Comic Books Magazine

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

By Reaf @WCReaf

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

These reviews look at a single episode of a show, usually an incredibly silly one, and go through it bit by bit looking at each stupid moment in turn. As well as poking fun, adding sarcastic comments to the mix, and over thinking ever minor detail. This time we’re looking at a more recent cartoon, the 2009 Iron Man: Armored Adventures show, with some special guest stars in: The X-Factor!

Some background: This is the second season of the cartoon they made to capitalise on the popularity of the Iron Man movie, but there were a few flaws with that idea. See if you can guess what they were. The show is about a teenage Tony Stark “loosing” his father, their company, and having to go to high school, a supposed prestigious “Academy of Tomorrow” private school for rich smart kids. Along with his friends Pepper Potts (who is on a perpetual sugar high) and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (who eventually became War Machine), he fights supervillains. It’s also CGI that’s only redeeming features are the armor designs, most of the time that is. Also this was made by Chris Yost and Josh Fine, the guys behind Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (well till about halfway through season 2) which just proves either good creators can still suck or everyone has at least one good story in them (and sometimes only one). Depending on if you liked their other works or not.

Show continuity: The only thing you really need to know is that the previous episode Tony the Extremis upgrade, while butchering that excellent Warren Ellis comic, it gives him a healing factor and can let him access computers with his brain. Although the most he uses it for in the show is to put his armor on without him having to move.

After all that semi-meaningless build-up let’s get on with:

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

I miss the full screen titles but at least it’s not in the top corner, I suppose

So we begin at night with Iron Man walking into a car park as Pepper watches on a monitor back at their home base. We’re also introduced to Pepper’s annoying habit of verbalising every thought that comes into her hyperactive brain. She calls the place creepy and says, “It’s like Dawn of the Zombies” wow they can’t even name check Dawn of the Dead. Not that it even makes sense since all it is is an empty car park at night, hardly zombie flick reference there.

Tony exposits that there’s weird magnetic fluctuations around the place and that he’s found them all over the city, but it’s strongest there. So why is he there exactly? Sure it’s a weird sciencey thing, but surely there are better things he could be doing than flying around in the Iron Man armor looking for magnetic fluctuations. This isn’t Star Trek. Apparently it is as he enters the dark parking structure the magnetic fluctuations start messing with his systems so he can’t scan for people or engage nightvision/infrared. Pity he doesn’t have a superpower that lets him get access to the security system and cameras. Nope that wouldn’t be useful at all right now.

So he switches on the “arc light” as a flashlight. The Unibeam that comes out of chest doubles as a flashlight? Sure, why not. Though if his systems are so messed up then surely the regular HUD vision would be just as screwed up, so adding extra light wouldn’t help. Then he sees someone with a metal girder wrapped around him.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Dude, how much did I have last night?

As Iron Man tries to wake the guy up someone in red and purple armor comes up behind him calling him a “pitiful homosapien” with armor that mimics the powers of “his kind.” Wait a minute, the episode’s called “The X-Factor”, the bad guy’s in red and purple, calls people homosapien, I’ve got it! He’s Mr Sinister from the X-Men!

Well whoever he is he waves his hand and Iron Man flies out of the building and into a garbage truck. That’s for some reason parked in the middle of the night that’s half a load full. Now I’m no expert but don’t the garbage trucks get rid of their loads at the end of the day, not parked in the middle in some random back ally? Oh well inaccuracies are so worth it for an Iron Man lying in garbage gag, right?

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Its times like this Tony wishes he drank

After that teaser we get the opening titles, which are just some stock clips played over a decent enough rock track. And would you look at that, Jeph Loeb is listed as an executive producer. I thought this was made before he came onboard at Marvel TV. I suppose he might’ve just come on for season 2. Not that it matters since it’s not like he could make the show any worse than it already was. That wasn’t a sarcastic comment, by the way, just a fact.

After the opening we find out that the guy tied up from the teaser is Simon Trask, who made a “Humanity Now coalition” that is protesting mutants. In the comics Simon is the brother of Bolivar Trask the man who made the Sentinels, aka the giant impractical mutant killing robots. Simon ran an anti-mutant group called “Humanity’s Last Stand” in the comics. So I can’t fault them on the show for its comic cameos, not that I need another thing to fault it on.

