The X-Men franchise has had a few animated series, and is on their way to a sixth live action movie. But how would you put together a ten season live action show with continuity and including the best stories from the various X-books over the years?
Season two focused on Mr. Sinister and The Marauders and the dissolution of the team that came together in the first season. Well season three returns us to Xavier’s school, introduces us to The Legacy Virus, and gives us a new big bad who is so bad, he gets the whole season named after him.
Onslaught and Dr Doom art by Skottie Young
Season Three: Onslaught
(showrunners: Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza)
Serial 1 & 2: X-Men Mutant Genesis.
(written by Chris Claremont, Scott Lobdell, and Jim Lee, art by Jim Lee)
See how the new teams come together, learn uncomfortable truths about the X-Men’s relationship with Magneto. See Rogue and Gambit mercilessly flirt. Delve into Wolverine’s backstory as Omega Red shows up. Oh yea, and Jubilee’s around. Must be the 90s.
Avalon. 2 episodes
Omega Red. 2 episodes
Serial 3: X-Cutioner’s Song
(written by Scot Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, and Peter David, art by Brandon Peterson, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee, and Greg Capullo)
Who tried to kill Professor X? Who is Cable? How many 90s characters happen to have that shining eye thing that Longshot and Cable and Ahab and Stryfe and everybody seem to have? While all of the mutants try and solve the mystery (ok, they don’t care about investigating the eye thing but I want answers, damn it), we learn a whole mess of more confusing things about Jean Grey and Cyclops. They must be important or something.
X-Cutioner’s Song. 3 episodes
Serial 4: X-Men: A Skinning Of Souls
(written by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, and Dan Slott, art by Andy Kubert, Brandon Peterson, Richard Bennet, and more)
Picking up right after X-Cutioner’s song, we meet a new villain let loose in Russia who will take on the X-Men AND Omega Red. More Jean Grey Cyclops drama. Rogue and Gambit continue to make kissy-face. Mr. Sinister just won’t go away. And then you get two Psylockes for the price of one! Why are there…is this a clone thing….are they…I mean…huh.
Skinning Of Souls. 3 episodes
Episode 11: Avengers & X-Men: Bloodties
(written by Bob Harras, Fabian Nicieza, Roy Thomas, and Scott Lobdell, art by Steve Epting, Andy Kubert, Matt Ryan, Dave Ross, and John Romita Jr)
The X-Men, The Avengers, and The West Coast Avengers team-up as The Acolytes who once served Magneto (who is totally dead, of course) wreak havoc on all the superheroes. The two most prominent Acolytes, Fabien Cortez and Exodus battle for control of the team, each believing they are truly following in Mag’s footprints. A lot of this takes place on good old mutant hating island nation, Genosha.
Bloodties. 1 episode
Serial 5: The Wedding Of Cyclops And Phoenix
(written by Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, Glen Herdling, and Kurt Busiek, art by Richard Bennett, Andy Kubert, Ian Chuchill, Mike McKone, John Romita Jr, Tim Sale, and Ron Randall)
Because somebody in the 90s demanded it The Wedding Of Cyclops And Phoenix not only delivers on the promise of the title but also delves into The Legacy Virus, dealing with the multiple Psylocke issue and gives us a whole mess of Sabretooth. And for the love all that’s Summers, GO AWAY MR. SINISTER, YOU ARE NOT SCARY.
It’s a big collection but I’m only giving The Wedding. 3 episodes
Serial 6: The Road To Onslaught, Prelude To Onslaught, and The Complete Onslaught Epic Volumes 1-4
(many writers and artists)
Now we get to our first big skip. You don’t need to read Age Of Apocalypse. It has a fun set-up where Legion goes back in time to kill Magneto but accidentally takes out Professor X instead, but the ensuing storyline is utter madness. It’s a whole different world that, by the end of the series ceases to exist. So don’t invest! Instead, it’s time for The Road To Onslaught featuring Bishop, The X-Babies, a dude who looks but does not act an awful lot like Magneto, and Psylocke trying to cure Sabretooth of his rage (it doesn’t go well). Plus a bunch of planted seeds about the coming of Onslaught.
Prelude To Onslaught is the perfect primer. It starts with pivotal snippets of storylines (some which are already represented in the previous seasons, some which aren’t, including a glimpse of the aforementioned missing Age Of Apocalypse) and then throws you right into The Complete Onslaught Epic. See the ultimate consequence of Professor X shutting down Magneto’s mind at the beginning of the season. Guest starring pretty much every Marvel superhero who existed in the 90s. And not leaving very many of them alive at the end.
Onslaught. 6 episodes
Season 3 has 20 episodes.
Interseason Special: Zero Tolerance.
(written by Scott Lobdell, John Francis Moore, Larry Hama, and James Robinson, art by Chris Bachalo, Carlos Pacheco, Leinil Francis Yu, and Adam Pollina)
After the cataclysmic events of Onslaught (what other kind of events are there when the X-Men are involved?) the government declares open season on mutants (again). Lots of Wolverine, Cable, Cecelia Reyes, Generation X, and even some Deadpool. Plus, sad kids.