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Western Animation / X-Men: Evolution

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X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003) is an animated television adaptation of Marvel Comics' popular long-running X-Men comics, which initially aired on The WB in the early 2000s as part of their Kids' WB! programming block.

The second major attempt at bringing the X-Men franchise to television (the third if you count the unproduced 1989 pilot), the series functions as a franchise reboot, taking place in a significantly reimagined version of the Marvel Universe. In stark contrast to most previous versions of the franchise, most of the famous mutants are depicted as teenagers—and in a notable departure from the comics, they attend an ordinary local high school in addition to living at the Xavier Institute, where they hone their powers under the tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier. The show's setting is Bayville, a middle-class suburb of New York City.note 

While the previous (very popular) animated X-Men adaptation X-Men: The Animated Series devoted a lot of effort to condensing the mythology of the long-running comics, the creative team behind this series elected to put their own spin on the source material in hopes of making the series more appealing to people unfamiliar with the comics. Compared to its predecessor, the series is far more character-driven: time visibly passes during the series, and much attention is given to the kids' development. Many episodes also don't have a villain, instead focusing on the kids having various misadventures.

The show was partly made to take advantage of the resurgence of interest in the X-Men comics sparked by 20th Century Fox's live-action movie, which hit theaters just a few months before the series began. Although it's not an official tie-in, it does take a few noticeable cues from the movie series. Among other things: Professor Xavier is depicted with a British accent, Rogue is depicted as a teenage audience surrogate who only has energy absorption powers, Mystique and Sabretooth are both portrayed as minions of Magneto, and Sabretooth sports a long-haired appearance likely modeled on Tyler Mane's portrayal.

The early seasons of the show largely focus on the day-to-day struggles of the X-Men as they attempt to balance the trials and tribulations of high school with learning to use their powers and keeping the existence of mutants a secret. Around Season 3, however, numerous plot turns eventually result in the existence of mutants being revealed to the world, forcing the characters to tackle the franchise's traditional themes of prejudice and government persecution head-on.

While the central concept of portraying the X-Men as Ordinary High School Students might sound like a simple gimmick, it has some surprisingly far-reaching implications for the plot and characters. Of note: in contrast to the posh boarding school of the comics, the show's portrayal of the Xavier Institute is closer to a group home for people with special needs, considerably downplaying the elements of escapism at the heart of the comics. Since the X-Men attend an ordinary public school alongside human students (who aren't always accepting of mutants), they're forced to confront the prejudice of ordinary people far more frequently than they ever did in the comics. Above all: the series is quite up-front about the fact that the X-Men are inexperienced teenagers with a lot of growing up to do, and they regularly find themselves in over their heads when tangling with bad guys—greatly increasing the tension in every battle.

The show has the distinction of introducing Wolverine's younger female clone X-23, who proved to be popular enough that she was later introduced to the comics (eventually making her live-action debut in Logan). It also broke with previous X-Men works by portraying the Brotherhood of Mutants as a group of Jerk with a Heart of Gold street kids rather than a gang of murderous terrorists. And since it was the first X-Men adaptation to include Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler in the main cast (Kitty was Adapted Out of the '90s animated series, and Kurt only appeared in a few episodes), it introduced both characters to many non-comic book readers.

While the X-Men are the primary focus of the series, Captain America has a memorable guest role in an episode focused on Wolverine's service in World War II, and Nick Fury becomes a recurring character starting in Season 2.

It's also notable for being one of the only Marvel Comics adaptations ever to be distributed by Warner Bros., which (ironically) is the parent company of Marvel's longtime industry rival DC Comics.

Provides examples of:

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  • 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.
    • Season 3 had a rather heavy Brotherhood presence early on, culminating in Magneto imposing them a new field leader tasked with whipping them into shape and taking out the X-Men... but the "field leader" turned out to be a petty tyrant who wasn't interested in reaching any of his stated goals and the two teams never faced each other again.
  • 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 Morlocks to have a decent sized camp, though.
  • Academy of Adventure: Both Xavier's Institute and Bayville High get into all sorts of trouble.
  • Action Girl: The girls are just as capable as the guys.
  • Actor Allusion: Kitty finds Danielle Moonstar's address on 'Maggie Blue Road'. Kitty is voiced by Maggie Blue O'Hara.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Avalanche and Toad. In the comics their real names are Dominikos Petrakis and Mortimer Toynbee, respectively, but in the show their names are changed to Lance Alvers and Todd Tolansky, likely because the characters are European in the comics but American in the show.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Nightcrawler is often depicted in the comic books and their adaptations as a blue-furred demon-like being with yellow eyes that lack irises or pupils, and short, messy blue-black hair. Here, he keeps his three-fingered hands, two-toed feet, demon-like tail, fangs, pointed ears, and blue fur (that sometimes makes his face so severely shadowed as to look creepy), and his abnormal appearance does play a major role in how he relates to others and how others (particularly non-mutants) relate to him, but the features of his face have become less haunting and more boyishly handsome. Here, he has tidy, blue shoulder-length hair (complete with long bangs that frame his face) and his eyes are given irises that don't display anywhere near the amount of harsh yellow that other versions of his eyes do. He also has a finer jawline than most of his comic book and adaptational counterparts.
    • Callisto in the comics is traditionally very intimidating, with a butch appearance and a body covered in scars (the Spanish dub of the 90s series mistakenly had her voiced by a male at first). Here, she's a more Amazonian Beauty, with longer hair, softer features and her eye patch being the only notable deformity.
  • 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.
    • This version of the comic book character Apocalypse may be the strongest, and he's slightly less evil.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The Morlocks in general. In the comics, they're in the Heel–Face Revolving Door; their suffering from their odd appearances or Blessed with Suck powers is real, but attacking random humans to punish them for it is not cool. Sometimes they get better, and sometimes they get Aesop Amnesia. The Evolution version is not known to attack humans unprovoked, and there's no revolving door.
      • Callisto, from the very start is a truly kind soul; contrast to her comics self, where she was basically a prettier, female Jabba the Hutt what with her treatment of Angel. Here, she healed Evan of the poison he drank and even offered him sanctuary now that his mutation was warping his appearance.
      • In the Marvel Comics universe, Berzerker was a minor villain and member of the Morlocks. In Evolution, he's a teenager and member of the New Mutants.
    • Arcade, in the comics, is an assassin who entraps victims in game-like deathtraps he calls "Murderworld". In Evolution, he is an ordinary high school gamer kid. He is manipulated by Mystique into hacking into the danger room computer in the belief that it's a sophisticated video game. He endangers the X-Men, whom he believes are game characters. Once he realized what he was doing, he regretted his actions and was forgiven by the X-Men.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In the comics, while Pyro was a somewhat unstable and violence prone Large Ham, he had an undying loyalty to his friends and eventually died a hero. Here he is as much of a sociopath as Pietro.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Compared to his — shall we say, controversial comic-book counterpart, Scott is kind to his friends, likable, and much more unambiguously heroic in this series. Of course, he used to be a proverbial boy scout in the comics, so in his case it might be zig-zagged.
    • Due to the series' changes to certain character's ages, Wolverine never falls in love with teenage Jean Grey, and therefore never has the heated rivalry with Scott that is the cause for much of his Jerkass behavior in the comics (though the two did briefly have a leadership struggle). Also, while he always was fond of young mutant daughter figures, it would take decades of Character Development for him to be anywhere close to willing to play father figure with Storm and Xavier for an entire group of mutant children before any school for gifted youngsters or superhero team was properly established.
    • Avalanche of the comics was similar to Pyro of the comics (the two even being minor Heterosexual 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.
    • An interesting case happens to Sabretooth, who 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 is mostly the same as in the comics, 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.
    • Downplayed, but regular Apocalypse is an utter monster. This version's a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: Mystique. In the comic books she's a mutant humanshifter, but still unable to alter her body mass and taking on the form of someone who doesn't have a similar build as her causes her great strain. In the show, however, Mystique is a full shapeshifter with Shapeshifter Baggage in play: she can grow up to the size of Juggernaut or the Blob, or shrink down to the form of a common house cat or a bird, such as a raven.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the comics, 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. In the show, Pietro is a literal sociopath, 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.
    • Colossus is one of Magneto's soldiers instead of an X-Man. Though this is somewhat downplayed as Colossus is being forced to work for Magneto because his family is being threatened and Professor X's vision shows he is destined to join the X-Men. According to the production team, both Colossus and Gambit were placed on the Acolytes because there were already too many heroes to keep track of, and they thought it would be good to shake things up.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Magneto's power enhancer allows this to happen. Cyclops and Havoc have their hair turn white and bulk up a few sizes. Mystique also gets a Fanservice Pack out of it.
  • Age Lift:
    • Like his film counterpart, Beast in middle-aged as opposed to being in his 30s.
    • Many X-Men and Brotherhood members are remade into teenagers, whereas many of them, including Nightcrawler, Avalanche, Toad, Blob, and Multiple Man were adults in their debuts.
    • By extension some mutants who were teenagers in their debuts - Shadowcat and Jubilee - had the Tagalong Kid elements of their personalities dropped.
    • Irene Adler, a.k.a. Destiny, is significantly younger than her elderly comics counterpart.
  • Air-Vent Passageway:
    • Played with in the episode Rogue Recruit. When the group is testing out the security of the mansion, Wolverine is able to go to many parts of the mansion through the vents, and suggests something be done about them later.
    • Subverted in another episode Day of Recovery, with the vent being only a few inches long, big enough for people to climb into, having a ladder inside, and Blob gets stuck. However, it also has a large amount of security lids which Cyke was able to close to keep Mystique from escaping.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Bayville is an actual town on Long Island.
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels:
    • Sabertooth, Colossus, and Gambit are part of the villainous Acolytes led by Big Bad Magneto, and they all are shown to ride motorcycles.
    • Wolverine owns two that change when he’s in and out of costume and while he is an X-Man, he’s also an Anti-Hero so he's no goody-two-shoes, either.
  • 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.
    • Also note that Pietro is the biggest jerkass in the Brotherhood, has repeatedly bullied and tormented the X-Men, primarily Evan, and, later, teased Kitty, was an irredeemable Dirty Coward, and, in some episodes, seemed like a budding sociopath. This has not stopped him being able to date FOUR girls at the same time.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Anti-Mutant hysteria, obviously; it's X-Men. Though it doesn't start until the end of Season 2, beginning of Season 3 and forward.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Rogue, suffering from Power Incontinence, ends up recalling every power she ever absorbed. Driven mad by it, she curb-stomps pretty much all the X-Men (it helps that she could count the powers of Magneto, Storm, and Juggernaut among those she took) until they finally calm her down and purge the excess power.
  • Alone Among Families: As part of X-23's training, she was forced to hang out by herself in populated urban areas to learn how to blend with the crowds. In the accompanying montage, she is shown sitting completely alone in a bench at a park, angrily observing the other children playing with their parents.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Mystique, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Apocalypse are all different shades of blue.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Bayville Sirens.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: In “Growing Pains”, an entire sports stadium of people learn about the different mutants among them and their powers. To maintain their secret identities, Professor X tries to erase everyone's memory of the night, but blacks out before he can finish erasing Principal Kelly's mind. Principal Kelly later goes on to be very anti-mutant.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Although it's technological rather than magical, Cerebro fits this role. It boosts the range and the power level of Professor Xavier's and Jean Grey's telepathic abilities.
  • Angels Pose: Done in the Bayville Sirens episode, though it's hard to catch as it only appears on a television screen for a few moments.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing:
    • Wolverine embodies the ferocity of the animal he uses for his codename.
    • Toad possesses some toad-like traits, such as an Overly-Long Tongue and being able to hop from one place to another at distances which are far greater than what a regular human can achieve.
  • Antagonistic Offspring:
    • Season 4 Episode 4, "The Sins of the Son", featured Charles Xavier's son, David, whose resentment towards his father for his perceived abandonment of him has created two alternate personas: Ian and Lucas. Lucas, who hates Xavier, orchestrates David's apparent kidnapping as a way to lure Xavier to him; during their confrontation, Ian and David are accidentally erased, leaving the telepathic and telekinetic Lucas free to do as he pleases... exactly as he planned it.
    • The series also featured an Eviler than Thou variation: the Scarlet Witch, who was institutionalised by her father, Antivillainous Noble Demon Magneto, due to her mental instability and Reality Warper powers. Broken out by rival Big Bad Mystique, the Scarlet Witch spends the rest of the show trying to hunt down her father, who ultimately has Mastermind brainwash her into remembering a happier childhood with her father. The fanbase is divided as to whether he or his daughter deserves more sympathy.
    • Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone, X-23, behaved like this during her first appearance, targeting Wolverine for the role he played in her creation and subsequent misery. It's very much portrayed as an angry daughter attacking her father; unlike the incident with David, it has a happier resolution, with X-23 ultimately pulling a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Antenna Adjusting: In an episode when Quicksilver is ordering the Brotherhood around, he has Toad move around with the tv antenna on the roof. He tells him to hold his position just as Toad is struggling not to fall off.
  • Anti-Climax: Apocalypse's final defeat in the Grand Finale. Despite all the buildup to how powerful he is (taking out Magneto, Mystique, Xavier, and Storm and converting them into his Horsemen), Apocalypse is Hoist by His Own Petard and foiled by Wolverine and Rogue (the same mutant he manipulated). While the irony of him being defeated by his own pawn is not lost, the fact that it was only herself and Logan and not, say, the entire X-Men/Brotherhood alliance dials down Apocalypse's gravitas. Justified, however, in that the alliance was spread all over the globe dealing with Apocalypse's pyramids and Horsemen, and when they did arrive at Apocalypse's Egypt lair, he was already defeated.
  • 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: Kitty accuses Spyke of this in "The Beast of Bayville", after this one scoffs at the idea of a pyramid shaped hat increasing her 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 other's guts at first, then Scott and Duncan, later.
    • Even Rogue and Jean, over Scott.
    • The series tries to characterize Quicksilver as The Rival to Spyke, in the first two seasons, resulting in a lot of tension...
  • Area 51: The show features it as the area where the army hold the incapacitated mutants they kidnapped after the fight with the Sentinel in the Season 2 finale.
  • 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 third 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.
  • As the Good Book Says...: When the group is discussing Warren's activities:
    Beast: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels, unawares.
    Professor X: Shakespeare?
    Beast: The Bible.note 
    Professor X: ...Ah, indeed.
  • Astral Projection: Charles Xavier and Jean Grey have been shown to do this especially since they're both telepaths.
    • Despite not having any Psychic Powers of his own, Xavier's sometimes-ally, sometimes-enemy Magneto can do this as well as shown in "The Cauldron".
  • Back for the Finale: A number of characters show up to either help fight Apocalypse or in cameos during the two-part series finale "Ascension".
  • Badass Biker: Wolverine, of course. Also Captain America, Sabertooth, Colossus, Gambit, and even Rogue.
  • Badass Boast: Numerous:
    Rogue: "My power's your power, an' I can take more than one!" (Proceeds to throttle Blob, "Mutant Crush")