Tony’s watching this news report on his ‘NotiPhone’ in class. Not sure why he’s playing it through the speakers, not through headphones, since any decent teacher worth their salt would’ve taken it away the second he started playing it. As soon as he stops watching it Pepper, who’s sat right next to him, comments on his smell because of his dumpster dive the night before. Rhodey, who’s sitting behind them, now covers his nose and complains about it too.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

After the third time this happened they stopped believing the excuses for the whisky smell

If the smell is that bad you shouldn’t only be able to smell it when someone else points it out to you. Tony says he showered nineteen times and that, “you can’t get that smell out of Polyresin iron.” Really? They’re really saying Iron Man is made out of iron? It’s just a moniker, not what he’s literally made from. Captain America’s surname wasn’t actually America, and also in the early comics he wasn’t even a Captain. I’ll get into why it being made of a polyresin is stupid later on. Also Tony, you know what you need to get that smell out? Tomato juice. The only thing that works.

Back to the main plot Tony wonders about who could have that kind of tech to do that to him and just vanish when he came back. He also tells Rhodey that Simon Trask is a, “big time anti-mutant activist. Wants to identify and control mutants.” “control” is a bit much there as it implies he wants them to used for things like warfare. Which is pretty much the opposite stance of the usual ‘we want to make sure mutants can’t hurt the normal people’ anti-mutant stance.

“What is this, the 1950s?” Ah Rhodey, for a minute there I thought we were going to get a nice nuanced look at bigotry of mutants from how the real world civil rights era was. But then Pepper opens her mouth, “Well I kinda want to know if someone has the power to like fry my brain, or something, there’s a lot of evil mutants out there. What’s wrong with at least identifying them?” Rhodey asks her if she wants them ostracised, segregated even, and she quietens down saying she doesn’t want them segregated, just identified. Which would lead to segregation, but that’s besides the point here.

It’s that Pepper, who has admired and is friendly to all the superheroes they’ve met in the show, including the Hulk, is the one who’s the mouth piece anti-mutant character. They could’ve had her be against mutants because of all the supervillains that have nearly killed them. But that would’ve been sensible and we couldn’t have that. This is the episode right after Tony got superpowers, by the way, so he could hack every computer with his mind if he wanted to. He could erase her entire existence, frame her for every crime on the planet, or just spam her with porn for the rest of her life. But that line of argument is never brought up, as usual since everyone hates mutants but man made superpowers are fine. It’s nice that they tried having one of the main cast have those viewpoints as it shows a little more care about the subject, but when it’s having the character forget about all her previous experiences it’s just stupid.

Anyway after Rhodey’s impassioned segregation speech the teacher tells them to settle down as she introduces a new student, Annie Claremont. Cute they named her after Chris Claremont, the most influential X-Men writer.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Annie just doesn’t sound right for a redhead like her

She shyly says she doesn’t know what to say, then the idiot right behind her says she has nice clothes “from loserville” and all the class laugh at her. Really, that’s not an exaggeration. That school deserves a better class of bully. The teacher doesn’t even say anything about it. Private schools really are a waste of money.

During this Rhodey whispers to Tony that she’s cute and Pepper comments that she has a “snobby, stuck up, better-than-thou attitude” Where’d you pull that from Pepper? Did you accidentally read the description of Obadiah Stane’s daughter by mistake? How’d you go from shy girl to Lindsay Lohan? Also Annie’s really a mutant, a shocker I know, and isn’t it great writing that the people who hate mutants already hate her for no reason since none of them know that at this point? Can’t even have the characters changing their opinions of her when they learn that, can we?

After class Tony’s trying to stuff random crap in his locker as he talks about how Extremis is giving him all these great ideas and how he’s already sold some of them. Name checking Pym and the Baxter Building (Ant-Man and the Fantastic Four, true believers). Things about them making their own start-up company called “Stark Solutions” that never come to any sort of head. None of that matters to the episode or the overall show, so moving on. Annie’s back to being picked on by that idiot from class. He’s trying to take her bag, for some reason. Why? Well maybe he just wants to get into her pants. I’ve known dumber, and creepier, guys than him that have done stupider things to get a girls attention.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

There are better ways to ask a girl out

She tells him no means no and telekinetically pushes him back onto the lockers, then slamming him with locker doors making him fall on his arse. Students gather round to literally point and laugh at him, and then he calls her a mutant and runs away. Which causes the crowd to go “ew” and actually back away from her like she cooties (if this show’s going to be immature then it doesn’t deserve a proper infectious disease). If she can knock him back with locker doors it’s funny, but if she’s a mutant then suddenly they’d better stay away from that weird kid. This is why mutants and the Marvel Universe don’t mix, superpowers are cool, unless they’re natural then suddenly everyone hates you. Consistency, what’s that?

