Episode #15: Hunting Grounds
Original Airdate - August 7th, 2009

Nightcrawler who is already a captive on Genosha is kidnapped along with Wanda. They have been taken by Spiral to Mojo’s “Hunting Grounds”, an underwater dome where the aim of the game is to stay alive. Nightcrawler and Wanda are playing for their lives as they dodge and dash their deadly opponents, the Reavers. Nightcrawler is almost feeling the gentlemanly hero until Mojo releases his ‘guest hunter’, Wolverine who has been kidnapped, brainwashed and forced to play against the pair. Their only chance for survival is to somehow remove the mind-controlling cybernetic headgear he has on. After a few heavy blows, Nightcrawler succeeds and releases Wolverine from Mojo’s mental grasp but only as the done fills with water. Nightcrawler manages to open a hatch and escape with Wanda and a passed out Wolverine. They confront Mojo who cowers at their powers. They commandeer the Wildways and take Wanda back to Genosha. Magneto doesn’t want to let Nightcrawler and Wolverine leave Genosha for fear they will tell the world’s mutants about the prisoners he has there, but Wanda insists. She is sad to see Nightcrawler, her hero go.

Story by Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle, Chris Yost
Written By Max Botkin
Directed by Nick Filippi
Music by Dean Grinsfelder
Animation By Noxxon Entertainment

Steve Blum as Wolverine
Grey DeLisle as as Spiral
Liam O'Brien as Nightcrawler
Kieren van den Blink as Rogue
Yuri Lowenthal as Iceman

Review: Arsenal - I have said before that episodes focusing on a single X-person do not work. That rule does not apply to Nightcrawler. Every combat scene in which he appears is staged beautifully. His voice actor is nuanced and spot-on. He works even when he’s fighting C-listers like Mojo and Spiral.

Furthermore, he and Scarlet Witch have enjoyable romantic tension that is less forced than the Iceman/Kitty flirtation.

Sure, Wolverine gets shoehorned in here and the rest of the team only makes a courtesy appearance, but it all works.

This episode is a direct sequel to X-Calibre, one of the best episodes of the season. Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch spar with Spiral and a brainwashed Wolverine. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch and Nightcrawler argue over whether lethal force is ever acceptable.

Most importantly, it still manages to be fun. This show takes itself seriously, sometimes too seriously. In that way, it is the mirror opposite of Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes.

But the show does a better job of juggling in the comedy when Kurt appears. With Nightcrawler ostensibly joining the main cast at this episode’s conclusion, I hope to see more of him.


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