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Western Animation: X-Men: Evolution
aka: X-Men Evolution
Notice the lack of Wolverine Publicity.
X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003) is an X-Men animated series that, like Marvel's Ultimate Universe and the movies, rebooted/retooled the universe to one where many important characters were teenagers. This show's setting was Bayville, a generic, fictionalized town in New York (not California, as often assumed), where the famous mutants went to school along with more mundane folks (presumably because the X-Men's canonical hometown, Salem Center, is upper-class in the real world).

While the previous (and very popular) X-Men series spent a lot of time condensing the mythology of the long-running comics, this series purposefully tried to go its own way. It was an effort to not bog the story down to Continuity Lock-Out and keep most stories individualized. The animation and story scripting was consistently high but it was also impossible to ignore the Spinoff Babies vibe, though it was nice to see a franchise supposedly based around a school for mutants actually spend time in school for once.

The series started off mostly going with the With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility theme, while later seasons started to get more into the "outcasts and racism" topics that permeated the regular X-Men stories. The writers eventually tried to address these concerns in the last season by bringing it more in line with familiar X-Men storylines, and even teased at the regular comics continuity in the Grand Finale.

Does have the distinction of producing the Canon Immigrant X-23, and a more openly sympathetic take on the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants as a group of Jerk with a Heart of Gold street kids instead of absolute evil. And while it isn't responsible for creating Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, this series did help popularize them with non-comic readers (while the previous animated series didn't feature them much or at all).

Here's a character sheet for more in-depth bios and tropes of the characters. For those interested in watching the series, it's right over here. Also a recap page.

Tropes associated with the show:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Outside the main characters, others got their own focus episodes.
    • Storm - "African Storm".
    • Amara - "Cruise Control".
    • Tabitha - "Badda Bing Badda Boom".
    • Beast - "Retreat".
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Toad to Wanda, even after she's mellowed out. Not that it'll stop him from trying.
    Toad: (after seeing Wanda reacting in disgust to him eating a fly) Aww, I'm my own worst enemy.
  • Aborted Arc: Because the fourth season had nine episodes, we never really got to see the conclusion to Legion's (presumably planned) story arc.
    • There were also a few hints that they would have focused on the Phoenix if the show continued.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Bayville's sewers are quite large, but unlike most examples the characters have to wade through the grime and dirty water in most cases and many of the pipes are rather cramped. Still big enough for the Morlock's to have a decent sized camp, though.
  • Academy of Adventure: Both Xavier's Institute and Bayville High get into all sorts of trouble.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Sentinels. The first prototype caused no end of trouble for both the X-Men and the Brotherhood. It was only when Magneto took control of it that they were able to eventually destroy it, but first they had to fight him and the power he was enjoying with his new toy. Normally, sentinels are depicted as giant, intentionally human-shaped robots whose effectiveness always varied between being an actual threat to laughably weak. In this series, they were giant, bi-pedal highly-weaponized war machines designed for nothing less than to ruthlessly and effectively hunt down mutants.
    • Mesmero, who is normally a Squishy Wizard, holds off a combined force of Wolverine, Gambit, and Sabretooth in close combat, armed only with a shock-staff. They really weren't working as a team, but still.
  • Adaptational Heroism AND Adaptational Villainy: The Brotherhood and Acolytes fit both, amazingly, with only Toad staying true to his comic book counterparts morality.
    • Added Villainy: Pietro and Wanda both only became villains because Magneto saved their asses and they owed him, both of them eventually became aware of his true nature when they joined the Avengers, while Pyro was a somewhat unstable and violence prone Large Ham, he had an undying loyalty to his friends and eventually died a hero. In the show, Pietro and Pyro are literal Sociopaths, while Wanda is a perpetually angry and dangerously unstable girl with sympathetic, but NOT heroic qualities. Gambit was at least heroic Gentleman Thief in the comics (despite his start as an Unwitting Pawn for Mister Sinister), while here he's described as 'amoral' and only caring of personal gain but with a soft spot, turning him from an Anti-Hero into an Anti-Villain.
    • Added Heroism: Avalanche of the comics was similar to Pyro of the comics (the two even being minor Hetero Sexual Life Partners), but he was always a Psycho for Hire who eventually retired to become a bar manager who, while no longer opposing them, resented the X-Men and superheroes at large for interfering with his life. Here, he was merged with Rictor, and bounced back and forth between thug with a Hair-Trigger Temper, a Hotheaded Nice Guy, A Brother To His Team, and Noble Demon, who resented the X-Men due to his distaste for how much hard work they do and his mutual animosity with Scott. Blob was close, though his friendship with Toad made him slightly more morally light than his comic self. Sabretooth, meanwhile, is his ever lovably psychotic, morally reprehensible self, BUT, as with most adaptations for some strange reason, he's fanatically loyal to Magneto, while the comic Sabretooth would be unable to stand working with him for more than a few hours before stabbing him in the back. Mastermind, lastly, is mostly the same, but with his spine removed so he's unquestionably obedient to Magneto and mostly uses his powers to avoid being throttled, while his comic self would gladly go after the X-Men on his own, with or without Magneto.
  • Adult Fear: In the Christmas episode, an apartment building is burning down on Christmas and a teenage girl is desperately trying to get inside and save her mother, crying and screaming since the lady in a wheelchair and cannot escape on her own. Luckily, Angel saves the lady and places her gently on a nearby bench, and soon she's reunited with her daughter.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Toyed with in regards to Avalanche and Shadowcat. One of the writers on the show mentioned how Avalanche and Shadowcat was a classic good girl and guy from the wrong side of the tracks love story. So while Kitty was turned-off from the angry and violent Lance, she was attracted to the Jerk with a Heart of Gold Lance who was still a jerk, but at least tried not to be.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Magneto, as usual. At his heart, all he wants is to make mutants better off in the world, he's just a real dick about it.
    • Due to the Composite Character nature of Avalanche in this series, he settles as this: He's angry, bitter, and quick to annoy and has a noted antagonistic relationship towards the X-Men and a criminal past, but at his core he comes off as a big brother to the other Brotherhood members and is the member most likely to team up with his enemies when needed.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In "The Beast of Bayville", Spyke scoffs at the idea of a pyramid shaped hat increasing Kitty's brainpower.
    Kitty: Hey, I walk through walls, you shoot boney spikes, what's not to believe?
  • Arch-Enemy: The X-Men and The Brotherhood, though later it's almost as if they are hostile to each other out of habit. Scott and Avalanche definitely hated each others guts at first, then Scott and Duncan, later. Even Rogue and Jean, over Scott. And the series tries to characterize Quicksilver as The Rival to Spyke, in their first, and later appearances, resulting in a lot of Foe Yay...
  • Art Shift: A slight one between the Madhouse/DR Movie episodes and the Mook DLE episodes, which was pretty much every other episodenote .
  • The Artifact: Wolverine has no real reason to wear an elaborate costume with a face mask and fake ears in this version, since he's really just an instructor at a training facility for young mutants; he just wears it because it's iconic, and the producers couldn't see him wearing anything else. Tellingly, they had him wearing a much more functional uniform by the second season, once the show had become well-established.
  • Ascended Extra: Berzerker, an obscure Morlock in the comics, left the sewers to join the New Mutants in this version.
    • Iceman could count as an in-show example. See "Under Lock and Key", where he stows away in the X-Jet, and thus we have the five original X-Men onscreen.
  • Badass: While Logan gets worfed, the show provides plenty of badass with Scott and Rogue (and Evan, but he doesn't really become badass until he leaves the team) of the X-Men, Lance (who gets a catchy guitar rift when he uses his powers) and Mystique of the Brotherhood, ALL of the Acolytes except for Mastermind, Tabitha (if you consider randomly blowing things up badass) of the New Recruits, but Callisto and Evan (once he joins them) of the Morlocks. But, given the fact she effortlessly took out the entire Institute, X-23 probably ranks top of the list of most badass in the show.