Annie runs away from them and right past Tony and friends. Pepper does her ‘maybe we should keep our distance from the cooties’ bit she’ll be doing for the rest of the episode. Rhodey and Tony just ignore her and walk past, following Annie. They end up on the roof and introduce themselves to her, with Rhodey weirdly hitting on her and Pepper asking, “are you one of them?” You know Pepper if you’re so afraid of mutants then just let Tony and Rhodey go talk to her on their own. She shows no sign that she’s doing it because she’s afraid of what Annie might do to them, she’s just following because that’s her role in this show, to follow the boys around.

They say they aren’t freaked out by her being a mutant, except for Pepper’s grumblings, and want to meet up with her outside of school to talk. So we cut to them talking in a diner and they tell her she can trust them and not be afraid, and apparently she’s not afraid anymore. She end displays her powers by floating some things around the table.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Mutant floor shows are the best

It all comes to end with a cliché record scratch as she says she can also read minds. She explains that’s why she trusts them, because she read their minds and found out who they are when they play dress up. “I didn’t mean to pry into your mind; I just don’t trust people very often.” Which she says looking at Pepper. Also she clearly did mean to pry, she might not have liked to do it, but that’s not what she said. And this would’ve been the perfect time for Pepper to say something about not trusting mutants since they can casually invalid people’s most private thoughts, and she’d actually have a good point. But she doesn’t say anything because the writers don’t want her to make a good point.

Annie exposits that she’s trying to find a school for gifted mutants, but there are other mutants that want her for their own cause because they hate normal people and think a war is coming. That she had to run away from home so they wouldn’t find her family. So why enrol in a New York private high school? How she did it if she’s a run away is another question, but stupid plot contrivance never slowed this show down. It’s just why do it if you’re on the run, since the objective of that is to run, not stay in one place where they can find you.

Before Annie can explain more a familiar figure appears outside the window and starts floating all the cars in the air. Tony asks if the guy chasing her wears red and purple, a metal helmet (which she explains protects him from mental powers), and can control magnetism. We then get a ‘dun dun DUNNN!’ as Annie says, “Oh no, it’s HIM. It’s, Magneto!” and cut to commercial as he throws a car at them. Damnit, I was hoping for Mr Sinister.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

I am Magneto, master of magnet!

Back from the ad break we see the car didn’t even smash the table they were at. Man those New York City diners are made of sterner stuff. So let’s talk about that costume for a second. One of the show’s strong points, and there aren’t many, is the armor designs they give the villains. Which given they’re Iron Man villains it’s a much needed improvement. But along the way they just decided that all of them should be in armour, because that was easier for them. So we get a Magneto costume that is all armor and looks pretty stupid. Also no cape because it’s a CGI show and modelling capes for animation is for people who don’t need sleep for a few years.

They all run out of the diner and Magneto exposits that the iron in Annie’s blood is unique so once he’s close he can track her anywhere. Really? You couldn’t think of anything stupider than that? And of course he follows that up with an “I can track you like a lion tracks a Gisele” cliché line. Oh Mags, what have they done to you. I long for the subtly of the 80s cartoon pilot.

So they run off into an ally way and, surprise surprise, you can’t outrun a guy who can fly. But Tony slips into another back ally to change into Iron Man because he’s got the suit in his backpack. No, seriously.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Taking good ideas from the movies and making them lame since 2009

Or more precisely his suit is his backpack, which must be really heavy, and I think they did it before the second movie did, which was just an idea form the comics anyway, but it’s still very lame. So as Tony suits up the others are getting hemmed in by Magneto and Annie’s telekinesis isn’t stopping him from moving lots of cars at them. Just as he’s closing in Iron Man flies in and punches him away, delivering a rather weak, ‘and that was me pulling my punch’ one liner.

Magneto gets to introduce himself and say “you, my friend, are largely made of iron.” A) Writers it’s just a moniker, something that sounds cool, Batman is not made of bats. 2) Polyresin iron is, for simplicities sake, plastic with iron mixed in so you shouldn’t be able control it that much (also the “titanium gold alloy” from the movies is nonmagnetic too). And £) This is more accurate to what should be happening, which is just sad. Dear Marvel writers, learn that just because it’s metal doesn’t mean magnets affect it.

But no Mags just throws Iron Man around like he’s made of actual iron and then instead of just crushing the armor he wraps a lamppost around him to do that.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Welcome to DIE!

