Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

453 – X-Men ’97, Part 1


In which we put the comics on hold to take a look at X-Men ’97; it is still always Inferno in here; Wolverine is best used sparingly; a Marvel show finally embraces politics; Wolverine is best in small doses; Madeylne Pryor still always deserves better; Jubilee grows up; and we are all in on this series.


  • “Beyond Good and Evil”
  • X-Men: The Animated Series and our respective feelings about it
  • X-Men ’97, episodes 1-5
  • Watching X-Men ’97 with and without context
  • Making animated Cyclops work
  • The Magneto’s-hair-length morality index
  • Politics
  • Voices
  • Adaptation pacing
  • Agency
  • Abcissa
  • Foreshadowing
  • Time compression
  • Horniest Rogue
  • Death in cartoons
  • A metaphor
  • Nonbinary identity in 1997
  • Character evolution

NEXT EPISODE: Episodes 6-10

No visual companion this week!

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  1. So the weird thing is that – while it was always more heavily Blue team – that doesn’t seem to be how they designed the teams. In other words, basically, they had designed it as leaders/adults in the room (Cyclops and Storm), hothead (Wolverine), entry character (Jubilee), and romantic tension figures (Rouge and Gambit). Which, admittedly, is more blue team, but not necessarily starting it out at “Let’s do blue team.” Certain characters were supposed to pop up occasionally (archangel, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Jean, Prof X, Beast, Bishop, Colossus, etc.), but then as they started working on it more, a few became more central, whereas others wouldn’t come in for seasons.

    Also, I LOVE what the cast got up to post TAS. Lenore Zann may be the best by far, BUT Philip Akin founded and worked for like 15 years on Obsidian Theatre Company, which was all about showcasing Black Canadians in theatre and was all about mentorship of Black theatre directors.

    1. My friends lives were irreparably changed because of what happened at The Pulse. They lost family and saved others by putting them in pick up trucks and driving them to the hospital. This was the height of Pride Week. There were so many people celebrating.

      Remember me reminded me of all of that. Not of just the horrors or the hateful people that would come after, but of the kindness and the Angels that shielded funerals with homemade wings.

      It was such a poignant story because they were hated for whom they loved. At the height of this love Triangle, this tragedy strikes and tries to destroy this community.

      It reminds us all to hold the ones we love dear, for we don’t know what the future holds. God, what a great show to do that to me as a viewer.

    2. I didn’t know that about Akin, that’s so cool! I don’t really like Bishop much but I actually enjoy Bishop episodes because he’s such a well acted character.

  2. Hello! This doesn’t seem to be up on Apple Podcasts? I don’t see it in my app or when I click on the link. Just fyi. Wondering if other folks having the same trouble.

    1. Same here with Pocket Casts. I came to the site to see if there was any notice of skipping the week.

    2. Yeah, I haven’t been able to get it on either Apple or Spotify.

      I listened on the site, but just wanted to be clear that – even though I commented – it’s an issue for me too.

      1. Update: nope, still broken. But at least differently broken! I’m continuing to poke at it. Updates here once I have any.

    3. I believe things should now be working. I’ve successfully tested Apple Podcasts and Spotify, but please let me know if anyone is still having trouble after refreshing the apps or if the episode isn’t showing up elsewhere.

  3. I have been waiting for this episode and hoping you both would like X-Men ’97 as much as I did! It was must-see TV in our house on Wednesday nights. X-Men ’97 before or during dinner. It was so great to be able to enjoy the nostalgia, have no idea what was coming next, and to talk about it with coworkers who also grew up on the series.
    Also, I love your analysis of “Motendo”! So many reviewers I watch/listen to have dismissed it as a bit of fluff that was ill-placed in the series, but I really do think it fit perfectly where it did, and gave Jubilee the spotlight she needed for her updated role on the team. Plus, MOJO!!!

    1. Yeah, I will admit Motendo was my least favorite ep…but on the rewatch, it hits harder, especially knowing what’s coming (the idea that you have to accept that death might happen, but that’s part of life). And I think the placement is kinda perfect. It underscores the comfortable nostalgia (even as it interrogates it) before the next ep destroys it.

      I still think it’s one of the weaker eps, but here’s the thing: X-Men 97’s weakest eps (Motendo, To Me My X-Men, Fire Made Flesh) are still what I was HOPING the show would be when I was feeling at my most optimistic. Like, they’re still GOOD. It’s not their fault that other eps reach heights I never would’ve dreamed of for this show.

  4. Sidebar tangent: Miles brings up the lack of “Ultron! We would have words with thee/you!” in Avengers 2:

    I think about that… kind of too frequently.

    1. I’m convinced that, when Thor says, “I’ve run out of things to say” it is a deliberate subversion of the line. Instead of having words with Ultron, he has run out of words.

      1. I buy that, because that was the same movie where they specifically had “Avengers–” (smash cut to black) and apparently never filmed a version where he said “Assemble.”

  5. I have 20 minutes left, so apologies if you end up covering it.

    Two things I liked a lot of about the take on Inferno:
    1. It solves the issue of Scott abandoning his wife and kid. There’s the aspects of abandonment and/or infidelity, but it’s an accident (also, it’s flipped) because he doesn’t know that one is a clone. It’s also a nice look forward to the Morrison run but using Madelyne is much better than Emma Frost in this context.
    2. It was very smart with the simplified story to use Madelyne’s telepathic powers to project the illusions of demons rather than using actual demons.

    That being said, I do think it would have worked better if they built it up over time. Deal with the reveal that Madelyne and Jean are clones of each other, have Madelyne leave, and then build up the resentment over time. The logical way to tie it together would be to draw on the Adversary and maybe make a combination of Fall of the Mutants and Inferno. If they did that, it would be a different season entirely. Might have left more room for X-Cutioner’s Song, though, which would be nice. Personally, I’m glad they got to showcase Bastion and Operation Zero Tolerance. That might have been lost if they went in a different direction.

    Real quick, for Remember It. I love all the different stories it’s drawing together. It takes inspiration from Magneto War (once again, glad they’re redeeming late 90s story arcs), it looks to the future with Morrison, but it’s also the Mutant Massacre. I loved seeing the Morlocks on Genosha. Gambit being a hero in the Mutant Massacre felt nice too.

  6. Maybe you guys aren’t taking any more questions… but I’m really curious about your thoughts on the opening credits. What did you think about them changing every episode?

    1. Won’t presume to speak for our hosts, but I thought it was cleverly done, especially when I realised that the humans fleeing from the combined mutants and giant robot Sentinels turn out to be Prime Sentinels within the episodes and then appear as same in the next opening credits.

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