The X-Men comics have been adapted into an animated series four times: the pilot of Pryde and the X-Men in 1989, the popular X-Men: The Animated Series in the 1990s, and X-Men: Evolution in 2000. The most current incarnation is Wolverine and the X-Men, which recently premiered in 2009.
Now, I like all four versions of the X-Men, but this version seems to hit a different mark, albeit a really successful one. The series has the same art crew from X-Men Evolution with acclaimed comic book writers Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle (a la X-Force, New Mutants, and X-23 fame) heading the writing department to create a rich tapestry of the X-Men world. The basic premise is that the X-Men have disbanded after a big explosion that destroyed the mansion leaving Professor Xavier and Jean Grey missing. Through the intervention of Wolverine, he gathers the X-Men but find oppositions through Magneto and his Brotherhood as he creates a mutant haven in Genosha. The X-Men also have opposition from hate monger Senator Kelly and the Mutant Response Division (MRDs), which unethically captures all mutants.
My favorite parts is the series’ classic lineup of core X-Men members with their iconic uniforms. Wolverine gathers Best, Iceman, Shadowcat, Storm, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Angel, and Forge. Along the way, spectators watch as Rogue aligns herself with the Brotherhood with an unlikely initiation of Emma Frost. The characterization is spot on with characters like Cyclops brooding over Jean and the ambiguous treachery of Emma Frost throughout the entire series.
Because of the world the X-Men live in, the viewers are treated to a lot of background characters: the Cajun thief Gambit, the shape-shifting Mystique, the telepath Psylocke, and many others. My only complaint is that Wolverine is given far much importance as the leader of the X-Men. I may be biased as I never was a Wolverine fan. But I am happy that Jean is sidelined while the importance of Xavier is felt from a distance (he‘s stuck in the future). Yost and Kyle weave faithful storylines that only serve to tell really good stories. I’ve watched 18 episodes so far, so the last 7 will surely be explosive.