X-Men: The Animated Series

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1990s animated series based on the popular X-Men comics.

An ambitious attempt to adapt the most famous comic storylines. One of the most popular series on FOX's Saturday morning lineup, and remembered fondly despite its limited animation quality and a few less-than stellar story arcs.

The main characters were:

Together, they fought evil mutants, giant robots, government conspiracies, cosmic forces, and occasionally each other, while protecting those who hated and feared them.

Another animated series based on the X-Men comic, X-Men: Evolution, was made in the early '00s, followed by Wolverine and the X-Men in the late '00s.

Tropes used in X-Men: The Animated Series include:
  • Aborted Arc: In "Beyond Good and Evil, Part 2," it is clearly stated that Magneto is only aiding Apocalypse to have his "beloved wife" resurrected. This was not referred to again and a far different motivation was stated in Part 4.
  • Above Good and Evil: Apocalypse delivers this line in the beginning of the four-parter "Beyond Good and Evil":

Apocalypse: I am not malevolent, I simply am!

  • Action-Hogging Opening: Especially in the Japanese opening titles, which feature Magneto summoning Hydralisks. (Probably supposed to be Broodlings from the Alien Brood, a recurring X-men enemy that...only showed up as illusions/holographic projections in the cartoon and was re-imagined as the reptilian race known as the Family)
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The Shadow King's human body. In comics he's fat and bald. In the series he's a handsome Egyptian with a Badass Beard.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were never members of the Brotherhood in the cartoon, and they fight against Magneto rather than for him. They never seem to have met him before he is revealed as their father.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plothole / Series Continuity Error:
    • When Warren Worthington (Archangel) is introduced, he has no connection to Xavier or the X-Men. In "Cold Comfort", a flashback reveals the first 5 X-Men and one of them has big angelic wings on his shoulders.
    • Cable's appearance in the first season suggests he's been in the present day for quite some time but there's no attempt to reconcile it with his later appearances where he's clearly a man from the future who dives into the present only to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. This may be the result of the series's writers being unaware of Marvel's plans for him. The first season aired 1992-1993, whereas Cable's origin wasn't confirmed in the comics until December 1993. Thus, the series writers likely adjusted to avoid any serious contradictions with the source material. Also of note, whereas there is no attempt to reconcile the two seasons' Cable appearances, the first season is not ignored. Rogue explicitly recalls her first encounter with Cable when the two battle in "Time Fugitives, Part 2."
    • "Enter Magneto" was clearly the first time the X-Men encountered or had even heard of Magneto. A flashback in "Cold Comfort" shows the original five X-Men had fought him at least once.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Every character gets some time for the viewers to learn about their backstory. (Although some more than others)
  • Alien Invasion: The Phalanx
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Anti-mutant hysteria, though it grows less prominent after Senator Robert Kelly's life is saved by the X-Men, just before he's elected president. It's still pretty bad, though.
  • Alternate Timeline: Almost anything involving Bishop or Cable.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub of X-Men not only has a different theme song, it completely reanimates the opening! It also uses a new ending.
  • American Accents: Surprisingly well-done—Xavier is completely believable for Westchester County, Gambit is stereotypical but very consistent, and (not actually American, of course) Magneto has just the right touch of Central European on top of a cultured American accent. Rogue's southern accent isn't really one at all, though.
  • And I Must Scream: The episodes "The Phalanx Covenant" and "Love In Vain" are good examples.
  • Animation Bump: The openings by OLM Incorporated and AKOM are better looking than the rest of the show, which was done largely by the latter studio.
  • Audience Surrogate: Jubilee is meant to serve this function, assuming one identifies with her. Arguably, the Target Audience generally does.
  • Ax Crazy: Wolverine, to the point of being a Heroic Sociopath at times.
    • This is played straight with Sabretooth.
  • Back from the Dead: Jean Grey, of course, as they adapted her plot arcs directly from the comics. Morph came back in Season 2 though he had been intended to stay dead.
  • Badass Boast: Every sentence Apocalypse utters is this. Here.
  • Badass Bookworm: Beast.
  • Badass Longcoat: Gambit.
  • Badbutt: Wolverine, (although his popularity hardly suffered for it) Cable and Apocalypse.
  • Bad Future: Anything involving Bishop or Cable.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Rogue's actual mutant power is to involuntarily take energy from other people through her touch, though she is a kind person despite the influence of people like Mystique in her past.
  • Bald of Awesome: Professor X.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: A rather common plot device, the most notable being Professor Xavier battling the Shadow King and Rogue dealing with the transplanted personality of Miss Marvel.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After dispatching the entire team with ease, Dark Phoenix focuses on Xavier and purposefully invokes this.

"You once told Jean Grey that the greatest joy a teacher had is to be surpassed by his own pupil. Enjoy!"

