After a long and rather inexplicable absence from American TV, Wolverine and the X-Men returns with "Future X," the first episode to fully dive into the dark future reality that in many ways serves as the series' catalyst.
As has been the case with this young series from the get-go, the appeal of this episode lays in its intriguing mix of disparate elements from the X-Men comics, films and television shows. Equal parts Days of Future Past, Age of Apocalypse and the alternate future episodes from the 1990s X-Men animated series, the future reality explored in "Future X" doesn't exactly feel fresh or inspired. It does, however, feel similar to a techno remix of some old favorite songs, putting an updated spin on a few familiar standards while offering up just enough variation to feel worthwhile.
The episode begins as Professor X mentally projects himself into the past (or present, depending on how you want to look at it) to discuss his predicament with Wolverine, who in turn briefs the Professor of his discovery of Bolivar Trask's mysterious "Master Mold" project. Now any X-Men fan with a workable knowledge of the mythos knows that the names Bolivar Trask and Master Mold are inexorably linked to the creation of the evil Sentinels, and sure enough, that's the exact direction in which this episode heads.
In short, the episode follows the future Professor X as he's captured by the Sentinels, forced to watch his beloved Cerebro stolen for nefarious ends, and then finally thrown in a mutant prison camp. It's there that we meet a number of familiar faces from X-Men lore, including Bishop (after all, it wouldn't be much of a future X-Men story without him), Firestar, Hellion and Marrow. Again, in addition to fusing together so many of the different media takes on the X-Men mythology, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this show is its willingness to dig into obscure corners of the comics for mutant guest stars. Although it's clearly meant to appeal first and foremost to newcomers to the property, Wolverine and the X-Men also rewards the diehard fan with these cameos. This is always a delicate balancing act to pull off, and I think it's important to recognize when a show somehow gets it right.
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