    Rogue: "Some friendly advice, teach: Don't mess with the Rogue!" (blasts Mystique, "Turn of the Rogue")

    Scott: "We're the X-Men, Wolverine - we're not kids anymore. You trained us, and you know something? We're good. We're very 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")

    Arcade: Man, these players are good!
    Rogue: You don' know how good! (Proceeds to take out Arcade, "Fun and Games")
  • Badass Cape: Magneto and Storm.
  • Badass Longcoat: Gambit, as usual. Also Scarlet Witch, 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.
  • Ballroom Blitz: In the episode "Shadow Dance", where the monsters that inhabit the pocket dimension Nightcrawler crosses every time he bamfs from one place to another manage to escape and start making a rampage in Bayville High, during the Sadie Hawkins dance night. Being this is the school that the X-Men and the Brotherhood attend, they have no problem dealing with them. Kurt, on the other hand, is afraid of doing anything, both because said monsters had traumatized him earlier on (to a point he swore to himself he would never teleport again) and because he didn't want Amanda to find out he was a mutant. Turns out she already knew about his powers and his true appearance, and he manages to teleport them both out of school in the last minute at her urging.
  • Baseball Episode: "Under Lock and Key". The "no-powers" stipulation evaporated quickly.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Magneto brilliantly pulls one in the Season 2 finale "Day of Reckoning", manipulating four different factions — the X-Men, the Brotherhood, Bolivar Trask's private army, and his Acolytes in order to reveal to the world the existence of mutants, out Trask's group and destroy their Sentinel prototype, brand the X-Men as fugitives, and severely drain his enemies' resources. Only one unaccounted-for factor — his daughter, Wanda Maximoff — prevents it from going perfectly.
    • In "Under Lock and Key", Mesmero brainwashes Gambit into stealing one half of a spider stone and is captured by Magneto, who has Mastermind check the hypnotist's mind for info on the artifact. Turns out this is exactly what Mesmero intended from the start: Magneto finds out that the relic is a key, but is unable to learn how to use it. Turns out the key is used to free a giant spider monster, which only Magneto could defeat. However, the monster is a guardian, and with its death, another door sealing Apocalypse is opened.
  • Battle in the Rain: The battle between the remaining X-Men and the brainwashed students in the episode "Mindbender".
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn:
    • Kitty Pryde - Beauty. She’s a cute Valley Girl and the most feminine of the X-Men.
    • Jean Grey - Brains. An honor student, and she’s also the most level-headed and mature one of the group.
    • Rogue - Brawn. She’s the most aggressive with a rebellious attitude and a Touch of Death by skin contact that works wonders in a fist fight.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: An unsettling example with Blob in his debut episode, where he kidnaps Jean out of the belief she likes him, just because she stood up for him against some bullies.
  • Bedlam House: The Scarlet Witch was abandoned at one of these by her father when she was just a child. As a result, all she can think of after being broken out is getting revenge on him for leaving her there.
  • 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 Hair-Trigger Temper tendencies and the time he tried to use Kitty's power for personal gain.
  • Big Dam Plot: In the episode "The Stuff of Heroes", the X-Men have to stop The Juggernaut from destroying a dam.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens often.
    • 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 her mother is in a wheelchair and cannot escape on her own. Luckily, Angel saves the mother and places her gently on a nearby bench, and soon she's reunited with her daughter.
    • 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.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti:
    • The show implies that Sabretooth impersonates Bigfoot from time to time. Hey, you're a seven-foot tall shaggy guy with teeth and claws, what else could you be?
    • In one episode, Beast is mistaken for Bigfoot by hunters and scientists when he takes a class on a nature retreat.
  • Big "NO!": It's a truly sad one, when Nightcrawler reacts too slow to stop an angry Rogue from pushing Mystique's petrified body off a cliff and has to see it shatter into a thousand shards right in front of him, shortly after finding out that Mystique was his mother. Again, the scene would have been so much better without the slow-motion yell. When recapping that episode in the introductions to later ones, they put the "NOOOO" back at normal speed. It's much more effective.
  • 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".
  • Birds of a Feather: Cyclops and Rogue. While they never got together, and firmly remain as Just Friends, this is the most likely reason for why Rogue was attracted to Scott. Both have dangerous, uncontrollable powers, both lived sheltered lives, and have an older sibling like dynamic with younger students.
  • 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" and again in "Sins of a Son".
  • Boot Camp Episode:
    • Both the good guys and the bad guys get sent to a boot camp in one episode.
    • Several episodes have less direct ones, where it focuses on Wolverine's training from hell.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Most of the younger mutants who are used to training in the danger room with Wolverine are disappointed when Scott and Jean are the only teachers left at the institute and would rather teach them geometry and physics. Of course, they change their minds when Scott shows them he can ricochet his laser eyes around a room to hit a moving target.
  • Broken Bird: Rogue, Scarlet Witch until she got mentally healed, and X-23 from never having anything approaching a normal childhood.
  • Bully Hunter:
    • The first episode establishes Scott as this, and the bulk of his rivalry with Jerk Jock Duncan is motivated out of Duncan's casual bullying (the rest is because Duncan is dating Jean, Scott's best friend and eventual love), while his intense dislike of the Brotherhood comes down to their tendency to act like jerks to people.
    • Later episodes give this trait to just about everyone once mutants are revealed (though understandable since it's, you know, them who're being picked on).
    • Special note should go to Rogue, who on two different occasions drives off bullies harassing one of her teammates because of their mutant status (first Scott, with the help of Kitty, though as Scott showed a few seconds ago, he didn't need it, and secondly Evan, who also didn't need it but needed someone to drive them off before he did something stupid).
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • This happened during the first two seasons. An instance of dragon bullying before the 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 reminding him who he was bullying would already have being the end of that, but actually, Professor X didn't get the chance. Before he could, Wolverine reminded the man whose roof he was under.
    • Principal Kelly's increasingly draconian methods to run Bayville High didn't even tried to conceal that were bullying the mutant students (and every single speech he made afterwards always included a barely-concealed "mutants are different from us" section, sometimes even calling it a kind of disability).
    • Another example is the first episode featuring The Juggernaut. Mystique frees him from his imprisonment, intending for him to kill Xavier while she steals Cerebro. Juggernaut immediately brushes off her offer of a ride to Xavier's in favor of just stomping towards the mansion. After effortlessly demolishing Wolverine and part of the mansion, Mystique proceeds to insult him for destroying Cerebro to his face. This would've very easily have gotten her killed had the X-Men and Brotherhood not teamed up to stop him.
    • Duncan Matthews (one of the worst offenders of this trope) trying to threaten Cannonball. Yeah, threaten the guy who you just saw blow a hole in a brick wall by accident, there's a life-lengthening move. He doesn't even have the brains to back down when the magma-creating girl threatens to burn a hole through his car. This isn't even the half of it. The X-Men has a mostly offense-oriented team, with about half of them having some variation on "shoot deadly stuff from hands" as a main power. Of particular note, people kept on bullying Scott, despite the fact that every time they did there was a good chance he'd accidentally blow a hole in the wall (or them).
      • This is actually a rare example where it actually makes some sense. Duncan and the others, as dumb as they are, realize that Scott and the others at Xavier's Institute were taught only to use their powers to save lives, and that it's not okay to blow up someone for picking on you. Notice how Duncan and the others rarely pick on the Brotherhood mutants. It's because they know that the Brotherhood members wouldn't hesitate to beat the hell out of them for any reason.
      • To complement the last point, there's also another little gem to show off Duncan's incredible intelligence. After Jean dumps him because he's a jackass he tries to get Scott expelled for using his powers... by stealing his glasses and trying to beat him up with two other friends! Eye beams! Deadly! It's like they want to die. Scott then takes them all down in about a second, with his eyes still closed. They still think that they can take him, only finally leaving when two more X-Men show up.
      • As with the previous Cannonball mention, Duncan eventually bit off more than he could chew when Spyke, who had previously left the Xavier Mansion, decided he wasn't going to take anymore of his crap. What resulted was, well, a No Holds Barred Beat Down for Duncan and his gang.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: In The episode "Growing Pains", a car hanging over the side of a bridge is about to fall on a school bus full of kids. Scott, Kitty and Kurt start arguing over whether or not to help, because they're afraid of revealing themselves. In the end they decide to help after seeing the car beginning to go over the edge. They end up saving the kids and the man in the car.
  • 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.
  • Camping Episode:
    • "Survival Of The Fittest" had the main characters going on a survival weekend camping trip where they competed against The Brotherhood. The X-Men had the option of staying home and doing survival training with Wolverine, and gleefully jumped at the (inevitably less painful) camping option.
    • "Retreat" has Beast taking some of the students to the California Redwoods on a nature study trip.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several, but mainly Spyke and Duncan Matthews.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • X-23, Wolverne's clone who would go on to replace him for a short while in the comics, originated here.
    • 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.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: In one episode Rogue gets angry with a half-asleep Kitty for phasing through the bathroom door while she's in it, ignoring the sign.
    Rogue: [kicking Kitty out] The sign says 'Occupied'! The door was locked!
    Kitty: Who can read at this hour? Sor-ry!
