Just when I had given up trying to understand or predict the pacing of Wolverine and the X-Men's first season, "Breakdown" comes along and makes me think there might actually be a method to this series' storytelling madness. The episode begins like so many of this series' tangential episodes, with the writers abandoning the main story arc in order to explore one of their many subplots. By the time it reaches its conclusion, though, "Breakdown" arrives at a development that casts most of this first season in an entirely new light.
The episode follows Emma Frost's attempt to erase the memories of Jean Grey from Cyclops' mind, a set-up that allows a sequence of flashbacks to important moments in Scott Summers' life. First, we join Scott as he learns of the plane crash that took the lives of his parents and eventually landed him in an orphanage. The plot then details the first manifestation of his mutant powers, which leads to Professor Xavier offering the confused adolescent refuge in his school for gifted youngsters.
One of the pleasures of the episode comes in seeing the formation of Xavier's famed "First Class" of X-Men, with Scott joining a young Beast, Iceman and Angel all in their original costumes and appearances. Jean Grey eventually enters the mix and completes the team in a scene right out of X-Men: The Last Stand, with Xavier and Magneto battling for the chance to influence the enormously powerful young mutant.
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