X-Men '97's newest episode pretty much confirms the worst villain is near

Episode 6 of X-Men '97 revealed that Xavier is alive and well. Fans of the cartoon were thrilled. Fans of New X-men from the turn of the century however feel something very different.
(L-R): Forge (voiced by Gil Birmingham) and Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.
(L-R): Forge (voiced by Gil Birmingham) and Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

Spoilers for episode 6 of X-Men '97 below.

My wife, who never really got into the X-Men comics, watched Episode 6 of X-Men '97 with me when it finally dropped. There's a part in which, very early in the episode, we're thrown right into some space madness involving the Shiar, every Marvel fan's 81st favorite thing in space. While discussing politics and unfortunately phallic hats, Empress Lilandra Neramani informs us that she is to be wed. Suddenly, her husband to be comes out in the most impractical armor imaginable. He lifts the helmet revealing the man inside is Charles Xavier.

When this happened, my wife was surprised and curious where this was going. She was even more curious as to why I suddenly groaned like I was stabbed through the kidneys. I didn't tell her why but if you read the old New X-Men books, you know EXACTLY why. Especially after the events of the previous episode.

This moment pretty much solidifies my theory I mentioned in episode 5 about where the show is going and, once again, it is EXACTLY where I feared it is going. We got ourselves all the pieces to make a hasty remake of "E for Extinction."

X-Men '97 could be adapting a questionable storyline

If you're unfamiliar, that's for the best. "E for Extinction" was a storyline that came from 2001's "New X-Men" books. They were written by Grant Morrison and featured art by Frank Quitely.

Here's the story in a nutshell. A mysterious woman, along with one of the last surviving relatives of Bolivar Trask, find an abandoned Master Mold in Ecuador. She convinces him to activate it and then kills him in a way you will never unsee. She orders the weird, giant bug like Sentinels the machine produces to wipe out the Mutant Island nation of Genosha. Her activity alerts Cyclops and Wolverine who are near on a different mission.

The duo defeat her shortly after she violently kills a young mutant that Cyclops and Wolverine were in the process of trying to save and, upon defeating her, they found out that it's too late and the massive bug like Sentinel had already killed almost the entire population of Genosha. That was several million mutants dead in minutes.

This storyline introduced two major things into X-Men and Marvel lore. First was the concept of secondary mutations. The concept was that over time mutants could develop a secondary power that offsets their first. For some mutants like Emma Frost, it allowed for cool things like being able to turn her entire body into indestructible diamond (Colossus just died and the writers needed a tank). And for some mutants, like Cyclops, they got really lame additions to explain things they did in the past. Yes, Scott Summers was "blessed" with, let me check my notes, a super sense of geometry. This was how they wrote off all the crazy bouncing trick shots of the past.

The second thing this story introduced is the one that got that groan from me earlier. That woman who activated the sentinels was a mysterious bald woman known as Cassandra Nova. From the moment we meet her we find out that she is absolutely filled with extreme hatred and a sociopathic carelessness to who and how she kills. Almost being bored while she absolutely fillets people.

She also turns out to be an exceptionally powerful psychic. There's a good reason for this. She is Charles Xavier's twin sister. Get ready for this next part, because it's, well, something else.

When Charles Xavier was developing in the womb, his mother was invaded by an evil entity known as a mummudrai, a plot-device -- I mean entity -- that exists to become the evil parallel to someone of power. In the womb, Cassandra copied Charles' DNA in order to develop a twin body of her own. Over time, as the eyes and hands developed Charles became aware of the evil entity in the womb and -- I promise I'm not joking -- they fought in the womb. Cassandra tried to choke Charles with his own umbilical cord, but Charles countered with a psychic blast that not only knocked Cassandra back but also knocked his mom down some stairs where it killed Cassandra, causing the body to be stillborn.

Her psychic mummudrai self stayed clinging to the sewer walls, slowly learning how to build a body for itself and mimic human behavior. Eventually she was strong enough to start the whole thing with the Sentinels wiping out Genosha. An event that ended with her apparent death having her neck snapped at the hands of Emma Frost.

X-MEN '97
(L-R): Professor X (voiced by Ross Marquand) and Empress Lilandra (voiced by Morla Gorrondonna) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

Later in the comics, we have this moment in which the Shiar empire announces that the Emperess is going to be marrying Charles Xavier and things are going to change and be a bit different with a focus on Earth. It turns out though that the Empress is being mentally manipulated. By Charles? Nope. See, right before Emma snapped Cassandra's neck, she swapped bodies with her brother Charles. So Charles has, for all this time, been trapped in Cassandra's body on life support, unable to message anyone.

Cassandra Nova, now in charge of the Shiar, got the Imperial Guard to return to Earth with her in order to clear out the remaining mutant population. The X-Men revealed the trickery to Cassandra who responded by casually killing and defeating the Imperial Guard in about two pages. She defeated Gladiator (who's Superman-like powers are based off his confidence levels) by making him think he was useless (and seemingly caused him to wet himself, too). New X-Men was a thing.

Long story short, Cassandra Nova is a plot device who shows up whenever a story doesn't know how to show an event is serious without needing to kill in a violent way. They bring in Cassandra and they're like "look! A bad thing!" And unfortunately it seems like X-Men '97 is absolutely heading down this path with a long-term introduction to the character. So if you think episode 5 was violent for the sake of violence, you haven't seen a thing yet.

Every X-Men member ranked from weakest to strongest. Every X-Men member ranked from weakest to strongest. dark. Next