Comics
Published March 16, 2020

Our Comics Guide to 'X-Men: The Animated Series’ S2 on Disney+

Head to Marvel Unlimited to read the comics behind the cartoon.

START WITH PARTS 1, 2 AND 3 OF OUR S1 GUIDE, OR CONTINUE ON TO SEASON 3!

Have you tried Marvel Unlimited yet? It’s your all-access pass to over 27K Marvel comics, all available at your fingertips. Sign up now, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

 

All 76 episodes of the ’90s mega-hit ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’ (’92-’97) are up on Disney+, so you can revisit and re-watch this fan-favorite series, or even check it out for the very first time. And for each episode, we’ve got the comics behind the storylines.

 

Under the leadership of telepath Professor Charles Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Beast, Jean Grey and youngest member Jubilee, devote their lives as X-Men. All born with remarkable power, they protect a world that hates and fears their existence.

 

Things were tied up in a hopeful bow with S1’s finale, but S2 quickly unravels. Mister Sinister, lurky geneticist, is the X-Men’s main opponent this season, and he’s armed with a god complex, plus plenty of ideas for his perfect mutant race.

 

And things are no better with the team’s greater threathumanity.

 

Now President, Senator Robert Kelly is an outspoken advocate for mutant rights… causing his now-disenfranchised base to counterattack with their own mutant hate groupthe Friends of Humanity.

 

Let’s do this thing.

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EPISODES 1-2: TILL DEATH DO US PART, PARTS 1-2

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No better kickoff than a wedding.

Scott Summers, AKA the optic-beaming Cyclops, weds his telepathic longtime love Jean Grey. All their friends and family are present… minus Wolverine who instead works through a Danger Room session wherein he rips a virtual Cyclops to shreds.

But good tidings bring bad blood: Doctor Nathaniel Essex, AKA the deviant Mister Sinister, has a keen interest in the couple for as-yet revealed reasons.

Sinister’s also behind the resurrection of X-Man Morph, the shape-shifter we could’ve sworn died by Sentinel’s blast last season.

But nope, Morph is back, and he’s crawling out of his skin with paranoia, white-knuckling for revenge on the teammates who left him behind...

 

COMICS TO READ:

UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #221 
The first (full) appearance of Mister Sinister! Essex bids the Marauders, his personal kill crew, to murder Scott’s wife (and Jean Grey’s clone),
Madelyne Pryor.

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X-FACTOR (1986) #75

The first appearance of the Nasty Boys. Gorgeous George, Hairball, Ruckus, and Slab, are all featured in Episode 2. Here, Sinister’s task force takes out the trash with X-Factor. These good ole’ boys are sloppy though, much like their headquarters.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #299
Graydon Creed, public face of the Friends of Humanity, joined a televised debate with Senator Kelly and Professor Xavier on the role of government in mutants’ lives. Unsurprisingly, Creed was a total bigot, and his prejudice disguised as righteous faith was rooted in something personal.

X-MEN (1991) #30
The (actual) wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Pivotal X-history, especially for Wolverine. He did leave a note though.

X-Men (1991) #30

X-Men (1991) #30

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EPISODE 3: WHATEVER IT TAKES

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A Storm-centric episode, our first.

 

 

A psychic disturbance coming off Mount Kilimanjaro sends Storm and Rogue to the Tanzanian village Storm once called home.

 

MjNari, a teen mutant speedster who was raised by Ororo Munroe as his second mom, is taken over by an astral plane-dwelling entity known as the Shadow King. And this psychic parasite relies on mutant bodies to survive…

 

COMICS TO READ:

UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #102

It may be hard to believe, but regal Storm was once a street kid/sneak-thief in the back alleys of Cairo. Read her definitive origin here.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #117
The Shadow King’s first appearance. Here, they “employ” an orphaned Ororo while living large as crime lord Amahl Farouk. Wearing Farouk’s skin, the Shadow King ruled Cairo’s Thieves’ Quarter, enslaving anyone of use. Professor Xavier resorted to astral plane battle to end Farouk’s grip, a creature Xavier claimed was his first glimpse at a truly “evil mutant.” 