  • Badass Boast: Several:
    Rogue: "My powers are your powers, an' I can take more than one!" (Proceeds to throttle Blob, "Mutant Crush")

    Scott: "We're the X-Men. You trained us, Logan, and you know something? We're good. Real good." (Proceeds to throttle the US Military, "The Stuff of Heroes")

    Mystique: How sweet, girlfriend to the rescue!
    Jean Grey: You got that right lady! (Proceeds to throttle Mystique, "Blind Alley")
  • Badass Cape: Magneto and Storm.
  • Badass Longcoat: Gambit, as usual. Also Wanda, Angel, Sabertooth,Mastermind (though his is usually buttoned up), Callisto, and Rogue on occasion.
  • Badass Teacher: Even before mutating into his Beast form, Hank McCoy was Bayville High's uber-muscular gym coach, and a science teacher whose first lesson was a stinkbomb.
    • Later, Jean and Scott become this to the younger students. Say what you want, but if your teacher could effortlessly lift the whole class into the air or split an apple in half by ricocheting a blast off the walls while avoiding each student, you would be worshipping them.
  • Badbutt: As in all other animated adaptations of the X-Men, Wolverine.
  • Bare Your Midriff: They're in high school, so of course you get this to some extent. Every girl has at least one civilian outfit that does, and all three of Jean's do. As does Rogue's and a good number of extras, and all but one of Kitty's main outfits. Hell, the only female characters who regularly appear and don't seems to be limited to Jubilee, Rahne, and X-23.
  • Batman Gambit: Magneto's plan in "Day of Reckoning".
  • Beach Bury: Quicksilver does this to Spyke... granted, it's in combat, but the reference is clear.
  • Beta Couple: Kitty/Lance, Sam/Amara, Roberto/Rahne, and Bobby/Jubilee, if the series hadn't been axed prematurely. Kurt/Amanda seems to be the one that stuck though.
  • Between My Legs: In the episode Shadowed Past, Rogue's legs frame Mystique when she stops her from escaping.
  • Big Bad: Magneto in the first two seasons, Apocalypse in the third and fourth.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Scott. His entire rivalry with the Brotherhood is based upon trying to protect the younger students from them, and motivated by past dealings. He hates Lance especially and shows apprehension about his and Kitty's relationship, likely because he remembers Lance's previous Hair-Trigger Temper tendencies and the time he tried to use Kitty's power for personal gain.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens often. Pietro pulls off an impressive one in "Ascension pt. 2," saving Wanda in the nick of time from a Magneto that was being controlled by Apocalypse.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the episode "African Storm", what viewers might write off as made-up incantations are actually Kiswahili. Furthermore, the translations are kind of cool- for example, when the Houngan is stealing Storm's powers, what he is saying roughly translates into English as "meeting of the dark night, meeting of the dark night".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series finale was pretty upbeat... save for "future vision" showing Jean presumably dying and becoming The Phoenix. There's also the rising anti-mutant sentiment amongst the common populace.
  • Blush Sticker: Kitty gets them while talking to a boy at school in "SpykeCam".
  • Boot Camp Episode: Both the good guys and the bad guys get sent to a boot camp.
    • Several episodes have less direct ones, where it focuses on Wolverine's training from hell.
  • Bullying a Dragon/Mugging the Monster: The latter in the first two seasons, the former after. And for some odd reason, the bullying gets worse after people learn mutants could kill them on a whim. Why would you keep knocking Scott's glasses off?
    • An instance of dragon bullying before masquerade was broken was Boom-Boom's father, who actually had the gall to threaten Professor X, the telepath, with revealing the true purpose of his school. The Professor quickly reminded him who he was bullying, and that was the end of that.
  • Broken Bird: Rogue, Scarlet Witch until she got mentally healed, X-23 from never having anything approaching a normal childhood.
  • Butt Monkey: "What is this? Abuse the Toad Day?" Yep, just like yesterday and the day before.
    • Wolverine of all people gets a lot of torture, though so does each character at some point. A lot of humor at times is derived from slapstick-styled antics around the characters, from Scott falling down a flight of stairs to Kurt being turned into a girl.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several, but mainly Spyke and Duncan Matthews.
  • Canon Immigrant: X-23.
    • Spyke also inspired two similar characters: Spike from X-Force and David Evan Munroe, Storm's canonical nephew. The former even appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • Can't Use Stairs: Played for Laughs when Professor X (who is, famously, paralyzed from the waist down) talks to Jean about overcoming limitations... and then finds himself at the top of a staircase.
  • Captive Date: Jean Grey is held captive by the Blob, who thinks she's his girlfriend.
  • Character Development: Most of the cast after Season One.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dorian Leech.
  • Christmas Episode: Season 2's "On Angel's Wings", which also contains an example of An Asskicking Christmas with the episode's main thread (Cyclops and Rogue fighting Magneto to prevent him from abducting Angel).
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Scott. When he sees people in trouble, he does what he can, whether or not its smart or safe, to help them. Xavier actually tells him that this risked revealing mutants to the world because he has to save people.
    • Avalanche, in a strange twist. Avalanche isn't even a good guy, in fact he on several ocasions caused a large amount of trouble and property damage. However, as he developed, he lost the ability to sit back and let people get killed, even if those who were in danger had been unintentionally (And when they realized, they didn't care) framing him and were putting themselves in danger for fun, and would go out of his way to save them.
  • Circus of Fear: Mesmero's hideout in "Mindbender" has shades of this; while it's empty, it's certainly eerie, what with the constant rain upon it and all.
  • Clark Kenting: Averted. The minute the TV broadcast gets a good look at them all, they're all identified by their civilian identities (except Nightcrawler, whose civilian identity involved a whole holographic appearance change).
  • Claustrophobia: Storm.
  • Clothing Damage: Scott, all the time. Whenever he was supposed to be badly hurt, half of his shirt got ripped off. Somehow. Also happens with Rogue on occasion, mostly to her sleeves, as a plot point to use her Blessed with Suck powers against her.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: David Kaye's voice as Professor Xavier seems to be based on Patrick Stewart, with just a touch of Sean Connery.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Spyke after Season 3.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Self-Possessed" features flashbacks to almost every time Rogue had taken someone's powers.
  • Cool Big Sis: Jean Grey. Tabitha/Boom Boom becomes one to Amara/Magma.
    • Rogue, according to Kurt.
  • Cool Car: Avalanche's green jeep. Not only the main mode of transportation for the Brotherhood, but also for the "Bayville Sirens". Also "borrowed" by Boom-Boom many times even after she left the Brotherhood. Also worth mentioning is Cyclop's red sports car.
    • More of a cool van, but the X-Van is a battle ready van that might as well be a tank.
  • Cool Teacher: The Beast. Without a doubt. Going by Target X, Scott and Jean become this too.
  • Crash-Into Hello: How Avalanche and Shadowcat first meet.
  • Cursed with Awesome: All of the mutants as per tradition, but Nightcrawler has to be one of the best examples. In addition to his teleportation, he has a lottery of minor superpowers which include enhanced agility, the ability to stick to walls, and a prehensile tail that can support the weight of himself and another person. He's also the only main character (until Beast joins the cast) who can't hide in public without some kind of disguise.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: Because Professor X likes watching teenagers sweat. Well, hopefully not.
  • Darker and Edgier: The fourth season.
  • Dating Catwoman: Shadowcat and Avalanche.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rogue. Though other characters like Logan, Gambit, Kitty, Lance, Pietro, and even Jean and Scott can be pretty snarktastic when they want to be.
  • Debut Queue
  • Defcon Five: Defcon 4 at the Institute means that the entire mansion is now in multi-layer steel-doors-all-around lockdown. Nothing gets out or in, and anything that tries to get in gets blasted by laser cannons. Either the writers got it wrong (probably), or Xavier is really paranoid when it comes to potential threats.
  • Differently Powered Individual: An odd example, but the m-word doesn't show up in the first episode and is used less than half a dozen times in the entire first season. Frequency increases in season two and three, when the plot starts to focus more on the outside world's knowledge of mutants' existence.
