The X-Men Episode Guide 4×08: ‘Beyond Good And Evil, Part One’
The early ’90s were spoiled for choice when it came to comic book adaptations. Not only was Batman: The Animated Series on the air, but X-Men led Marvel’s push to get on the small screen, diving right into the often convoluted continuity of everyone’s favorite mutants, luring in a generation of fans, and paving the way for cartoons to follow. That’s why we’ve set out to review every single episode of the ’90s X-Men animated series.
This week, Cable and Apocalypse are back to -- wait, no, come back! COME BACK!
Previously, on X-Men:
In our last episode, Magneto's beautiful dream of a society of super-powered equals in space went bad almost immediately, to the point where it almost destroyed the world in a hail of nuclear fire from space. That's about as bad as a plan can go, but that's what happens when you put the future of the mutant race in the hands of a dude who wears silk pajamas and no shirt while attempting to forge a new society. At least put a tie on, man.
In our discussion of better codenames for Fabian Cortez than, uh, "Fabian Cortez," the Commenteers came through with a lot of great suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites:
Bloodrush (Adam Bujas)
Enabler (Brendan Johnston)
Bloodlock (Greg Packnett)
Stimulator (Richard Pearse)
And my favorite...
Mt. Dew GAME FUEL (Philip Clemons)
Great job, everyone! I hope you had fun before Apocalypse and Cable showed back up destroy the very concept of fun as we know it.
That's right, everyone: It's a four-part time travel story about Cable, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister and Fabian Cortez, officially making "Beyond Good And Evil" the one-stop shop for the absolute worst that this show has to offer, courtesy of writer Steve Cuden and producer/director Larry Houston. Let's hope they can make the most of it.
We open in Cairo in the far-off year of 3999, where silhouetted figures are running through a forest that is also in a city, which means that we're already off to a pretty bad start. But, just as I'm getting ready to go ahead and tap out of this one, Nathan Charles Christopher Dayspring Askani'son Summers himself moves through the woods and sets his robotic eye on Apocalypse's headquarters, last seen in Mega Man 2:
I've mentioned before that I've never really been a fan of Apocalypse, but if that dude's going to start designing technofortreses capped off by gigantic fish-mouthed frowny versions of his own face, he is going to enter an entirely new strata of supervillain normally populated by the Dr. Willys of the world. Seriously, I got called out last week for not knowing that Professor X's weird cyber-shoulderpads were actually from the "Fatal Attractions" story, largely because I did not and do not care, but if this thing is actually from a comic, tell me now. I will buy it this week. Not even joking.
After Cable scans the building with his techno-cyber-eye and gives his son -- who bears a truly distracting resemblance to Duke Nukem -- a pep talk, they attack the base, managing to avoid both the robot dragon and the disappearing platforms, only to find that the only defense standing between them and victory is Apocalypse himself!
See, Apocalypse knew all about Cable attacking his base -- presumably because this is, I believe, the fourth time we've seen it happening just on this show -- and led him into a trap so that he could steal his computer and thus gain the power of time travel. So for those of you still working the spreadsheets trying to figure out what exactly Apocalypse's mutant power is, go ahead and mark "non-computer-aided Time Travel" as a no.
Quintuple-barreled laser-hand, however, is a definite yes.
You would think gaining mastery over the fourth dimension would make Apocalypse happy, but no. After an offhand comment from Cable about how people will always battle against his Evil, Pac takes a moment to wonder if he actually is evil, and not an amoral force of nature as he has always thought.
Folks. This seems to be the first time Apocalypse has ever considered that he might be evil. He is five thousand years old and his name is "Apocalypse." I don't even know what to do with this.
Cable does, though, whipping out his laser rifle and twirling it like an old west gunfighter...
...before being surprise to find that Lypse Inc is no longer standing around waiting to be shot. This is what happens when you have gained the power of time travel, Cable. This is something you should already know.
