X-Men ‘97’s Big Bad is a Deep Cut With a Lot of Potential

Beware, X gon’ give it to our heroes.


X-Men ‘97 is bringing the classic Saturday morning cartoon to Disney+, and with that comes all the hallmarks of the original animated series: multi-part stories, a fun variety of villains, and tie-in action figures galore. But the show is also introducing a new character from the comic books, and he’s an obscure baddie with a sinister twist that adds an intriguing layer to this latest mutant adventure.

The ‘97 action figures are already on their way, and the most surprising one is of The X-Cutioner. That’s the alter ego of Carl Denti, an FBI agent who took it upon himself to become a vigilante mutant hunter after seeing the extent of the damage the X-Men have caused in their battles. It’s a solid premise for a villain, but he only appeared 22 times in Marvel comic books. Now, however, it appears he’s coming back for X-Men ‘97.

X-Men ‘97’s episode list.

Marvel Animation

The X-Cutioner premiered in April 1993’s Uncanny X-Men Annual #17, where he essentially served as the walking equivalent of a clip show. He’s a baddie equipped with much of the gear and weapons sported by X-Men villains past, which in the comics meant a bunch of alien tech. His action figure, however, is armed with a lance and an arm cannon, both of which look like a bad time.

Fittingly, it appears The X-Cutioner will face off against the X-Men in the Season 1 finale, as Marvel announced X-Men ‘97 Season 1 would end with a three-part arc called “Tolerance is Extinction,” a fitting summation of the villain’s philosophy.

The X-Cutioner, a conglomerate of previous villains, in Uncanny X-Men Annual #17.

Marvel Comics

The X-Cutioner may be a deep cut for X-Men ‘97, but this is a series leaning heavily on nostalgia and history. His gimmick of adopting the gear of other villains makes him a walking collection of Easter eggs, and his character could tie together episodes of both X-Men ‘97 and X-Men: The Animated Series.

His motivations also suggest that Marvel is doubling down on a classic X-Men trope: political fearmongering and anti-mutant prejudice getting in the way of the greater good. It’s what the comics have explored in the recent Fall of X event, and the MCU touched on it with the anti-alien sentiment expressed at the end of Secret Invasion. It’s a crucial part of the X-Men story, and this villain choice proves it’s not going anywhere.

The X-Cutioner is like a distillation of Disney+’s strategy for bringing the X-Men to a new generation, while also appealing to an old one. It incorporates elements from the past that people will recognize and enjoy, but it also digs up hidden gems that even hardcore fans might not recognize. And if you’re brand new, well, “guy who wants to stop the X-Men” should be easy enough to understand.

X-Men ‘97 premieres March 20 on Disney+.

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