  • Captive Date: Jean Grey is held captive by the Blob, who thinks she's his girlfriend.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Head character designer Steven E. Gordon is often praised for unique character designs for each person, even minor background characters. However, clothing designing is often very similar and reused (Boys tend to wear sagging pants and exposed boxers, while girls tend to show off their stomachs). The facial designs and haircuts are so unique, that when two characters have slightly similar appearances (Amara and X-23, both being young, short, with dark skin and brown hair) some fans make a big deal about how much they look alike, despite being completely different (Both have different builds, different skin tones, different eye colors, and different hair cuts and shades).
  • Catching the Speedster: Cyclops once deals with Quicksilver by having Jean Grey use her telekinesis to slow him down. Quicksilver has just enough time to complain about Cyclops "cheating" before the latter blasts him with his Eye Beams.
  • Character Witness: In episode Stuff Of Villains, when army officers are about to arrest Rogue and Kitty under the assumption of them being hostile mutants. The major tells them to stand down as Rogue had saved him from being crushed by a car earlier during the fight between the troops and the Brotherhood.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Season 1, and especially in their debute episodes, the Brotherhood boys were a lot nastier than they were in Seasons 2-4, starting out as straight-up villains rather than the fairly ineffectual antagonists/ocassional allies they became later.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dorian Leech debuts in a Season 4 episode that's seemingly focused on Spyke. However, his power provides the key to stopping Apocalypse in the finale.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: In “Cruise Control”. It erupts twice.
  • 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 it's 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • After the rise of Apocalypse, Sabretooth just disappears from the show. While its given a small Hand Wave courtesy of Pyro (claiming he was 'playing with a big ball of yarn somewhere'), it's more of just Pyro rambling and doesn't mean a thing.
    • Similarly, Destiny disappears in Season 3 without any mention. When she last appeared she tells Mystique that she'll be involved in a plot to bring back an ancient mutant, but by Mystique's next appearence, she's working with Mesmero to bring back Apocalypse without any mention or reason.
    • Scott's friend Paul, a minor character throughout the first two seasons and one of his few friends (seemingly his only non-mutant friend). He was shown reacting in shock to seeing mutantkind revealed on TV... then was never seen again.
  • 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.
  • Civvie Spandex:
    • Gambit wears a long coat over muscle-molded body armor.
    • In a glimpse of the Distant Future showing the Future X-Men, it shows Rogue wearing a brown trench coat similar to Gambit's over her uniform.
    • Blob just wears a military-like vest, tank top, cargo shorts, wristbands, and combat boots which are basically considered street clothes.
  • 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).
  • Class Clown: Similarly to the comic example, Nightcrawler and Iceman (and by extension, most of the New Recruits) fall under this.
  • Class Trip: There’s two field trip episodes during its run (“Turn Of The Rogue” where the class goes on a geology excursion trip and in “Retreat” where Beast takes a couple of younger students out to the California Redwoods), both of which resulted in near-complete chaos.
  • Claustrophobia: Storm has a crippling fear of combined spaces, which the villain of "African Storm" exploits.
  • 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.
    • In the Season 2 finale, when the mansion explodes, the students trapped inside have this.
  • 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.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat:
    • Magneto employs this guise to stalk Angel.
    • Callisto wears one while spying on a skateboarding event, using it to go near Evan and warn him not to drink an energy drink that will poison him. Given how Callisto's hardly the most non-human-looking mutant and that she's at an event filled with wild teenagers, one has to wonder how the trenchcoat makes her less suspicious than the eyepatch she wears.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Self-Possessed" features flashbacks to almost every time Rogue had taken someone's powers.
  • Continuity Snarl: Sabretooth originally went through Magneto's power enhancer and got an Adrenaline Makeover. However, when he reappears in Season 2, he's reverted to his original look.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Jean Grey acts as both this and a Team Mom to the New Mutants.
    • Tabitha becomes one to Amara.
    • 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.
  • More of a cool van, but the X-Van is a battle-ready (that is literally, by the way—the damn thing has concealed rocket launchers) van that might as well be a tank.
  • Cool-Down Hug: Kitty Pryde succeeds in calming down Wolverine with this technique in "Grim Reminder".
  • Cool Loser: In the tie-in comics based on the show, people refer to the Xavier kids as freaks or make a deal about how 'weird' they are...despite the fact that Jean is shown to be VERY popular in the actual TV series, and Scott and Kurt, while not shown as particularly popular, are shown to be very good at making girls dig them. While it's once mentioned that Jean is considered 'Ok', and someone makes reference to having a crush on Scott, it really comes off as weird that it's made into a minor plot point despite it never coming up in the series... until The Reveal, but the comics are based before that happening.
  • The Beast. Without a doubt.
  • Storm and Wolverine counted as this in Season One before Beast joined the Institute.
  • Going by Target X, Scott and Jean become this too.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • In the first season, Mystique wore a costume similar to her comics version which was a sleeveless white dress with a high neck over a dark blue bodysuit, thigh-high white boots, and white gloves along with the signature skull belt. When she came back in the second season, her uniform was now a black leather two-piece Fanservice Pack that shows off extreme midriff, plenty of leg and lacking sleeves. The overall changes to her new outfit give her a more Darker and Edgier look.
    • In the third season, Wolverine's costume changes from the orange and black colored scheme outfit with the matching strappy boots and angular mask to a new, darker uniform. Like in the movies, the animators settled on black with yellow highlights and got rid of the mask.
  • Crash-Into Hello: How Avalanche and Shadowcat first meet.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The way Scarlet Witch completely and utterly annihilates the X-Men in the episode "The HeX Factor" surely qualifies.
    • Apocalypse nonchalantly wiping out Magneto by waving his hand also counts.
  • 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 deals with the high stakes of Apocalypse's plan to turn all humans into mutants and has a greater emphasis on humanity's bigotry toward mutants.
  • Darkest Hour: We have the episode "The Day of Reckoning", when an Enemy Mine between the X-Men and Brotherhood against Magneto's newly formed Acolytes, turns out to be a trap (more so for the former) as they come face-to-face with a Sentinel. Magneto uses the situation to expose mutants to the world at large even as they fight for their lives against the Killer Robot. Even after the Sentinel is destroyed, the X-Men discover that the Xavier Mansion is in rubles, Wolverine and others (Rogue, Beast, Spyke and Blob) were captured and the Professor's missing, while the authorities are hunting down mutants as hysteria ensues across the country.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Like his comic counterpart, the demon-like Nightcrawler fits this trope to a T. In fact, he's probably the most lighthearted character on the show.
  • Dating Catwoman: Shadowcat and Avalanche.
  • David Versus Goliath: At the start of the show's third season when the X-Men go to stop The Juggernaut, who in their previous fight, the most they could do was remove his helmet and allow Xavier to use his Psychic Powers to telepathically knock him out, which they only were able to pull off with the Brotherhood's help. Now they were own their own, with no help, and despite their teamwork, the most they can do is avoid dying till Rogue manages to use her Power Parasite ability to weaken him and then uses his borrowed abilities knock him out.
  • 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".
    • X-23 - Um... well... "X-23". And "Target X" too.
  • 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.
  • Death Dealer: Gambit.
    "It's like having 52 explosives tucked away in one little pocket."
  • Death from Above: Apocalypse is running amok somewhere in Mexico, all other X-Men around have failed to dent him. Enter the new fully evolved Magneto, cape billowing behind him. He proceeds to use his powers to slam man-made satellites into Apocalypse. Mind you, all that does is piss Apocalypse off.
  • Debut Queue:
    • The first five episodes are almost solely devoted to this, generally with both the X-Men and the rival Brotherhood recruiting a new member in each episode (mainly the Brotherhood, as we can see). In order: Nightcrawler and Toad in "Strategy X", Shadowcat and Avalanche in "X-Impulse", Rogue in "Rogue Recruit" (though she was mostly detached from the Brotherhood, and joined the X-Men in the seventh episode), Blob in "Mutant Crush" and Spyke and Quicksilver in "Speed and Spyke".
    • This is averted with the new recruits in the second season, who are introduced all at once. Only Magma and Boom-Boom get any particular focus episodes.
  • Decomposite Character: Callisto of the comics is normally the vigilante with violent dispositions. By Season 4, this trait is given to Spyke, and Callisto is the voice of reason.
  • Defcon 5: 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.
  • Dialogue Reversal: When Scott is trying to talk Jean down during her power surge, he tells her that he knows her better than anyone ever has or ever will, and he knows she can do this. Later, when she's returned to normal, Jean casually comments, "That's what I like about you, Scott. You know me better than anyone else ever has or ever will."
  • 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. This 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.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: A more innocent version happens to Jean in the comic tie-in for the show. As she's being recruited into the school, she's reading the thoughts of those around her. The only thought going through Scott's head as he gazes at her for several panels is; "Wow".
  • 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In one episode, the X-Men are repairing their mansion. Scott Summers and Jean Grey distract each other. Jean almost smacks Storm with a statue she was levitating. Logan angrily orders Scott to pay attention.
    • Also during the fight between the X-Men/Brotherhood team-up and Magneto's Acolytes in the second season's finale, Rogue's so taken with Gambit when she first meets him that she doesn't realize he's given her a card that's about to explode.
  • 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.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: One can argue this concerning the Brotherhood. Tabitha freely abuses Toad and Blob, and the other boys to a lesser extent, but each time it's 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 it's OK to abuse your male "friends".
  • Down to the Last Play: Season 2's first episode opens with this trope, as the only goal we're shown in the soccer match is the winning one, scored by Jean, of course.
  • Downer Ending: "Sins of the Son", Xavier ended up locking David and Ian away, leaving Lucas to do whatever he wants.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Wolverine, complete with students actively dreading his Danger Room sessions.