    • They also invent the term 'advanced mutant signature', to describe people who acquired powers later rather than being born with them, used to describe Juggernaut. They show also features Captain America, Nick Fury, and Gauntlet, three characters who aren't mutants but are superpowered to some extent (Cap's a genetically enhanced super soldier, Fury's immortal, and Gauntlet is a member of the Inhumans, a subrace of humans who live in the antarctic), though only Cap is officially explained, Fury's powers are only slightly alluded to by the fact he worked with Cap and Logan in WW2 despite looking to be in his fifties at the most, and Gauntlet can be assumed to be a mutant.
  • Disco Dan: Forge, since he's from the seventies. He still manages to come up with some Totally Radical though.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A harmless version in the Christmas Episode had Spyke and his father throw a couple of snowballs at Storm (with poor accuracy). Storm logically responds by creating a small snowstorm to show them why one should never pick a snowball fight with someone who can control the weather.
  • Ditzy Genius: Forge again, in every appearance. Possibly forgivable, given the two to three decade culture-shock.
    • Kitty as well. She's stated to be a straight A student, shows great skill with computers, and is able to work out how Forge's device works, but her bubbly personality and Valley Girl accent makes her come off as a little ditzy.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Shadowcat gives everyone heart attacks whenever she's behind the wheel of a car. This is because she does not avoid driving hazards. She phases through them.
    • She even scares Wolverine! Now there's an accomplishment!
      • Even her phasing leaves something to be desired during this driving, as evidenced by the number of road signs she left partially phased into the van at the end of the session. Jean was even willing to sacrifice Scott when Kitty was eagerly searching for someone with a license to go out on the road for behind-the-wheel experience. The result when they came back? Scott just stayed in the passenger seat, shivering, with his hands rooted to the dashboard.
        Scott: I will never... get in another vehicle... as long as I live!
  • Double Standard: One can argue this concerning the Brotherhood. Tabitha freely abuses Toad and Blob, and the other boys to a lesser extent, but each time its treated as a comedic moment. Meanwhile, the easiest way to tell if Lance is going to be a villain in this episode is if he tries to grab Kitty by her wrists, controlling boyfriend style. So, mildly abusive behaviour is (rightly) bad if you're a guy, but if you're a girl its OK to abuse your male 'friends'.
  • Downer Ending: "Sins of the Son", Xavier ended up locking David and Ian away, leaving Lucas to do whatever he wants.
  • Enemy Mine: Done repeatedly, the Boot Camp Episode being one of the first, versus Juggernaut, the Sentinel, and to stop Apocalypse.
    • The Sentinel is an unusual subversion, as it turns out that Mystique and the Brotherhood arranged for it so they can destroy the mansion, for no apparent reason. However, it was to originally take out Magneto, but then forced into battle with the Sentinel.
  • Enforced Cold War
  • Elite Mooks: The Acolytes — Sabretooth, Colossus, Gambit and Pyro.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Averted for the most part, in that hardly any of the main characters actually go by their codenames (except Rogue, for lack of a real one). Sure, they get mentioned every now and then, but they seem to have no problems referring to each other by name, even in the heat of battle.
    • Largely played straight with Toad and Blob, both of whom had their nicknames before they took up costumed villainy. Toad in particular has embraced his, and uses it to refer to himself.
    • Forge plays it straight, but that's because he doesn't even have one in the comics. Almost everyone else has a name in the comics (Rogue's having been revealed as Anna Marie), but Forge doesn't.
  • Evil Counterpart: Not so much as evil as "Criminal misbehavior Counterpart", but Avalanche to Scott. Both have leadership skills, are tall and, according to the female fanbase, extremely attractive, are easily the second most powerful of their respective team (Behind Jean and Wanda respectfully), have Chronic Hero Syndrome, have an almost Fantastic Racism-like hate towards the opposing team that borders on homicidal anger, and have a Big Brother Mentor like relationship to their friends (Kurt, for Scott; Toad and Pietro, to Lance). Their rivalry makes a lot of sense when you realize that, had Xavier recruited Lance instead of Scott, the teams would of had virtually the same balance.
  • Evil Teacher: Principal Kelly; Mystique when posing as Principal Darkholme.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In the above-mentioned episode Rogue was quite clearly wearing a see-through blouse over a bustier with her coat hanging open the whole time. On a trip into snow-covered mountains.
  • Expressive Mask: Wolverine. Played with with Scott's visor and glasses, which never change shape, but can express a variety of emotions based on the angle and lighting.
  • Expy: Spyke shares his powers with Marrow from the original comics. In later episodes, he even begins to develop similar bony armor.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Played Straight at times, especially with SHIELD, HYDRA or Military officers, however, the security guards at Juggernaut's prison as well as Nazi Soldiers seen during that Flash back episode with Logan & Captain America. Those were very clearly real.
  • Fan of Underdog: Nightcrawler's classmate Amanda had a crush on him for a while, before she found out he was a mutant. Finding out only made it better.
  • Fantastic Racism: Becomes the major theme in the third and fourth seasons, after the mutants are revealed to the world, and it seems like pretty much every human hates the mutants.
  • Fights Like a Normal: A couple of characters, for a few reasons. Rogue tends to act like the token Badass Normal in training and can handle herself pretty well without using her powers, Scott defaults to Daredevil-like ass kicking when his shades are gone or when he's in a situation where powers are bad, Gambit uses his powers freely in combat, but his primary strategy is to be fucking awesome until he gets them in a weak point then threaten to blow them up. Lastly, Wolverine, due to the lethal nature of his claws, only tends to use them against robots or people they're useless against, primarily fighting with kicks, punches, and flips.
  • For the Evulz: When Mystique makes an all out plan to trick the X-Men into defeating Magneto for her, every part of her plan (replacing the Professor, freeing Wanda, putting pressure on the students to work harder, then sending them out along with the Brotherhood to find and fight Magneto) seems to have a purpose...except blowing up the mansion [1] while students are still inside.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on in the first season, Rogue makes an offhand comment about how Nightcrawler "is like an annoying little brother."
  • Freaky Is Cool: Let's just say, blue is Amanda's favorite color.
    • Kitty made a similar comment about Kurt in the Evo Comic series.
      "You know what I like about you? You're kinda weird... but good weird."
  • Freudian Threat: Rogue catches Spyke videotaping her without her permission. She tells him that, if she sees herself in his video when he presents it to their class, "They're going to call [him] Spyke-less."
  • Fun Personified: Nightcrawler, Boom Boom, Toad, and the New Recruits.
  • Future Badass: The whole team, as shown at the end. Complete with a switch to some more badass military-esque costumes.
  • Genius Bruiser: Beast.
  • Genius Ditz: Its mentioned once or twice that Kitty Pryde is a straight A student. You, like, totally wouldn't know it by; like, you know, listening to her.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Much of Boom Boom's dialog manages this, sometimes subtly, other times not. For example her teasing of Avalanche about taking Shadowcat to the school dance. "What's going to happen after the dance?"
    • Plus the entirety of the episode "Walk on the Wild Side". Boom Boom-centric, of course.
    • "Cuddle Bumps." Said by Toad to Wanda, in case you were wondering.
    • "Spyke Cam" features one some have never gotten over. Rogue discovers that Spyke had been filming her without her consent, and threatens that if she sees herself on that tape when he presents it to his class, "They're going to call [him] Spyke-less!" Ignoring what's clearly quite a Freudian threat, we see a close-up of Rogue's face as she says this, staring straight at the camera. She's talking to you, son... Meeeeeeep.
    • Same episode also had him trying to record Jean getting dressed. Yes, you read me, he was trying to record Jean, AKA kinda-hot-for-animated-character-standards Jean, while she's about to get changed.
    • Pietro's dialogue, mannerisms, and even his dress sense come off as Camp Gay to a lot of fans, with his Jerkassery possibly being a subconscious way of expressing his confusion. Similarly, Risty Wilde /Mystique was also very flirty with Rogue. Word of Gay says that yes, she was a Lesbian and was flirting with Rogue. No word on Pietro however. This gets weird though, when you realize that Mystique is Rogue's adopted mother.
