Every day this week (Until Christmas) I’ll be posting something Christmas related. This will not get in the way of my regular comic reviews as I’ve already completed all of these posts. Since I don’t know about too many Christmas comics yet though, most of these will be either about movies, TV or music. I hope you enjoy. So first off – X-Men Evolution’s Christmas Episode “On Angel’s Wings”, from the second season.
I briefly talked about this episode in my X-Men Evolution review. X-Men Evolution actually has a very good Christmas episode – easily the best Christmas episode I’ve seen in a non-cartoon kids TV show (not that there’s much competition).
The main reason this episode works as well as it does is because it’s subtle about being a Christmas episode. It doesn’t shove “Christmas” into your face like the 90’s X-Men series’ Christmas episode did (that episode was annoying). Sure, there’s the gift exchange scene at the start, and the quick montage at the end showing how of the main characters celebrate Christmas with their family (or in Kitty Pryde’s case, Hanukkah.) Beyond that, there is no direct mention of “Christmas” or “Holidays” though the entire episode.
The real core of this episode is Warren Worthington aka. Angel. In this series, he’s not a member of the X-Men nor is he a student. This is actually his first appearance in the shoe. Here, he’s simply a rich mutant who is alone as far as he knows. He uses his powers to help people, and there are rumours all over the city of a guardian angel watching over everyone. For a Christmas episode, that works very well.
This episode also explores the relationship between Rogue and Cyclops. In this TV series, they’re both students at Xavier’s institute. Rogue has a crush on Cyclops in this series which will never be fulfilled due to his mutual attraction with Jean Grey. However the two of them are staying at Xavier’s for the holiday as neither of them have family. They investigate the stories about an Angel in the city, and they even question the existence of Angels. It’s a touching scene, and one that matches the holiday spirit.
The angel question also works for Cyclops’s character as he always hoped that his brother, Havok, had a guardian angel that protected him after the airplane crash that killed their parents. In the first season’s finale, he was re-united with his brother, making him question the existence of angels again. The episode wisely doesn’t give any firm answers as to whether angels truly exist or not.
Of course there’s action as well. Magneto shows up to try to corrupt the Angel, which eventually turns into a duel between Magneto and Rogue, who has borrowed part of Magneto’s powers. Yup, this episode has a magnetism duel, and it’s just as awesome as it sounds.
(It’s on now)
X-Men Evolution in general is worth checking out, and its Christmas episode is quite possibly among the best episodes in the series. Of the three major X-Men animated shows, X-Men Evolution is the most realistic, and the one that separates itself from the comics the most. It won’t be for everyone, and at its best it’s still not as good as the best 90’s X-Men episodes, but it’s definitely worth checking out. The entire series can be watched for free on Marvel.com.