    • A humourous scene in the tie-in comic series had Xavier announce that Logan is stepping down so Beast may teach them. Their reactions?
      Kitty: Are you serious!?
      Kurt: Our prayers have been answered!
    • One episode also has an actual Drill Sergeant Nasty teach them Survival training who forced them (by them, we mean the teenaged X-Men, Brotherhood, and their human student friends) to do inhumane courses designed for Military training. They chose him over Logan's sessions, leading to many one-liner jokes by the Professor.
  • 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 never wanna ride... in another vehicle again... as long as I live!
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In the fourth season, when the Brotherhood play around with a petrified Mystique. Nightcrawler reacts in appropriate horror, given she's his mother.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The pilot episode have Kurt, in a moment of panic, teleporting into the Danger Room, implying that he could teleport into any random location he wants. Subsequent episodes however have Kurt porting only towards places he had in mind - as he's not informed of the Danger Room yet he shouldn't be able to enter just like that.
    • In the first season, Mystique has a different design that is closer to her classic comic appearance.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: In the episode Mutant Crush, the Blob decides to sit by himself at a table away from everyone else rather than sit with the other Brotherhood members. It's because he hasn't made friends with them yet.
  • Elemental Powers: Storm (weather), Professor X (mind), Avalanche (earth), Forge (technology), Iceman (ice), Magma (lava), Berzerker (electricity), Sunspot (sun), Magneto (magnetism), Pyro (fire), Colossus (metal).
  • Elite Mooks: The Acolytes — Sabretooth, Colossus, Gambit and Pyro.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Done repeatedly, with the Boot Camp Episode being one of the first, which involves the X-Men and Brotherhood teaming up against Juggernaut. Later, the Brotherhood and X-Men team up to fight the Acolytes. Then, the X-Men, Brotherhood, and Acolytes join forces 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: Between the X-Men and the Brotherhood for much of the first two seasons, owing to neither side particularly wanting to make mutants' existence known to the public (yet).
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Not so much evil as just criminals, but the Brotherhood show that they're not willing to let Apocalypse turn the world into mutants, knowing that most wouldn't survive the change.
    • Avalanche, too, showed that while he may be violent and prone to aggression, he's unwilling to allow a town to be blown up or ignore an old lady's cry for help.
      • Before that, Avalanche briefly joined the X-Men to be closer to Kitty and was immediately accused of taking their vehicles for joyrides, which were done by the New Mutants. He doesn't help himself by not explaining who was behind them just to spite Cyclops. However, once he realizes they're gonna take the X-Jet as their next joyride, he decides they're taking their fun too far and brings Shadowcat with him to stop them and put an end to their antics.
    • 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.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The show sees much of the X-Men and Brotherhood, as well as the New Mutants, attend the same high school.
  • 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, and 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.
  • Face Palm: In Walk On The Wild Side, Jean does this when her boyfriend Duncan tells her that he got them both tickets to the Sadies Hawkins Dance next month. A dance where the girl is suppose to ask the guy out.
  • Fake Muscles: In Adrift, Kurt tries to tweak his holoprojector to make himself muscular. It works for a while... then it malfunctions (making him comically fat).
    Spyke: Dude, you really need to lay off those burger bombs.
  • False Friend: Taryn, who's one of Jean's friends and briefly dates Scott in Season 2. When Mutants are exposed, she refuses to look Scott in the eye and turns her back to him.
  • 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. Exceptions existed, but they were very much in the minority, and it had global impact.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: Nightcrawler and Boom-Boom's date had this, although Boom-Boom being Boom-Boom, it didn't really follow the "shy, scared female" stereotype.
  • 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.
  • Flawless Token: Humans in their area (who seem less ethnically diverse than the mutants) find out about the mutants existence and freak out. So the X-Men take a Caribbean cruise to "take a break" from the bigotry. They are exposed as mutants and treated as freaks/outcasts by the other passengers (almost all of whom are white) when Jean uses her powers to put out a dark-skinned islanders are shown to be extremely friendly and actually admire them for their abilities.
    • This is played straight with Amanda, a black(?) girl, but completely averted with her (also black) parents. She dates Nightcrawler despite knowing his true appearance (and was actually initially more interested in him because of it) but when parents find out, they want her to stop seeing him, though she doesn't listen to them.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: episode "Cajun Spice," the X-Men find themselves in the middle of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, while looking for Rogue, who's been kidnapped. A random person comes up to Kurt, who's in his X-Men uniform and not wearing his image inducer, and tells him that his costume is great. Kurt's response? "Thanks! They are one of a kind."
  • 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 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."
  • Forgot About His Powers: This happens to a number of characters. The worst offender is Kitty, who seems to forget that she can become intangible with some regularity. Xavier also seems to forget that he has telepathy sometimes. Wolverine is constantly surprised by people sneaking up on him even through he can smell people from a distance.
  • Freakiness Shame: While Nightcrawler is initially ashamed of his appearance, he soon seems to become more relaxed about it around other mutants (understandably, since the fans already know blue + fuzzy = adorable). He's still afraid of letting normal people see his true face, constantly wearing a device that projects a hologram around him to make him look like a normal person in public, but this trope is invoked when the girl who likes him, Amanda Sefton, convinces him to turn off his image inducer, then happily reassures him - "blue is my favorite color". To her, "your fur is adorable!"
    • In a nonromantic example, a later episode has a researcher capture Beast after mistaking him for Bigfoot. When he finds out that Hank is intelligent, he is amazed and does his best to save him from overzealous hunters. When he runs into the other mutants, he is not hostile but is genuinely interested in learning more about them.
  • Freaky Is Cool:
  • Kitty made a comment about Kurt in the Evo Comic series.
    "You know what I like about you? You're kinda weird... but good weird."
  • The Friends Who Never Hang:
    • Among the main cast, Jean and Kurt and Scott and Kitty probably had the least interaction among the characters, which becomes oddly noticeable thanks to the fact that Scott and Jean and Scott and Kurt were close relationships, as was Kurt and Kitty and, to a down-played extreme, Kitty and Jean. The first few episodes teased the idea of Jean and Kurt flirting a bit and Kitty gushing over how attractive Scott is, but after that, neither interact one-on-one much (especially notable given Scott's big-brother like protectiveness over his team, Kitty's status as everyone's little sister, and Kitty briefly dating his rival Avalanche, meaning they had potential for him to play a few older brother tropes that he never touched upon with Kitty).
    • Averted with Rogue and everyone except Evan (see below), as Scott, Jean, Kitty, and Kurt all have unique dynamics with Rogue.
    • Played completely straight with Evan, to the point that he has almost no individual interaction with any of the other five (although he does hang out with Kurt more than the others). It certainly feels that the only reason Spyke hangs out with the others is because, for a time, they were the only mutant teens in Bayville, pretty much making him a mild version of The Friend Nobody Likes.
  • 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."
  • Future Badass: The whole team, as shown at the end. Complete with a switch to some more badass military-esque costumes.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Professor Xavier is responsible for the creation (and updated recreation) of Cerebro and the Danger Room. He also helped create Juggernaut's holding cell within Stroke's Maximum Security facility.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: In the first episode of the series, after Scott Summers accidentally provokes a fire at a football game, Professor Xavier rewrites the memory of a nearby cop into thinking it was a leak in a propane tank.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: If we discount Professor X and consider only the field team: four females (Jean, Shadowcat, Rogue and Storm) and four males (Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Spyke and Wolverine).
  • 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.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • The Blob. Even though he ends up as a villain of the show, joining the Brotherhood, but every once in a while you still see a gentler, warmer side shine through, if only for a moment — specially in how he treats Todd "Toad" Tolansky, the local Butt-Monkey, as a younger brother. And he was this towards Jean through most of his introductory episode, as she was the only person who bothered to show him any kindness.
    • Another villain, Colossus. In the two parter season three finale Dark Horizon, where the X-Men teamed up with Magneto's Acolytes to try and save Rogue and stop the release of Apocalypse. The episode reveals that he's this trope via a conversion between Shadowcat and Nightcrawler while within the tomb.
    Shadowcat: I think we're close. Why don't you go up and join the Professor? I'll look for the others.
    Nightcrawler: (regarding Colossus) And leave you alone with Steel Face? Forget it, he shouldn't be trusted."
    Shadowcat: Oh, he's not that bad, kind of a softie if you ask me. He's just so quiet.
    Colossus: (after smashing through a wall to regroup with them) I, I grew concerned.
    Shadowcat: (gives Nightcrawler a smug 'you see?' kind of smirk)
  • Giant Spider: A mystical guardian against Apocalypse in one episode.
  • Girl's 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).
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Implied in "Shadow Dance", given that Risty Wilde (who is actually Mystique in disguise) appears to fall in love with Forge towards the end of the episode. However, nothing more comes of this.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The final two episodes were the main cast calls on the aid from almost every mutant from the series to stop Apocalypse.
  • 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.
    • Also Wanda, the Scarlet Witch, even moreso than Rogue.
  • Grand Finale: The series concludes with a two-part episode titled "Ascension", which featured a global fight with many small characters coming back to help and the final moments showing a future with conflicts and situations similar to the comic universe.

