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REVIEW: Wolverine and the X-Men

Everybody's
favorite super-team is back on the small screen with Wolverine and the X-Men.
Nicktoons is launching its new animated series just in time to whet appetites
for the May theatrical X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The
action starts just before an attack on the Xavier Institute scatters the X-Men
and leaves Professor X and Jean Grey missing. Fast-forward one year, and
Wolverine has taken to the road in an attempt to stay under the radar of the
government's Mutant Response Division. Its function is to round up mutants who
are defying the Mutant Registration Act (a storyline familiar to those who grew
up with the comic book in the 1980s).

Wolverine
returns to the ruined institute at Graymalkin
Lane and finds Beast hidden away, trying to find
out what exactly happened to the Professor and Jean. Together, Wolverine and
Beast try to reassemble the X-Men team.

Unlike
some past renderings of the X-Men story, Wolverine and the X-Men
seems to stick close to its comic book source. The heroes and villains,
including Colossus, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Storm and Cyclops, as
well as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, are all familiar to fans of the title.
There isn't any attempt, at least in the first two episodes, to create new
characters for the show (anybody remember Morph from Fox's animated X-Men
series of the early 1990s?). The show also seems to be building up to a
storyline about Genosha.

The
series softens the image of the X-Men's poster boy, Wolverine, presumably for
the kids, But there is still enough bad ass in him to keep viewers interested.
Overall, the series is satisfying for fans of the X-Men - though fans of Beast
might be disappointed by his portrayal.

Nicktoons, Friday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m. 

-
Eric J. Smith