X-Men ’97: Season 1, Episode 3 – “Fire Made Flesh” Review

Warning: this review contains full spoilers for X-Men ‘97: Episode 3!

X-Men ‘97 brings a mix of ‘90s nostalgia and reverence for older X-Men storylines. Episode 2 drew from Uncanny X-Men #200, while Episode 3 dives into the iconic 1989 Inferno storyline. Despite the challenge of condensing such a sprawling plot into a single episode, X-Men ’97 manages to not only do justice to the source material but also enhance it in certain aspects.

X-Men ’97 efficiently compresses a massive crossover event into a single episode by streamlining the narrative. The focus shifts to Madelyne Pryor’s conflict with the X-Men, turning Inferno into a poignant family drama. This shift proves effective, emphasizing the emotional core of the storyline over grand spectacle. The episode delves into themes of identity crisis, love triangle, and manipulation by a supervillain, capturing the essence of the original tale.

While the adaptation moves swiftly, transitioning Madelyne from realization to villainy quite abruptly, it manages to provide a compelling portrayal of a character often overlooked in the comics. The episode showcases the dangerous potential of Jean Grey and highlights Madelyne’s sympathetic nature, painting her as a tragic figure facing a crisis. It cleverly explores the blurred lines between the two characters and offers a bittersweet resolution to Madelyne’s arc.

X-Men ’97 Debut Trailer Images

Image credit: Disney

“Fire Made Flesh” not only does justice to Madelyne but also presents a more nuanced depiction of Cyclops, avoiding the controversial decisions made in the comics. The episode also grants more depth to secondary characters like Morph and Bishop, adding layers to their motivations and hinted at future story arcs. Overall, X-Men ’97 continues to impress with its blend of nostalgia, action sequences, and compelling character dynamics.

What We Thought of X-Men ’97 Episodes 1 and 2

“X-Men ‘97 represents the best kind of nostalgic exercise. It pays loving tribute to the original X-Men: The Animated Series while also smoothing over some of that show’s rough edges. It features a solid voice cast and a vibrant new visual style marked by several spectacular action sequences. It’s also a series that illustrates just how powerful the mutant metaphor is even three decades later. Marvel fans of any age would do well to give X-Men ‘97 a look.” -Jesse Schedeen

Read the rest of IGN’s X-Men ’97: Episode 1 & 2 review.