Sunday, 24 March 2013

On the Tellybox: Pryde of the X-Men

There have been various screen and film adaptations of X-Men. The first of these was Pryde of the X-Men, made as a pilot in 1989. Mercifully, it was never picked up, meaning that I only had to watch 25 minutes of it. The kindest thing I have to say about it is that the animation is great.

X-Men generally somehow avoids the needs for endless recapitulations of an origin story. I guess this is partly because the X-Men didn't have have an origin story: they've just always existed. Way back, when I looked at #1, I noted

there's already a school with X-Men in training

Later in the 1960s we get backups showing how the various guys were recruited, but it is not until the 1990s and the introduction of Amelia Voight that Xavier's decision to found the school is examined.

So, without an iconic opening story to adapt, Pryde of the X-Men replicates the situation more-or-less at the time that Kitty Pryde was originally introduced, but have her turn up invited instead of being involved in Events. The X-Men are an adult team (Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, only with Dazzler instead of Phoenix). Having arrived and had a demo of the team's powers in the Danger Room, she then gets involved in a supervillain attack. The antagonists are a mixed bunch of people from various Brotherhood line-ups (with added Juggernaut and Emma Frost). Except, there being one child hanging around a team of professionals was silly in the comics already - that situation didn't last more than a few years - and it certainly doesn't make sense as Xavier's actual plan, rather than a happenstance. This is where the isolation of the pilot possibly hurts it: maybe with time it would have become more like New Mutants. (And maybe if it had gone to series they'd have redubbed Wolverine to be Canadian.) But this is all we have.


  1. "Pryde of the X-Men" was my first encounter with the X-Men. I'd been a semi-regular Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends viewer, and this originally aired following that. Somehow I'd missed the episodes which guest starred the X-Men though (I think there were two).

    Needless to say, it struck a chord with me, though it didn't exactly turn me into a diehard fan immediately. Watching it as an adult, the story is pretty rough, but the animation is still great (I doubt they could have maintained that quality if it was picked up as a series) and I still like a lot of the action sequences (to this day, I kinda want the White Queen to throw psychic javelins).

    But honestly, the things I remember most about this was realizing that Cyclops' voice was the same as Duke's from GI Joe, thereby tying together two of my favorite nerdy leader type characters, and wondering how, if mutants were born with their powers, Wolverine could have been born with metal claws, not knowing what his actual power was nor how he got the claws, and just assuming they had to somehow be his power.

    1. I recall what was probably an Amazing Friends episode that guest-starred the original X-Men being my first exposure to them. Didn't have any other exposure until 2006, I think.