  • Beast Man:
    • Beast subverts this in as much as his beastly aspects are purely physical.
    • The only-slightly-less-obvious Wolverine and Sabretooth.
  • Beneath the Earth: the Morlocks
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Beast. You really get to know why he has that codename when a gang of anti-mutant thugs kidnap his girlfriend. And seriously, do not piss off Jean Grey when she's cooking.
  • Big Bad: Apocalypse in a more series-wide capacity, since Magneto's Heel Face Revolving Door was played up. Mister Sinister clearly holds this status in Season 2, though.
  • Big No: Wolverine and some of the Big Bad villains do this
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Graduation Day".
  • Bloody Murder: One mutant could do nasty things with blood.
  • Bouquet Toss: When Scott and Jean get married, Beast catches it.
  • Bowdlerization: To avoid mentioning the Holocaust in a kids' show, Magneto's backstory is changed slightly. In this version, he's a refugee from a war in some generic unnamed Eastern European country.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Morph after he was brought back to life by Mister Sinister to manipulate the X-Men, and Jean Grey being manipulated by Mastermind to join the Hellfire Club...although being possessed by the Phoenix also helped.
    • Especially when the previously emotionless cosmic being becomes addicted to human emotions.
  • Break the Haughty: Wolverine, during the "Proteus" arc.
  • Breather Episode: "Mojovision," which comes in after the emotionally heavy "Beauty & the Beast" and right before the "Reunion" two-part season finale.
  • British Accents: Mr. Sinister (who was born in England) and Brainchild speak with faint traces of one. However, British-born Psylocke does not.
    • The Scottish accents were painfully bad (including Moira Mac Taggert's), which is particularly unfortunate since several episodes purport to take place in Scotland.
    • Pyro speaks with a sterotypical (and poor) Cockney accent, slang and all. All the weirder, since the Pyro is canonically Australian.
  • Broken Aesop: One episode has Wolverine exploiting the bigotry of a bunch of anti-mutant radicals by revealing their leader to be the son of Sabretooth, a mutant, causing his men to turn against him. The X-Men, after all, are trying to bring about peace and understanding humans and mutants, and Wolverine was just fueling the fire.
  • The Brute: Sabertooth. Particularly in Beyond Good and Evil
  • Butterfly of Doom
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Wolverine to Professor X when Sabretooth was in their infirmary and Magneto was attacking. "How come we gotta trash your old enemy, but we gotta go easy on mine?"
    • Cyclops and Corsair, in a truly gut-wrenching scene.
    • Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to Magneto.
    • Xavier gets this from Iceman during his guest appearance.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Storm, every time she uses her powers, presumably to explain exactly what she's doing to the audience. Lampshaded humorously during the Spider-Man: The Animated Series crossover.
  • The Cameo: One of the things the series is remembered for. Various Avengers, Doctor Strange, War Machine, Spider-Man (well, his hand and shadow at least), the Punisher, Black Panther and Deadpool are just some of the characters to pop up throughout the series. Numerous mutants from the comics also made these. Additionally, characters with speaking roles in even one episode will tend to reappear in cameos in others.
  • Canon Immigrant: Morph is an unusual example, as the character who eventually became Morph was originally a reformed villain called the Changeling, who died in a Heroic Sacrifice back in the days of the original X-Men team.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Storm's godson Mj'nari the Fragile Speedster from the episode "Whatever It Takes".
    • Subverted. In the "Captive Hearts" episode; though one of the morlocks Tar Baby exists in comics, he has a completely different look in the cartoon. Compare his Comic version to his Cartoon version.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Professor X, having previously expressed concerns about his sanity, tries to tell the X-Men that an alien woman popped out of nowhere in front of him and was immediately abducted, the response is not what he'd hoped...
  • Catch Phrase: Beast overdoes his "Fascinating" and "Oh dear". Also:

"The name's Gambit, remember it!"
Wolverine: "I go where I wanna go!"
"I am Storm, Mistress of the Elements!"

