A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this chapter in the popular X-Men saga focuses specifically on the conflict between mutants -- people who've developed superpowers -- and the humans who fear them. Though it's aimed at kids and is age-appropriate for tweens overall, the series has a lot of depth and covers some fairly complex, adult themes (injustice, discrimination, fear of those who are different, etc.). Expect plenty of cartoon violence -- although, as in most animated shows, hardly anyone actually gets hurt.
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What's the story?
In WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, the long-simmering conflict between mutants and humans has erupted into all-out war. Mutants have been declared a menace to society, and when Professor Xavier (voiced by Jim Ward) disappears in a mysterious attack that destroys their headquarters, the X-Men decide to disband. After a year on the run, Wolverine (Steve Blum) returns to coax his former teammates to come out of hiding and rebuild their group of powerful heroes. But he faces a new world -- in which the Mutant Response Division is hunting down his fellow mutants and a band of mutant criminals, the Brotherhood, is planning a series of terrorist-style strikes aimed at the anti-mutant government forces.
Is it any good?
The mutant-human conflict in the X-Men stories has always served as a metaphor for racism, and by placing this issue front and center, the series makes it clear to even young viewers what can happen when intolerance is taken to the extreme. With mutants -- and sometimes even their human supporters -- being rounded up for no obvious crime, the X-Men are forced to be heroes in a world that doesn't seem to want them. It provides a fascinating backdrop to the story and gives the developing plotlines more urgency.
Though aimed at kids, Wolverine and the X-Men has enough depth to appeal to older fans of the popular Marvel Comics franchise as well. The characters are well-developed, with unique personalities and conflicting needs that are true to the themes developed in the comic books and lend themselves to generating plenty of drama. The animation is excellent, and the stories are much more nuanced than the average animated action show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether cartoon violence has the same impact as live-action violence. Why or why not?
In the show, mutants have been declared criminals simply because they're mutants. Is that fair? Are the show's anti-mutant laws similar to any real-life laws -- either now or in the past?
Some of the mutants actually are criminals; do you think that's because of the laws against them? Or do some mutants choose to become criminals just as some regular people do?
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