Thursday, February 7, 2008

The X-Men in other media...

Considering how insanely popular the X-Men have become within my lifetime, it's a no-brainer that they'd show up outside their comfort zone of comics. However, I will warn you, reader. I may myself stray from the intent of this post, and be prepared for a long one.

Before movies, cartoons and video games, comes the merchandise. I myself ate X-Men fruit snacks, chewed X-Men gum, wore X-Men clothes, and owned several dozen X-Men action figures, so I may be said to be something of an expert. Wolverine has appeared in all of them, in something that will quickly become a habit. Speaking specifically, since the Marvel Secret Wars toyline in 1984, no less than 73 figures of Wolverine have been produced. In fact, while Wolverine found a place in the Secret Wars line, it wasn't until 1993 that any other X-Man was made into a figure. Nonetheless, once the dam broke in '93, it would be hard to ever again look into a toy isle and not see some sort of X-Men (read: Wolverine) representation.

The video games were, as comic book games often are, mostly mediocre. With a few bright spots in the mid-90's beat-'em-up genre and the fantastic X-Men Legends, they have essentially forgettable. The one unifying thread? The characters of Cyclops, Storm and (of course) Wolverine, who've appeared in every one to my recollection, with Iceman, Gambit, and Colossus being the most often used otherwise. A nice range of ethnicities, I suppose, though I'd like to see Banshee implemented somehow.

The cartoons many of us have seen. The first was the unfortunate attempt at a girl's show, Pryde of the X-Men, whose quality was so low that the people who green-lit Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (also featuring X-men) killed it after one episode. The early-90's one, smack dab in the middle of the X-Boom, played loose and fast with the canon, but stuck to the heart of the characters (while giving Wolverine plenty of robots to cut in half). Most recently was X-Men: Evolution, which served as a sort of animated Ultimate X-Men, while thankfully avoiding the Jean Grey/Wolverine subplot by making Jean (and most of the team) about fifteen. However, we can only imagine how the upcoming Wolverine and the X-Men will fare, considering that he's been given top billing over the entire franchise.

Lastly, the movies. Dear gott im himmel, the movies. I'll say this; they're fun little action romps. But to put it one way, I actually laughed when I heard that a Wolverine movie in the franchise was planned, because last time I'd checked, I'd already seen three Wolverine movies. You see, when someone writes Cyclops as being a dull jerk, they're being lazy. When someone writes Jean Grey as psychic powers with romantic tension and red hair, they're being lazy. When someone has to incapacitate Professor X before every single fight, they're. Being. Lazy. however, when that person then decides to write Wolverine as being a level-headed natural leader of men with no problem making emotional connections to people, they're just being idiots. By the end of Wolverine 3: The Last Stand, he was acting more like Cyclops that Cyclops had been (before they killed him off-screen five minutes in, which apparently bothered no one).

Wow, that was not the post I had planned. I was going to do an even handed review of each category and make recommendations based on my favorites, but that Canadian bastard is just so grating in his popularity that I can't avoid the prick.

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