  • Catgirl: Cyclops' father Corsair is currently involved romantically with one.
    • She is supposed to be a skunk.
  • Chained to a Railway; Played straight in an episode (Need episode name) where Jubilee is tied to some to subway tracks.
  • Chain Link Fence: The opening includes a shot of Jubilee, being chased by an Angry Mob, running into a chain-link fence.
  • The Chessmaster: Mr. Sinister; Apocalypse.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Gambit.
  • Christmas Episode: An INFAMOUS one.
  • Claustrophobia: Storm
  • Coming of Age Story: Technically this applies to everyone, but Jubilee especially.
  • Cool Big Sis: Storm, Rogue, and Jean to Jubilee.
  • Cool Little Sis: Shard to Bishop.
  • Cool Old Guy: Professor X.
  • Composite Character: Professor Oyama is an amalgamation of the Professor of Weapon X and Lord Dark Wind, the father of Lady Deathstrike.
  • Crossover: With Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which ran alongside X-Men. It was pretty much inevitable. In fact before his series was developed a cameo of Spider-Man can be seen in one episode saving some civilians of New York from a tidal wave (he wasn't fully shown save for an arm but it was still pretty clear who he was).
    • The series' voice cast were flown to LA from Canada to record their lines for the crossover.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Shard.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Wolfsbane.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to every other Marvel animated series (since the 1960's 'cartoons'), the pilot episode is very unlike your average Saturday morning action animation. Very much the Marvel equivalent of Batman: The Animated Series, but still toned down in comparison.
  • Dating Catwoman: Longshot and Spiral.
  • Deconstructed Trope: In the episode where the Juggernaut's powers are transferred to someone else, said someone else gets Juggy's Super Strength. Which promptly ruins his life by turning him into an unintentionally-destructive human demolition crew.
    • The episode "Cold Comfort" deconstructs the Super-Hero School trope by portraying Iceman as a bitter, vengeful alumnus.
  • Determinator: Most of the characters shared this trait.
  • Deus Exit Machina:
    • This happens to Professor X in season 2, as the X-Men had to deal with challenges that were originally resolved by him. A good thing that Jean's a telepath herself (if not as skilled).
    • Rogue had to be written out of the first episode of the Phoenix Saga, with Xavier saying she's on a mission. This may sound random until you realize that due to her Mega Manning and Flying Brick powers (which let her survive the vacuum of space and reentry into the atmosphere), she could have done everything Jean did without a single hitch. In fact, when Rogue gets back and learns what happened, she blames herself for not being there to do this. In the comics, she hadn't been created as a character yet.
    • Wolverine was thrown this trope during the season 2 finale and the beginning of the Dark Phoenix saga. His adamantium claws would've made breaking out all too easy. Hence why at the beginning of each fight, he is disposed of quite early (thrown off a waterfall in the one case, knocked 5 stories down into the sewers in the other) only to come back when the villains were about to dispose of the other X-Men
  • Did Not Do the Research: Gambit travels to Washington, D.C., which apparently is located in the State of Washington.
  • Dirty Communists: The plot of one episode has a group of hard-line Communists revive Omega Red to use as a weapon to restore the former Soviet Union. It didn't go as planned...
  • Disappeared Dad: Played straight with Cyclops until he meets Corsair and realizes that he is Cyclops' father.
  • Downer Ending: Near the end of "Weapon X, Lies, and Videotapes, they learn that their memories were fabricated, with implications that some might be true. Wolverine pointed out that the fake cabin didn't have the carving of "Logan+Kayla" inside a heart on the door, Wolverine believes their love for each other was real. However, Kayla (now Silver Fox) said that even if that was true "that was another lifetime". The episode ends with a pan to a tree with the carving.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Mr. Sinister was defeated in the Savage Land, Sauron takes up the reins and quickly takes over the area.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Fabian Cortez to Magneto
  • Emperor Scientist: Magneto was once this in the Savage Land. In his absence, Mr. Sinister took over.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Nearly every appearance of Magneto, but notably the entirety of season 2, in which he is stranded in the Savage Land with Professor X.
    • Beast (who is the only one left after his teammates were captured), Warlock, Forge and Amelia Voght team up with the two Big Bads Mister Sinister and Magneto against the alien threat Phalanx in the two-parter episodes.
    • Beyond Good And Evil sees Magneto and Mystique team up with the X-Men to stop Apocalypse's plot.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Spiral for Longshot.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Lilandra qualifies for this, until she becomes the Shi'ar empress.
    • In the fairytale episode, Jubilee casts Jean as one.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French:
    • Gambit.
    • While they only appear a couple of times, Northstar and Aurora also count.
    • A Russian example shows up in Darkstar.
  • Evil Counterpart: Sabretooth for Wolverine.
    • Also Mystique to Morph.
  • Evil Feels Good: In one episode, Storm went mad and create a natural disaster after being hypnotised by Sauron. At the end after everything (including her) had been restored to normal she commented that she never felt herself so free.
    • Dark Phoenix
  • Evil Redhead: Mystique.
    • Also the Dark Phoenix.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Mr. Sinister. It was hinted that Magneto was once this as well.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: After taking a few hits from Gambit's exploding cards, Bishop explains his mutant ability to absorb energy from other mutants’ attacks and transform it into energy bolts, which he then uses on Gambit.
  • Expy: In terms of his powers and appearance, Morph seems to be based on the obscure 1970s villain turned X-Man Changeling.
    • In the last season, Jubilee's design looks just like Gi from Captain Planet.
    • In the adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Rogue, who debuted after the original comic, takes the place of Colossus, due to both having super strength and Colossus not being a regular character in this series. Also, Beast doubles for Nightcrawler in some scenes due to their shared agility and Nightcrawler's absence.
    • The episode Jubilee's Fairytale Theatre was based on a comic which featured Kitty Pride instead of Jubilee. Another one changed because the TV show's line-up didn't match the comic being adapted.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Jean's dress in the first marriage (that turned out to be invalid).
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Lasers for everyone. Getting hit does no more damage than a punch, no matter what setting the user says it's on. Averted in Wolverine's flashback episode in World War 2, when German and American troops are shown with realistic firearms though the animation occasionally spoils it, and accuracy predictably suffers.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and mutants, obviously.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Wolverine's regen abilities apparently disappear when he touches a motorcycle.
  • Fat Bastard: Mojo.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In "Beyond Good and Evil, Part 4," Apocalypse is seemingly destroyed, but in actuality, his essence is trapped within a void. A celestial alignment and a sacrifice is required for him to be fully revived. In the end, Cortez becomes the sacrifice and his essence is shown being sent into the same void as Apocalypse is revived.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: This is more or less the opinion and motivation of Graydon Creed. Keeping in mind he says the following as if it were fact;

