The X-Men Episode Guide 5×08: Storm Front, Part Two
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, the final season continues with the long-awaited wedding of Arkon and Storm! Wait, what?
Previously, on X-Men:
In our last episode, Arkon, the ruler of an interdimensional world called Polemachus, came to Earth in order to kidnap Storm so that she could fix the raging weather that was threatening to destroy his planet. He did, she did, and then they decided to get married.
No, really. That's everything that happened. It was a pretty fast 22 minutes.
Okay, one more thing: In order to get the X-Men's attention, Arkon also created a super-storm that threatened to wipe out Washington, DC, which led me to ask the Commenteers if they thought there was a worse way that he could've asked for help.
"Walking through Mutant Town wearing a sandwich board that says 'I Hate Genejokes.'" -- Michael Pullman
"Put up a sign that says 'Polemachus: Ask About Our Mutant Discount!'" -- Andrew Dowis
"Well, there's always his actual plan from his first appearance (where he needs help from the Avengers/wants to marry the Scarlet Witch, but it's otherwise similar): kidnap a group of scientists and start working on a PLANET-BUSTING NUKE. Yes, as a way to ask for help. No, I don't know why it worked." -- Ben Freeman
Folks, I am starting to think that Arkon has some bad ideas about things.
When we rejoin our story, the grateful people of Polemachus have just finished constructing a statue of Storm to go with their pre-existing statue of Arkon, and I feel like it's worth noting that they made the very strange design choice of building the entire fifty-foot statue and then building a separate giant crown that they could lower precariously on the statue's head for dramatic effect. Say what you want about the people of Polemachus, but they certainly have a flair for the dramatic.
As you might expect, the X-Men are a little weirded out by Storm just straight up agreeing to marry a man who kidnapped her after knowing him for roughly twenty minutes. Well, no, that's not actually true -- The X-Men aren't worried about her, Wolverine and Beast are worried about her. Cyclops, and I am not kidding about this, is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FINE with the idea, asking "who are we to stand in her way?" It turns out that when you have the personality of a head of lettuce and you wind up with Jean Grey and Emma Frost, you pretty much just stop questioning why people make their romantic choices and learn to just roll with it. The heart wants what the heart wants, I suppose.
Amidst all this bickering, Storm walks in and tells them that no, this is actually what she wants, causing Wolverine to briefly turn into a kitty cat.
She makes an interesting point, though, telling them that she's been an X-Man since she was a teenager, and as a result, she's never really had a chance to make her own decisions. I would think that maybe she would want to start with something a little smaller than "should I get married to a space king and leave Earth forever," but, you know, I understand the desire for self-determination.
Meanwhile, on the set of The Prisoner, Arkon is planning an actual genocide.
The toadie in the big metal chair informs Arkon that the weather instability was due to the power transmitter (something that sharp-eyed viewers will remember finding out last week), and that it could've been solved by just, you know, turning it off instead of going to another dimension, creating a hot pink hurricane and waiting around to see if the X-Men showed up instead of one of the other twenty-three super-teams that were likely to fly down from New York and hand Arkon his loinclothed ass. Arkon once again talks about how Polemachus needs that power, but since Storm's not around, he starts mentioning things like "obedience rings to control the workers," and hey, that kind of sounds a lot like sci-fi talk for slavery. I WONDER IF THIS METAPHOR WILL BE EXPANDED UPON AS THE EPISODE CONTINUES.
Point being, Arkon and the other residents of Castle Grayskull are planning on raiding the nearby planet, Belgania, for "workers" that very evening.
As Arkon plots planetary enslavement, plans for Storm's wedding continue, with Jubilee goofing around with a sheet of cloth that she identifies as being "real gold," thus confirming what I have always suspected: Jubilee has no idea what "gold" or "metal" is. During the horseplay, she ends up bumping into one of the castle's servants, who immediately begs them not to report her. She is also wearing heavy metal bracelets with loops where one would fasten chains and a raggedy tunic, and Jubilee's response to this situation is "That was weird!"
So like... The X-Mansion is a school, right? A school that is specifically designed to train people to deal with racial injustices? Did they just not put Jubilee into one history class, or was it all "here's how you fly the jet, now sign this will leaving your possessions to Professor X in the extremely likely event of your death."
