Let’s just get this out of the way off the bat. X-Men: The Animated Series is incredibly important to the history of comic book media. The series led to plenty of new fans of Marvel Comics and the X-Men. Now, that popularity is translating to a renewal series set basically right after the original series ended. Adding to that, it’s not just a nostalgia fest that caters to only fans of the original series. If you’re heading into X-Men ’97 blind, without having seen The Animated Series, you’ll be fine.

You’ll really be more than fine, because of The Animated Series. That show made these characters into household names. The only thing that you really needed to know, is that Charles Xavier is dead, and Cyclops has taken over leadership of the X-Men. Throughout the first three episodes of X-Men ’97, that thread comes up a lot. It’s about taking over the leadership of a family after the leader passes on. Scott battles to keep his X-Men family together and his actual family with Jean Grey. They throw some wrenches into that formula with returning characters and some storylines taken from the comics.

If you’re returning to the series after watching the original series, it’s like going back and no time has passed. Lots of the original voice actors are returning, but several have been replaced due to their passing or other reasons. The new voice actors capture the essence of the characters really well. The new team consists of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Morph, Rogue, Jubilee, Storm, Bishop, and Gambit.

Societal Issues That Fit With Today’s Audience And Beautiful Animation

It might be a touchy subject for some, but let’s face it: the X-Men have been at the forefront of societal issues since their inception. The themes of segregation and singling out those that are different are still here. They resonate even more in this time than they did in the ’90s. For those who are showing off the show to their kids or whatever, this is still a fine show to watch with them. It’ll have some slight sexual humor that will assuredly go over kids’ heads, but the adults can recognize the sexual tension. There’s also a bit more violence and action, with even some slight gore, but it’s all done in a tasteful way.

The animation is a blend of the old style and a sort of 3D-ish style. I’d say it looks like What If…?, but it really doesn’t look as three-dimensional as that. You can really tell the difference during the action scenes. The motion is fluid and looks absolutely stunning. This is as good as the X-Men has ever looked on screen.

The stories told in the first three episodes are fantastic and give a look into what we can expect from the rest of the series. There are some nice storylines taken from the comics, a couple of villains that are immediately recognizable, and one episode that will shock you with how much a certain character has grown since we last saw them.

For fans of the original series, this is a dream. For people who have never watched X-Men: The Animated Series, this is a fantastic place to jump in on. If this is the quality that we’re getting from the rest of Marvel Animation, we’re really in for a treat. X-Men ’97 is a perfect blend of nostalgia while adding enough new to make the series still relevant.

X-Men ’97 releases two episodes on Disney+ on March 20th and new episodes every week until May 15th.

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