  • Happily Adopted: Nightcrawler, who was adopted by a Bavarian couple after Mystique dropped him. Subverted with Rogue, unaware of the fact she was Mystique's adopted daughter, and very much not happy to find out the fact.
  • 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 orders her to get in line, and she's back to freelancing again.
  • 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.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: When the X-girls and Boom-Boom decided to form a vigilante crime fighting group called the Bayville Sirens, they wear sexy black leather costumes to go with it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • 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.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Rogue. Although given that she was only on the bad guys' side because she thought the X-Men wanted her dead, this is pretty justified.
    • Zigzagged with Tabitha/Boom-Boom who leaves the Xavier Institute and moves in with the Brotherhood. She then leaves them when Mystique returns and works with the X-Men a few times after that. From then onwards she just seems to go with whichever groups suits her at the time: in one episode, she's staying with the Brotherhood while fighting crime with the female X-Men.
  • High School AU: The show premiered the same year as X-Men. It justified this with the concept that mutants (and super-powered beings in general) were thought by the general public to be nothing more than rumor, hoax, and legend for the first couple of seasons, and Xavier wanted his students to have as normal a life as possible so they attend the public school, Bayville High.
  • High-School Dance: The whole premise behind one of the most infamous episode, "Shadow Dance". That and Nightcrawler accidentally brings a bunch of monsters from another dimension to crash the dance. Hey, it's X-Men.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Rogue to Cyclops, and Toad to Wanda.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: In Season 4, Apocalypse naturally gets in on this once again, brainwashing four powerful mutants - Charles Xavier (Death), Storm (Famine), Magneto (War) and Mystique (Pestilence) - into guarding his nodes of power across the earth so he can enact the grand finale battle for the series.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The show used this a lot in the first season introduction stories, most notably for Kitty Pryde and Rogue, but it virtually disappeared after that. That's because they were being trained specifically to control their powers, and other characters (Cyclops, Jean, Nightcrawler) had been using their powers for years but still had trouble getting it right from time to time.
  • Human Ladder: Used once by Rogue and Shadowcat, so the latter could phase through the top of a box truck they were hiding in.
  • Human Popsicle: At the end of episode "Operation: Rebirth", it's revealed that Captain America is encased in a cryogenic chamber. Nick Fury states that they are waiting to find a cure to fix the damage done to him by Rebirth.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: Professor X is called in to confront his unstable son David, better known to fans of the comics as Legion. During a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, David's evil side masquerades as the real David. Professor X, unaware of this, seals away his son and his other personality, leaving his evil personality free to do as he pleases.
  • 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?"
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Nightcrawler was like this, but you couldn't really blame him given that he looked like a furry blue demon. In season three, unlike the other mutants, who were actually fairly good about being exposed as mutants, Nightcrawler was really reluctant to let go of the illusion that he wasn't a mutant, but eventually did, and never let go of the human appearance given to him by his image inducer (can't really blame him, again).
    • Beast has moments of this.
    • Shadowcat and Spyke were like this at first until they got over it.
      • Her parents decided that Kitty would stay home after the previous night’s incident while Kitty begged her mother to let her go to school as she tries to play it off like nothing has happened, and she was in total denial of her powers being a gift.
      • Evan tried to convince his Auntie O that he had self-control over his powers and that he didn’t need (want) to go to a “school for freaks” and was just fine with how things were.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Subverted when Jean, Evan, and Wanda try to snap Professor Xavier, Storm, and Magneto respectively out of Apocalypse's mind control. Only defeating Apocalypse can free them.
    • Played straight twice before, by Kitty Pryde (against a Brainwashedand Crazy Wolverine) and Evan Daniels (towards a possessed Storm).
    • And toyed with in regards to a Jean who experiences a serious Power Incontinence. While Scott does try to talk her down, what truly works is to have Rogue touch Jean, copy her powers, and contain her psychically.
    • Also played straight and subverted with Rogue. When all the personalities and powers she's absorbed start forcing their way to the surface, she's talked down at least twice. Each time, however, the one doing the talking makes some sort of slip that triggers one personality or another, causing her to go wild again. It takes Professor X's Psychic Powers and a pep talk from Wolverine to straighten her out completely.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In “Turn of the Rogue”, the X-Men come flying in the Blackbird to rescue Scott and Rogue, with Storm using her powers to clear away the brewing snowstorm. When Wolverine complains that she's not working fast enough, she snaps "I'm a weather witch, not a snowplow!" Even funnier when you remember Wolverine's first name is actually Jim.
  • 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.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Spyke started off as a guy who could grow bone spikes from his body. After being Put on a Bus, he Took a Level in Badass when he came back with bone armor (which he couldn't turn off) and flaming quills that explode.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: This is mentioned when Nightcrawler explains why he can't teleport off an airplane in flight when Kitty and himself are stuck on the X-Jet with Logan, whose Weapon X conditioning has taken over.
    Kitty: Can you teleport us to the ground?
    Kurt: Uh, yeah, right! Like, picture this: bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, SPLAT! Too high up and way too fast!
  • In Name Only: While many, if not all, of the characters from the comics and most versions have been drastically re-imagined for the series (mainly through having very different designs and being made either older or younger than their comic book counterparts along with having different races and/or nationalities) in order to be more modern, there were certain characters in the series who were re-immagined to the point of which they had nothing in common with their comic book counterparts:
    • Aside from retaining his real name and powers, James Madrox a.k.a Multiple has nothing in common with his comic book counterpart (who is around the same age as Cyclops and has the code name Multiple Man).
    • Due to being an expy of an X-Men character named Julio Esteban Richter aka Rictor, Lance does not have anything in common with the Avalanche of the comics outside of the codename, team affiliation and powers.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: “Mindbender” - features an episode in Season 2 where a previously-unseen mutant enacts some plot that completely stumps the heroes and leave them wondering what the hell THAT was all about. The end of the episode reveals he is attempting to free Apocalypse. This isn't revisited until Mesmero turns up again Season 3, becoming the major running plot for the second half of the season, and culminating in Apocalypse being the Big Bad of the final season.
  • Rogue in the beginning of episode “Turn Of The Rogue”.
  • Also, Mystique in "Shadowed Past".
  • Introductory Opening Credits: Much like the 1992 animated series, the intro showed the main characters alongside their names. Unlike the 1992 animated series, however, the names weren't the characters' respective comic book logos, and Professor X did not have his name appear despite being one of the main characters.
  • 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 Owe You My Life: In "Operation Rebirth", Magneto has Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Rogue at his mercy, but he let’s them go because Kurt spared his life. He also remembers what Logan did for him all those years ago and now he is repaying his debt.
    Magneto: There was a small boy in Poland, who owes you that much.
  • Jerkass:
    • Quicksilver, who is probably the only consistent Jerkass in the series.
    • Boom Boom was one for a while.
    • 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. This goes hand in hand with Mugging the Monster 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...
  • Just Plane Wrong: The SR-77 Blackbird isn't a real jet. As of this writing, the only official successor to the retired SR-71 (which the X-Men used in the comics) is a proposed aircraft called the SR-72 Blackbird, which has never actually been built.
  • The Kindnapper:
    • Gambit kidnaps Rogue with her happiness or so he says in mind.
    • In an earlier episode, Blob kidnaps Jean to force her to have a date with him. He sets up a nice dinner and some music... in an abandoned warehouse where she's tied to the chair with metal bars.
  • 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.
  • Kissing In A Tree: In the episode “Growing Pains”, Pietro taunts Lance about his crush on Kitty by saying this but Lance interrupts it at the last minute, as he tries to backhand him but Pietro speeds out of the way and Toad gets hit instead.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Apocalypse.
  • Know Your Vines: In the episode Retreat, Beast takes some of the younger students out on a nature study field trip to the California Redwoods. During the study trip, Evan picks up a plant (he doesn't know that it's poison ivy) and presents it to Beast while he's scratching a sudden rash. Later, he's seen sulking by a river as Kitty applies medicine cream to his rash spots. It's justified since he had stated beforehand that he's a "city kid" and he's failing in his social sciences class. So nature is really not he's forte.