      Wanda: Where is he?
      Toad: Pietro? Hiding in the closet.
    • Also Cyclops, to Juggernaut: "You want it raw, tough guy? Then take it! RAW!
    • Any time Lance threatens someone due to his tendency to make puns relating to his power, that really sound more like weird sexual advances. Its one of his more humorous, thought accidental, characteristics.
    • After the Bigfoot hunters catch Beast, we get this exchange:
      Bigfoot Enthusiast #1: "Looks like we caught ourselves the real McCoy!"
      Beast: *groans at the pun*
      Scientist: "It was almost like he understood that.
      Bigfoot Enthusiast #2: *laughs* Yeah, right! No more celebrating for the Doc!
    • Go back and watch "Mindbender", for the majority of the time spent with Jean in the episode the camera seems to find every possible way to focus on her ass or her crotch. This includes the very first scene where Jean is running through the rain wearing only her nighty.
  • Giant Spider: A mystical guardian against Apocalypse in one episode.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: "Walk on the Wild Side".
    • Deconstructed as the girls quickly get in over their heads when they start going after real criminals and Scott and Kurt have to help them out at the last minute (secretly).
  • Goth: This show's interpretation of Rogue, but justified as behavior deliberately instilled by her adoptive parents, as being Blessed with Suck meant that it was best not to have her attract attention.
  • Gratuitous German: Kurt is one of the main characters. What did you expect?
  • Groin Attack: Do not video tape Rogue. See above.
  • Happily Adopted: Nightcrawler, who was adopted by a Bavarian couple after Mystique dropped him.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Kitty is the Child, Rogue is the Crone, and both Storm and Jean are the Mother.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Rogue. Attempted by Avalanche, but it doesn't work. Until the Distant Future, where he's either in S.H.I.E.L.D. or supporting them. Except for Xavier's comment at this ("Some people, never change") combined with the fact that in the comics SHIELD is known to be easily corrupted if Fury isn't taking care, may mean the opposite. Unless he's referring to their more sympathetic take, its not really clear.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Boom-Boom, sort of. First she's with the X-Men, later with the Brotherhood, and finally isn't affiliated with anyone. However, she never actually works against the X-Men during her time with the Brotherhood. More accurately, she's free-loading off them during their "we don't care" phase. Then Mystique comes back and kicks her off and she's back to freelancing again.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jean is very popular.
  • Heterosexual Lifepartners: Toad and Blob. Both of them are outcasts among outcasts as the only unattractive members of the Brotherhood.
    • Scott and Kurt have shades of this too, keep in mind that Kurt was the only other male student at the institute for awhile.
    • Implied with Wolverine and Captain America as well.
    • And to a lesser extent, Scott and Wolverine. Without Logan pining after Jean, the two get along pretty well, helped by Logan helping to shape Scott into the leader.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Rogue to Cyclops, and Toad to Wanda.
  • Human Ladder: Used once by Rogue and Shadowcat, so the latter could phase through the top of a box truck they were hiding in.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll
  • Idiot Hero: The New Mutants, in virtually every appearance. Bobby especially. Thankfully, they do seem to get better about it near the end.
    • Nightcrawler had his moments at times of being a little too stupid, such as trying to surf the hood of the X-Jet, while moving. Not as bad (since he has no problem sticking to ceilings or other sheer surfaces), but was hardly genius.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Magneto uses this to convince Nightcrawler not to destroy the rejuvenating machine with him inside, in "Operation Rebirth":
    "Are you that much like your mother?"
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Duncan and co. when they attack Spyke and the other Morlocks. A few of their shots were blocked, but most of them were complete misses, even when the target was standing still. In short, exactly the kind of aim you would expect from a gang of untrained high schoolers.
    • The members of The Rippers in "Cajun Spice" weren't much better.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Brotherhood as a whole. Unless they got them off guard or only picked on one of them, the Brotherhood lost most of their fights, mostly because, as shown when they were by themselves, were very lazy and never bothered to train (especially notable in Joyride, where the few times Avalanche actually tried in the simulations, he struggled to keep up with the New Recruits, or ended up needing to throw up), and they were facing the protagonists. Lampshaded in HeX Factor, where Mystique reminds them they haven't ever won a single battle and decides to whip them into shape by having Wanda join them. Unfortunately, Fangirls see this as them not being bad at all and just mercilessly picked on by the good guys.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In "Retreat" When Beast is caught by Bigfoot hunters one of them comments on his rarity by saying "this is the Real McCoy," even drugged and half out of it Hank groans at the pun.
    • Sure, it wasn't an intentional pun (considering those hunters didn't even know Beast was a mutant, let alone that he was called Hank McCoy), but still...
  • Indy Ploy: Rogue admits this when she drags Kitty with her so they'll find out what the Brotherhood is up to in "The Stuff of Villains".
  • Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy: Wolverine almost never manages to use his claws on someone as long as they're not robots. If he does, it's a piece of armor and is easily blocked, or the damage is the absolute minimum.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: The casting of Michael Donovan as Sabretooth opposite Scott McNeil as Wolverine is rather amusing considering their respective roles as Billy and Jimmy Lee.
  • Jerkass: Quicksilver. Probably the only consistent Jerkass in the series. Boom Boom was one for a while. And Avalanche in half of his appearances (mostly early) which are usually glossed over by his fangirls; though he returned to this in the third season.
  • Jerk Jock: Duncan Matthews, not surprisingly. Goes hand in hand with Bullying a Dragon in the third season. He eventually bites off more than he could chew when Spyke returned, getting himself arrested after an ill-conceived attack on the Morlocks.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wolverine, post-Character Development!Avalanche.
  • The Juggernaut: Guess who filled that role...
  • King in the Mountain: Captain America is re-imagined as this. Instead of being suspected dead, he's secretly put in cryogenic storage when it turns out that the super soldier serum is slowly killing him. The implication is that he will be revived once S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists find a way to cure him.
  • Laughably Evil: Pyro, who seems to communicate exclusively through a combination of maniacal laughter and incredibly lame puns. And then there's this exchange with Wolverine:
    Wolverine: Where's [sic] your buddies?
    Pyro: Since Magneto's gone, Colossus bailed and went back to Russia, Sabretooth's out playing with a big ball of yarn somewhere, and Gambit didn't leave a note on the fridge.
    • ...keeping in mind that this happened after Wolverine interrupted Pyro's viewing of Apocalypse destroying Magneto repeatedly like it was the funniest thing ever. "I never get tired of this part!"
  • Leitmotif: "T, O, A, D, TOOOOOAD!"
    • There are a few others as well, including Lance's guitar riffs and that tinkly piano bit that always plays whenever Magneto's within a hundred yards.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Semi-averted. All of the main X-Men wind up with five outfits: their battle suits, a formal one, and by the third season, three normal outfits that they alternate between. Still fairly limited, but at least they change it up a bit.
  • Little Stowaway: Kurt and Kitty in "Grim Reminder", Bobby in "Under Lock and Key".
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Once the New Mutants were introduced.
  • Love Redeems: To a point. Avalanche is almost a complete Jerk Ass until he develops an interest in Shadowcat and slowly starts getting better. He even did a Heel-Face Turn, but it didn't stick, eventually settling for an Anti-Villain and Wild Card role. In the Distant Finale, we see him as a SHIELD member, so it finally did work.
    • Mystique gave it one last try in the series finale, but Rogue and Kurt just weren't interested.
  • Love Triangle: Rogue/Cyclops/Jean Grey until the third season. Arguably Duncan Matthews/Jean Grey/Cyclops.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Mystique reveals that she is Nightcrawler's mother toward the end of the first season, then again to Rogue (adopted) near the end of the third.
    • Averted somewhat in that Quicksilver knows that Magneto is his father all along, contrary to other series, as does Wanda (a source of much anger for her).
  • Master Race: The episode "Operation: Rebirth" has this with discussion on the super soldier experiment used on Captain America.
    Logan: "The idea was to create super soldiers for World War II."
