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  • Jay B.

Review: ‘X-Men ‘97’ - Season 1 Episode 6 - “Lifedeath - Part 2”

Updated: Apr 24

Charles Xavier and Lilandra share a kiss

(Image: Courtesy of Marvel Animation)

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for X-Men ‘97: Season 1, Episode 6!

The fifth episode of X-Men ‘97 left viewers in a craze as one of the X-Men’s most prominent members is killed off following a gruesome battle with the deadly Godzilla-like Sentinel on the mutant island Genosha. This week's episode returns to Storm and Forge in the desert as they work together on restoring the mutant abilities Storm lost during episode three. This episode also reveals that Charles is alive and living among the Shi'ar in space acting as an Emperor consort to Lilandra, Empress of the Shi’ar.

The beginning of this episode takes place in space with Deathbird, sister to Lilandra, taking on a fleet of Kree space-ships led by Ronan the Accuser (and man does this guy get his ass beat much like his MCU counterpart ). Suddenly, an announcement from Lilandra is broadcasted that she is seeking Charles Xavier's hand in marriage and is set on making him the Emperor of the Sh’iar Empire which Deathbird does not approve of. Deathbird speaks out against Charles and Lilandra marrying and becoming one. She vocalizes her distaste for Charles and mutants by referring to Earth as "Milky Way ghetto" (which got a few laughs out of me). This scene is important because it highlights that even creatures in space view mutants as inferior. Creator and Head Writer Beau DeMayo doesn't shy away from showing how the fear and disgust for mutants go far beyond that of Earth. Deathbird takes things a step further by telling Charles that to marry Lilandra and become Emperor, he must purge all memories of Earth including all memories of his X-Men, and Lilandra must be the one to do it. This sets up an interesting conflict for the character, will he erase the memories of his life, his family, his X-MEN to be with his star-crossed lover?

Charles initially agrees, but has a change of heart at the last minute that we will not undergo the erasure of his X-Men from his memories. Instead, he decides to teach the Sh’iar counsel a lesson (literally) by using his psychic powers and taking them all to the Astral Plane. He gives a compelling lecture on the hypocrisy of the Sh’iar Empire and the genocide they have taken part in with other races and intergalactic species. As we hear him speak of his “Children of the Atom,” he is terrifyingly interrupted by a psychic vision of the massacre that occurred on Genosha that we saw in the previous episode. He makes a vow that he will not abandon his kind and says that “it is time, I return to my X-Men,” setting up long awaited reunion with the members of the team back on Earth.

Storm and The Adversary

(Storm and The Adversary. Image: Courtesy of Marvel Animation)

The other half of this episode focuses on Storm as both she and Forge take on a demonic owl named The Adversary. Forge was bitten by this creature back in episode 4 and we see that the bite was poisonous and is spreading throughout his body. A powerless Storm, despite the horrors of this demon playing with her mind, sets off on a quest to save Forge. Upon their arrival on the location to a remedy that could save Forge, we see Storm have to face her greatest fear… being enclosed in a small space. Similar to how we have seen in the comics and other adaptations, she is able to overcome her fears and becomes stronger than ever (she even gets her classic back uniform from Uncanny X-Men). I have to call out that I feel this moment could have been more epic had Marvel not spoiled this in a promotional ad a few weeks ago and if writers had given us a chance to see Storm powerless for a little longer during this first season. Myself and many fans alike felt like although the scenes with Forge and Storm are important to this particular storyline, we did not get to see their relationship develop as much as it did in the comics which could have done it more justice in ‘97. However, the story itself works pretty nicely and will leave fans feeling satisfied. We get to see Storm finally conquer her fears and hearing her proclaim "LET THEM THUNDER, FOR I AM LIGHTNING” really does bring tears to your eyes. It is a powerful and pivotal moment for the character and you honestly cannot do anything but smile.

“It is time, I returned to my X-Men,” hints at both Storm and Charles returning to their family in the upcoming episodes of X-Men ‘97. This feels like the first step in the buildup for the 3-part season finale which is titled Tolerance is Extinction, which creator Beau DeMayo is already teasing as being next level compared to episode five. Will we see another X-Men member fall at the hands of the mastermind, Mr. Sinister who was revealed to be behind the attack on Genosha… Stay tuned.

Rating: 3.5/5


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