Comics, Movies, Video Games, and More

"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, January 23, 2014

God and the X-Men

When I was little FOX used to air marathons of all the 90's Marvel cartoons. I grew up with that stuff, with Spider-Man still being his best animated incarnation. But easily the most notable team show from the company was X-Men. Like most people at the time, I owned one of its only DVD releases, The Legend of Wolverine. It would be over eight years before the entire show was put on DVD. (Sadly, 20 years later and Spider-Man doesn't have his own series in a complete set or volumes!) The Legend of Wolverine contains a good number of episodes that I've probably seen over a thousand times over the years.

One of the more peculiar ones that has always stood with me is the one titled 'Nightcrawler.'

So, besides the this being his first appearance in the show, what exactly stands out about this episode? The 90's Marvel cartoons relied a lot on the emotion of the storytelling and not just the action. X-Men took a step further, even incorporating Faith in the Lord.

That's right.

The plot for this one follows Wolverine, Gambit, and Rouge who are trying to be on vacation. While skiing to find out about a legendary 'demon,' they get trapped in an avalanche. They are eventually brought to a monastery. It's here when Nightcrawler appears. While he and Wolverine don't get off to a good start, eventually they have a great respect for one another.

Wolverine is obviously an angry character. This is explicitly stated when he says, "Don't know the meaning the word" when Gambit sarcastically remarks to him, "I hope you're happy." Nightcrawler is a mutant of faith, despite the public shunning him as a demon. He tells Wolverine that God hasn't given up on humans nor mutants. But perhaps one of his best quotes is...

"He is there for our times of joy, or to help us when we are in pain."

Great stuff. You see, Nightcrawler by society's definition shouldn't be this happy. He was abandoned by his mother as a baby and is hated by the public. But he takes comfort in God. Throughout the episode Wolverine doesn't quite buy it, until the end. Nightcrawler gives him Bible and then later in the final minute we find Logan in a church. He quotes Isaiah 12:1-2

"I will give thanks to you oh Lord, for you are angry with me, your anger turned away, and you confort me, I will trust and not be afraid."

Then he gives a smile, and bows his head in prayer.


Here's an interesting 2003 interview with the writer of the episode.

It would be two seasons later when Nightcrawler returned. This one was pretty emotional, 'Bloodlines.' It was the episode he met his mother Mystique and had words with her for the first time. My personal favorite quote is on the Blackbird when he tells Jubliee...

"All other company is fleeting, only God endures."

Unlike humans, God is always there. A fantastic quote. (Still keep in mind that this was a Saturday morning cartoon in its day.) The final part of the episode showcases some incredible emotion as Mystique explains to Nightcrawler that she didn't want him. This is what Nightcrawler said: "I will ask Him to bestow His grace on you so that you might forgive yourself."


Another interesting episode is 'Descent.' It is largely a flashback starring Professor X's ancestor. The intriguing thing is that Charles Darwin actually appears, in the flesh. While talking about Natural Selection, Xavier's ancestor jumps in asking, "How can your Natural Section account for the human soul, were we not created in God's own image?" Darwin stutters a bit before even formulating a response. It's a very, very interesting scene. It's short, but nonetheless fascinating to see that some of this show was written with a Conservative viewpoint.


Now if any of this were to appear in an X-Men cartoon today? Absolute outrage! No one would stand for that. Why? Well, first it's important to know that this show was created long before social media came into being. There was no Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. So back then you wouldn't find people complaining in large doses. Today, anyone can tweet hate messages or voice their disapproval every five seconds. Not only that, but it's a Godless culture.

Values based on biblical principles, you won't find that in modern cartooning. Also, back then kids were seemingly smarter (or the people in charge think they're not smart today) because all of the superhero toons had deep stories with heart. Today, in things like Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H., you won't find any of that. It's really all just mindless action. Then there's the question of why won't directors, writers, or anyone implement such things in a modern superhero toons? Because today the majority of people view Conservative views as backwards and "un-politically correct." Take the Phil Roberson Duck Dynasty 'controversy' for example. If someone states he agrees with him, he's labeled as homophobic.

That, and it seems modern superhero toons are geared completely toward kids. Case in point...

X-Men is a one of a kind cartoon for many reasons. The storytelling is great and the characters are at their best. It's also one of the few if only cartoons to actually make trusting in God and having Faith a thing. It's a shame no one really talks about those episodes these days, but they are there. Truly timeless stories. Culture won't be shifting back to such values anytime soon, but these episodes will always be there. So if you have kids that are into superheroes, try showing them these sometime. They beat what you'll find on the networks today.

1 comment:

  1. It was definitely great that the show added that and it's nice that they went with the right side. If Darwin had won the debate, it could have definitely ruined some of the enjoyment out of the series. Avengers managed to fit in a good line as well when Captain America explains that there's only one God. (In the film)

    The 90's Xmen show is definitely one of the ultimate superhero shows of all time and I highly recommend it as well. It's too bad that Nightcrawler couldn't appear more, but at least they definitely got his character down correctly