    Xavier: "A master race?"
    Logan: "Mmmrr...these were the good guys. They didn't mean it like that."
    Xavier: "Yes, they never do. At first."
  • Marvel Universe: Earth 3110, according to show creator Robert Skir and character designer/Director Steven E. Gordon.
    • Earth-11052, according to the Marvel Wiki.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Not in terms of plot, but theme. After the kids are outed as mutants, there's an episode about whether mutants should be allowed to go to the same schools as 'normal' people. In the shot when they walk back into the school for the first time, there's a black kid in the background drinking from a water fountain; a clear nod to a rather less Fantastic Racism.
  • Meaningful Name: Lance Alvers. Alvers Lance. Alverslance. Avalanche. Did they change his name just for the Incredibly Lame Pun?
    • Same with Toad's new name 'Todd Tolansky', except that it doesn't go unnoticed.
    • There's also two-shot minor character Dorian Leach, who drains all power from the surrounding area.
    • New Mutant Berzerker the electrokinetic's real name is Ray Crisp. Yeah, they went there.
  • Mood Whiplash: This trope has happened a few times, due to the show's mixture of comedy and action, usually happens when they cut from a dramatic and dark plot to a more humorous side-plot.
  • Moral Dissonance: In the third season premiere, Wolverine abandons the group when Cyclops refuses to treat the military as the enemy and respond with appropriate force. He doesn't just cede leadership, he outright rides off and leaves them to their fate. No one ever calls him on it, but he at least admits Scott had the right idea.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: It's interesting to note that this series has, by a pretty decent margin, the most fanfics on (nearly 14,000) of any X-Men property, including the movies and comics. This is likely due to the show being one of the few Marvel products that drew a strong female fanbase. Perhaps due to the youth of the characters and focus on the romantic subplots. Compare it to the recently canceled Wolverine and the X-Men which has very few fics written about it despite having been on the air since 2008.
    • Easy to see why so many are based/came from the second season, which had the Brotherhood act more sympathetic (Providing more guys to use or hook up with), more romance plots to the point some became pointless for the plot, and added more characters to be used. Also likely why the most fanfictions star Rogue (In Name Only) and Gambit.
  • Motor Mouth: Quicksilver.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Scott; Can you say Clothing Damage? Not to mention in "Blind Alley" Logan and Scott have a dual Shirtless Scene, talking about feelings.
  • Mundane Utility: Spyke at one point convinced Rogue to use her powers to copy Kitty's dancing for a play.
    • He also uses his bone spikes to staple posters to the ceiling. Too bad they don't stick, as Kitty found out.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: When Rogue absorbs the super strength of Blob or Juggernaut she retains her normal body type. Strangely, she does turn furry when absorbing Sabretooth's powers, even though Blob's girth is part of his mutation (specifically, it's part of what makes him resistant to harm).
  • Mythology Gag: All over the place. Calling Cyclops "Slim." Showing the Blob vs. The Juggernaut onscreen and invoking the Unstoppable vs. Unmovable debate (moving is better). Coming up with an excuse to put the original team together for an episode. The list goes on.
    • There's one episode where members of the original team (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel, and Iceman) try to stop a giant spider.
      • Less hyped was the episode right before it, where the key players (with the exception of Kurt) in the episode were the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Magneto, Toad, Mastermind, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch).
      • Another episode had Colossus, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat team up together, members of the British based team, Excalibur.
    • Plus some of the character relationships are ripped straight from the comics, such as Kitty being a little freaked out by Wolverine and Nightcrawler before developing deep friendships with both of them.
    • There's also a costuming one as Nightcrawler is the only X-Man who wears his original comic-book costume (With yellow gloves referencing the uniform he wore in Dave Cockrum's original pitch).
    • The season 2 premier has Jean on the championship soccer team. In celebration of their efforts the school has a rather nifty effect of having a statue of their team mascot, a hawk, with it's wings on fire. Any X Men fan will spot this as a nod to Jean's later persona and codename, Phoenix.
    • "Blind Alley" has a scene where Scott asks Logan for advice about telling Jean about his feelings for her. Logan just rolls his eyes, and eventually threatens to tell Jean himself just to stop Scott's whining. In the comics, Logan was madly in love with Jean himself, and he was involved in a love triangle with Scott.
    • Near the end of "Speed and Spyke", the theme tune from X-Men: The Animated Series could be heard during the pool party at Xavier's mansion.
    • In "Turn of the Rogue", Kitty briefly calls Kurt "Fuzzy Elf", his nickname in the comics. When Scott hears the name, he just stares and confusedly whispers it to himself. After that episode, it's never heard again.
    • At the beginning of "Shadowed Past", Kitty is shown hugging a purple dragon toy before bed, referring to her friend/pet Lockheed in the comics.
    • In the season 2 episode "Retreat", one of the Bigfoot (Beast) hunters asked, "Then's whats Sasquatch?" In the comics, "Sasquatch" is the codename for one of the members of Alpha Flight.
    • In 'Strategy X", Mystique transforms into a monster to scare Toad, a la the 90's X-Men episode "A Rogue's Tale" where she scares a punk who's trying to steal her umbrella.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: After Nick Fury goes to Logan about the Rebirth project being stolen Xavier asks about it, and Logan explains it turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. Xavier points out the Allies were trying to create a "Master Race," which makes Logan uncomfortable, not wanting to see the good guys go down that slippery slope.
  • Never Say "Die": The show straddles the line between averting it and playing it straight.
  • The Nick Namer: Wolverine adamantly refuses to refer to most of the characters, not only by their real names, but also by their code names. Generally, he calls Nightcrawler "Elf", Cyclops "Slim", Spyke "Porcupine", Shadowcat "Squirt" or "Half-pint", Rogue "Skunk-stripe" and Jean "Red".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Magneto destroys a Giant Spider in an effort to stop Apocalypse from reawakening. Turns out the spider was actually a guardian preventing Apocalypse from escaping. In destroying it, Magneto opened the second door for Apocalypse. Oh, Crap.
    • Professor X gets one, too, combined with a possible Tear Jerker. Xavier finds out he has a super-powerful psychic son with three distinct personalities fighting for control: good boy David, psychopath Lucas, and innocent pyrokinetic Ian. Xavier helps banish Lucas and Ian within David's mind, only to learn that Lucas swapped his appearance with David during the mental battle. Cue the now unfettered Lucas flying off to raise whatever hell he wants. Nice job breaking your own son, Charles.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mystique's attempt to kill Scott in "Turn of the Rogue" ends up pushing Rogue into switching sides and joining the X-Men.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Magneto lacks any sort of German or Polish accent, and sounds very American. Same goes for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, though in their case it's Justified since they were raised by Magneto (unlike in the comics, where they were adopted by a Roma family in Eastern Europe).
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Danielle Moonstar in "Ghost of a Chance".
  • One of the Boys: New Mutant Jubilee is definitely one of these. She spends the majority of her appearances alongside Bobby and Sam, and is the only girl who tends to go along with his zany schemes.
    • Kitty apparently has a few geeky male friends outside the X-Men in the first episode of season 2, and other than the X-Girls has no female friends.
  • Official Couple: Cyclops and Jean Grey, even if it took them a bit two-and-a-half seasons to get there. The ending also revealed that Avalanche and Shadowcat got back together.
    • Plus Nightcrawler and Amanda.
  • Older Than They Look: Magneto, in this version. His backstory as a Holocaust survivor is kept, but he looks just as young as he did in his earliest appearances in the comics. It's eventually explained that he's using a machine to extend his natural lifespan.
  • Opposites Attract: Avalanche and Shadowcat.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: X-23.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The accents can be a bit temperamental.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: When Scott and Jean are attempting to teach the younger mutants in a class, Amara sets her handout on fire for fun. Amara was previously shown to be a shy and well-behaved girl so it seems quite out of character for her to misbehave in class.
  • Out of the Inferno: When Rogue is brainwashed by Apocalypse to steal the powers of dozens of mutants, she targets Magneto's crew. After taking out most of them, Pyro blasts her. She walks out of the fire with some Clothing Damage and Colossus' metal skin power active.
