X-Men ’97 1×06 Review: “Lifedeath – Part 2”

X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 6 'Lifedeath - Part 2' Review
Storm gets a makeover in ‘Lifedeath – Part 2’ (Image: X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 6)

X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 6, titled ‘Lifedeath – Part 2’, offered a conclusion to Storm’s internal turmoil while also placing Professor X back on the gameboard.

I need to begin by saying that I expected ‘Lifedeath – Part 2’ to be a Storm-focused episode. We still got to see a lot of Ororo Munroe scenes. However, the screentime allotted to the conclusion to her “depowered” arc was shared by the writing team checking in on Professor X and having him decide to return to Earth after learning about the devastating Genosha attack.

I don’t know how to feel about Storm’s iconic ‘Lifedeath’ storyline sharing space with Jubilee’s mini-story in episode 4 and now with Xavier. Can’t Ororo have an episode all to herself? Hmmm.

Anyway, let’s cover the Charles Xavier stuff before talking about Storm’s development. Xavier’s romance with Lilandra was going strong. However, it was still clear that he missed Earth and his X-Men. I liked how Lilandra called him out during one of their conversations. Even though Xavier worked hard to ensure coexistence, he wasn’t above being manipulative to try and get what he wanted.

With the Shi’ar being at war with the Kree and political tensions running high, Lilandra and Xavier announced their upcoming wedding to give the Shi’ar community something positive to look forward to. However, the general public was not into their Empress marrying someone from Earth. The term used by the Shi’ar to describe humans was Terran. Not only that but mutants were considered a lower class than the average human by the Shi’ar. Sigh! The X-Men. No matter where they went, they still faced discrimination one way or another.

I kind of understand where the Shi’ar were coming from for not wanting Lilandra to marry a guy from Earth. They were very concerned about Xavier’s true loyalty. Even though their disdain came across as rude, it did make sociopolitical sense to me. The Shi’ar were about conquering other planets. Not creating allegiances.

I enjoyed watching the drama Lilandra’s sister Deathbird stirred up. Hearing her refer to Earth as the Milky Way Ghetto made me burst out laughing. Also, in a way, she’s a mutant of her species due to having wings and more avian-like features. I would have liked more discussion about that.

Deathbird’s suggestion to have Xavier wipe his Earthbound memories to cement his allegiance to the Shi’ar Empire made sense even though it was clear that Deathbird was taking things a bit too far to make a move against Lilandra’s throne. Deathbirth wanted her sister gone.

Xavier using his impressive psychic abilities to talk to Lilandra, Deathbird, and a bunch of other characters in the astral plane made for an interesting visual. Xavier’s defining character trait has always been being a teacher, even though he’s a faulty one. I think the writers did a good job of focusing on Xavier’s teaching style (he basically called the Shi’ar students colonists to their faces) and how he’s always trying to find a compromise.

Xavier seeing Gambit’s death cut the teaching session short and the trauma of losing a major X-Men as well as other mutants pushed him to return to Earth even if it meant breaking things off with Lilandra. Now, the fact that Xavier saw Gambit’s death in the astral plane and not Magneto’s (someone he’s extremely close with) does make me think that Erik’s still alive out there. I guess we will find out soon enough.

I’m looking forward to seeing Xavier coming back to Earth (remember that the general public thinks he’s dead) and what kind of approach he will take now that things have become darker for mutantkind. Also, while their romance has been put on hold, I wouldn’t be surprised if an upcoming storyline involved Lilandra giving birth to her and Xavier’s daughter Xandra. And yes, I know Xandra was somewhat recently introduced in the comics. But the X-Men 97 team has been playing fast and loose with certain storylines. So, anything can happen.

Talking about Storm, the Adversary continued to toy around with her and Forge. A weakened Forge was able to use magic (his mother used to practice it) to banish the demon. But you knew it would come back. It wanted Storm. I liked how Forge’s spell resembled the patterns of Doctor Strange’s spellwork in the MCU.

Ororo’s journey to try and find a medicinal plant to treat Forge’s wound had her face her claustrophobia and her inner demons. From what I could understand, the Adversary was a physical manifestation of Storm’s fears. Her sense of loss had either given birth to the current version of the Adversary or had somehow summoned it from a demonic realm.

Whatever the case, I was so here for the writers exploring Ororo’s internal struggle and the pressure she’s been under. I liked the explanation the writers gave about why Ororo mentioned to Jean about wanting to live life as a human during the two-episode premiere. Being an X-Men is tough. Storm was understandably tired and she thought turning human would finally allow her to take a break. Ororo didn’t fear dying. She feared living a life where she couldn’t be true to herself.

But as they say, heavy the head that wears the crown. Superpowered beings like Storm don’t have the luxury to ignore the world around them. They have a responsibility to play their part in safeguarding others. Ororo accepting her fate is what allowed her to repower herself and finally defeat the Adversary.

I had been wondering about the route the creative team was going to take to give Ororo her powers back. Were they going to make Forge use a machine or have Storm tap into her Godhead instead? As a Storm fan, I have to say that I’m very satisfied with the writers taking the Godhead route. Turns out, it wasn’t the anti-mutant weapon blocking Storm’s powers, it was her insecurities. Such a development linked back to the comic book canon of Ororo being strong enough to overpower anti-mutant collars and having the ability to gain divine power when needed.

You can’t depower an Omega-level Mutant Goddess. And as we have seen in other stories out there, Mother Nature will always triumph over human technology.

Storm’s newfound confidence in herself not only allowed her to vanquish the Adversary, but she also got a new outfit and regrew her hair. What’s the logic behind the sudden hair growth and new wardrobe? Again, we’re talking about an Omega-level Mutant Goddess with a potent magical heritage. Just enjoy how awesome she looks.

@thegeekiary #xmen97 #storm Season 1 Episode 6 #ororomunroe #xmen97series #xmen97show #xmen97animatedseries #mutants #goddess ♬ original sound – The Geekiary

Forge and Ororo got to learn about the attack on Genosha via a news report on the TV. Of course, Ororo will be making her way back to the team ASAP. And with Charles also on his way to Earth, I can’t wait to see the shift in the team dynamic.

The closing moments showed Trask running away from Sinister. Apparently, Sinister’s the mastermind behind the attack on Genosha and he’s got a lot more up his sleeves. Frankly, I can never take Sinister seriously as a villain. It didn’t work in the recent X-Men comic books and I don’t think it will work in the animated series. But let’s see. Maybe the writers will surprise me.

Did you watch X-Men 97 season 1 episode 6 ‘Lifedeath – Part 2’? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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