find that this two-part conclusion spins its wheels just as much as those vignettes did. It’s a shame that a season that featured some of the best individual episodes of the show so far, most of them focusing on individual team members, ends on such a dull thread, especially in such an unusual and exotic setting. Neither the team nor the show seems curious as to how or why Magneto discovered the Savage Land and created the Mutates, and he gets a pass from Xavier for basically helping to create the threat they face, so I hope that plot thread gets explored in a later episode. As for Mr. Sinister, I hope he stays away for a while, as I found him just as boring and generic as in the comics. Both parts of “Reunion” earn 2 out of 5 Hijacked Pterodactyls.

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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

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