Jubilee: What did we ever do to you‽
Creed: You were born!

"Who the fuck let in Robert Black!?"

  • Genius Bruiser: Beast
  • Gentle Giant: Beast, Colossus, and Tusk come to mind...
  • A God Am I: Apocalypse is made of this trope. Dark Phoenix and Mr. Sinister go this route too.
  • Good Powers, Bad People
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: "That's a darn lie!"
    • Subverted in a later episode when Beast used the word Hell.
  • Grand Finale: Twice. The "Beyond Good and Evil" four-parter was intended to end the series, seeing the X-Men join forces with noteworthy recurring characters against the combined forces of Apocalypse, Magneto, Mister Sinister and Mystique to save the entire timeline. When more episodes were ordered, a more heartwarming finale with the X-Men saying goodbye to an ailing Professor Xavier was done.
  • Green Eyed Red Head: Jean Grey (unless the art was off).
  • Hammerspace:
    • After having lost his telepathic powers, Professor Xavier is able to produce a boomerang, a spear and a rock out of thin air.
    • In the first episode Morph pulls a gas gun out of nowhere and re-holsters it on his hip despite having no holster.
  • Handsome Lech: Gambit.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Wolverine and Cyclops for Jean Grey.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jean Grey in "The Dark Phoenix Saga" as in the comics. The Phoenix Force felt regret over what it had caused, and brought her back.
    • And Jean Grey as Phoenix when she flies the M'Kraan Crystal into the sun.
    • Also Morph who gets killed saving Wolverine in the first episode.
    • Near the end of the series, Mystique takes a laser shot to save her son Nightcrawler's life, and falls over a waterfall.
    • There was also Alternate timeline Wolverine and Storm who helped fix the timeline in "One Man's Worth", but erased themselves from history in the process.
  • High Collar of Doom: Magus in the Fairy Tale episode.
  • Hot-Blooded: Wolverine, Bishop, Cable, Sabretooth and Rogue.
    • Cyclops also had his moments of this.
  • Hot Mom: Mystique.
    • Also Storm, who is actually a Hot godmother to Mj'nari.
  • Hot Witch: Appropriately, Wanda the Scarlet Witch.
    • And Storm, who is called a Weather Witch.
    • Jean to Cable, although it's just vaguely hinted at (due to the comics still sorting it out at the time).
  • Human Aliens: the Shi'ar, with feathers for hair
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Jean, by one of the Morlocks, but it didn't work so well.
  • I Owe You My Life: "Repo Man" plays it straight in the flashbacks, as Wolverine expresses genuine gratitude towards Heather and James/Vindicator - agreeing to work for their department out of appreciation. However, things obviously didn't work and Wolverine no longer feels this way.

Vindicator: We saved you! We gave you back your life! How could you leave us?!
Wolverine: So I could be your weapon? Sorry, James.

  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Wolverine tells Cyclops in the wedding reception: "If she's [Jean's] unhappy, don't let me find out." before opening his claws to cut a slice of the wedding cake.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: All the X-Men have had this at some point or other. but the special mention goes to Rogue, who's the one it happens to most frequently. She started feeling like this in the early part of the series, considering taking the "mutant cure", but deciding against it in the end. However, the cure was a ruse to transform mutants into Apocalypse's Four Horsemen.
    • A good runner-up is Beast. While generally very accepting of being a mutant, in "Beauty & the Beast," he openly laments that his powers keep him from having a normal life, associating with his family and from being with the woman he loves.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Cyclops calls out to Jean after the Dark Phoenix takes control of her. Xavier does so later - requesting Jean's help during a psychic battle with the entity.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Proteus manages to rip Wolverine in half, then melt him into a puddle.
  • Implacable Man: Juggernaut.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most of the cast pulls this to some extent.
  • Interspecies Romance: Corsair and his current girlfriend.
    • Also Beast and his girlfriend Carly.
    • And Longshot and Spiral.
    • Professor X and Lilandra
  • Ironic Echo:

Rogue's dad: <to Rogue> You're not my daughter! Not anymore!
Rogue: <to Mystique> I ain't you daughter! Not anymore!

