Imagine, for a moment, that you have been thrown into the middle of a trite, summer blockbuster. The premise of the movie is that aliens have invaded the planet and you now have three days left to save the world. Thanks to a time/space manipulation device and series of purloined Nazi occult spell books left over from WWII, the government enables you to assemble an elite team of special agents from a pool of every possible character known to man (living, dead, or even fictionalized). Your task is to pick seven individuals who will accompany you on your special mission to save the planet in only 72 hours.
Like the idea? It’s a game I like to play by myself whenever I need to kill some time. The “fun” part of this game involves balancing personalities and abilities, as well as creatively re-interpreting your characters into the modern day wartime context. Who might have the best scouting/spying abilities? Rattrap, Pocahontas, or Mata Hari? Who would handle demolitions or chemical weaponry? Who would be a charismatic leader? A disarming decoy? A good morale booster? All these are questions that you should ask yourself while developing a given team roster.
Who would be on your team? Reblog and let me know! The only rule is that you can only grab one person from a specific fandom or series. Real world Earth counts, so no more than one living/dead historical/real world person can be on a single team.
Need some examples? Check out one of my teams!
Kitty Pryde (The X-men Universe)
Phasing has always been my number two favorite mutant power, right behind telekinesis. It’s so versatile. You can us it to infiltrate enemy lines, protect your own troops, outwit enemies in hand-to-hand combat, and even short circuit electronic devices. Kitty would be the best possible recruit for scouting/reconnaissance missions. Plus, she’s super smart and hella cute. (Particularly the Ellen Page version featured in X-3). Oh! And the comic-verse Kitty comes with a bonus pet dragon. Eh? Not too shabby!
Grimlock was sort of like the robotic dinosaur equivalent of Lenny from Of Mice and Men. He’s not particularly bright, and he may be something of danger to himself and others…but underneath that thick hide is a sweet soul that means well. More to the point, he’s a giant dinosaur who can transform into a robot with laser pistols. What’s not to love about any of that? Every team needs some muscle, and given the proper direction, Grimlock would could easily stampede over any competitor.
Dr. Orpheus (The Venture Brothers)
Dr. Orpheus likes his magic like he likes his coffee (BLACK) but he’s still so down-to-earth and funny. Every team should have a magic user and Dr O’s as powerful as they come. His sorcery is pretty versatile, and while he’s given to overly dramatic speeches at times, he always means well and obviously fights for his principles. My sub-in for Dr. O is Luna Lovegood, because she’s my fave Harry Potter character. Shhh! Don’t tell him!
Violet Baudelaire (Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Move over Magyver. Get the hell out of the kitchen, uh, Forge? Violet Baudelaire is in da house. With a can-do spirit, ingenuity out the wah-zoo, and the ability to fashion a mechanical solution to nearly any problem given the most meager materials available, picking Vi was an absolute a no-brainer.
Link (The Legend of Zelda)
Link is our weapons expert. Anyone who ever played one Zelda game knows that this bee-atch has a bottomless Mary Poppins bag of goodies that he has to use/master throughout the course of a given game. He’s not much of a talker, but he’s still the epitome of hero in my eyes. Courage to spare! Plus, he’s a swordsmen, bomb expert, fisher, and musician (No! I didn’t forget about the Ocarina!)
Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Speaking of heroes…I normally like to make my selections a little more indie, more like sideline characters who don’t get the praise they deserve; the not-quite-so-obvious-badasses. But like Link, Buffy just has heroine written all over her. She’s clever, resilient, a fighter, a leader, self-sacrificing, and just an all around good person. I would trust her judgment in a crisis. I would look to her to make the hard decisions. Buffy just…Buffy rules.
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Atticus is charming southern lawyer. He has powers of deductive reasoning and persuasion. He’s definitely more of a Professor X, planner-type strategist guy rather than a team member who would enter the fray immediately. But that’s not to say he’s useless off the battlefield. Readers of Harper Lee’s novel will recall that Mr. Finch is also got dead-eye shot, so if you need someone to hit a specific target (and every trite summer blockbuster does require a bulls-eye moment) then Atticus is your man! He and Buffy are my defacto team leaders.
When it originally aired, I was very skeptical of Wolverine and The X-men. I thought that the show’s “gimmick” (setting up Wolverine as a leader surrogate in Prof. X’s absence) was a horrible concept. It felt like it was only meant to serve as a tie-in to the most recent X-movie release (Origins: Wolverine). Also, I didn’t like the new character designs at all. Toad looked too monstrous, Kitty had pigtails, and Cyclops’ new outfit made him look like a penis in a trench coat. Fact.
But after watching X-Men: First Class, I found myself majorly jonesing for some new X-material. I had read a handful of decent reviews about the show, saw this DVD set on sale at the store, and I said to myself: “Eh, why not just buy it? What’s the worse that can happen?”
And I am SO glad that I did.
Folks, “Wolverine and the X-Men” is not just a TV show. It is an epic. And despite Scott Summers’ horrible new phallic wardrobe, it is a purchase that will not disappoint you.
The show has a complex mythology with shoutouts to some of the best storylines from the X-Men universe. You’ve got the Phoenix force causing trouble (natch), the Sentinel project, Mojo and his weird television programming, Sinister’s genetic experiments, Magneto’s mutant paradise, Genosha, The Legacy Cure, everything!
In the past, other X-Shows did cover these storylines, but they were usually depicted in arcs that would span two to three consecutive episodes. Then, the show would move on to another stand-alone episode or arc, which created this feeling of segmentation within a given season.
WATXM really shines in that it feels like a huge movie stretched out over many episodes rather than a series of compartmentalized stories. The effect may not sound significant, but interweaving the arcs in this way takes a whole lot more planning, finesse, and foresight. It actually reminded me of Buffy, where seeds of intrigue are planted, slowly grow during the course of the season, and are finally harvested in a satisfying conclusion wherein all the main storylines converge and the ending beautifully recalls the beginning. Gorgeous.
It’s the narrative equivalent of a dinner, a movie, foreplay, and intercourse rather than a single wham/bam/thank you ma’am moment.
It’s the whole package.
Unfortunately, this narrative strength is probably the same thing that hindered the show’s reception to newcomers trying to keep up with the plot while it was on the air. I can’t imagine the complexity or non-linearity made the show any more accessible to the 8-12 year-olds that it was marketed to. A rotten shame that it wasn’t picked up for a second season!
If you can’t buy it…beg, borrow, or steal.
4 Out Of 5 Stars