Comics
Published July 14, 2020

Our Comics Guide to ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’ S5 on Disney+

Binge-watch the final season of the hit cartoon, then head over to Marvel Unlimited to read the comics behind each episode!

START WITH OUR S1S2, S3, and S4 GUIDE!

Under the leadership of telepath Professor Charles XavierWolverineCyclopsStormRogueGambitBeastJean 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.

For many,  X-Men: The Animated Series (’92-’97) was the perfect gateway into the comics world of Professor X and his unique students, the super-team of mutants known as the X-Men. When the series launched in 1992, it had nearly 30 years of comics history and X-lore to pull into each episode. In other words, a lot of battles, betrayals, and botched love triangles to keep track of!

The X-Men: TAS creators took all of that and honed it down into five cartoon seasons that absorbed as many kids as it did older fans. Sure, some of the details from the comics were changed or re-adapted in the show, but these episodes armed newbies with plenty of knowledge to jump right into the source material. Here, we're running down the comic book inspirations for each episode of the fifth and final season, so start with S1, S2, S3, and S4’s reading guides to catch up in full.

All 76 episodes of the ’90s mega-hit are up on Disney+ right now, so you can re-watch this fan-favorite series, or check it out for the very first time.

The order of Season Five’s episodes, which debuted in 1995-1996, are based on the way they actually aired originally, occasionally differing from the production order and how they might appear on Disney+.

EPISODES 1-2: THE PHALANX COVENANT

The PHALANX COVENANT event was adapted for the animated series just two years after its comic publication. While the comics might be best known for launching the teen mutant team Generation X, the cartoon took a more condensed route by pitting Beast against the alien techno-organic beings known as the Phalanx. To save his team and the world, Beast teams up with Forge, Mister Sinister, and their new compatriot Warlock.

COMICS TO READ:

Try the complete PHALANX COVENANT event across several X-titles! Powerful anti-mutant bigots resurrect a techno-organic alien nightmare: the Phalanx, a cold, vicious, and unstoppable foe that absorbs all in its path. When the Phalanx capture the X-Men, the remaining X-teams split into three groups to save young mutants from the Phalanx’s clutches.

You can also read Warlock’s first New Mutants appearance in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #18!

[RELATEDMeet the New Mutants]

EPISODE 3: A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

In "A Deal With the Devil," Soviet super-solider Omega Red gets woken up by the Americans and sent on a mission to retrieve sunken nuclear weapons—with Wolverine and Storm keeping a close watch the entire time. This marks Omega Red’s second appearance on the animated series following Season 2’s “Red Dawn,” this time an all-new original story.

COMICS TO READ:

For more backstory on Omega Red, including his shared history with Wolverine, read his debut issue in X-MEN (1991) #4 or WOLVERINE ORIGINS (2006) #6-10

X-Men (1991) #4

X-Men (1991) #4

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EPISODE 4: NO MUTANT IS AN ISLAND

An original story starring the mind-controlling Purple Man! Note too that this episode was originally slated to appear in between Season 3’s “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Savage Land, Strange Heart.”

"No Mutant Is An Island" deals with Cyclops’ grief after the loss of Jean Grey, and addresses the period of time that he stepped away from the team. Bereft, Scott Summers returns to the orphanage where he grew up to find that an old friend, and her wards, are now being manipulated by the insidious Purple Man.

COMICS TO READ:

See how Cyclops dealt with Jean Grey’s death in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #138, a game-changing chapter that redefined the X-Men’s emotional landscape. For more Purple Man, we recommend his Marvel Unlimited reading guide, or his first appearance in DAREDEVIL (1964) #4.

Purple Man

EPISODE 5: LONG SHOT

After first appearing in Season 2’s "Mojovision," ever-lucky Longshot made his way to Earth where he dramatically interrupted Jubilee's driving lesson with Wolverine!

COMICS TO READ:

Aspects of this episode are clearly influenced by the 1985 LONGSHOT limited series that introduced the character to the Marvel Universe. However, the comic delves far deeper into the weird, wild, and esoteric world of the rebel adventurer and blockbuster star. And Longshot's got it all—leather, looks, and so much luck it's actually his mutant power. Read his entire series by Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams today!

Longshot (1985) #1

Longshot (1985) #1

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EPISODE 6: BLOODLINES

When the mutant-hating Friends of Humanity found out that their one-time leader Graydon Creed was the son of a mutant, they wanted to test his loyalty if not outright kill him. Opting for the former, Creed was offered the chance to murder every member of his mutant family, or else be banished from their ranks.

As it turned out, Graydon’s father is Sabretooth and his mother is Mystique. So, what does any of that have to do with Nightcrawler? It all shakes out in the episode, a family reunion that draws in Rogue too!

COMICS TO READ:

To get the comic roots at the center of his story, read SABRETOOTH (1993),  or check out X-MEN UNLIMITED (1993) #4 for the origin of Mystique’s extended family.

X-Men

EPISODES 7-8: STORM FRONT

Some people know how to simply ask for help. Other people create a massive lightning storm in an effort to draw you out and then ask for assistance. Arkon of Polemachus is the latter kind of fella.

Storm heads off-world to do what she does best, leaving a clue behind for her teammates to follow. Once on Polemachus, Storm saves the kingdom of a ruler named Arkon, later agreeing to become his bride! However, once Storm and the X-Men learn more about the inner workings of Arkon’s domain, she and the team decide to call off the wedding in the most dramatic way possible.

COMICS TO READ:

The two-parter's roots can be found in X-MEN ANNUAL (1970) #3, but if you're looking for more Arkon, read his debut issue in AVENGERS (1963) #75.