Vertigo: "On your knees."
Wolverine: "No!"
Vertigo: "Surrender to Vertigo."
Wolverine: "Never!"

    • And:

Vertigo: "Kneel. Become one of the master's slaves. They cannot help you."

  • Laser-Guided Karma: Graydon Creed, the leader of the anti-mutant "Friends of Humanity" organization, after failing to eliminate his mutant family, was abducted and flown by his own group to the home of Sabretooth, his father.
  • Last-Name Basis: Bishop, who's first name is Lucas.
  • Lens Flare: used with blinding potential on Wolverine's claws just about any time he unsheathed them.
  • Lethal Chef: Gambit.
  • Literal Genie: The Sentinels were programmed to "protect humans from mutants". However, because all humans have some level of genetic mutation, they interpreted it as "protect humans from themselves".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Though not everyone in the comics at the time made an appearance, the producers did their level best.
  • Look Ma, No Plane: In one episode, Rogue once sat on the wing of a plane when she needed to think, and didn't notice the a passenger was freaking out. He even tries to tell the stewardess, but she just laughs.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Cyclops finding out Corsair was his father.
    • Rogue finding out Mystique had been her foster mother.
    • Nightcrawler finding out that Mystique was his mother.
    • Graydon Creed is a bit of a subversion as he knew Sabretooth was his father, but being the head of an anti-mutant organization, he was ashamed of it, to say the least. He goes through this for real when he learns that Mystique is his mother, however.
  • Mad Scientist: Mr. Sinister.
  • Magic Genetics
  • Mama Bear: Played straight with Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. Storm, in one episode, when her god-child (the son of Storm's best friend in Africa, whom she has known from birth) who's also a mutant (more exactly, a Fragile Speedster a la Quicksilver) is kidnapped and possessed by her arch-nemesis, the Shadow King.
    • Also with Mystique when she takes a laser shot to save her son Nightcrawler's life.
  • Martial Pacifist: Beast (unless you kidnap his girlfriend) and Nightcrawler.
  • Marvel Universe
  • Mighty Glacier: Colossus and the Sentinels.
  • Mind Rape:
    • This is Xavier's primary form of combat in the series, though he does mention abhorring it and feel guilty when he's forced to do so. He applied it to Magneto, by having him relive his memories of the Holocaust. It may have had a point in teaching him that violence is wrong, but it is still forcing someone to relive his darkest memories.
    • In the two-parter involving Proteus, he rapes both mental and physically the hell out of Wolverine. Afterward, even Wolverine, the archetype of the Nineties Anti-Hero, was horrified by the psychic attack.
    • In "A Rogue's Tale", Rogue's mind is invaded by Miss Marvel and she is tormented by it.
    • Then there's what Dark Phoenix did to Mastermind after realizing he was trying to control her.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The opening credits
  • Missing Mom: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's deceased mother.
  • Morality Pet: Jean, Storm, and Jubilee (or just about any kid he meets when Walking the Earth) for Wolverine.
  • More Than Mind Control Sinister (and to a lesser extent Morph) both imply that Morph was genuinely angry with the X-Men for leaving him behind, and wanted revenge on his own, though his own mind rejected this to the point that he developed a Split Personality. At first, Sinister did little more than draft the Evil Morph to help him out (albeit with a mechanical backup). Of note, is the scene where he specifically targets Jubilee (whose death would not help Sinister out in the slightest). She joined the team immediately after his death and became super close with his former BFF Wolverine, and he practically snarls after her "That's for thinking you could take my place". Later in the season, after Sinister's recaptured him, he's been more properly Brainwashed into being his slave, though he manages to break free several times and his loyalty to his friends eventually wins out completely.
    • Also of note, in the second episode he casually suggests that humans evolving into mutants is "progress", which is quite in line with Sinister's views, even if he would never voluntarily support his methods.
  • Most Common Superpower: Toned down a bit for the kids. Fortunately, that didn't stop the ladies' iconic costumes from being super-hot, especially Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club who keep their sexy kinky outfits from the comics.
  • Muggle Power: The Brotherhood and various other Anti and Pro Mutant factions' reason for fighting.
  • Mundane Utility: Wolverine has used his claws to slice up various meat products, spawning the BLASTED SALAMI and turkey meme.
  • Muzzle Flashlight: A scene in the first Season Finale has Wolverine battle a squad of Sentinels in a dark cave, with nothing to see with except the flashes from the robots' energy blasts.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Archangel (as the Horseman of Death) after Rogue absorbed some of his powers/memories, or as Rogue called it, "the evil within". Also, Jean Grey after reasserting control from the Phoenix entity, who nearly killed Wolverine and almost allowed Cyclops to be killed by Mastermind in mental battle in the Hellfire Club.
    • Brother Reinhart in "Nightcrawler" who leads a mob to kill Nightcrawler and his brothers, whom he believed have been corrupted by the "demon". But after Nightcrawler shows him mercy after saving him from a fall and showed him what his actions have caused (burning the monestary), he falls on his knees and cries that he has "sinned". He later repents.
  • Necessary Fail: During one of the time travel arcs.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted in the episode dealing with Gambit's backstory as he says that he left because he was sick of the endless cycle of revenge with, as he put it "Thieves killing assassins, assassins killing thieves"
    • More often played straight, however; the opening storyline manages to kill off an X-Man without ever saying the words.
    • They did semi-regularly use the words "die" and "kill" however, it seemed they were allowed use them, but only sparingly.
    • This is really noticeable in "Till Death Do Us Part". First and foremost, note the title. Also, Morph talks a lot about being "left to die" and Sinister angrily says he should have "let [him] die" when Morph tries to turn against him. But, when Morph is threatening Cyclops, who Sinister needs alive, he delivers the somewhat painful line "Shoot him, and I destroy you". There clearly were more prohibitions on using "kill" than "die".
  • Newspaper Dating: Bishop does this when he time-travels
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Apocalypse
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Cable, Bishop. Wolverine less so.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The Dark Phoenix consumed a star to recharge. However, it was stated that the star system had no intelligent life around it—which was technically a good thing, given that it's a kid show. In the original story, the system was inhabited. Still, this didn't prevent the Shi'ar Empire from trying to destroy the Phoenix whatever the cost, and Jean was genuinely horrified by what the Phoenix drove her to do, since it was done largely on a whim and without concern for the lives that could have been lost.
    • It wasn't stated. It was declared at least five times to make the point abundantly clear.
  • No Indoor Voice: Apocalypse and Fabian Cortez.
    • A few examples from various characters.


