The first four volumes of Wolverine and the X-men, the animated series, presents eighteen episodes from the first season. The fifth volume covers five episodes, “Guardian Angel” to “Shades of Grey,” leaving the three-part “Foresight” as the only unreleased portion of the show. In April, the folks at Marvel announced that they weren’t going to renew the series, so thus ends this particular variant of the X-Men mythos.
When this series started, the loss of Xavier threw Wolverine into a leadership role, a role that for the most part runs counter to the character exhibited elsewhere in X-men lore (except for the movies starring Hugh Jackman). The action picks up with Angel, separating himself from the opinions of his father, and suffering permanent physical (and emotional) damage. Hence his fateful decision to become Archangel. Ah, the ironies of the decision!
“Breakdown” and “Rover” seem like filler episodes. They fill us in on the problems of the first few episodes in the series and show the sort of mind-games that arise from the Cyclops/Emma Frost dynamic. All of that to say these episodes get pretty convoluted until the last one, “Shades of Grey”, wherein we witness the nefarious forces of Apocalypse and Sebastian Shaw (of the Hellfire Club).
Seriously, things can’t get much worse for the X-men.
To top it off, Jean Grey, who has finally been re-found, is facing manipulation from all sides. It’s all a power play, with the various factions and agendas constantly counteracting each other. People are reasonably selfish, motivated by fear and jealousy, and the mutants are no different. When they work together, great things happen; when they splinter, their whole world seems to self-destruct.
Yeah, that sounds a lot like real life.
Thankfully, this is the X-men, and the good guys always seem to win (though that victory comes at a price). For now, volume five leaves us reeling from the clear and present pain. Maybe next time, we’ll get some justice, and a sense of resolution. Stay tuned…