  • Papa Wolf: Wolverine. Most noticeable when X-23 first shows up and in "Grim Reminder". And Gambit kidnapping Rogue in "Cajun Spice" certainly brings it out.
  • Parental Abandonment: A huge Berserk Button for Scarlet Witch since she is Magneto's daughter and Quicksilver's sister, the former putting her into an orphanage mental institution when her powers proved to be too unstable when she was younger. This causes her to gun for Magneto's head until he captures her and has Mastermind rewrite her memories to view him as a more loving father.
    • It's also a source of conflict for Nightcrawler, who has severely conflicting feelings about Mystique.
  • Parental Substitute: Like in the comics Professor X, Storm, and Wolverine both serve as parental figures to Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Evan, Rogue, and the New Recruits. Logan also tried to do this with X-23 (as he's the genetic base for her and as such technically her father), but she refuses to let him as she sees herself as a weapon, not a child.
  • Pass the Popcorn: "Rogue Recruit" has Nightcrawler munching on a big bowl of popcorn while Wolverine deomstrates a training exercise. He's also upside-down the entire time.
  • Pet the Dog: While Mystique disguising herself as Risty and befriending Rogue was mostly done just to spy on the X-Men, she does seem to make a genuine effort to improve Rogue's life while doing so (namely convincing Rogue to be more social and helping her get over her crush on Scott). She's is Rogue's (foster) mother, after all.
    • Pietro has a brief one trying to make Wanda not feel so bad after Apocalypse seemingly killed Magneto. But his tough love approach just makes things worse.
    • Lance gets one by saving Kitty in a deleted scene in the first episode of season two, then saves the New Mutants in a later episode. He doesn't get much until Season Four, where he saves an old lady from a train explosion and then stays behind at the end to help out.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Nightcrawler and Shadowcat.
    • Wolverine and Storm are hinted at having this kind of relationship, at the very least.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation
  • Previously On
  • Puberty Superpower
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Put on a Bus: Spyke, Jubilee, Wolfsbane; Spyke at least came back later, and the other two have a cameo in the final scene of the finale.
    • At the verily least we get to see Spyke leave the show, the last time we see Rahne or Jubilee they're escaping into the sewers with the other New Recruits. The next we hear about them Wolverine just casually says that their parents took them out of school.
  • Pyramid Power: Apocalypse used three pyramids as focal points to unleash his power: a Mayan pyramid, a Chinese pyramid, and the great pyramid in Giza.
    • In one episode, Kitty thought a pyramid-shaped hat would help her do better in school. It does (or at least, she got her A), but she eventually realizes how silly it made her look by wearing it.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: The Brotherhood. The Acolytes might count as well.
  • Race Lift: Avalanche and Toad. In the comics, the former is Greek (Dimitros Petrakis), and the latter is British (Mortimer Toynbee). Here, they're both American.
  • Re Tool
  • Rule 63: When Kurt breaks his image inducer by playing around too much with it (including giving himself whacked out muscles), Professor X reprograms it to give him a midriff-baring, blue-lipstick wearing teenage girl appearance.
    Xavier: Sorry, I couldn't resist.
  • Sad Clown: Nightcrawler. Sometimes.
    • Toad's had a hint of this, especially in the episode where he tries to get Kurt to help him save Wanda.
  • Salt and Pepper: Mystique and Storm are a non-friendly version of this during the first season.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Amanda Sefton. She's two-dimensional, has little to no personality, and exists solely to be Nightcrawler's love interest. Some fans still like her though, which is better then Scott's SLI, Taryn, whose only connection to the cast besides Scott is the fact she's apparently one of Jean's friends, one that appears once or twice for a few seconds standing next to Jean, then doing nothing until suddenly being interested in Scott. Jean, meanwhile, got Duncan; however, the writers brought him in as a Jerk Jock to give him something besides dating Jean (IE, making him pick on Toad and, to a lesser extent, Blob, and giving him a rivalry with Scott), before he developed during seasons 3 and 4 into a mutant hater with a penchant for grudges who's smart enough to avoid antagonizing the mutants that will fight back with their powers.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Ms. Darkholme knows this trick. Scott apparently learnt it as well.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Toad.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Scott (Sensitive) and Logan (Manly), Evan (Manly) and Kurt (Sensitive), thought both are arguable. Brotherhood example Blob (Manly) and Toad (Wimpy, squeals like a girl, we'd say sensitive). Older example would be Magneto (Manly) and Professor (Sensitive). Acolytes had Gambit, Pyro, Sabertooth (All manly) & Colossus (sensitive)
  • Ship Tease: There were more than a few Gambit and Rogue moments during the show's run (namely "Cajun Spice" in the final season), but nothing much came of it. (Worth noting that in the final shot of the team at the very end of the series, he has his arm around her shoulders.)
    • Most of the second season was one big Ship Tease for Avalanche and Shadowcat, continued in the last episode.
    • Not to mention the Scott and Jean moments throughout the first two seasons and half of the third. It was inevitable, we were all just waiting for them to get to the point.
      • Lampshaded when they did get together at the end of "Blind Alley":
        Wolverine: Well, it's about time.
    • Wolverine and Storm had a little ship tease themselves, although it was much more subtle.
    • Quite a bit for the New Mutants: Iceman and Jubilee have had some brief moments, "Retreat" was pretty mush one big ship tease for Sunspot and Wolfsbane, and Cannonball and Magma seem to spend a lot of time together.
    • There's also some shipping between Kitty and Colossus, as per Mythology Gag to the comics, despite her dating Avalanche in this continuity.
    • Risty Wilde (who is actually Mystique in disguise) appears to show an interest in Forge upon seeing him in the latter's second appearance on the show.
  • Shirtless Scene: Cyclops and Wolverine in "Blind Alley". Once Scott and Logan, when working in the sun, did so shirtless. Nobody else seemed to take any clothes off or wear anything to compensate for the heat, just them. Also any time they hit the beach or the pool, most of the guys will be in swim trunks.
  • Shout-Out
    • One episode had Blob watching a cartoon with characters that suspiciously looked like the Powerpuff Girls.
    • "Survival of the Fittest", which introduced Juggernaut, also introduced us to the Danger Room program Logans Run.
    • "On Angel's Wings" gives us a brief glimpse of Warren reading a Daily Bugle newspaper, as well as a Stark Industries building. Might be a Mythology Gag due to the fact that pretty much 90% of the major Marvel Universe players are based in New York City.
    • A scene of "Impact" has Toad knocking on the head of the petrified Mystique shouting "Hello? McFly?"
    • The Season 2 episode "Retreat" has a Bigfoot Watcher showing off his Bigfoot Caller to a buddy. He says what store you can get them in, and tells his friend to ask for Mulder. To cement the reference, a clip of The X-Files theme is played before the scene transition.
    • In Cruise Control, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, Bobby is goofing off using his ice powers. His trump card is to make an iceberg in front of the ship, jumps right on the stern, and shouts "I'm king of the..."
    • In the episode "Uprising" when Spyke makes his return, Xavier uses Cerebro to find him. He says he's on the corner of "Lithia" and what sounds to be "Ashland" streets, a possible reference to the town of Ashland, Oregon: the town has lithium oxide (or "lithia") in a stream found in the center of town which is pumped into certain water fountains.
    • Scott and Kurt make a very dorky and completely out of place reference to Star Trek in an early episode. Justified though, as Kurt is a fan of fantasy in the comics and the Ultimate version of Scott is a Sci-Fi fan.
    • Jean is a soccer star, and during an awards ceremony for the team we get to see their logo, a phoenix that lights up in flames.
    • In "Walk on the Wild Side", the Bayville Sirens (X-Girls + Boom-Boom) do the "super-jiggle-sexy-slo-mo" walk down the hall a la The Craft, complete with Kitty blowing a kiss just like Nancy.