  • No Name Given: Rogue, since it hadn't yet been revealed in the comics. Also, Storm, who was only referred to as "Ororo" twice during the show's run.
  • Noble Demon: Magneto as always. Really evident in "Beyond Good and Evil," where he stands alongside far more evil villains.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Master Mold is an odd case of this, being a robot and everything.
    • Magneto pulled this off in "Sanctuary: Part 2", after he was betrayed by Cortez, weakened and sent back to Earth to be killed by the heat from re-entry. However, due to the Earth's magnetic field he survived and initiated a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Cortez.
    • Also Morph.
  • Not Quite Flight
  • Off-Model: This was frequent, and one episode it's particularly bad in is when Wolverine goes back to Japan.
    • During the pilot episode(s) the height of the sentinels seems to vary a lot. Between 5 stories tall or twice the height of the average human.
    • Also in the last season where Jubilee's eyes are changed from brown into blue.
      • She also got a new hairstyle (a shoulder length bob with bangs instead of her usual crop). She never had said hairstyle in the comics. Presumably, it was changed to make it easier to draw, since they were now using a cheaper, lower quality, animation studio.
  • Oh Crap: Beast's "Oh, dear" quote.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • D'Ken.
    • Apocalypse is this mixed with A God Am I and crossed with a psycho survivalist. He wants to kill everyone he deems unfit and rule over whatever's left. It's more evident in the "Beyond Good and Evil" four-parter, in which he plans to wipe out all of existence and start from scratch.
    • Omega Red.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Many of the voice actors are Canadian, and never is this more obvious than when Jubilee says "Sorry" like "Soh-ry" instead of "Saw-ry".
    • Morph's voice actor does fine in the first few eps, and his season 2 return, but starts slipping badly when the character is brought back for a cameo in season 3.
  • Parental Abandonment: Unfortunately there are plenty of choices.
  • Perma-Stubble:
  • Pink Means Feminine: Jean has some pink clothes, like a pink evening dress.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Magneto starts out with a couple of respectably villainous attacks on a military base and a factory, and he has a brief stab at assassinating Senator Kelly, but after that, virtually every time he showed up it was in an Enemy Mine situation of some sort. And he was supposed to be the villain of the show.
  • Playing with Fire: Pyro and Sunfire
  • Politically-Correct History: Averted in an episode when Storm travels to the past and she won't be served in a restaurant because she was holding hands with a white man. As someone who's used to being persecuted for being a mutant, she comments that just plain old-fashioned racism is "so pathetic it's almost quaint." Rather daring, for a Fox Kids cartoon.
  • Post Script Season: Word of God states the "Beyond Good and Evil" four-parter was originally intended to be the Grand Finale. A renewal order led to a few more episodes being produced before the final end with "Graduation Day."
  • Power Incontinence: Rogue is not only unable to control her ability-absorbing power, but is also frequently unable to control the powers she absorbs with it.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Professor X showed himself to be even more Badass than Magneto when they both lost their powers. Xavier did have the power to pull a spear and a boomerang from NOWHERE.
  • Present Day
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Lady Deathstrike to Wolverine.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: This series's version of Kevin McTaggert aka Proteus, though with more Manchild and less Psychopath than usual (and much more sympathetic than his comic-book counterpart). Also a "Well Done, Son" Guy. And it's heartbreaking.
  • Puberty Superpower: The backstories of most of them, but Jubilee especially.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Sinister's body is almost totally indestructible, and when blown to pieces he begins to reform immediately. Jean scatters his components all around the globe, and it takes literal years for him to reform.
  • Really Gets Around: Mystique.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Beyond Good and Evil, Part 2," Psylocke calls Angel out on being a self-hating mutant and wasting resources hunting "a creature that can never die."
  • Rebellious Spirit:
    • Wolverine, versus Cyclops.
    • Arguably, Gambit.
    • Iceman, in his episode "Cold Comfort".
    • Jubliee has moments of this, as well, though certainly not as extreme as most of the above.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Played straight with Mr. Sinister.
    • Also Mastermold and the Sentinels.
  • Running Gag: Wolverine doesn't like being teleported nor ducks.
  • Rotating Arcs
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lilandra.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Morph. He returns for the second season and has a final return in the series finale, as Xavier is dying.
  • Sadistic Choice: "Graduation Day" provides a villain variant, as Magneto must either choose between leading his new mutant army to achieve his own dream or calling it off in order to save Xavier's life.
  • Save the Villain: In one episode, Juggernaut starts an all-out attack on Xavier's mansion, but is stopped when somebody else steals his powers. Cain Marko then starts to die, requiring the X-Men to find the Ruby of Cyttorak to restore his power and save his life. They do, and Juggernaut repays them by stopping the attack and leaving.

