X-Men 97 My reactions from the first two episodes!

So now that the anticipated X-Men Revival series has made its debut this week, I thought I’d express my overall opinions based on the first two episodes I watched last week. This isn't necessarily a review but there be spoilers, matey!

The events of this series continue to follow through with the 90's timeline however, situations have been slightly altered. Instead of Charles Xavier living out his existence with Lilandra of the Sh'air the revivals storyline deals with the aftermath of his assassination by former NSA Henry Gyrich and while this death brought about sympathy for mutantkind, there is still opposition caused by Friends of Humanity or "FOH " for short who kidnap a Mutant teen Roberto for "target practice " until the X-Men arrive to save the day.

The plot gains more traction as the Team tracks down FOH's retrofitted weapons salvaged from the Sentinels. After a big encounter with the giant automatons, the first episode wraps up with a not so shocking surprise.
The dialog and character interactions are more adult oriented thanks to writers having more creative freedom without fearing too much censorship when producing a direct to streaming program.

And yes, we all know about the controversy surrounding Morph but judging from the first two episodes, he's more of the likeable prankster who adds more human element to the series, not to mention his camaraderie with Wolverine.  There's been plenty of dog whistling pundits bringing up his gender, but I doubt if Showrunner Beau Demayo did an episode strictly devoted to Morph's Non-Binary status akin to some After-school special. 
The irony is that the X-Men for the most part, has always been deemed "Woke" so there's that.

There are plenty of metaphors to soak in be it the Proud Boys-esque Friends of Humanity extremists or when the students go through lengths to thwart any wrongdoing or those who withhold important information be it Jean using her psychic abilities to read Bolivar Trask's mind or Rogue siphoning a Surgeon's capabilities to save Jean and her unborn child, this brings into question of how far mutants will go when abusing their powers.

But during the second episode, Storm loses her powers when I'm harm’s way to protect Magneto to some it may seem like a sacrificial negro trope, but this may play well into a story arc where Ororo leads the Moorlocks.

Now the best part of this episode is where Mags creates a magnetosphere to evaluate Valarie Cooper and the hearings committee above the Earth's atmosphere in Retaliation of what happened to Storm but changes his impulses when he vowed to follow Xavier's dream. There is that part in his soliloquy where Erik mentions how the "oppressed are now the oppressors" and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Another standout scene that follows, is after Ororo receives bad news, she leaves Jean a goodbye letter and while her narration plays out, the love triangle between Rogue, Gambit and Magneto comes to light where Gambit feels betrayed and therein lies jealousy caused by a revelation.

And speaking of revelations, there's a shocking reveal regarding Jean Grey at the very end, but again, those of you comic devotees should not be surprised at all.

Despite recent controversies involving X-Men 97 creator's departure from Marvel, his scripting for the most part, delivers and the adult oriented approach is what's needed to evolve this series. Demayo uses the past and present political allegories to fit within the confines of the narrative and does a great job fleshing out storylines which some were adopted from the source material but there is more than enough original material that makes it stand out as a solo identity.

The animation gets a huge bump in terms of quality whether its character designs, or even the series' intro that closely matches the original with a remixed theme. Jubilee looks more Asian with more fluid motion especially during the club scene, while Summers is more expressive as the Team's field leader.Oh, and this upgraded Cyclops kicked more ass than those underwhelming portrayals from the Brian Singer films.

The voiceovers for the most part, are good although Rogue at times, sounds a bit like a senior citizen and this can be attributed to actress Lenore Zann (65) reprising her role.

Overall, X-Men 97 is in my opinion the best Revival series this year and those before it thanks to its solid animation, scripting and production all packaged to satisfy not only fans of the OG series but allowing newcomers to enjoy the ride.

Four Xs out of five


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