Sure it’s more visual but he really doesn’t need something else to crush him when he can just make the armor do that. There’s a tense few moments as Tony can’t do anything but die, but Annie get’s so pissed off that she hurls some trash cans, skips, and mail boxes at him. Strangely enough the tactic of throwing magnetic objects at the master of magnet doesn’t do anything except divert his attention. He even points that out, which is saying something for this show since stupid actions rarely get pointed out. So he throws them back at the group and goes back to killing Iron Man. And by killing I mean berating him for being, “nothing but a human being” well technically he’s more machine now than man thanks to Extremis. But that’s largely forgotten by the writers now, what with it being a whole episode ago an’ all.

Instead of finishing the crushing he just throws Iron Man, lamppost too, into a building. Leaving him there as his armor shuts down Mags then floats over to Annie, grabs her with a signpost, and flies off. Pepper actually being all, “what’s he going to do with her?” to show that she’s not heartless, just brainless at times. She and Rhodey go over to Iron Man and see that he’s in bad shape, but still able to stand and make jokes, so he’s OK. I could chock this up to the Extremis healing factor if I’m being generous, but it’s not like the show not to mention something obvious like that. So it could just be Tony’s plot armor undersheath.

At Magneto’s secret lair, right next to the fortress of doom.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

So he made a pile of TVs, but left them all plugged in?

He starts on how the humans have driven him to places like this, that he does, “what must be done” and then switches one of the TVs to a news channel showing Senator Kelly making an anti-mutant speech. So did he have it cued up on TiVo or was that just really lucky timing? Kelly talks about how mutants must be identified and their births regulated before Mags switches him off again. He tells his backstory, how he was locked away in a facility, experimented on, to finally flee and has been on the run ever since. Annie points out the hypocrisy of him doing the same thing to her, so he just tells her she’s being blind. That the, “humans will segregate us, ostracise us, and eventually exterminate us. They destroy anyone who is different, even amongst their own kind.” So he’ll just do all of that to them first and that totally doesn’t prove Annie’s point that he’s a hypocrite at all. Perhaps it’s best not to give Mags a speech on the evils of humanity and how they even mistreat their own, when he’s got an unwilling mutant trapped and is going to force her to carry out his evil plot. Or is this another, ‘we can’t make the villains too right’ writing decision so there’s no real ethical dilemma.

Back at Iron Man’s secret hideout Tony says he has one last Mk 2 suit left so let’s hope Magneto doesn’t scrap it. Pepper suggests making one out of plastic (which it already is goddamnit!) and he snarks back saying he doesn’t think they have a few weeks to rescue Annie. She then goes back to saying they shouldn’t get involved since it’s a dispute between the mutants. Rhodey bites back saying they’re all people, nothing else. And he realises that this is pointless he drops it and asks Tony what they’re going to do.

Tony says repulsor technology is based on magnetic principles and his scans tell him that Magneto can only control a positively or negatively charged field, but not both at the same time. Well that’s… screw it, they can use multi model reflection sorting for all I care. This bad technobable is going to kill me if I don’t stop. Tony’s going to program his force fields to counteract whatever fields Mags uses, but he can’t do that to the War Machine armor because… they don’t even bother trying with this one. Something, somehow, will make it harder to do and take too long. Despite the fact that they should have the same programming and force field tech. Let’s just cut the BS here, this is just a way for Tony to be the big damn hero and the writers making a reason why War Machine can’t steal his thunder. They like knocking people down to make Tony look better, and it’s been a staple of the show since the first season.

War Machine’s still getting to fight, he just has to stay close to Tony or else Magneto can crush him into paste. Then Tony uses Extremis for its only real purpose in the show, so he can change into Iron Man without needing to move.

Back at the fortress of doom Annie is trying to contact Tony with her telepathy. Mags spots this, somehow since all she’s doing is thinking, and squeezes her restraints to make her stop. Then he tells her it’s pointless because his, “sanctum” is fortified with the same stuff he uses on his helmet to block psychics. That’s a lot of effort for a temporary hiding place, especially when he could just make another psy-blocking helmet for her so she’s not trying anything when not in the “sanctum”.

He then comments on how powerful she is and that he could teach her things, in a creepy way since there’s no way not to sounds creepy when saying that to a teenage girl tied up in your “sanctum”. Seriously does everyone want in her pants?