  • Lame Pun Reaction: 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...
  • Lancer vs. Dragon: In "The Cauldron", Magneto pits specific members of his team against the X-Men. His two Dragons, Mystique and Sabretooth, engage Xavier's two most experienced students, Storm and Wolverine, respectively.
  • Laughably Evil: Pyro, who seems to communicate exclusively through a combination of maniacal laughter and lame puns. And then there's this exchange with Wolverine (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!"):
    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.
  • 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.
  • A Lesson in Defeat: When the X-Men first fight against the Scarlet Witch who completely trounces them. While the team come out of it okay, they are a bit shaken by the encounter and Xavier muses this defeat may have been good for them in order to grow stronger.
  • Lethal Chef: Kitty Pryde is an example of this early on (her muffins either bounce off the walls or leave dents in the floor; poor Kurt), but gets a little better with constant practice as the series progresses.
  • 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.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: Used when the X-Girls plus Boom Boom are doing a strange rock music video montage that consists of applying makeup, shopping, dancing and then changing into some new leather costumes to do vigilante crime fighting as the Bayville Sirens.
  • Little Stowaway: Kurt and Kitty in "Grim Reminder", Bobby in "Under Lock and Key".
  • Love Redeems:
    • To a point. Avalanche is almost a complete jerkass 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).
  • Magical Security Cam: Yep, magical news cameras in full effect. This is particularly noticeable in several instances when news footage was rewound.
  • Male Gaze: The animators had a habit of viewing the characters with the male preservative, with the point-of-view of several shots frequently focusing upon the female characters hips and chests. Jean Grey suffered this the most.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In the first season Magneto is this to Mystique, who is in turn the Man Behind the Man to the Brotherhood as far as the X-Men are concerned (though both the viewer and Xavier knew about her from the start, and the viewer knew Magneto was meddling from the end of the first episode).
    • Later on, Apocalypse is the man behind Mesmero.
  • Mark of the Beast: Mystique, Magneto, Xavier, and Storm receive blue markings similar to those of Apocalypse when he "recruits" them as his horsemen.
  • 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 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
  • May Contain Evil: Power-8 was a delicious, refreshing sports drink — unless you happened to be a mutant, in which case it was poisonous.
  • 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 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.
  • Medium Awareness: In a fourth-season episode, the semi-villainous Brotherhood members begin causing dangerous situations so they can save people and be celebrated as heroes. Once media interest starts to wane, Toad is panicked that their fifteen minutes of fame are ending: "That didn't feel like fifteen minutes! More like five! Maybe ten." He says this line roughly ten minutes into the episode, not counting main titles and commercials.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • Jean is the most prominent user of this. At first, she’s fairly limited, but after going through a power surge early in Season 2, during which her powers go out of control and she displays the ability to manipulate matter on a fundamental level, making her borderline Reality Warper, she settles at a much stronger level than before.
    • And Legion is even stronger than Jean.
  • Misplaced Accent: Risty Wilde claims to be from Manchester, but has an accent closer to southern RP rather than the Oop North dialect she should realistically have. It's also a case of Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping, but then again she is Mystique in disguise. When actual English characters appear later, their accents are much more accurate, suggesting this to be a deliberate choice as a hint to her true nature.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: Nightcrawler once said "As you kids in say America: Neener, neener, neener!"
  • Monster Protection Racket: The show did this with the Brotherhood who, deciding to try the hero thing out, saved a train from a disaster and was rewarded with fame and fortune by a thankful rescuee. They then try to be heroes to get the rewards, but when they run out of people to save they get greedy and desperate for more, eventually starting disasters of their own so they can get the recognition for saving the day. This blows up spectacularly, of course, and they lose all their luxuries (including the ones they got for legitimate work).
  • 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.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: It's interesting to note that this series has, by a pretty decent margin, the most fanfics on (nearly 17,000) 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 Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) which has very few fics written about it. 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.
  • Mugging the Monster: During the last two seasons. For some odd reason, the bullying seemed to get worse after people learn mutants could kill them on a whim. Why would you keep knocking Scott's glasses off after you know that his mutant power is having Eye Beams?
  • Muggle Sports, Super Athletes: One episode has the young mutants play a normal game of baseball. Then one person uses their powers, followed by everyone else following suit, and the game descends into anarchy.
    • In a bit of defiance (although it's actually just one more example of Fantastic Racism courtesy of the tyrannic Principal Kelly) after Jean Grey is exposed as a telepath, she has all of her achievements revoked and is banned from the soccer team because Kelly insists that she used her mind reading to get an advantage (although in reality in the few episodes where her abilities have been explored, it's been shown that it would have been more like playing while having a very loud set of headphones on her head that she can't remove or shut down, but again, Kelly's a racist asshole).
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Rogue uses her ability-absorbing powers to copy Kitty's dancing skills for a school play.
    • Spyke used his bone spikes to staple posters to the ceiling. Too bad they don't stick, as Kitty found out.
    • Bobby uses his freezing powers to create a dancing ballerina figure to impress Jubilee.
    • And mutant baseball anyone?
      • It was something of a running gag that they could never get through gym class with "no powers" rule intact, usually because some of the students have superhuman strength or agility that they can't just turn off, and someone with more overt gifts would attempt to compensate.
    • In the comics based on Evolution, Nightcrawler used his teleporting powers to take shortcuts to school so he could sleep in later. He's also done it to sneak out of school to go to the local burger joint for a quick snack. The show itself showed him using his prehensile feet to steer the Blackbird and hold popcorn bowls, use his 'porting abilities to do awesome cannonballs in the pool, bypass stairs by leaping over them or crawling on walls, and abusing the settings on his image inducer to make himself look buff and hunky.
    • In an interview with Toyfare, the writers of Evolution said that Scott occasionally forgets himself and uses his eye beams on, say, an uncooperative soda machine to get it to work.
    • Lance aka Avalanche was introduced by doing the same thing. He touched a soda machine, used a bit of his seismic powers on it, and got a free can.
    • Storm has used her powers to alter the climate to water her plants.
    • Kitty is so comfortable with her phasing powers that she doesn't use a door, sometimes skipping the door altogether and just phasing through it or the walls. Also she doesn't use stairs that much either.
    • The entire X-Men team all using their powers to rebuild the mansion, as seen here.
  • 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 the Sabretooth's powers (even more furry than him, bizarrely enough), even though Blob's girth is part of his mutation (specifically, it's part of what makes him resistant to harm).
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Rogue's power absorption eventually left her with fragments of all the identities of the people she absorbed, such that she couldn't help randomly using their powers occasionally. Then she went and bumped into Mystique, providing a handy outlet for those fragments in the form of shapeshifting. A rampage ensued. Xavier had to telepathically purge her of all the accumulated personalities to get her back under control.
  • 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.
    • 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 premiere 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, à la the X-Men: The Animated Series episode "A Rogue's Tale" where she scares a punk who's trying to steal her umbrella.
    • In "X-treme Measures", Ray is the first one to notice Callisto following Spyke and to go look for him in the sewers. While the Morlocks know him from the events of the "Day of Reckoning" two-parter, this is also due to the fact that, in the comics, Berzerker was a member of the Morlocks.
  • 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 Nicknamer: 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 "Cyke", Spyke "Porcupine", Shadowcat "Squirt" or "Half-Pint", Rogue "Stripes", Professor X "Chuck", Jean "Red", Bobby "Ice Cube", and Gambit "Gumbo".
  • 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.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • The end of Season 2: The Sentinel is released, and by sticking around to fight it, the mutants are forced to reveal themselves, causing mass witch hunting and prejudice against them, even after they prove that they weren't responsible for the Sentinel and were the good guys there.
    • Then, as the end of the series proves, the same thing happens when they defeat Apocalypse, and it's revealed that mutant hatred will continue, more, and more powerful, sentinels will be built and used, one of their closest allies will be consumed by darkness, and at least two of them will be noticeably missing in the future line up. Hey, at least Magneto will become good and the Brotherhood will join SHIELD, but since it was SHIELD who were placed in charge of Sentinel production in the present, that might not be a good thing.
  • No Swastikas: Played straight, but when Wolverine mentions Captain America was a super-soldier, Professor X does ask whether this was intended as "The master race". Granted he may not have quite meant it that way but it's still a little surprising to hear.
  • 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). However, during the flashback to World War II, he does speak with an accent. Perhaps he changed how he spoke at some point in his life for whatever reason while being in America?
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Danielle Moonstar in "Ghost of a Chance".
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Comes up in the episode "Sins of the Son". Kitty is advised to get some rest to recover from a cold, but hesitates because she's lately been dreaming about going to school in her pajamas. She then tries to wake up Nightcrawler, only for him to accidentally teleport her and himself to school and various other locations while they're both wearing sleepwear.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The first two seasons had a sort of Masquerade thing going on where the mutants are hiding their existence from the world. At the end of season two, a Sentinel is let loose on the city and the mutants have no choice but to fight it, revealing themselves to the world. The characters try to continue their normal lives and remain in high school, but things have changed. As with the comic book source material, they have to deal with discrimination and they lose many of their non-mutant companions.
  • Official Couple:
    • Cyclops and Jean Grey, even if it took them 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.
    • Thanks to Wolverine's self-regeneration power, his true age will never be revealed but it's shown he was at least old enough to have served the military along with Cap, which he did in this version. Magneto was a kid back then.
  • 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.
  • Opposites Attract: Avalanche and Shadowcat.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: X-23 is a female clone of Wolverine.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • The Canadian accents of the voice cast will occasionally slip through on words like 'about', 'not' and 'sorry'.
    • Nicole Oliver slips out of her English accent as Risty. But since she's really Mystique, it's likely an in-universe example.
  • 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 - and who held Jean in great respect - so it seems quite out of character for her to misbehave in class.
  • Out of the Inferno:
    • Apocalypse is running amok somewhere in Mexico; all the other X-Men around have failed to dent him. Enter Magneto, who drops a few communication satellites on him, resulting in this trope.
    • Also happens with Rogue when Mesmero possesses her and forces her to acquire everyone's powers. Pyro sets her on fire and starts laughing, only to have her slow walk out of the flames courtesy of Colossus's powers. Complete with Clothing Damage, too.

