Friday, December 11, 2015

X-Men Evolution: "On Angel's Wings"

Premiered December 15, 2001.

Beast: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” 
Professor X: "Shakespeare?"
Beast: "The Bible." 
Professor X: "Ah, indeed.  Although, I don't believe this angel is of the heavenly variety."

In New York City, during the week of Christmas, a young man named Warren (Mark Hildreth) sits alone and watches a house burn down on the local news.

We discover that he has wings like an angel and flies to the house, rescuing a woman from the fire.

Outside the city, the X-Men are having a holiday party at the Xavier Institute.

Professor Xavier (David Kaye) hears about this "angel" and sends Cyclops (Kirby Morrow) and Rogue (Meghan Black) to seek him out.

They believe he's a mutant and want to help him deal with his powers and provide emotional support.  Rogue also wants to go so that she can have some fun in the big city.

The Angel becomes a sensation for saving lives.  During an accident on the Brooklyn Bridge, he saves a little girl named Hayley who falls in the East River.

After the rescue, another super-powered man interferes and sends the girl back off the bridge.  Angel saves her again, but the public turns on him and blames Angel for the accident.

The people turn on Angel, as Magneto (wearing a hat) eggs them on.
Warren goes to the hospital where the little girl is being treated after her fall and encounters Rogue & Cyclops. They attempt to pursue Angel so they can tell him about the Xavier Institute,  but Warren eludes them.

He later goes to a church where the little girl's parents are praying for her recovery, only to be accosted by the mysterious stranger from the bridge.   It turns out to be Magneto, of magnetism.  He wants to recruit Warren.

Magneto tells Angel that humans will never accept him because he's different.  He tries to pursuade Warren to join his war against humanity.

While Warren is conflicted about his mutant powers,  he's not sure he wants to join Magneto ... or anyone else!

Will Warren/Angel be seduced by Magneto's line or will Rogue and Cyclops convince him to give the X-Men a chance?

RigbyMel says:

I am a fan of the X-Men generally, but am not quite sure how I feel about X-Men: Evolution based solely on this episode.   The series chooses to de-age some of the characters, which sorta kinda works, seeing as the X-Men really is about adolescence.

There are some nice Christmas-y interludes and it's fun to see teenaged Nightcrawler flirting with Kitty Pryde using mistletoe.   But,  I would have liked to see more of what the other X-Men get up to on their holiday break with their families.  For example, we get to see Kitty Pryde (who is my favorite X-Men character in the comics) lighting a menorah with her folks for all of (maybe) 10 seconds.

There's also a little teenage drama subplot involving a nascent triangle between Jean Grey, Cyclops and Rogue.

Warren is having a hard time dealing with his new mutant abilities  (let's face it, big honking wings are difficult to conceal),  but his impulses to use his wings to help others are most definitely admirable.

When Warren catches a falling Rogue, she wonders if he really is an angel.
That being said, although there seems to be a lot of potential for drama, I don't feel like this episode quite manages to capitalize on this as well as it could.   It rings a teensy bit hollow, but maybe that's because I haven't seen more of the series.

"On Angels Wings" has been released on a DVD titled X-Men Evolution:Powers Revealed.  It's also available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes.

If you're a fan of the X-Men, "On Angel's Wings" is worth checking out at least once, but I wouldn't call it a holiday classic.

RigbyMel's rating:

2 candy canes.

I'm going to part with my co-blogger on this episode.  I haven't seen many episodes of X-Men:Evolution, but I was a huge fan of X-Men comic books when I was a kid.  Angel has always been one of my least favorite X-Men.  In comics, he's basically a spoiled rich kid who can fly.  "On Angels Wings" made me care about Angel, since it depicts him as a selfless character who simply wants to help people in need.

Angel chases a thief through a snowy Central Park.
It's appropriate that Magneto serves as the antagonist of "On Angel's Wings."  The central story line of the X-Men (in any medium) has always focused on Xavier's belief that mutants must protect humankind and act as superheroes and Magneto's contrasting view that mutants (meaning Magneto himself) should rule the world.  In this episode, that conflict plays out with Angel caught in the middle of the two philosophies.

We get some nice scenes of  snow-covered New York locations at Christmas time, including Central Park, Washington Square and Rockefeller Center.

There are also more references to the spiritual side of Christmas than we usually see in cartoons aimed at children.  Cyclops wonders aloud if Warren really is a guardian angel.  The Beast quotes a passage of the Bible (from Hebrews 13-2) and the climactic battle takes place inside a church.  

We get plenty of Christmas scenes of X-Men interacting with each other and their families.  Beast (Michael Kopsa) and Xavier spend Christmas at the mansion, showing that for some, your close friends sometimes become your family.  Wolverine is invited by Xavier to spend the holiday at the mansion.  He declines and we're later shown Wolverine by himself at a billiards hall.  A reminder that some, for better or for worse, spend Christmas alone.

If I have any problems with this episode, it's that we see very little of Storm,Wolverine and Kitty. They're three of my favorite Marvel characters but they're mostly in the background here.

"On Angel's Wings" is recommended Christmas time viewing and I think it's also a good introduction to this series.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 candy canes.

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