WHAT?! Less than a month back, and it’s a brand new mid-week bonus episode!
In which Jay, Niki, Sina, and James drink fancy Scotch and talk FlameCon; what X-Men means to us as queer readers and writers; the difference between the bat family and the X-Men; mutant metaphors; favorite ‘ships; and more!
I was a little too old to catch X-Men: Evolution the first time around. It debuted my freshman year of college, corresponding with the peak of my nerd pretension—that larval-geek phase where you insist on calling all comics graphic novels—and like the arch little fucker I was, I dismissed it sight-unseen as X-Men dumbed down.
A few years ago, I finally sat down and watched my way through X-Men: Evolution and came away with two conclusions: teenage Rachel was kind of a dolt; and X-Men: Evolution is delightful.
Not only is Evolution not X-Men dumbed down, it’s a really clever, appealing reinvention. In fact, Evolution accomplishes what the Ultimate universe never quite could: shaking off years of continuity and attracting an entirely new audience with a distilled version of one of Marvel’s most convoluted lines.
If you’re not familiar with X-Men: Evolution, the premise is roughly thus: The Xavier Institute is an extracurricular boarding school of sorts, whose students are mainstreamed into their district school—Bayville High—for academics. Some of the characters—Storm, Wolverine, and Professor Xavier on the side of the angels; Mystique, Magneto, and a few others on the other end of the moral spectrum—stay adults; everyone else is aged down to teenagers. Evolution draws characters and some story hooks from the comics, but for the most part, it occupies its own discrete continuity.
And as continuities go, it’s a good one. It’s clever and fun, it’s got a ton of heart, and it stays true to the core themes and characters of the source material without becoming overly beholden to the letter of the text. By the end, it’ll become a really, really good show; but even when it’s bad, X-Men: Evolution is bad in really entertaining ways.
Which is important, because X-Men: Evolution gets off to a pretty rocky start.
David Wynne, you are a gift to the universe. There are not adequate words in any language we know for how happy we are about this picture.
For those of you unfamiliar with the mustachio’d gentleman standing next to Everyone’s Favorite Bondage Viking(TM) Erik the Red, that’s Italian Porno Batman, from the 1982 film Bathman dal Pianeta Eros, which at this point is best known for its bewilderingly long sequences of the Caped Crusader riding a bicycle around the Italian countryside in full costume.
In which Rachel and Chris X-plain three cartoons and track a disagreement to its source; Gambit is definitely the worst person you know; Broadcasting Standards and Practices is tired of your death ceremonies; Storm doesn’t have an inside voice; and we finally get around to mentioning that one dude with the claws.
The evolution (and Evolution) of X-Toons
Why you hate Cyclops (and Rachel doesn’t)
Broadcast standards, practices, and laser rifles
How to order pizza like a weather goddess
A paramilitary after-school club
Comics based on cartoons based on comics
The Batman Standard
The Wolverine and the X-Men trifecta of perfection
Why the Mojoverse works better on TV
Dazzler’s secret second job
CORRECTION: In this episode, Rachel mentions that Morph’s first comics appearance is in Exiles. It’s not: he’s in Age of Apocalypse. Mea culpa.
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.