Subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!
X-Men ‘97: Can Heroes Retire? • Superhero Ethics • Episode 300

X-Men ‘97: Can Heroes Retire?

Matthew Fox and Riki Hayashi are joined by Will Freeland and Steve Stormoen from the Hype Is My Superpower podcast to dive deep into the complex themes and character arcs of X-Men ‘97. The animated series revival has reignited discussions about tolerance, activism, and the challenges of retiring from the superhero life.

The conversation kicks off with an exploration of the idea of superheroes retiring, focusing on Cyclops and Jean Grey’s attempt to take a break from the X-Men to raise their child. The group discusses the real-world parallels to activist burnout and the importance of self-care in the face of never-ending battles for justice.

The discussion then shifts to the show’s handling of love triangles and whether they serve the story or feel like lazy writing. The hosts and guests also debate the line between fan service and telling an original story, questioning how much can be changed before it no longer feels like an authentic X-Men tale.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking segment of the episode centers around the meaning of the phrase “tolerance is extinction.” The group explores the differences between mere tolerance and true belonging, and how this relates to the struggle for mutant rights in the X-Men universe.

Other topics covered in this engaging conversation include:

  • Is Morph in love with Wolverine, and what does this mean for the character’s gender identity?
  • How accessible is X-Men ‘97 to newcomers, and is it okay for a show to cater primarily to long-time fans?
  • What role does Professor X’s commitment to nonviolence play in the story, and how does it compare to Magneto’s more radical approach?
  • Should the X-Men allow characters like Cyclops to retire and pursue their personal dreams?
Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.