Marvel Comics has never lacked having costumed characters doing what they do best, heroics. In the 1990s, Marvel Comics explored these valiant adventures via televised animated series. Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, and The Fantastic Four made their impacts on television.
As excellent as those series were, none made a larger crater of endurance than X-Men: The Animated Series. The series is still revered today as the best rendition of the mutant battalion battling for peace and equality in the world.
10 Jubilee, Camp Counselor
In the 1990s, Jubilee's presence in the animated series was to be the vehicle for the audience. In this case, the audience were children. As the series progressed, the audience aged. So did Jubilee. Season five episode nine solidified that concept.
The premise follows Jubilee's teenage responsibility of being a counselor to children at Xavier's Institute. In the midst of this endeavor, Jubilee and the children are found trapped in a cave they scoped for exploration. It's in this instance that Jubilee must mature and compose herself, in an effort to keep the children calm and alive. She maintains set composure by leading the children to salvation while professing to them a fairy tale of elves, trolls, and thieves.
9 Storm Brewing
The Shadow King is an X-Men villain that is often, no pun intended, overshadowed. Episode three of season two showcases his unforgiving brutality. (Then again with a name like that, he can't help but be evil.) The Shadow King lures Storm out to Africa by possessing her protégé, Mjnari. In a cruel exchange, Storm adheres to Shadow King's request to possess her and release Mjnari.
Storm's selfless sacrifice allows Mjnari to escape unharmed. Storm manages to suffocate Shadow King out of her body. Rogue, Mjnari, and Storm unite against the Shadow King. They must defeat and return him to the astral plane he originally escaped from.
8 Wild Boy Vs. Nature Boy
A vicious skirmish erupts between Wolverine and Ka-Zar. The clash concludes after both men realize they're both seeking retribution from Mr. Sinister for the capture of their respective people. A fierce union dawns between the savage heroes as they travel to Mr. Sinister's citadel with a rescue mission in mind.
7 Morphing Courage
Facing one's fears is always a construction of character. It's also easier said than done when you're facing an element that nearly killed you. That is what Morph, the shapeshifting X-Man, had to endure in "Courage", episode three of season four.
In the season one premiere, the mutant-hunting robots known as Sentinels nearly led Morph to an early grave. Despite his miraculous survival, Morph was manipulated by Mr. Sinister to disassemble the X-Men member by member. He managed to overcome that ordeal.
His return to the X-Men was a welcome one. However, his repressed nightmares become a reality once the X-Men must battle against Mastermold, the robotic mother of the Sentinels.
6 Claws Over Tribes
Unbeknownst to Wolverine, Sabretooth has tracked him down to settle a score. After a draining confrontation, Wolverine is discovered by an Inuit tribe that lacks the knowledge as to what mutants are. What ensues is a battle between two fierce, rabid men with an entire pacifist tribe caught between them.
5 Bishop Takes Apocalypse
Episode eleven of season four capped a four-part story arc entitled "Beyond Good & Evil". The premise followed Apocalypse attempting to grasp and control the essence of time. With that power, he can eradicate and create any portion of time he sees fit. His plan comes to fruition when he puppeteers fellow villains into kidnapping psychic mutants for his bidding.
Once all the psychic mutants are gathered, he will be able to rip time open and manipulate it. The X-Men along with Cable race to put an end to Apocalypse's reign of terror.
Bishop, another time-traveling mutant, finds himself trapped in the nucleus of time. There he finds an opportunity to free the psychic mutants and tear down Apocalypse's scheme.
4 Dealt The Wrong Hand
The Cajun scoundrel member of the X-Men has come under fire amongst his team on several occasions. In season one episode seven, "Slave Island", Gambit's integrity comes into question. Gambit, Storm, and Jubilee's arrival to Genosha is one of rest, relaxation, and entrapment. The Genoshan government has established a sting operation to enslave mutants to utilize and build their Sentinel manufacturing site.
As Jubilee organizes a mutant mutiny and escape, her plans are doused by an informant mole...Gambit. Jubilee and Storm struggle with Gambit's betrayal. However, Gambit's deception is doubled as he escapes Genoshan authorities and returns to rescue the enslaved mutants with the help of Cable, a mutant rebel.
3 Archangel Goes Rogue
The apocalypse is a concept that eradicates all. Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death are the eradicators to Apocalypse. In philosophical terms, this is devastating. In X-Men terms, this is a call for heroes.
In season one episode ten, Apocalypse's intentions are to eradicate humanity and utilize enslaved mutants to accomplish it. The X-Men must put a stop to his horrid mission. In some cases, you must become your enemy, in order to defeat them. Rogue takes this concept to the next level.
She manages to absorb Archangel's wretched hatred. This awakens Archangel's true identity, Warren Worthington III, within him. He defects from Apocalypse's death dynasty and aligns with the X-Men.
2 Unlikely Allies
X-Men: The Animated Series had tremendous bookend episodes to season one. "Night of the Sentinels" was a groundbreaking premiere. Episode thirteen, "The Final Decision", was a satisfying finale to season one. The turmoil and disdain between the X-Men and the Sentinels was well established by this point.
Magneto's involvement elevated the stakes. This is due to the fact that rivals had to align against a common enemy. This draws in excitement and drama to the finale.
The X-Men and Magneto must muster up the fortitude to set their differences aside. All of mutant-kind rests in their hands against cold, unreasoning machines set on their race's destruction.
1 The Plague's End
Social commentary has always been a flagship to anything X-Men related. Episode eight of season two, "Time Fugitives Part II", had a sledgehammer impact within the series.
The time-traveling mutant known as Cable travels to the present day. To ensure his future's existence, Cable must align with Apocalypse and allow his plague upon humanity to spread. The underlying tension within the episode garners from the fact that mutants are being blamed for the plague. Cable devises a plan with Wolverine's aid to save all of humanity.
This allegory feeds into the AIDS epidemic that was running rampant in the 1990s. Homosexuals were the scapegoat to this deadly disease just like mutants were to the plague within this episode. Social commentating heroics are what made X-Men: The Animated Series stand out from the rest. Episodes like this cemented the series' superb quality.