The X-Men Stories That Will Influence X-Men ’97 Season 2

Books

X-Men 182
Photo: Marvel Comics

Blood of Apocalypse (X-Men #182-187, 2006)

The most heartbreaking moment of X-Men ’97‘s first season occurs in episode five “Remember It,” in which Gambit sacrifices himself to stop the Sentinel that Bastion sent to destroy Genosha. But the final scene of the finale saw Apocalypse musing upon death while holding one of Gambit’s playing cards.

That scene sets up the Blood of Apocalypse from X-Men #182-187, written by Peter Milligan and penciled by Salvador Larroca. Like most Apocalypse stories, the storyline involves the ancient mutant gathering his four horsemen, this time transforming Polaris into Pestilence and Gambit into Death. Beyond the obvious connections between the deceased Gambit and the dark horseman, Blood of Apocalypse also involves the X-Men considering siding with Apocalypse to help rebuild the world’s decimated mutant population.

Photo: Marvel Comics

The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix (1994)

During a rare quiet moment in the season one finale, Jean Grey bonded with Cable, the time-displaced son of her husband Cyclops and her clone Madelyne Pryor (aren’t comics a wonderful soap opera?). When Cable confessed his bitterness about missing time with his parents, Jean offered reassurance that felt empty at the time. But as she and Cyclops ended the episode in the far future alongside Cable as a boy, Jean now has the chance to be in her pseudo-son’s life.

Like her animated counterpart, the comic book Jean also didn’t get a chance to bond with Nathan until she went to the future, as depicted in the miniseries The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. Written by Scott Lobdell and penciled by Gene Ha, The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix has a lot of mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t lend itself to an easy read. Among the more confusing aspects, Jean and Scott aren’t in their own bodies in the future, but rather possess the bodies of other people and even go by the names Slym and Redd Dayspring. X-Men ’97 will almost certainly streamline this tale, but we hope it keeps the emotional heart as well.

Rise of Apocalypse 1
Photo: Marvel Comics

The Rise of Apocalypse (1996)

In the past, Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Magneto meet Apocalypse before he takes his Biblical nom du mutant, when he was just the Egyptian outsider known as En Sabah Nur. Given the debates about mutant supremacy and bigotry that the three had in the first season, Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Magneto will have much to consider when dealing with a man who will come to adopt a “Survival of the Fittest” ethos.

In between those debates, the ancient Egypt stories will likely borrow heavily from The Rise of Apocalypse, a four-issues mini-series written by Terry Kavanagh and drawn by Adam Pollina. The Rise of Apocalypse depicts En Sabah Nur’s change from despised member of a nomadic tribe to the supervillain we know. Along the way, he encounters Rama-Tut, one of the aliases used by the time-traveler Kang the Conquerer, giving X-Men ’97 a chance for an even more unlikely MCU connection.

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