The Marvel Comics Roots of X-MEN ’97’s Most Intense Episode Yet

Spoiler Alert

The fifth episode of X-Men ’97, titled “Remember It,” was a true shocker that left fans with their jaws on the floor. In this chapter, not long after the mutant country of Genosha is recognized as a sovereign nation by the UN, a giant celebration is held, with members of the X-Men in attendance. We’re witness to a grand ball, with many happy mutants dancing the night away. Then, tragedy strikes. A giant Sentinel, bigger than any seen before, appears above the island and lays waste to it. Thousands are killed, if not more , including Magneto and Gambit. This harrowing moment, which left viewers speechless, is also one lifted straight from early 2000s era Marvel comics.

The Sentinel Attack on Genosha Is From NEW X-MEN by Grant Morrison

The destruction of Genosha by Sentinel attack, from 2001's New X-Men #114.
Marvel Comics

Starting in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run in 2001, many things about Marvel’s mutant team were reinvented. Morrison thought X-Men lore had become stagnant. So the creative team made some drastic changes. Grant made the X-Men into public figures, letting the whole world know that their home base was Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. This is something we see in X-Men ’97. Genosha, once a slave state for mutantkind, has become a free nation and home for mutants from all over the globe. Under Magneto’s leadership, it becomes the haven for some 16 million mutants. But in 2001’s New X-Men #114, a gigantic “Wild Sentinel” arrives above the island and kills nearly every inhabitant—a brutal genocidal act.

In the Comics, Cassandra Nova Sent the Sentinel to Destroy Genosha

The attack on Genosha from Cassandra Nova's Wild Sentinel.
Marvel Comics

We learn that this Wild Sentinel, built by a lost Master Mold and made of metal junk, was sent by Cassandra Nova, Charles Xavier’s evil twin, to destroy his dream. She becomes the primary antagonist of Morrison’s New X-Men run, which lasted through 2004. The Genoshan genocide is a serious blow to the mutant community, wiping out a significant portion of their population in one fell swoop. It’s one that haunts them for decades. It also marked the first time that the mutant race would form a country of their own, but not the last. Years later, the mutants would form a new homeland, the living island of Krakoa.

The Genoshan Genocide in X-MEN ’97

The Sentinel attacking Genosha in the X-Men '97 episode Remember It
Marvel Animation

So how different is the X-Men ’97 version of events? The Wild Sentinel design looks extremely similar to the one designed by Frank Quitely for New X-Men. Unlike the comics, however, we don’t know who sent this weapon of mass destruction to Genosha. In the comics, it was Cassandra Nova as we mentioned. The series has yet introduce her, however. Could it be Mister Sinister? He’s the supposed “Big Bad’ of the season. We should note that when Cable appeared to his mother Maddie before the destruction, he told her “He’s coming.” Who is “He?” It could be Sinister or perhaps Apocalypse. He might use a Sentinel to cull the weak mutants from the strong, as he often did in the comics. We know someone sent that gigantic Sentinel, we just don’t know who yet.

The Wild Sentinel destorys most of Genosha in the X-Men '97 episode Remember It.
Marvel Animation

Another nod to the comics is that Magneto appeared to die in the destruction of Genosha, something the animated show also did. But of course, Magneto actually lived, and we expect to see the Master of Magnetism appear again on X-Men ’97 before too long. In comic books and soap operas, if there’s not a visible body, they ain’t dead. In the case of the X-Men, even if there is a body, they are still likely not dead. Hopefully, by the end of this season, we’ll discover who where exactly this Super Sentinel came from. And we will have to see how mutantkind recovers from this devastating attack.

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