ComicsVerse is celebrating the 12 Days of X-Mas by taking a look at some of our favorite X-Men holiday-themed issues! Today, we’re talking about X-MEN: EVOLUTION’s unique rewriting of a classic X-Men character.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION doesn’t make a lot of sense. Almost none of the characters in the classic animated show parallel their on-page counterparts, which is one the reasons it doesn’t resonate in the minds of fans as strongly as X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, which followed the comics more faithfully. Founding members of the X-Men, like Jean and Scott, are the same age as much newer characters, like Spyke. Their uniforms are completely foreign, and most of their adventures pull sparsely from the comics.

On Angel’s Wings

With all that being said, is X-MEN: EVOLUTION a bad show? For the eleventh day of X-Mas, we’re taking a closer look at the iconic X-MEN: EVOLUTION episode “On Angel’s Wings.” Although founding X-Men members Jean, Cyclops, and Beast regularly appear on the show, Angel doesn’t make his first appearance until this episode, in season two. We’re not really sure why Marvel producers decided to change the original X-Men origin story so much, beyond just wanting to give fans a fresh new take on a fairly old franchise. Sometimes, that fresh new take is successful…and, sometimes it’s not.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

In the X-MEN: EVOLUTION universe, Warren never finds Professor Xavier, which means he never joins the X-Men. He’s also a good bit older than the students, looking to be in his twenties instead of his teens. During the Christmas season, Warren comes to grips with his recent mutant transformation, which gave him giant, angel-like wings. He’s wary of using his powers in public, but during a few key moments throughout the episode, he overcomes his fears in order to save someone from certain death. While that seems like a good use of his powers, it ultimately just gathers some unwanted attention.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Magneto Cancels Christmas   

News reports of an angel rescuing people in New York City grow exponentially as the X-Men wonder what this winged-man could really be. The only students still in the mansion for the holiday season are Cyclops and Rogue, so Xavier sends them out to do some reconnaissance. What starts as a simple mission quickly becomes a fight-to-the-death when Magneto shows up, with the intention of taking Warren for his own selfish reasons. Cyclops and Rogue manage to shove the Master of Magnetism off Warren’s trail…for now. They invite Warren back to the X-Mansion to meet Xavier, but Cyclops has the feeling he won’t come. The episode ends without a definitive answer.

Angel Rewritten in X-MEN: EVOLUTION

As a comic fan, it’s hard to watch this episode of X-MEN: EVOLUTION without immediately thinking about, and comparing it with, Angel’s comic origins. In the comics and in X-MEN: EVOLUTION, Angel is the son of wealthy parents, who’re ignorant of their son’s mutation. However, in the comics, Angel revels in his ability to fly and becomes a costumed superhero before he even joins the X-Men. Comic Warren didn’t really care what anyone thought about him…so why is X-MEN: EVOLUTION Angel so afraid?

X-MEN: EVOLUTION
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Rewriting classic characters in a new setting can be incredibly dangerous. Fans love these characters, and they don’t always enjoy seeing writers dismantle their extensive histories. I don’t think X-MEN: EVOLUTION did a perfect job of creating a new version of Angel. However, I also don’t think it did a poor job. This Angel is an Angel for modern times. He’s scared of his mutation and doesn’t really want to be a superhero because, in the 21st century, being a superhero is terrifying. Since his first appearance in the ‘60s, the Marvel universe has changed drastically, going from a world where good always wins to a world where evil can, and sometimes does, prevail.    

X-MEN: EVOLUTION
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Trials of Mutant Life

He tries to help others using his powers, but his sympathetic plan instantly backfires. Being a good person only brings him closer to the world he doesn’t want to be a part of. A lot of the previous X-Mas articles talked about the difficulties of life as a member of the X-Men. X-MEN: EVOLUTION takes it a step further, showing how difficult it is to be a part of, and not a part of, the X-Men. Life with the X-Men means constantly confronting dangerous supervillains like Magneto. Life without the X-Men means being alone on Christmas. There really isn’t a clear-cut answer, even by the end of the episode. It’s a surprisingly complex dilemma for a show a lot of X-Men fans quickly write off as childish.  

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