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #117

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #117

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Lifedeath Part II is the episode’s clear comic reference. Storm becomes a partner to a woman named Shani following a fever quest in the Serengeti. Even without powers, (start with issue #186), Storm helped Shani through a difficult birth, saving her baby with some primordial goddess energy. In this comic, the village elder is named MjNari.

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EPISODE 4: RED DAWN

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Colossus, the steel-skinned mutant we met in S1’s “The Unstoppable Juggernaut,” seeks the X-Men’s help to take down Omega Red, a cybernetic super-soldier who’s been terrorizing the Russian countryside.

 

Resurrected by the Soviet’s “Leaders,” Omega is the enforcer of a military uprising, an effort to topple the Parliament that’s replaced the USSR.

 

So, Jubilee, the only one home, joy-rides a jet with Colossus back to his Siberian village. They alone must save his family, including baby sister Illyana...

COMICS TO READ:

X-MEN (1991) #4

Read through issue #7. Wolverine knew him in the episode, and they’ve got history in the comics. Check out Omega Red’s introductory arc, which teases his intertwined past with Wolverine and Maverick at the Weapon X project.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #10

The first appearance of the Savage Land, a prehistoric pocket within Antarctica’s jungles. In this episode, we get more of the B-storyline concerning Magneto and Xavier who are both lost in the land that time forgot.

 

 

MAGIK (1983)

She’s a pipsqueak in the episode, but Colossus’s sister, known as Magik, has tons of comic history. A sorcerer equal to Doctor Strange, she grew out of complicated teen years that ranged from a pivotal member of the New Mutants to the leader of a demon-infested realm called Limbo. Her relic is the Soulsword, forged from shards of her life-force.  Try her satanic origin, a trippy kind of fable co-starring an alternate dimension Storm and Shadowcat.

Magik (1983) #1

Magik (1983) #1

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EPISODE 5: REPO MAN

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This episode’s screenplay was written by Wolverine co-creator Len Wein, so you know it has deep ties to the comics — we finally learn how Wolverine became Wolverine.

 

Alpha Flight, Canada’s government-sponsored super-team, kidnaps Logan, feeling that their former friend and agent has betrayed a debt of service.

 

And, on a more personal level too, Logan happened to be nursed back to sanity by team leader Guardian, and his wife, Heather Hudson. This was after Logan’s life-altering captivity at Weapon X, the program that gave him adamantium… and took his humanity.

 

COMICS TO READ:

 

WEAPON X BY BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH

The must-read arc for any Wolverine fan. (We’ve heard there’s a few of you.)

 

Legendary creator Barry Windsor-Smith wrote and drew Wolverine’s first defined origin, chronicling his brutally brainwashed past with Weapon X.

 

Try our Reading List. It’s horrific, and you’ll see clear parallels from the episode.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #120-121

The first appearance of Alpha Flight! Writer and artist John Byrne introduced Canada’s premiere heroes as Wolverine’s antagonists, although despite any hostility here, they evolved into their own complicated/beloved team in ALPHA FLIGHT (1983).

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EPISODE 6: X-TERNALLY YOURS

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Finally, the backstory of the mysterious Gambit, set in the supernatural Bayou swamps of his native Louisiana.

Remy LeBeau’s past and present lives collide when he’s lured back home to free his brother from a 300-year-old squabble between the Thieves and the Assassins Guilds, two warring families that pay tribute to an X-Ternal benefactor (Candra in the comics).

And now, the Assassins have a new “Chosen One”Remy’s ex-fiancée, the heartbroken (and still furious) Bella Donna Bordeaux

COMICS TO READ:

GAMBIT (1993)

Rogue gets a whole lot of her sugah’s past in this limited series that came out around the episode’s air date. Here, Gambit is drawn back to the Thieves Guild that took him in as a pup. In the comics, it’s Bella Donna who’s endangered by the tithing ceremony, the binding tradition of the Guilds.

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GAMBIT (1999)

Need more Ragin’ Cajun at his thievin’ best? Try this ongoing that guest-starred Bella Donna and Rogue.

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EPISODES 7-8: TIME FUGITIVES, PARTS 1-2

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A double time travel episode starring 2 time-tossed travelers—last season’s Bishop and Cable.

 

 

The year 2055: Bishop returns to Forge after successfully stopping Senator Kelly’s assassination (S1, Episodes 12-13). Now, their “Days of Future Past” timeline has been overwritten, but instead of Sentinels, a genetically-engineered illness is affecting the public, human and mutant both.