Either way, the next scene is a delight. My pal Gavin pointed this out to me as one of his favorite moments of the series:
Wolverine turns to the people of this barbaric alien planet and says, kind of in jest, "You know where someone could get some burgers and fries around here?" And before Arkon shows up to put the fear of God in this peasant, he smiles and is about to talk. AS IF HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE TO FIND BURGERS AND FRIES!
If Gavin had only read X-Men Annual #3, he'd know that Polemachus is well known throughout its dimension for its delicious flame-broiled cheeseburgers.
This, incidentally, is what it finally takes to get the X-Men to start figuring out something is wrong. Even when Storm sees a heavily armed invasion fleet departing for Belgania, Arkon assures her that they're just going over for a friendly visit so that they can bring back "wedding treasures to tempt and delight you," which is the creepiest possible synonym for "gifts."
Storm and Jubilee even let it slide when Arkon straight up tortures a girl in front of them for not kneeling. The only thing that happens is that Storm mildly requests that he not do that anymore, and Jubilee turns into the physical embodiment of the '90s by saying "the fear's so thick you could rollerblade on it!"
While Wolverine, Cyclops and Beast are investigating the returning slave ships, they run into the leader of the local Resistance, and promptly get into a pretty fun scrap with Arkon's flying robots. Apparently, it took this long for them to remember what they based the entire first season on, which is that BS&P might not let you punch and stab people, but robots are fair game. As a result, we get some really cool stuff here, like Wolverine jumping 20 feet in the air to chop a robot in half with a pretty sick Marvel vs. Capcom style move:
Having freed Arkon's newest bunch of slaves, the men of the X-Men have pretty firmly allied themselves with the resistance, while the ladies continue to enjoy fireworks and wedding preparations, attended to by terrified handmaidens. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary,Storm assures Jubilee that Arkon is "a kind and decent man!" and goes ahead and continues planning the marriage, thankful that she has brought something old (Wolverine), something new (Jubilee), something borrowed (Cyclops's charisma, never returned) and something blue (you see where this is going).
Arkon, however, is preparing for the wedding by giving his soldiers the order to kill the rest of the X-Men on sight. I'll admit to not being all that up on my wedding etiquette, but that would seem to be in poor form.
Eventually, Arkon and Storm throw a fancy dinner party for all the citizens of Eternia...
...and naturally, the X-Men blow a giant hole in the wall and stroll in to reveal that Arkon is pretty into this whole slavery thing. And Storm fliips out.
In the early episodes of the show, I was pretty fond of noting that Storm's voice actress, Alison Sealy-Smith, made the choice to deliver every line Storm said as a momentous proclamation. Sadly, they toned things down a little as the show went on, but here, she's going full Claremont.
"It is not the way of a just people! How could YOU LIE TO ME YOU BUTCHER?! How could you make me... love you?!"
And cue fight scene! Beast, Cylcops and Jubilee take on the robots and Wolverine goes after Arkon, who made the mistake of bringing a gun to a six-adamantium-knives-attached-to-your-fists fight. Storm, meanwhile flips right the heck out, raining a calamity of biblical proportions down on Polemachus:
She tears down a few buildings and bashes the walls of the capital city with a Tsunami, but Jubilee talks her down, basically telling her that Storm shouldn't be wasting so much effort on some ain't-s**t jackass from space.
In order to spare his world, Arkon conjures up a portal back to Earth, and the X-Men depart -- but not before Storm throws one last lightning bolt at the energy transmitter, destroying it and turning off the power to the "obedience rings." That'll probably end the entire problem of a society built on slavery, right? Right. I'm sure it'll all be fine.
Discussion Question: The X-Men aren't so good with relationships, huh? Just going by this show, we've got Rogue's ex-boyfriend Cody, who became a Brood and tried to kill the team, Professor X's ex-girlfriend Amelia Voght, who became an Acolyte and tried to kill the team, Storm's ex-fiancee Arkon, who tried to kill and enslave the team, and Cyclops's girlfriend Phoenix, who, ah, tried to kill the team.
So who has the worst romantic partner in X-Men history?