And, if you’re in the mood for more of Storm’s bridal fabulosity, feast your eyes on BLACK PANTHER (2005) #18, wherein she tied the knot with T'Challa!

Black Panther (2005) #18

Black Panther (2005) #18

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EPISODE 9: JUBILEE’S FAIRY TALE THEATER

During a tour of some caves on the X-Mansion’s grounds, Jubilee finds herself stuck with a group of schoolkids in a precarious position. To keep the children from being terrified during a near cave-in, the resourceful teen tells a series of stories featuring her teammates until help arrives.

COMICS TO READ:

The episode takes inspiration from a similar tactic used by Kitty Pryde in UNCANNY X-MEN #153 and nods to the WOLVERINE: RAHNE OF TERRA one-shot. If you want even more tales in this vein, you can also read the four-issue X-MEN: FAIRY TALES limited series from 2006, reimagining the greatest X-Men stories through folktales, myths, and fables from across the globe.

X-Men
Story time with “Pirate Kitty!”

EPISODE 10: THE FIFTH HORSEMAN

Beast and Jubilee star in this expedition adventure!

In an effort to resurrect Apocalypse, former Magneto-devotee Fabian Cortez snatches Jubilee as a vessel for a human sacrifice, intending her to become the new host to the ancient mutant megalomaniac. Beast manages to free Jubilee from Cortez’s clutches, leaving Apocalypse with a new host body instead…

COMICS TO READ:

The skeleton of this episode can be found in the Avengers/X-Men “Bloodties” crossover event, which ran through AVENGERS #368, X-MEN #26, WEST COAST AVENGERS (1985) #101, UNCANNY X-MEN #307 and AVENGERS #369. Though Jubilee and Apocalypse do not appear in the arc, this epic features Cortez kidnapping Luna, Magneto's granddaughter, ticking off not only her parents Quicksilver and Crystal, but their respective teams too!

Avengers (1963) #368

Avengers (1963) #368

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EPISODE 11: OLD SOLDIERS

In "Old Soldiers," legendary writer, editor, and Wolverine co-creator Len Wein came in to write an episode that saw Logan and Captain America teaming up to free a scientist from the Red Skull during World War II!

COMICS TO READ:

Wein's story is reminiscent of the classic UNCANNY X-MEN #268 which featured a Canuck named Logan working with the Sentinel of Liberty to save a young Black Widow during The Big One. Down the line, that tale was expanded upon in WOLVERINE ORIGINS #16-20 if you're looking for more wartime Wolverine.

X-Men

EPISODE 12: HIDDEN AGENDAS

Another smaller scale episode, "Hidden Agendas" features Rogue traveling to the Guthrie household in Kentucky to interview a young mutant named Sam,  a potential candidate for Xavier’s training program. Rogue appreciates and even envies Sam’s idyllic life surrounded by a family that loves him, but she soon must help him deal with menacing federal agents that are attempting to harness, and manipulate, Sam’s powers.

COMICS TO READ:

This episode is mostly an original story, but it definitely takes cues from Cannonball's comic origin starting with his debut in THE NEW MUTANTS GRAPHIC NOVEL on through NEW MUTANTS (1983) and X-FORCE (1991)!

The New Mutants Marvel Graphic Novel (1982)

The New Mutants Marvel Graphic Novel (1982)

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EPISODE 13: DESCENT

"Descent" marks a major departure for the series as the entire episode is a flashback to Victorian England—more specifically the earliest days of X-Villain Mister Sinister. Known in his intelligentsia circle as Dr. Nathaniel Essex, the physician-turned-geneticist often discussed his work on Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution with his associate Dr. James Xavier.

COMICS TO READ:

Interestingly, the comic series that this episode is based on, FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS & PHOENIX (1996), came out only a year before the cartoon itself!

X-Men

EPISODE 14: GRADUATION DAY

Fear not, True Believers! X-Men: The Animated Series does not end with a whimper! Instead, you get a series finale with all sorts of volatile action and drama when Henry Peter Gyrich blasts Professor X with a weapon on national television. The X-Men are reeling and unable to save their mentor, until Empress Lilandra of the Shi'ar empire appears (see: "The Phoenix Saga"), offering to save Xavier with the advanced tech on her home world. Meanwhile, Magneto was primed and ready to overtake the planet, but upon hearing of his old friend's demise, he stands down to join the X-Men’s vigil in solidarity toward Xavier. The Master of Magnetism is left standing with the X-Men, as the person who brought them all together leaves this planet to live out the rest of his life in another galaxy.

COMICS TO READ:

Like many of the best episodes in the series, this one took inspiration from a variety of sources. Gyrich, who debuted in AVENGERS #165, is more associated with the Avengers than the X-Men, but has always been portrayed as a hard-nosed bureaucrat. In the comics, the story that saw Charles Xavier leave the planet and leave Magneto in charge of his school, came about in UNCANNY X-MEN #200. Here, it was a heart attack that nearly claimed Xavier, a difficult moment for his X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #200

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #200

What is Marvel Unlimited?

That’s a wrap on our entire series guide! Get binge-watching and reading with these comic stories, and for even more of your favorite mutants, tune into an X-Treme X-Men summer with a lineup of select X-Men movies rolling out now on Disney+!

 

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. Tell us which of these X-Men comics you’ll be reading at @MarvelUnlimited. And remember to stay posted to Marvel Unlimited’s Twitter and Facebook for more weekly announcements and updates!

Sign up for Disney+ and start streaming now! And be sure to follow Disney+ on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more.

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