  • 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: 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.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Jean Grey is not only a member of the X-Men, but also a skilled soccer player and the captain of the girls' team in her school. Sadly, she's kicked off the team when it's revealed that she's a mutant.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: Wolverine has nightmares about the Weapon X program; the episode they appear in has some justification, though, in that his brain is being remotely messed with by the original scientist in charge of the Weapon X program.
  • 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.
  • Playing with Fire: Magma, Pyro, and Legion.
  • Politically Motivated Teacher: Jean and Scott, when they become instructors, try to bring physics, geometry and other more complex academic subjects into the new recruits' curriculum. They're not exactly thrilled about it — to the point when they even try to get Wolverine back as a teacher. They soon change their minds though, when they see how beneficial these subjects are to power use.
  • Pool Scene: Spyke's first episode ends with one (the Xavier Institute has a pool) where Evan accidentally pops Kitty's lie-low with his powers.
  • Power Incontinence:
    • Spyke slowly gained this problem. In the third season, he had increasing trouble retracting his spikes, to the point where he simply couldn't do so. Then he was Put on a Bus via making him join the Morlocks... until the fourth season, where his spikes had grown into full-blown bone armor he couldn't remove.
    • The episode Power Surge does this to Jean, who progressively loses her hold on her telekinesis and telepathy until she collapses.
    • Rogue went even wilder when all the personalities and powers she had absorbed resurged and caused her to flip out. It was even worse than in her first episode, when she could barely handle the sudden awakening of her powers and then absorbed those of Storm of all people...
    • In the third season, Cyclops once was kidnapped and then dumped in a small Mexican town by a vengeful Mystique without his glasses or visors. Guess what happened.
  • Power Nullifier: Dorian Leech.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Nearly every adaptation of Wolverine in a Marvel TV series tends to focus more on building his characterization than on his violent berserker rages, because of Media Watchdogs and their attitude towards violence in children's TV.
  • Prefers the True Form: Nightcrawler relies on a Holographic Disguise to resemble a normal human, but during one episode in Season 1, a girl sees his true form before he teleports away. She grows attracted to him because of that.
  • Previously on…: The show started doing this around the third season, when it actually got a serious serial plot.
  • Puberty Superpower: Again it's X-Men. The franchise is very much the Trope Maker. Mutant powers usually manifest at puberty and this show reworks continuity to put most of the main characters in their teens.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • In the final season, Storm gets one while protecting Professor Xavier from Apocalypse.
  • Punny Name: Perhaps merely by coincidence, Jean Grey has mutant powers because she possesses the X-gene. Her powers also involve her grey matter.
  • Put on a Bus: Spyke, Jubilee, Wolfsbane; with Spyke at least we get to see him leave the show and came back later, 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, and Jubilee and Wolfsbane have a cameo in the final scene of the finale.
  • Pyramid Power:
    • In the fourth season, Apocalypse attempted to use three pyramids located in Egypt, China and Central America to change every human on Earth into a mutant (not unlike Magneto's plot with the diplomats in the first X-Men film) by launching lots of smaller pyramids into the outer atmosphere and surrounding the planet with an energy field.
    • 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.
  • The Quiet One: Apocalypse, in contrast to other versions of the character. Despite being the Big Bad of the last two seasons, he never speaks at all until the Grand Finale, and then his dialogue consists entirely of terse orders for minions or blunt statements of superiority (almost all delivered telepathically). One gets the sense that he simply dislikes lowering himself to speak to common mortals.
    • Also, Colossus.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad:
  • 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.
    • Magma went from a blonde Caucasian girl with blue eyes and a heavy Brazilian accent to a tan-skinned, dark-haired, dark-eyed Brazilian.
    • Amanda Sefton went from being a white woman to an African American/Eastern European girl.
    • This happens twice with Mystique. In the first season, she is Canadian (judging by her accent) instead of German (although her son Kurt still gets adopted by a German family). Then from season two onwards, she appears to be of mixed African/European ethnicity and speaks with an American accent.
  • Real Name as an Alias: During the first season, Mystique posed as Bayville High's school principal named Raven Darkholme. Turns out that's her real name.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: When the Scarlet Witch cut loose against the X-Men in her debut episode, she made the entire area(and the X-Men's powers!) go crazy. It's hard to fit the things she made happen under 'probability alteration,' but damn, if it wasn't awesome.
  • Rescue Equipment Attack: In one episode a bunch of raptor-like demons escape into Bayville High, in the middle of Homecoming prom. Risty ambushes one of the creatures with an extinguisher's foam before bashing the creature's head with the butt end.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The first two seasons are essentially this for the X-Men mythos, returning to the original premise of the comics: a High School drama about teenage mutants learning to control their powers while dealing with the typical struggles of growing up.
  • Ring-Ring-CRUNCH!: One episode features a variant: Kitty Pryde phases her hand through her alarm clock. Her phasing power disrupts electronics she passes through them.
  • Robotic Undead: The final episode has a Brainwashed Magneto use his powers to resurrect a recently-destroyed Sentinel robot to attack the X-Men. The robot resembles a giant mechanical zombie with an exposed metal endoskeleton.
  • Romantic False Lead: Both Jean and Scott get their own false leads: Jean dates Duncan and Scott dates Jean's classmate Taryn. And then Taryn dumped Scott when mutants were revealed, not because she or he became a jerk, but for the same reason most of them lost their friends: He can, quite literally, blow up a building with his eyes. Duncan was an Alpha dog Jerkass type, who played the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing trope (while he made it clear he was a jerk, he treated Jean far nicer than he treats anyone else), and when they break up, let's just say he takes his jerkary to a whole new level.
  • 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.
  • Runaway Train: In No Good Deed, the Brotherhood create accidents so that they can save the day and be labeled as heroes. Their final act is trying to stop a runaway train. They leave after being reminded that there is a second train that will cause a collision.
  • Running on All Fours: Nightcrawler, on occasion. He usually does this when he's in an urgent situation.
  • 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:
    • Scott gets a Romantic False Lead in Season 2 called Taryn - who is introduced as one of Jean's friends, but spends most of her screen time dating Scott. In Season 3, after he's outed, she refuses to acknowledge him.
    • Amanda Sefton plays with this, as she's Nightcrawler's primary love interest - and is one of the first characters to become aware of mutants and show tolerance. We do at least get to see her family in Season 4.
    • Jean's Romantic False Lead Duncan subverts this. He eventually turns into a full on anti-mutant activist, launching hate crimes towards the Morlocks and the New Mutants after they're exposed.
  • Save the Villain: In The episode “Stuff Of Villains”, Kitty saves Pietro from falling to his death while locked inside a military transport vehicle via phasing through it and grabbing him just in time as the truck plummets down the cliff’s edge and explodes. Pietro being the JerkAss that he is, tells her that she almost blew it, then he takes off.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Ms. Darkholme knows this trick. Scott apparently learnt it as well. Also Edward Kelly has been show to do this once or twice.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Toad.
  • Secret Public Identity: Jean Grey and Rogue.
    • This is lampshaded in a commercial, where the other members were introduced by their names and code names (for example, "Scott Summers is Cyclops"), but hers was simply, "Jean Grey is... Jean Grey".
    • Heck, they discuss it in the show’s tie-in comics. And they were interrupted before Kurt could get finished asking about that.
    Kurt: How come everyone has a codename but Rogue is just Rogue?
    Scott: Same way Jean is just Jean.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Amanda Sefton. She briefly sees Kurt with his image inducer turned off and using his teleporting powers once. This increases her interest in him and she tries to pursue him romantically. She eventually reveals (during an emergency) she knows about him, and then just becomes a regular Secret-Keeper for the existence of the mutants until The Masquerade is broken.
  • 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).
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Sort of happens to Rogue near the end of "Self-Possessed" during her Superpower Meltdown, but she does survive.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Mystique was shown doing this in the Grand Finale where Apocalypse enhanced her mutant powers so that she can transform her limbs in weapons like blades.
  • 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. However, in another shot in the same sequence implied to be further into the future, he is absent, suggesting that it doesn't last.)
    • 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.
    • Despite them both getting love interests in season 2, Kurt and Kitty had a lot of Ship Tease throughout the show.
    • 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 much 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 Logan's 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, considering 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.
    • Nightcrawler is the only X-Man to wear his original costume from the comics.
    • In "Walk on the Wild Side", when the Bayville Sirens (X-Girls + Boom-Boom) do the "super-jiggle-sexy-slo-mo" walk down the school hallway, the scene is directly traced from The Craft in a loving homage.
    • 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.
    • Spykecam had, frame for frame, Rogue and Kitty dancing like Buffy and Faith did in "Bad Girls". Just like The X Files example above, the music they're dancing to is about vampire love, cluing in savvy viewers to the reference.
    • In the Christmas episode, Rogue steals Magneto's powers and the two engage in an aerial chase across NYC, a nod to her flight powers in the comics.
    • In the series finale, we seen a vision of the grown-up Blob... who looks remarkably like The Crusher.
  • 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. 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, 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 box 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. Although her condition is clear, the term "claustrophobic" is only mentioned once and nobody comments on it. It's just a part of her characterization.
    • Kitty's computer skills are subtly integrated into her characterization, as she's said to be a straight-A student, she's shown taking advanced computer classes, she can occasionally be seen helping Beast and Xavier with the X-Men's computers, and she was able to work out how Forge's technology worked and explain it to Evan enough for him to understand it. Though her Valley Girl mannerisms make it easy to miss, she's apparently just as smart as her comics incarnation.
  • Silent Antagonist: Apocalypse is like this during his first appearances, though he finally talks during the Grand Finale.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: Used when Rogue pushes Mystique off a cliff. Nightcrawler tries to BAMF down to save her, but he can't get there in time. When she finally comes to a halt in pieces at the bottom of the cliff, he teleports down there and starts crying over her remains.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Throughout the series, there is only one Brotherhood chick on the all male team at one time or another (the males were Avalanche, Toad, Blob, and Quicksilver, and then Pyro post-series). The first several episodes has Rogue before she joins the X-Men. Boom Boom joins them for most of the second season before she left following Mystique's return. Then finally the Scarlet Witch joins and becomes the permanent Brotherhood babe.
  • 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.
