When watching cartoons, people have constantly sought a brief escape from their daily routine, whilst being transposed into a world of prodigious abilities, camaraderie and deeds of a universal magnitude. That is why cartoons based on teams of superheroes have been so successful over the years and always will be. The making of such programs has exploded since the early 1990s, but only a few have been recognized as true works of art. Among them, X Men: The Animated Series based on characters form a comic book.
Released starting 1992 and produced by Marvel Comics, the X Men series revolves around the adventures of group of young mutants, protected and lead by a science genius, professor Xavier, who is a mutant himself. The story behind the mutations that endowed them with extraordinary powers is not insisted upon, but allusions were made hat they were all born to parents who contributed to the building of atomic weapons.
The characters, aside from having different powers, have very dissimilar and sometimes conflicting personalities. Professor Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, is a paraplegic, but his astonishing intelligence makes up for his disability. He founded the X Men with the intention of teaching mutants how to use their abilities to benefit society and defeat criminals, and has created a headquarters for them in his ultramodern mansion.
Among team members, the most popular with the public would probably be Wolverine, also referred to as Logan, for his rebellious nature, a greater aggressiveness and at the same time psychological vulnerability, which makes very him likable. His mutant factor is his self-healing property, allowing him to swiftly recover from wounds or exposure to toxins, whilst his defining physical features are the metal claws, in good concordance with his animal-like sharp senses. Whilst Wolverine is the most popular, another male member, Cyclops (Scott Summers), is the team’s leader in the field, and also the first member recruited. He wears protective glasses which cover up half of his face, due to the optic blasts he can generate from his eyes.
He has a close relationship with Xavier and is an idealist, working towards the achievement of his dream, which is an equal society. He is married to Phoenix (Jean grey-Summers), a mutant with telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Dr. Hank McCoy, referred to as Beast, gained his nickname from his appearance, which is a merging between the human and animal species. He has the main conformation of an ape, which grants him better senses and impressive strength, but that façade conceals a brilliant scientific mind with an expertise in genetics and biochemistry. Storm (Ororo Iqadi T’Challa), a female mutant, as the nickname suggests, is able to control all aspects of the weather on vast territories, and unleash destructive natural phenomena, such as tornados, hurricanes and blizzards.
Magical powers run in her family and the weather conditions she creates are connected to her emotions and she often recurs to her self-discipline to stop things from getting out of hand. Mistique is a character with a different past, having switched sides from being a villain to working with the X Men. Her history is one of secrecy, spying, murders and all sorts of iniquitous activities. There are other mutants, including Rogue, Jubilee and Gambit; some of the characters only feature periodically of for a short time.
The series has been commended for its approach of uncommonly mature themes for a cartoon aimed mainly at the younger generation, as well as for the social issues it raised, such as isolation, discrimination, rebellion and the strength to overcome those barriers.