Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pryde of the X-Men

When I was a kid we had an awesome video rental store in town.  I have fond memories of my brother and I beating Golden Axe II in the mini-arcade with $1.25; I didn't remember what character he used, I was older therefore I got the dwarf with the axe and that was that.  On several occassions I would run into the store out of breath because I had sprinted from my house once I realized I was an hour and a half late returning my movie and they would say no problem and waive the late fee.  A real homegrown small town shop.

It was at this store that I first rented Transformers: The Movie.  I recall being really confused about who all of these new Transformers were, and I was disapointed that Optimus Prime and most of the original crew were only in the first act of the film.  Still, it was Transformers and the animation was gorgeous so I rented it a few times over the years.

1 of at least 4 different
covers from various
releases of the show.

The movie I rented the most though was Pryde of the X-Men.

As a kid this X-Men cartoon mystified me.  I had only ever seen the one episode, and longed to find more episodes of the series.  While I will always have an undying love for the 90's Fox X-Men cartoon, which doesn't get enough credit for being the amazing series it was, there was something kind of special about that single episode from 1989.

While I would keep an eye out for more episodes for years (before that new fangled Internet caught on), I would eventually learn that this single pilot episode was it.  The show was never picked up, despite some truly beautful animation for the time.

Why do I have such a special place in my heart for Pryde of the X-Men?  There are plenty of reasons!

Professor Xavier, Devourer of Worlds
The cast - This team of X-Men featured three of my favourite mutants; Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Shadowcat (as the no-codename-yet Kitty Pryde).  I've always loved this trio of mutants, whether they are members of the X-Men, Excalibur, or whatever team they may find themselves on.  Colossus is the gentle giant with the soul of a poet, Nightcrawler the devout man of God in the form of a demon, and the brave young girl who can walk through walls, Shadowcat.  Add in Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine and you've got a pretty solid line-up.  The cartoon also featured Dazzler, which I'd love to hear the reasoning for, considering more well-known female X-Men like Jean Grey or Rogue could have been used (though to be fair, was Rogue really popular before the 90's cartoon?).  This was actually my first exposure to Dazzler, I'd never heard of her before.

The animation - As I noted before, the animation was gorgeous.  Very smooth, very dynamic, the characters looked really good.  I really liked Magneto with bare hands, it kind of symbolizes he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty for what he believes in.

Land ho!
The villains - Sure, some of the Brotherhood are kind of duds (Toad and the Blob, for example), but who doesn't get excited to see Magneto AND the Juggernaut together!  The White Queen was a good boost in the power department over using Mystique, and Pyro allows for some creative power applications.

The plot - For a late 80's cartoon the plot was pretty solid.  Sure you can poke holes into it you want to, but you can do that with almost anything, particulary cartoons.  Some concessions are made for story purposes, and I'm okay with that.

I wanted the ducts cleaned, not crushed!
The fights - Yes, most of the battles were pretty brief, but each mini battle gave the characters a chance to show off their powers, a great way to introduce them to the audience.  My favourite fight, hands down, was Colossus against the Juggernaut.  Ol' Jugghead pulls a masssive air duct down to crush the team, but Colossus armors up to catch it.  The two then charge each other while crushing the air duct in a massive display of strength, trash-talking each other on the way.  They then toss the duct to the side and start duking it out.  I would have given anything to see that fight to conclusion!

Now, don't take my praise to mean the show was flawless.  Too many characters don't speak in full sentences (Colossus and the Blob, though at least Colossus has the second-language excuse).  Half of the Brotherhood are complete morons.  Wolverine is for some reason Australian (don't believe me?  If you check it out, he calls the Toad a "dingo"). 

G'Day Bub.
While making their big charge to get to Magneto aboard Asteroid M the team splits off to hold off individual Brotherhood members.  Storm has to stay out of the fight to maintain the station's atmosphere since Cyclops blew a hole in it (which is a great reason to keep her out of the fight!), and then the team encouters Pyro.  Dazzler urges the team on while she holds him off, and that's fine.  But next the team encouters the Toad.  Wolverine matches his own agility against the Toad's, and traps him pretty effectively.  So why in the world doesn't Wolverine keep going with the rest of the team?!  Cyclops even says they need Wolverine's tracking power to find Magneto!

Do yourself a favour and check this episode out.  It's easily findable on Youtube, but I'll go one better and provide it for you here!  If you've never seen it before, give it a looksee and let me know what you think of it in the comments!



3 comments:

  1. The best part is, the old arcade game by Konami was just brought to iPhones. Unless you're an X-Chicken, you should download this if you have an iOS device, so you may finally defeat the Master of Magnet.

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  2. I think they used Dazzler & not Jean Grey because Dazzler was a member of the team at the point. Jean was not.

    I do think that Rogue does owe a lot of her popularity to the 90's cartoon since I also don't think she was all that popular before it either.

    I own a VHS copy of this & it has the same cover as the one you showed.

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  3. Nitz: Alas, I have a Blackberry (work pays for it!) and not an iPhone, and my iPod is a Classic, so I won't be able to get the game, as much as I'd love to!

    Brian: I don't think this actual line-up appeared in the comics though, did it? It's basically the line-up from the Dark Phoenix Saga, minus Jean and plus Dazzler (though I suppose Allison did debut in that story arc).

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