Cyclops: We're going to save the Juggernaut's sorry life. And don't bother telling me you don't like it.
Wolverine: I don't like it.

    • After first becoming trapped in the Savage Land, Xavier saves Magneto's life - much to the villain's astonishment.

Magneto: Your life would be infinitely easier if mine were to end, yet you saved me.
Xavier: I do not yearn for an easy life, Magneto - only a just one. I would take little satisfaction in your death.

  • Say My Name: "JEAN!" was the most frequent one.
  • Scary Black Man: Bishop, in a departure from his tough but smart comics counterpart.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: "Jubiliee's Fairytale Theater" does this with a story Jubilee tells to kids on a field trip.
  • Serious Business: Never mess with Jean's cooking if you know what's good for you.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Beast, of course.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Subverted: Bishop preventing the dark, Sentinel-dominated future caused an even worse future down the line.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip:
    • Morph, during a Story Arc where he was Brainwashed and Crazy, shapeshifts into Wolverine's most hated foes (including Sabretooth and Omega Red), trying to take advantage of Wolvie's fractured and tormented memories of said foes to drive him to insanity. Unfortunately for him, Wolvie's got plenty of experience with repressing those memories, and he only escapes by taking advantage of the one memory Wolvie can't repress: being forced to leave Morph to die after a semi-botched mission. There's also the the time when he shapeshifts into Jean, and calls him a freak compared to Scott, before laughing and running away.
    • Similarly, Mystique shapeshifts into Ms. Marvel to dredge up a bad memory in Rogue of her past to try and guilt her into abandoning the X-Men and hook back up with her; the memory was of Mystique ordering Rogue to fully absorb Marvel's powers and personality, an action that caused Marvel to pop up on occasion as accusatory hallucinations. Rogue eventually had to ditch Mystique as a result, joining the X-Men and having Professor X block her mind of Marvel and the incident to keep the hallucinations at bay, but since he was at this time MIA and unable to keep the block in place, Mystique was trying to convince Rogue that she was the only one in the world who could help her with it.
  • Shiny Midnight Black: Wolverine's hair, especially in the later seasons.
  • Shout-Out:

Sabretooth: I'm through playing around!
Wolverine: What are you going to do, eat your spinach?

    • In the Dark Phoenix Saga, Wolverine scaring the hell out of a guard is straight from the comic, but the animated dialogue adds this:
    • When the X-Men hijack the shuttle to get to Eagle One, pay attention to the symbol on the astronauts' uniforms and space suits.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: This seems to be Mister Sinister's other Achilles' Heel, particularly with Cyclops.

Cyclops: I warned you before to leave us alone!
Mister Sinister: I can't! I won't! The world needs--! (gets blasted)
Cyclops: What was that? I don't think I heard you right.

Dark Phoenix: The mortal known as Jean Grey no longer exists. There is only...PHOENIX!
Lady Deathstrike: Yuriko no longer exist. I am Lady Deathstrike!