    • 2 episodes had Kitty sleeping (literally) with a stuffed, supposedly purple, dragon, Not that Dragon, but a reference to Lockheed, Kitty's pet dragon from the comics & Ensemble Dark Horse.
    • One episode had frame for frame, Rouge and Kitty dancing like Buffy and Faith did in Bad Girls.
  • Shown Their Work: Despite the change in setting and the shift in the X-Men's ages, the writers definitely did their homework on the X-mythos. Even when they're not explicitly mentioned, many lesser-known elements from the comics find their way into the show, including a few that most other adaptations leave out. For example:
    • Angel is shown to be a solo vigilante before he joins the X-Men, just like he was in the earliest issues from the comics.
    • Rogue is correctly shown to be able to control Scott's optic blasts when she absorbs his powers, since Scott's inability to control them is the result of brain damage rather than a natural side effect of his power. Compare this to an early episode of the 90s cartoon, where she tries to absorb his powers and realizes that the blasts are impossible to control without the visor (which is incorrect).
    • It's revealed that Magneto lived through World War II, but managed to maintain his youth by having his age artificially dialed back, which actually is accurate to the comics. note  By contrast, the movies sidestepped the issue by making him a much older man, and the 90s cartoon just made him a refugee from a modern-day Eastern European nation.
    • Colossus starts out as a member of Magneto's Acolytes before ultimately doing a Heel-Face Turn and joining the X-Men, as a nod to the fact that he actually did briefly join the Acolytes during the "Legacy Virus" arc in the comics. Similarly, Gambit starts out as one of the Acolytes before joining the X-Men, probably as a nod to the fact that he was one of Mr. Sinister's Marauders in the comics before the X-Men met him.
    • It's clear in a few scenes that Storm is claustrophobic (in particular, when she gets trapped in a small room during a Danger Room exercise and absolutely loses it). This is accurate to the comics, where her claustrophobia nearly gets the rest of the team killed a few times. The inclusion is interesting because, although her condition is clear, the term "claustrophobic" is only stated once and nobody comments on it... it's just a part of her characterization.
    • Similar to Storm's Claustrophobia, Kitty's science skills are evidently present, given that she's referred to as a straight-A student, is shown to be taking advanced computer classes and befriending a group of nerdy looking guys, is occasionally shown helping Beast and Xavier with the X-Men computers, and was able to work out how Forge's tech worked and explain it to Evan enough for him to understand it. They never outright state she's a genius, she just demonstrates a lot of science wiz skills that people act as if is normal for her.
  • Six Student Clique: Not a sitcom, but the original six X-kids fit this suspiciously well.
    • Three Males
      • The Head: Scott
      • The Muscle: Spyke
      • The Quirk: Kurt
    • Three Females
      • The Pretty One: Jean
      • The Smart One: Kitty
      • The Wild One: Rogue
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The threat level increases throughout the series; it starts with the Brotherhood (who are about as powerful as the X-Men and more Chaotic Neutral than evil), then increases to their manipulator Magneto (one of the most powerful mutants in the world) and his Acolytes, and finally to Apocalypse, the most powerful mutant ever.
  • Spanner in the Works: Wanda in "Day of Reckoning", but her power in general works like this. Which was exactly why Magneto had Mastermind Mind Rape her, because he couldn't have her showing up to fuck with his plans anymore.
    • Also, Scott once arrives just in time to reveal that Mystique was impersonating the missing Xavier.
  • Spinoff Babies: Comes off as this, but only because of timing. In comic continuity, the X-Men did start out in high school, and didn't become full-fledged adults until the 70's; even then, the main team are adults, but the majority of X-Men are high-school aged students at the Xavier Institute, some even younger. When Kitty Pryde was first introduced to the comic, she was 13, even younger than her X-Men Evolution counterpart. However, when comparing it to the previous X-Men animated series, it definitely falls under this.
  • Spiritual Successor: After the series ended, Marvel pushed two different AU titles with the plot essentially following the path of the series, focusing on a younger version of X-Men, X-Men First Class (which focused on the Original Five's early days, and may or may not be canon), and Acadamy X, focusing on a large number of characters de-aged to teens, with the creators specifically citing the show as inspiration. Unlike the show, however, most of the students at the 'Worthington Academy' were humans, with both Xavier and Magneto using it to recruit the students and train them in secret, with Magneto becoming pure evil by the end, and had Beast, Storm, and Wolverine among the teens.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: While episodes did alternate between the six leads, Cyclops and Rogue were always center stage for the most important storylines. Toad also got a rather large amount of attention, and his own (thoroughly obnoxious for some) theme music.
    • For once, Wolverine averts this trope, as opposed to previous and subsequent versions, as he gets less screen time than usual. Justified in that he was an adult in a cast mostly made of teenagers where high school was an important element, so giving him more focus would shaft almost everybody else aside. Still, he barely avoided this trope, since the executives wanted more focus on him.
    • If they don't complain about her with Double Standard reasons, the more sane fans will criticise Tabitha for taking up too much screentime. During the second season, she certainly did appear more than a lot of characters.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Gambit to Rogue — just try to deny it.
    • Blob to Jean Grey in his first appearance, but he at least got over it after an ass-kicking.
    • Toad to Wanda, to an extent.
  • The Starscream: Mystique becomes this to Magneto after the events of the first season finale, in contrast to her incredibly loyal movie incarnation.
  • Stock Subtitle: "Evolution".
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • In an early episode, the team has just gotten their hands on a device that needs to be destroyed. Cyclops prepares to blow it up with his eye lasers, when Shadowcat suggests that she can just ruin the device by phasing through it. Everyone else looks at her like she's crazy.
    • Then there's Gambit and Boom-Boom...
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Happens to Shadowcat in her debut, mostly as an excuse for her to discover her ability to phase past solid objects. So naturally, this causes her to bump into Avalanche to kick off the plot.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Cyclops, as usual, to control his mutant powers. Lampshaded in the first episode:
    Duncan (after Scott interferes in a group Toad-beating): I think me and my buds are gonna squash this slimeball. So you and your stupid sunglasses at night can bail.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Despite seeing the mansion's impressive security system, Pietro, Lance, and Toad have all walked right up to the mansion with no problem. Lance, at least, had to knock out a few turrets on the way. Justified with Pietro, who is said by Mystique and Charles to be too fast for most of the mansions security systems to detect. Played straight with Toad, who on three separate occasions has entered the mansion with absolutely no resistance, only one of which could be said to be intentional. Hell, he just jumped right through Kurt's window the third time. However, the security system is shown to be manually activated, so its possible that most of the time its just turned off. When its not, it usually at least slows down the invader and provides enough attention for the X-Men to suit up and deal with it themselves.
  • Take That: Power 8, a sports drink, is discovered to harm mutants so the CEO goes into mass production of the drink because of it. The name is very similar to Powerade.
  • Taking You with Me: In "Cajun Spice", Gambit threatens this when Rogue holds him out of a moving train. He charges the car as she holds him, forcing her to pull him back to save both herself and the train.
  • Team Dad: Aside of Xavier, there's Wolverine. The way he's always looking out for the kids in that overly grumpy manner of his is kinda endearing.
    • Beast, to the New Recruits.
  • Team Mom: Storm.
  • Techno Wizard: Forge.
  • Teleport Spam: Nightcrawler, as per tradition.
  • Temporary Blindness: Scott, whenever he loses his glasses, as the obvious destructive nature of his powers makes seeing dangerous for everyone else (noted when a doctor forces one of his eyes open in a hospital), leading to an alternate form of Blind Without 'Em. Most noticeable in the episode "Blind Alley", where Mystique strands Cyclops in Mexico without his glasses, effectively blinding him for almost the entire episode. Should be noted that whenever this happens, he tends to settle matters with his fists more and usually kicks the ass of whoever has his glasses.
  • Terrible Trio: The Brotherhood is briefly reduced to three members: Avalanche, Toad, and Blob. They even do a Power Walk together in the finale.