 

The year 3999: Cable, Soldier of Fortune, is the leader of an underground resistance cell against Apocalypse, the “first mutant,” and the power-mad ruler of the 30th century.

 

But the real problems kick in once Bishop portals back to the past to warn the X-Men of events to come. And, once the team starts influencing the plague’s production, Cable’s future starts to unravel, starting with his son.

 

COMICS TO READ:

X-MEN: THE LIVES AND TIMES OF LUCAS BISHOP (2009)
Prelude to MESSIAH COMPLEX. Looking for more Bishop backstory? Try this searing series that takes you inside Lucas Bishop’s formative years in mutant labor camps.

EPISODE 9: ROGUE’S TALE

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One of the many joys of S2 is the one-off character-driven episodes that gives us the backstory on how the X-Men found each other.

This time, it’s Rogue’s turn, namely her deep history with Carol Danvers. In the Professor’s absence, Rogue’s already-slippery control over her powers starts to wane. Ms. Marvel’s ego takes the steering wheel to Rogue’s psyche, and comatose Carol’s fuming with rage towards the mutant who stole her life.

COMICS TO READ:

AVENGERS ANNUAL (1967) #10
Rogue’s first appearance! Ms. Marvel was amnesiac and down for the count following an encounter with spitfire Rogue. Cap America met her too.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #171
Out of her skull with Danver’s identity and memories, Rogue turned to the Professor at her most desperate. Sensational art by Walt Simonson.

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UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #269
Now-classic battle in the Savage Land between Ms. Marvel and Rogue, clearly paralleled in the episode. Only one can be host to those amazing Kree abilities.

EPISODE 10: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

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Melodrama at its best, and a torturous chapter for Beast. Plus, loads of screen time for the Friends of Humanity, including a revelation about Graydon Creed’s father.

After helping develop a cure for a patient’s blindness, Hank McCoy develops feelings for his patient. Carly’s mutant-hating father can’t see past Dr. McCoy’s fur and fangs though, and Beast is left with the cruel reminder that all his smarts and goodness may be lost on humanity.

COMICS TO READ:

No direct comic references from this episode, although this is a fun hidden gem.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1985) #1-4

Did you know Beast and Dazzler had a thing? After bumping into her on the Hollywood circuit, Beast helped the aspiring popstar escape from a mutant gladiatorial fighting pit.

 

EPISODE 11: MOJOVISION

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A 180° turn towards the weird. Here, we meet Longshot, blockbuster star of the Mojoverse, and Mojo, his slug-alien overlord who produces somewhat-schlocky TV through slave labor.


And the X-Men are ratings gold. Sucked into this madcap, in-jokey world, the team is put through genre-bending hell as they shoot a live reality show that may result in death. Cyke and Jean sum it up best.

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Hunting for Easter eggs? One of the makeup artists fawning over Longshot is styled just like Dazzler from her time in the Mojoverse.

COMICS TO READ:

LONGSHOT (1985)
The series that gave us Spineless One Mojo, teleporter Spiral (formerly Ricochet Rita), and the scathing man-servant we love, Major Domo. Start at issue #1 for luck-altering Longshot’s first appearance.

Longshot (1985) #1

Longshot (1985) #1

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EPISODES 12-13: REUNION, PARTS 1-2

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This finale two-parter succinctly wraps up Xavier and Magneto’s Savage Land saga, revealing Mister Sinister as the “Master” of Magneto’s mutates and his former citadel.

Their powers inhibited, the X-Men are up against the wall, and circumstances grow more dire by the minute. Behind Sinister’s kidnapping is an obsessive fixation with Cyclops and Jean Grey, his two ideal genetic progenitors of an “enhanced” mutant race.

COMICS TO READ:

UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #274-275

Read up on Ka-Zar and the Savage Land mutates in this arc that sees Rogue and Magneto join forces to topple primeval dark sorceress, Zaladane.

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And that’s a wrap on Season 2.

 

 

CONTINUE SEASON 3 HERE!

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Read these uncanny tales and other essential X-Men stories in Marvel Unlimited today, along with thousands of other comics starring favorite mutants and more.

 

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