X-men TAS ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ – Part 1
Beyond Good and Evil was the beginning and the ending of where the X-Men 90s cartoon fell off the sequential episodic horse. A convoluted time travel epic that pound for pound rivals the storyline and emotional maturity of any marvel motion picture. It is the storyline that should have been realised on the big screen instead of insulting the fan base with too much of the Apocalypse origin story. A missed opportunity on all fronts.
Kicking off in Cable’s far off flung future we are introduced to a world ruled by Apocalypse. Exerting his authority in this dystopian nightmare where only the strong survive and where the non mutant population is (presumably) extinct. In this world En Sabah Nur’s mantra is carried out on a daily basis : ‘Survival of the Fittest.’ Enter Cable, the chief protagonist, and his team of rebels, accompanied by his son, Tyler, who are staging one final strike against the immortal despot. The motivation from the rebel group is clear. Break in to the mega pyramid and destroy Apocalypse’s sarcophagus, thus, knocking out his regeneration ability and never ending immortality. Easy, right?
The group is ambushed and Cable left separated only to have his personal time travelling computer stolen by Apocalypse. What happens next is a crazed egomaniacal rant delivered by the late and great John Colicos (Star Trek, anyone?) in which, for the first time in the animated show, we are shown an almost humane quality of the villain. This adds to the perfections of Apocalypse as the top tier villain, by humanising him enough for the viewer to identify that he isn’t just a uncontrollable crazed madman. He isn’t just another “mutant driven completely mad by his powers.” Sorry, Xavier. Apocalypse is cognitively aware of the lives he’s destroyed which firmly establishes the sociopathic hubris of his character. He then disappears from sight leaving Cable confused why Apocalypse didn’t end him when he had the chance.
“Am I doomed to struggle with such filth, until the end of time?” – Apocalypse to Cable
Cross fade to the next scene. Lots of goddamn cross fades in this four parter. In which we encounter the arse end finale of the heralded two parter “One Mans Worth.” The story, for those unfamiliar, that seduced us with a light Age of Apocalypse strap-on before throwing the big black dong of Time traveller Bishop right in our faces. This scene is important. It directly precedes the events of Bishop colliding with Apocalypse in the time stream and the events of the “Beyond Good and Evil” saga. Which begs me to plead the following:
“Leave time travel alone, Bishop. Fuck!”
Bishop crash lands into the outer lying surrounding area of the central plexus of existence or whatever the fuck. Suffice to say it’s the central point that this entire storyline is about. And of course Bishop’s sister Shard who would eventually die and get replaced by a holographic duplicate in the Uncanny X-Men comics is part of this story. She witnesses Bishop disappear into the time stream to her horror yet I don’t feel anything here. No remorse and no empathy for a character I suddenly should giving a shit about. Trust me, folks. This is all important. Read on.
Cross fade to the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. And what’s a perfect day for the happy couple without a depressed Logan, a quote doting Beast or a visit from Mr Sinister and the Nasty Boys?! (Side note: Seriously Wolvie, by this point you got to realise that she’s fucking someone else. Move on dude.) The crazed geneticist in Mr Sinister meets opportunistic madman is just attacking the X-Men at their most vulnerable, right? Incorrect.
The people’s Nathanial Essex has changed his M.O. for the first time in the series by only attempting to kidnap Jean Grey (not Cyclops). This time having his Nasty Boys throw Jean into a time portal. Seemingly disappearing forever. This has even the highly intellectual Hank McCoy scratching his forever blue ball triple-PHD head. A time portal opens and Sinister tries to disappear with the goods (Xavier) before realising its Shard and trying to duck out the back of the X-mansion. Shard’s blasts seem to effect Sinister for a time which leads me to question if she is from the future then maybe the gradual evolution of mutants with the energy blast power will grow stronger as more and more mutants breed? Who knows.
Mr Sinister, still with Xavier in tow, has this time backed himself into a corner with little concern to his person. Despite being cornered by the remaining X-Men and with the assistance of Shard. He turns to disappear into a time portal with Xavier but a quick thinking Rogue grabs him before he can get away. The portal closes behind him promptly and we cross fade to Jean supposedly locked away in a cylindrical human sized capsule questioning why have you kidnaped me?
That all too familiar feeling that your favourite rockstar has just sold out drops. This is followed by the blood curdling haunt of Apocalypse’s voice uttering “Because I told him to” before he marches slowly yet confidently out of the shadows. A true metaphor and personification of his namesake. The end. The apocalypse can, will and always comes.
Editor & Writer. When not immersed in questionable 90s pop culture I can be found covering News and Reviews. Convinced 4/4 time signatures were invented by the devil.