  • There Are No Therapists: Well, there should be a good few around given that this series takes place in modern-day New York, but curiously enough, Xavier doesn't seem to think there's any need for a practicing psychologist in a house full of superpowered mutant teenagers who have to fight for their lives on a daily basis and are likely to have control and self-esteem issues. Though, some episodes did show him providing them some form of counciling, in the form of mentally guiding them through emotional dificulties, but you'd think he'd provide more than that. Rogue even points it out in one episode:
    Rogue: (Sigh). I need therapy.
  • The Unfavorite: Wanda. Even after having her memory altered, Magneto still abandons her in favor of Pietro and scheming for world domination.
    • And even so, Pietro doesn't seem to be much of a Favorite either.
  • The Worf Effect: Wolverine seriously suffers from this throughout the show. Which is actually progress from the comics where he's a sort of God-Mode Sue.
    • It's rather refreshing, actually, since by all rights he should be getting slapped around by most of the people that get to do it in the show. The issue, as it should be, is keeping him down.
  • Three-Point Landing: Nightcrawler loves doing this.
  • Time Bomb: "The Institute will self-destruct in... ten minutes."
  • Token Minority: Spyke.
    • And Storm - but it's important to note that the two are related. (Ororo is Evan's aunt)
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Rogue's Tomboy to Jean or Kitty's Girly Girl.
    • Also Tabitha and Amara.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bobby and the New Mutants, more so the former than the latter. To stress just how bad it is, they stole the X-Jet and took it for a joyride. As if this in itself weren't stupid enough, Bobby, the pilot, hadn't even managed to fly the simulator successfully for longer than a minute despite several tries. Granted, he was doing dangerous stunts in said simulator and didn't repeat them outside it, but still... Thankfully, Kitty had snuck aboard with Lance to get them out of that mess.
    • Then there's "Fun and Games", where the entire mansion goes into lockdown and the people inside, standing near several windows, utterly fail to notice the giant metal shutters locking them in (or the resulting lack of light from outside, even if it is at night).
    • There's also Alex, going out surfing in a storm because there are better waves. This is Truth in Television for plenty of surfers, though. Not to mention it's kinda lampshaded: when Alex goes overboard in said storm, he tells Scott to go out and get him himself, rather than call the Coast Guards... because calling the Coast Guards would make him look stupid.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Spyke in Season 4. To clarify he dropped the Skater boy motiff, became an formidable unarmed combatant had gained the ability to created molten hot projectiles and weapons. Basically being a more rounded character version that the fans enjoyed more in one episode than all the other episodes he appeared in..
    • To a lesser degree Cyclops in "Blind Alley", when he took on Mystique with his eyes closed, Daredevil style.
    • Given that the series focuses on them learning to use their powers, several characters gain notable levels, particularly if they suffer "can't control it" spikes. Jean Grey, Rogue, and Magma are some of the more noticeable ones. Notably, when Scott and Lance first compete physically during the boot camp episode, they're evenly matched with Lance getting ahead by cheating. in Season 2, however, when Lance joins the X-Men briefly, the team have advanced in skill so much that he's unable to keep up with the New Recruits and ends up trailing behind and only just managing to complete a training course.
    • Also, the season finale of season 1 features a little "Level in Badass" machine, which enhance Scott and Alex, but only temporarily. Mystique keeps her power-up allowing her to cloak herself from Wolverine's nose and Cerebro's mutant power detection.
    • Xavier, Mystique, Magneto, and Storm all get an evil version of this, when they are mind controlled by Apocalypse into being his Four Horsemen
  • Totally Radical: Nightcrawler's and Spyke's clothing style in season 1.
    • Played with using dialogue in the episode "Middleverse", where we're introduced to Forge, who's been stuck in the eponymous dimension since the late 1970's, and still talks like it.
      Nightcrawler, to himself: Oh, I swear, that homey's lingo is so whack...
  • Troubled, but Cute: Gambit, Avalanche, Quicksilver, and arguably Toad, who is enough of a pitiful loser to be sympathetic. And on the distaff side, we have Rogue and Wanda.
  • True Companions: The X-Men, big time. It helps that some of them are orphans/adopted to begin with.
    • The Brotherhood as well- they've stuck together despite often being abandoned by their leaders and thus having no real reason to continue working together.
  • Tsundere: Jean Grey gets rewritten into a Type B. She's usually a Cool Big Sis, but is crankier when it comes to Scott.
    • Mystique is also easily provoked.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: In the finale, Xavier reveals that he saw the future, with notes such as people still persecuting mutants, Magneto helping train some of the New Mutants, Jean becoming the Dark Phoenix (something foreshadowed a few times in the show prior), Colossus and X-23 having joined the X-Men, the Brotherhood working for SHIELD, and Nimrod leading the Sentinels.
  • Tykebomb: X-23, who was created to be "the perfect weapon".
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Risty Wilde. She's Mystique in disguise, out to stalk Rogue and use her as a way to spy on the other X-Men.
  • Unflinching Walk: AVALANCHE gets this when he carries an old lady to safety from a subway accident. Then it EXPLODES. And he just walks out calmly. Still carrying an unharmed old lady.
  • Unknown Rival: Omega-Red hates all of Weapon X, including Wolverine, for some incident that apparently ruined his life and ended with him being left for dead, which was so important to him that he excepts Wolverine to automatically recognize him after all these years. Wolverine has absolutely no memory of this. In a interesting twist, Wolverine actually is curious as to why Red wants him dead, but Red always just assumes Wolverine is toying with him by pretending not to remember and only gets angrier whenever Wolverine asks. Omega-Red is eventually sent to jail without any backstory given, so neither Wolverine nor the audience ever find out.
  • The Unmasqued World: After the second-season finale.
  • V-Formation Team Shot: See page image.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Once Scott and Jean get over themselves, Jean becomes very protective of him. And she is MOST UPSET when she finds Mystique in Blind Alley and confronts her on how she abducted Scott, took his Power Limiter glasses away, and dumped him in the desert:
    Mystique: "How sweet. Girlfriend to the rescue"
  • Visionary Villain: Both Magneto and Apocalypse are examples.
  • Visual Pun: While hunting Wolverine and X-23, Omega Red reaches into a bush, and pulls out an actual wolverine.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Ignoring the obvious example, Spyke and Berzerker.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Especially in Season 4.
  • Walk On The Wild Side Episode: The episode...Walk on the Wild Side. Jean and Amara get upset over Scott's unintentional ignorance concerning female dependance, so Tabitha easily leads them to form a female superhero squad after they foil car robbers along with Kitty and Rogue.
  • Wall Crawl: Nightcrawler and Toad both do this, with Nightcrawler actually called "Wall-Crawler" once.
  • Welcome Episode: "Strategy X" for Kurt, "The X-Impulse" for Kitty and "Speed and Spyke" for Evan.
  • Wham Episode: "Day of Reckoning": Mutants are finally outed, and Xavier was replaced by Mystique when the X-Men weren't looking.
    • "Dark Horizon": Apocalypse gets out, and to a lesser extent Mystique is Taken for Granite.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Over the final season, many characters appeared, and seemed to have fairly important roles, Gambit in particular, but come the final episode, none of them seem to appear, odd, considering Leech's power was utilized in the final fight.
  • Wild Teen Party: "Fun and Games".
  • Wolverine Publicity: Averted! He's around but only really gets a few episodes of focus throughout all four seasons and doesn't hog the spotlight too much. We wouldn't be so lucky with the next X-Men animated series.

X-MenCreator/Disney XDZeke and Luther
Xiaolin ShowdownTurnOfTheMillennium/Western AnimationYakkity Yak
Wing Commander AcademyCreator/MadhouseA Channel
X-MenFranchise/X-MenWolverine and the X-Men
Wonder WomanCreator/MOI AnimationYoung Justice
Saturday Night LiveCreator/The WBXiaolin Showdown
Woody WoodpeckerCreator/Hulu    
World Of QuestSaturday Morning CartoonYu-Gi-Oh!
X-MenWestern AnimationXyber 9 New Dawn
X-MenSuperheroYoung Justice

alternative title(s): X Men Evolution; X-Men Evolution; X-Men Evolution
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