Friday, March 6, 2009

Breakdown




Season: 1
Episode Number: 20
Season Episode Number: 20
Production Number: 120
Airdate: March 4, 2009

Writer: Greg Johnson
Director: Doug Murphy

Voices: Steve Blum (Wolverine), Nolan North (Cyclops), Kari Wahlgren (Emma Frost), Fred Tatasciore (Juggernaut), Jim Ward (Professor X), Jennifer Hale (Jean Grey), Tom Kane (Magneto), Unknown (Young Scott Summers), Unknown (Teen Scott Summers), Unknown (Young Jean Grey), Unknown (John Grey), Unknown (Doctor Brooks).

Plot: In an attempt to move on with his life, Cyclops agrees to allow Emma Frost into his mind to erase all memories of Jean Grey. The look into Scott's mind reveals the origins of Scott and Jean and their history together.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Fans have been waiting since the first episode for the return of Jean Grey after she disappeared in an explosion before the series even began. Well, fans can whet their appetite with Breakdown as it is an introduction to Jean Grey and the beginning of the final storyarc that will take us to the end of season one.

This episode takes place mostly in the past, using Emma as a link to the present as she wanders through Scott's mind trying to erase memories of Jean Grey.

22 minutes isn't a lot of time. Especially if you are trying to cram the origin of Scott Summers, the origin of Jean Grey, explain the differences between Xavier and Magneto, show the tension between Jean, Scott and Logan, and feature a look at the life of the original X-Men, plus a few more surprises at the end of the episode! But everything is laid out here in detail and fairly accurate to the comics with only some minor changes.

A big highlight here is seeing the original X-Men in their original costumes. Harking back to the days when Jean Grey was called Marvel Girl, the Beast had no fur and Iceman looked like a snowman, it is always a treat when a series takes us back to its roots, something that X-Men: Evolution couldn't do due to its altered history.

I do have one question, though. How is it that Iceman is on the original roster if he appears to be in his teens in the rest of the series? Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Jean all seem to be in their late 20s/early 30s in the present. But if Iceman is a teen, then he would only be a baby when the other four were teens in the past!

Emma Frost hasn't been used very well in this series. She has only been used as the token telepath, never offering anymore that mindscans and piloting cerebro. When the series started out she was a snob, better than everyone else, and only willing to do stuff for the team if it benefited her.

But since the 3-part pilot, her character has become bland and boring. She is not the stuck up ice queen that she is supposed to be, and while there has been a hint of romantic interest between Emma and Scott, in the comics Scott loses Jean Grey and, probably as an act of rebellion, is drawn to Emma by her aggressive attitude and questionable morals. There is nothing in this Emma to grab a hold of Scott, which means that when Jean returns (you know she will), there will not be that love triangle that we were (or at least I was) hoping would be present.

Emma's lack of depth doesn't ruin this episode for me though. The writing far surpasses any complaints I have about the White Queen. The cliffhanger ending was totally expected, but who cares? Every X-Men series must have a Phoenix story as it is one of the defining stories of their history and I, for one, am looking forward to watching this version!

DVD Releases:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men, The Complete First Season (Canada Exclusive)

    Back to Episode Guide
  • 5 comments:

    Paul said...

    Beast didn't speak in this episode and I'm pretty sure that Jennifer Hale voiced both young Jean Grey and adult Jean Grey.

    Kurtis said...

    Yeah, you're right. He spoke in the recap but that doesn't count. Thanks, I have edited the information.

    Jon said...

    It's not really a comment but more a question? Who is the ice guy we can see in the Cyclops' flahbacks?
    I can recognize Young Angel, Youg Beast, Young Cyclops, Young Jean but the ice guy can't be the Iceman that is now in the team. Is that an old version of him? or something

    Kurtis said...

    If you read the first few issues of X-Men from 1963/64, you will see a very different Iceman. It is still Bobby Drake, but he looks more like a snowman, as he does in these flashbacks.

    It wasn't until issue #8 that the Professor taught Bobby how to change his form into the ice-look that we are all familiar with today.

    As I noted in my review, I'm not sure if the character we see in the flashback is supposed to be Bobby due to the age of his character in the present.

    Thanks for your question, Jon!

    Orphen said...

    I like how seamlessly the writers utilize the past present and future. They do a great job at it, without getting confusing or old. I enjoyed this episode, some origins are always cool to see, and the original x-men team was a rare treat. I did have a little bit of issue with iceman from the past and that he is like 18 in the future, makes no sense, the commentary unfortunately did not mention it.