X-Men 97 – Motendo / Lifedeath – Part 1

Beware of spoilers for the show in the article. Please do not continue reading if you are interested in watching the show and you are not okay with being spoiled since this article will discuss events from the 4th episode of the show that aired on the 3rd of April 2024 on Disney +.

Introduction :

This week’s episode was a two part episode executed within about 30 minutes, like how Saturday morning cartoons used to get divided into segments with different storylines. The first and longest part of the episode was focused on Jubilee and Sunspot fighting Mojo in a 90’s video game inspired world on her 18th birthday and the second part of the episode focused on Storm and Forge. Interestingly whilst Storm has been away from the team since episode 2 she has been featured in every episode since then.

Motendo :

Mojo plants a Motendo video game console with a cartridge into Jubilee’s bedroom that sucks her into his video game world. The first part of the episode focuses on Jubilee and is a character centric episode meant to ultimately show Jubilee what she is capable of becoming. I personally always felt Jubilee’s powers were portrayed as the weakest in the group in the original show, so improving on that is a plus for me. Jubilee and Sunspot’s adventure in Mojo’s world leads the duo to meet an older digital version of Jubilee named Abscissa who is much more skilled at using her powers. The older version of Jubilee was voiced by Jubilee’s voice actress from the 90’s show Alyson Court. Abscissa was created by Mojo to beta test the video game before he brought the real Jubilee into the game, this version of Jubilee lived a lifetime using her powers and perfecting them giving Jubilee a hint at the true capabilities of her powers.

We saw Jubilee’s older self Abscissa roller skate as her firework powers shot out of her feet and hands. Abscissa also demonstrated much stronger precision over Jubilee’s fireworks powers by creating laser discs that are powerful enough to cut through metal. Older Jubilee does not stop there though combining her powers with her younger self to create a huge targeted blast that takes out Mojo. Jubilee witnessing Abscissa utilize her powers this way allows her to be able to see just how powerful she is capable of becoming if she works more on her powers (which Magneto wants her to do). Jubilee’s potential as a character seems to have been realized on this show, using the groundwork laid by the 90’s show.

The episode also focused a bit on Sunspot’s character development when he broke his rule not to use his powers (because he was afraid his adventure with Jubilee was being televised) in order to save Jubilee’s life. This is probably the action that prompted Jubilee to kiss him at the end of the episode. Sunspot isn’t comfortable with who he is yet and his powers and that clearly is his character arc for this season at least.

Lifedeath – Part 1 :

In the second half of the episode we caught up with Storm and Forge who had gotten extremely close as Forge was working to restore Storm’s powers. Storm and Forge had a heart to heart conversation where Forge revealed that he lost his leg and arm fighting in a war which resulted in him making his mechanical arm and leg. Forge also reveals his technopath powers which allow him to be able to use parts of his brain normal people cant making him extremely intelligent.

Forge’s efforts to restore her powers failed and we saw Storm break down , this emotional beat was really well done. You could really feel the emotion in Storm’s voice about her grief. Things however went south for the lovebirds when Forge confessed to Storm that he was responsible for creating the technology that was eventually used to create the gun that took away her powers. Forge told Storm he loved her and she was a goddess with or without her powers but she was too mad at that point in time and slapped him believing he was only using her to try and gain redemption for himself. Storm fled from the house on a horse but she was pulled back to it by a mystical force that attacked Storm and Forge in the house. I don’t think Storm ever left the house at all and she is stuck in a limbo like place with Forge , which is unknowingly noticed by Storm earlier in her segment when she feels that the wind in that place only moves in one direction , something Storm even after losing her powers would be more likely to notice.

The villain of Storm and Forge’s story was revealed to be the Adversary. The Adversary was the owl we saw flying in the sky that Storm notices flying above them (in retrospect the owl was circling it’s prey ).

Easter eggs :

1. There were a lot of nods to video games including references to the Children of the Atom video game and Magneto being the final boss of her game (she doesn’t like Magneto because of his insistence that she should train rather than enjoy her 18th birthday) , some references to the Marvel vs Capcom games and the cover on Mojo’s cartridge is a reference to the cover of the Mutant Apocalypse game.

2. There were also references to The Matrix movie with Jubilee and Sunspot using a telephone to travel through the video game world , the game was also designed by Mojo using moments in Jubilee’s life from the original series ( such as her getting attacked by a sentinel in the first episode of the show, getting enslaved on Genosha , Days of future past through the 8-bit video game , Savage land , Asteroid M ).

3. The Jean Grey in the opening credits now has her hair tied back in the opening credits referencing that the Jean in the credits during the first three episodes of the season was actually Madelyne Pryor. Jean started wearing her hair down a lot during the final season of the show which alludes to Jean getting replaced during the 4 part season 4 finale (Beyond Good and Evil) when she was captured by Mr Sinister and Apocalypse.

4. The episode’s main villain Mojo’s power is linked to the popularity of his shows ( the stronger his ratings are the stronger he becomes).

5. Longshot easter eggs, there was a Longshot stuffed toy in Jubilee’s bedroom and Longshot was one of the player options within the game. Longshot is a superhero from Mojo’s world.

6. In the comics Spiral (Mojo’s computer hacker with multiple hands) who appears in episode 4 is a human stunt woman from earth who fell in love with Longshot and followed him to the new world but she was captured , had her mind wiped by Mojo and was transformed into how she currently looks in the show. I’m sure we will see Longshot appear at some point since he appeared in the original animated series.

7. There were also pictures in Forge’s house of the X-Factor team as an easter egg. The mutants shown in the picture with Forge are Polaris (who appears briefly in this episode’s opening credits ), , Havok (Cyclops’s brother ), Quicksilver , Wolfsbane , Madrox and Multiple man.

8. There were also references to popular television shows from the 80’s/ 90’s with the Divorce court reference for Jean Grey and Scott Summers, Who’s the boss and A Different World.

Verdict :

Whilst both halves of the episode are very different in terms of tone, with Motendo leaning more towards being light and fun and Lifedeath – Part 1 being more emotional and dramatic. The common thread with both segments of the episode are the underlying romantic subplots in both ,for both of our main female X-Men characters. This week the writers and animators succeeded in delivering another fun unique installment of the show.

Rating :

Story: 10/10

Visuals: 10/10

Sound: 10/10

Performances: 10/10

Overall: 10/10

Join me weekly for more reviews of the first season of X-Men 97.

“What did you think of the show’s 4th episode this week ?”

“What are your hopes for the rest of the season ?”

Let us know in the comments below.

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