Either way, Big Ap is off on his whirlwind tour of the timestream, and the first stop is 1959 (aka six weeks ago) to the events of "One Man's Worth." You may recall that episode as the one that featured the alternate-present post-(lowercase)-apocalypse Cyclops and Storm, who were totally in love but were also erased from existence when their s**tty future was averted. Well, we get to see them again here, but only for a second, See, (capital) Apocalypse has backflipped into the timestream as it appears in DC comics from the 1960s, which has had a few unexpected side effects.
Specifically, Bishop has become unstuck in time (is it Monday already?), leaving him trapped on the cover of a paperback from 1883 about how aliens were secretly running the government.
Hey, you know what would make this story great? If some weird little mutant showed up doing an extended Robin Williams-esque riff of high-speed wacky "comedy" that was actually completely devoid of any actual jokes. No, wait -- I didn't mean "great," I meant "super terrible." No -- wait!
Damn it. Too late. This Monkey's Paw I keep on my desk has already curled up yet another finger, and we're introduced to Bender, a lavender dork with a terrible beard in a palette-swapped Vault 101 jumpsuit that exists outside of time and serves only to provide expository dialogue while speaking in "funny" voices. He directs Bishop to one of the giant mirrors showing different times, but when Bishop tries to jump through it (a natural inclination) he ends up just bonking his head and falling back down. Then he tries to shoot it.
Like, he tries to shoot time.
Even this show clowns him for that choice. But it's time for the next stop: The Present, by which I mean the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey!
Technically this is their second wedding, but I don't think the first counted since the priest officiating it was actually one of their dead friends, as part of a plot by Mr. Sinister to gain access to their genetic line by preventing them from doing anything that even remotely resembled furthering their genetic line. I'll give you three guesses how this second one's going to turn out.
To be fair, they actually do get married this time, and make it all the way to the reception before things start to go pear-shaped. For starters, Wolverine cuts the cake in a very threatening manner, which, since he is actually cutting a cake, is not very threatening at all. Then, as soon as they leave the reception, Mr. Sinister's entire crew of flunkies shows up to kidnap the happy couple.
During this scene, Professor X reveals that he shut down the X-Mansion's defensive perimeter for the wedding, and, really, dude? You're going to shut down the defenses during a superhero wedding? You're an idiot, Charles. You're a grade-A moron.
The Nasty Boys manage to pull of the kidnapping with a minimum of struggle from our heroes -- at this point, I'm not sure if "X-Men Are The Worst Superheroes," "Professor X Is A Jerk" or "Scumbag Gambit" is the free space in this little game of bingo -- and physically pick up Jean and throw her straight into a holofoil portal to Times Unknown.
But was it all just a clever ruse?! No, it wasn't. I mean, it might've been a ruse, but, well, you get the idea. What I'm getting at here is that back at the mansion, as Professor X tries to use Cerebro to locate Jean (and notably just Jean, not Scott, because f**k Scott) when Mr. Sinister himself shows up down in the War Room:
He blasts up the prof's hoverchair and knocks Jubilee out with one finger (actually hilarious) as Bishop watches from outside timestream. But back in 2055, Shard and Forge are trying to locate Bishop, and decide that they should probably just send Shard back to see if the X-Men know where he is, because they're probably the most likely source of trouble. I mean, they always are, so it makes sense.
Shard arrives just in time to completely fail at stopping Mr. Sinister from kidnapping Professor X and to get hit on by Gambit, so hey, I guess she's officially an X-Man now! But just what is it that Sinister wants with Jean and Professor X, and why didn't he bother to kidnap Cyclops? The answer, delivered in a resounding but slightly reedy voice that sounds more than anything like one of the muppets trying to intimidate someone, is "Because I tolllld him tooooo!"
What does he have planned for Jean and why does he need to keep her in mint condition in what appears to be a mylar force field? Find out next week!
Discussion Question: Did it seriously take Apocalypse fifty centuries to question whether he was good or evil? I do that literally every time I make a purchase of above forty dollars, but that's just me. What other signs could Apocalypse have used to determine whether he was a good guy or a bad guy?
Next Week: Can't we just get beyond good and evil? Part two?