    • "Essex is no more. From this day forth you will address me as Mister Sinister!"
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A few times
  • The Juggernaut:
    • Juggernaut!
    • Apocalypse even more so.
  • The Masochism Tango: Danced by Rogue and Gambit.
  • The Other Darrin: A few voice actors are changed, most noticeably Gambit in the final season.
  • The Virus: The Phalanx, the Brood
  • The Worf Effect:
    • There was a Worf chain reaction during the Phoenix saga. Wolverine gets curbstomped by the Juggernaut... who, minutes later, is used to show that even an "unstoppable" character is no match for Gladiator. Five minutes later, Gladiator got this by Phoenix in her fabulous entrance.
  • They Called Me Mad: In his Start of Darkness episode, Mr. Sinister's wild theories about human mutation cause him to be derided by his scientific peers. Then he starts ranting at all of them about how soon men will have the powers of gods, which couldn't have helped.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: The subplot in which Professor X and Magneto are trapped in the Savage Land throughout season 2.
  • Third Person Person: Gambit
    • Is that a Cajun thing? Or is it just his massive ego?
  • Time Travel
  • Took a Level in Badass: Morph apparently did while at Muir Island, if the difference in his performance in "Courage" vs "Night of the Sentinels" is any indication.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Apocalypse. To the point he actually believes he's "...as far beyond mutants as they are beyond you [humans]!"
  • Trapped in TV Land: Happens in 'Mojovision' episode.
  • True Companions
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Toned down to Unresolved Romantic Tension, but it can be found in spades between Wolverine and Jean, as well as Gambit and Rogue.
  • Unexplained Recovery: No matter how badly hurt someone is, even to the point of seeming to be totally destroyed, they will always return. Part of this is the limitations of a kid's show and part of it is just Status Quo Is God.
  • Universal Adaptor Cast: Jubilee's fair tale.
  • Unwilling Suspension: A few times, like when Jean was first captured by the Morlocks. Jean was able to free herself very quickly, though.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Graydon:

Mystique: Too bad we lost Sabretooth.
Magneto: Sabretooth is an unthinking, unfeeling animal. Such refuse is easily expendable.

  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Storm all the way.
    • Also Corsair's recent girlfriend.
    • And Vertigo.
    • Don't forget about Spiral.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: One episode was all about Wolverine thinking back to World War II, when he and Captain America (comics) tried to rescue an Allied scientist from the Nazis.
    • "Descent." The episode is mainly set in Victorian England and deals with the origin of Mister Sinister. Said origin is seen via flashbacks, as an aged ancestor of Professor Xavier's explains to law enforcement the threat posed by Sinister and what he himself witnessed. Notably, at the very end, the episode jumps to the present-day and Xavier is seemingly reflecting on events viewers had just seen.
  • Wicked Cultured: Magneto
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Dark Phoenix; Apocalypse.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Applies to almost all the characters, who appear in every intro but spend a long time being Out of Focus during the fourth season, except for Wolverine, who appears in more episodes by far than any other character.
  • Woman Scorned: Belladonna is seriously unhappy that Gambit left her.
    • Also Storm in the end of "Storm Front".
  • You Are What You Hate: Graydon Creed founded the anti-mutant Friends of Humanity, but is the son of two mutants. He had already known for some time that Sabretooth, which was why he founded the group in the first place. (He has a Villainous Breakdown, however, when his supporters find out.) He later learns that Mystique is his mother - making Nightcrawler his half-brother and Rogue his adopted sister.
    • Discussed in "The Final Decision" between Trask and his rebelling creation.

Trask: You can't make me do this! You were designed to protect humans from mutants!
Master Mold: That is not logical. Mutants are human. Therefore, humans must be protected from themselves.

  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • A running gag in which Bishop time-travels to stop the one event that caused the dark future only to arrive back where he is, noting that "Nothing's changed. It's all just like I left it."
    • Additionally so for Cable, who attempted to destroy Apocalypse by destroying his Lazarus Chamber in the past. This seems to work and Cable's future is supposedly changed, but a later episode shows Apocalypse being reborn.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Beast's blue-black hair, to go with the rest of his fur. In the episodes where they guest-star, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, and Polaris, respectively, have dark blue, purple, and green hair.
  • You Shall Not Pass: In the first season finale, Wolverine and Gambit are infiltrating a Sentinel production facility. Wolverine smells some, and so he herds Gambit to relative safety—then locks the door behind him and runs back to face them. Subverted in that Gambit blows the door open and comes to Logan's rescue. Near the end of the episode, Cyclops finds the two of them standing on a pile of destroyed Sentinels, Wolverine's shirt in tatters.

Wolverine: Next time I try ta save yer life, have sense enough ta let me do it.
Gambit: What make you t'ink there gon' be another time?

  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses: Some toughs in a bar are getting belligerent with Cyclops. He tries to play it cool and says the line, but one of them says "So take 'em off!", grabs Cyke's shades, and things start to go downhill from there.