    • The show itself could be considered this to the New Mutants comic book, in particular the emphasis on school rather than super–heroics and the Brotherhood's status as a rival school team composed of troubled, but hardly truly evil, mutants led by a much more evil woman in white (Emma Frost for the comics, Mystique for the show) and whose team leader (Warpath in the comics, Avalanche in the show) ultimately defects to the X–Men instead. Doubled down when the New Mutants themselves join the cast in Season 2 and have pretty much the same role as the original team.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: In the episode ”Sins of the Son”, Charles Xavier discovers he has a son in Scotland, David Haller, and goes to meet him, only for two other boys to enter the fray as well. These three boys (David, Ian, and the evil Lucas) are all parts of the same being. Xavier tries to help expunge Lucas, but ends up locking away David, forever losing his son as Lucas goes off, never to be seen again (as the series was cancelled before this story could continue).
  • 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 criticize 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.
  • 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 just bail.
  • Superhero School: The Xavier Institute also features in its role as a Superhero School; however, the X-Men also attend regular school at Bayville High. How the kids going to two schools is explained to parents and such who don't know what Xavier's really is is never addressed. For the first two seasons it's the usual high school antics complicated by keeping their powers a secret while season three focuses on what happens when the Masquerade breaks and the other students find out their secret.
    • At the Institute, they learn power control, at school they just have normal school. The Institute teaches them how to use their powers and fit in.
  • Super Strength: Blob, Sabretooth, Juggeranut, Colossus, Wolverine, Sunspot, Beast, Captain America. All have shown various levels of superhuman strength.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type 0: Most Bayville High Students, Duncan Matthews, Principal Kelly
    • Type 1: Nick Fury, SHIELD Agents, Bolivar Trask, Madame Hydra
    • Type 2: Shadowcat, Spyke, Wolverine, X-23, Sabretooth, Gambit, Beast, Multiple, Nightcrawler, Toad, Leech, Rogue (default), Destiny, Forge, Callisto, Facade, Torpid, Lucid, Caliban, Gauntlet, Pyro, Agatha Harkness, Wolfsbane, Angel
    • Type 3: Jean Grey, Cyclops, Magma, Iceman, Sunspot, Berzerker, Quicksilver, Blob, Avalanche, Mystique, Colossus, Mastermind, the Spider Stone, Mesmero, Omega Red
    • Type 4: Magneto, Professor X, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Juggernaut, the Sentinel, Legion
    • Type 5: Rogue with every power she's ever absorbed, Professor X/Jean Grey with Cerebro, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, Apocalypse, Jean Grey in the future as Phoenix.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jean is quick to deny that was she spying on Scott in the episode "Fun and Games". Scott, of course, never accused her of such.
  • 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.
  • Taken for Granite: Mystique is turned to stone by Apocalypse when she opens the final door to releasing him. In this case, it's eventually revealed that Apocalypse turned Mystique's shape-shifting abilities against her, and if Rogue absorbed her powers for just a moment, Mystique could break free. She shoves her off a cliff instead, shattering her. However, it's not the real Mystique after all.
  • 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 from 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.
  • Tele-Frag: In episode "No Good Deed", Scarlet Witch messes up Nightcrawler's powers and causes him to teleport into a sign. The sign is pushed apart by Nightcrawler appearing in the middle of it. What would happen if it had been a person is left to the imagination.
  • Teleport Spam: Nightcrawler, as per tradition.
  • Teleporter Accident: Forge tries to extend the range of Nightcrawler's teleportation, and ends up creating rifts to the hell-like dimension Nightcrawler uses to move from place to place. Needless to say, the inhabitants get out.
  • 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.
  • Three-Point Landing: Nightcrawler loves doing this. Also Toad does this during the first opening theme.
  • Time Bomb: "The Institute will self-destruct in... ten minutes."
  • Together We Are X:
    "Hi! I'm Nightcrawler!"
    "And I'm Shadowcat!"
    "We're X-Men!"
    "And these are your weapons systems!" *kablam*
  • 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. Worse still was in Season 3, when Bobby, while on a cruise ship, thought it would be a great idea to create ice sculptures in the water and then decided to re-enact the Titanic by recreating its iceberg.
    • 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 motif, became a formidable unarmed combatant and gained the ability to created molten hot projectiles and weapons. Basically, he became 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.
      Nightcrawlel: [to himself] Oh, I swear, that homey's lingo is so whack…
    • Spyke has a tendency to talk like this using all sorts of skater lingo.
    • Kitty Pryde originally used lots of somewhat-dated Valley Speak.
  • Town Girls: Rogue is the butch - in terms of having an aggressive personality and taking the Deadpan Snarker role. Kitty is the femme - speaks like a Valley Girl and interested in girly things. Jean is the neither - as she's a star soccer player but also a Lovable Alpha Bitch. Within the new recruits, Tabitha is the butch - tomboyish personality, daredevil attitude. Amara is the femme - meeker personality. Jubilee is neither - not particularly girly or tomboyish. Rahne doesn't get much development, so she doesn't fit into this.
  • 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.
  • Tyke-Bomb: X-23, who was created to be "the perfect weapon".
  • Ultimate Universe:
    • The cartoon came out in the same time as Ultimate X-Men did. It made the X-Men into teenagers, while making Wolverine, Storm, Beast and a few others into adults and Experienced Protagonist to create a generational divide within the mutant groups. Such aspects eventually came into the X-Men Film Series (especially X-Men: Apocalypse).
    • In a case of Recursive Adaptation, Evolution's Wolverine originally sported a costume inspired by the orange and black face-mask ensemble but in Season 3 sported a more practical blue short-sleeved outfit inspired by the Ultimate reboot but still keeping yellow stripes on the shoulders. The later issues of Ultimate Marvel directly adapted the Evolution costume.
  • 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.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: The Brotherhood. They live in conditions that make the back alleys of third world countries look like palaces. Possibly justified in that they are a bunch of teenage boys living in a home with no supervision.
  • 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.
  • 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 expects 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.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Juggernaut and the Blob are characterized as this respectively, by the Blob stating “Unstoppable meet the Immovable” when they clash. Juggy manages to move the Blob but is considerably slowed.
  • 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.
  • The Voiceless: Captain America never speaks.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the episode “Joyride”, Avalanche threw up in the X-Jet due to airsickness with Kitty sarcastically remarking "My hero.".
  • "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.
  • Walking Techbane: Shadowcat.
  • Wall Crawl: Nightcrawler and Toad both do this, with Nightcrawler actually called "Wall-Crawler" once.
  • Wall Run: Quicksilver.
  • Weaponized Landmark: It turns out The Sphinx and three pyramids around the world are actually part of Apocalypse's mutation-inducing machine (similar to the one in the X-Men film but worldwide).
  • 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.
  • Wham Line: In "Day of Reckoning" Part 2
    Cyclops: (pulling Professor X from his wheelchair) It was YOU! YOU did this!
    Professor X: (laughing, as Mystique's voice emerges) Yes, I did do it.
    (Professor X transforms into Mystique)
    Mystique: And now, things are about to get much worse.
  • 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.
    • Danielle Moonstar is another. Despite having an entire episode focused on her that ends with the implication that she'll join the New Mutants (she's a classic member in the comics), she is never seen again and doesn't return for the finale.
    • Xavier's insane son Legion only appears in one episode, even though he escapes at the end with the implication that he'd become a recurring villain.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: An episode in the third season showed the Xavier Institute mansion being rebuilt by a construction company with the slogan "We keep your secrets."
  • Wild Card: Boom Boom is initially part of the New Mutants, but leaves and lives with the Brotherhood temporarily. She doesn't necessarily count as an enemy, as she still temporarily forms a crime fighting group with the X-girls. After Mystique's return, she leaves the Brotherhood properly and is an occasional ally to the X-Men without actually joining them. As befitting this, she wears her Bayville Sirens outfit when fighting Apocalypse.
  • Wild Teen Party: "Fun and Games" has the kids conspiring to get Scott and Jean out of the way for the night so they can have a party. Xavier was sent away for the time as well, although it turns out it was all arranged by Mystique, as a way to sneak inside the mansion and get Cerebro's files.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Averted. In an astonishing turn for an X-Men adaptation, Evolution's Wolverine was mostly a supporting player due to being an adult on a show where the focus was on the kids. He does get his moments in the spotlight, but never at the expense of other characters.
  • 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.
    • Amusingly enough, the situation was reversed in X-23's debut, in which the whole X-team and the New Mutants suffer from this to X-23, with the exception of Wolverine, who is the only one able to hold his own against her.
    • In Season Four, Jean and Scott both get smacked around by Legion, with Jean's powers unaccountably being nerfed back to season one levels.
    • Magneto gets it from Apocalypse when he uses his powers to seize control of and hurl army vehicles, weapon emplacements, and drags satellites down from orbit to throw at his opponent. Apocalypse shrugs it off like it’s nothing and (apparently) vaporizes Magneto before the X-Men's horrified eyes.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The existence of the mutants is hidden because Professor X believes humans are unready to accept them. When Magneto releases a Sentinel in public at the end of the second season, thus forcing the X-Men to use their powers out in public, the Professor's theory that mutants will not be accepted is proven right.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Avalanche or any of the Brotherhood boys has no problem fighting female members of the X-Men. Though not actually hitting, Avalanche does one better and used his power to create earthquakes to attempt to kill Kitty twice before Season 2 rolls in.
    • The Girls' Night Out Episode "Walk on the Wild Side" has the girls form a vigilante group. When confronted by a chop-shop gang, Amara mockingly reprimands the boss about his mother telling him not to get in fights with girls. He responds it's too bad he never listened.
    • Wolverine fights hand to hand with a possessed Mystique in the series finale. Earlier on, Scott had no problem manhandling her when he discovered she'd impersonated the Professor.
  • Wronski Feint: A more unusual form of this is done to evade missiles and fighter pursuit. Instead of bothering to pull out of the dive, Kitty Pryde phases the entire jet through a mountainside. The missiles crash harmlessly into the rock and the pilots who were in pursuit (not knowing about mutants) swear never to speak of it again.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: Because ex-men just doesn't sound cool enough.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Ignoring the obvious example, Spyke and Berzerker.
  • You Can See That, Right?: Kitty makes the X-jet fly though a mountain.
    Pilot 1: Did you see that?
    Pilot 2: No, and neither did you.
  • You Can Talk?: This happens when Hank is mistaken for Bigfoot and captured. It's particularly funny because Hank is known for his eloquence and habit of quoting Shakespeare.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Early on, Sabertooth had this attitude towards his fighting Wolverine, that eventually one of them would kill the other. It wasn't brought up again after their first fight.
  • You Monster!: Both examples are said towards Magneto.
    • A flashback showed a castle, with Mystique's voice screaming: "Monster! What have you done to him?" and Mystique running out of the castle with an infant Nightcrawler in her arms with Magneto in pursuit. It's hinted that Magneto is somehow responsible for Kurt's fuzzy blue appearance. Or maybe he just circumcised him.
    • Wanda says this to Pietro about their father Magneto when he tries to convince her to see why their father dumped her off in an asylum because she became "unmanageable" when she was seven years old. This sets her off with saying: "Monsters don't have a point of view! And you're just like him! You always were."
  • Younger and Hipper: As noted under "Age Lift", many character who were adults in the comics were reimagined as teenagers and Destiny is remiagined as woman, who at the most is in her 40s.


Video Example(s):



Beast reads hieroglyphics which tell the story of the mutant supervillain Apocalypse.

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Main / AncientEvil

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