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Come to darkside

Annie’s having none of it and says he’s “as evil as the most prejudice, ignorant, humans!” and then hits him with some crap that was laying around the “sanctum” before going to drop a slab of concrete on him, which was also laying around for some reason. He just squeezes her restraints again till she stops and says she’ll help him wage his war or he’ll hunt down her family. Which begs the question, are her family in hiding or not? It’s never really said and Annie made it sound like she ran away so they’d be safe, not that they’d gone into hiding. But this is the same script that said her running away meant she still had to go to school, at a rich private school too. So I don’t think they cared too much.

Mags turns on the TiVo again and we get more of Kelly ranting about how mutants are dangerous and need to be controlled. Mags says he’s been going about things the wrong way and that he doesn’t want a martyr for the humans, like they’re doing to the attack on Simon Trask, so Annie’s going to use her powers to make it look like Kelly died of a heart attack. Although surely he could do that too by controlling the iron in his blood. There’s also the fact that if Kelly dies during his anti-mutant rallies then it’s easy for his supporters to blame mutants for it, whether they were the cause or not. And if he wants a war then why is he now going for secret kills. Maybe plausible deniability so when they do blame mutants he can deny it and use it as another way for humans to attack mutants, but that doesn’t seem like this Magneto’s style. I suppose I’m missing the obvious point here, it’s just a way to get Annie in the plot.

Cut to Iron Man and War Machine flying around the city, which they’ve apparently been doing all night. They hadn’t found any traces of those magnetic fluctuations, except as soon as they say that they pick up one and find Magneto’s lair. Which is apparently all magnetised, which surely would’ve been a big tip off for an entire building to be like that. Just as they entire Tony steps on a laser tripwire and the entire building blows up. Well done.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Evil lairs don’t come cheap, ya know.

Tony put up a force field around them just in time. Also look at that War Machine armor for a moment. There’s no way little Rhodey could fit in that bulky thing. So anyway Pepper calls them up telling them what she’s found on Mags, including that he’s wanted by every agency on the planet, name dropping Weapon X as well as his alter egos Max Eisenhardt, Erik Lehnsherr and Magnus. Good easter eggs on his actual real name instead of falling back on Erik like so many others do, but eggs don’t make up for a bad story. Pepper also calls him a big a supervillain as Dr Doom. Now considering they’ve never heard of him before and he’s acting more like a small scale terrorist activist than what he’s like later on in Marvel history, like when he starts fighting the X-Men, I’d say comparing him to Doom is a bit stupid at this point.

With no leads now the plot fairy arrives in the form of Annie telepathically calling them, which they explain very simply to the audience for some reason. So Magneto should’ve just given her psychic shielding after all and not just the building like an idiot. They fly off to her location and its where Senator Kelly’s making a public speech.

He’s proposing a bill called “Proposition X” subtle and topical, writers. It’s the standard “Mutant Registration Act” wanting to identify mutants even before they’re born and have them put on the registry, “as we would register a gun.” Well now this has gotten even more topical for us and there’s no way I can talk about it without bringing in a load of crap not even slightly relevant to the review… so moving on then.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

I propose a new flag because I only care about 14 states!

Mags is watching from a rooftop and comments that they’re already treating them like objects and weapons. Annie is looking like she’s buying what he’s selling, which would be a bit more compelling if she wasn’t still tied up. He urges her on to kill Kelly and make it look like, “just another normal act of the ‘nature’ he so embraces.” I do really like that line, but then I always hate when bigots use ‘natural’ as a justification for their prejudices.

She’s about to do it when she suddenly stops and gives the, ‘every life is precious’ Kirk speech. Magneto calls her a weak fool and so she uses her telekinesis on his heart, killing him… oh wait that’s what she’d do if she was sensible. OK maybe not kill him, but she can cut off his airways until he falls unconscious. There’s nothing stopping her from using her telekinesis on the inside of his body like he wants her to do to Kelly. If the episode sets up that she can do it then what’s stopping her using it on him? His helmet only blocks telepathic attacks, not telekinesis.

Instead Magneto goes to kill her with some rusty nails but Iron Man flies in the way to block them. He tries to attack Iron Man, but gets blocked by Tony’s technobable allowing War Machine to sneak up behind him and blast him. That gives Tony time to get Annie free and she escapes down a ladder to the street below.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Where’s you master of magnets now?

So the fight starts and Magneto just throws Iron Man into another building, attracting the attention from the crowd below, and War Machine stupidly launches missiles at him instead of using more repulsor blasts. OK sure if repulsors are based on magnetic principles then Mags should be able to stop them too, but technobable cares not for consistency. Magneto, surprisingly, just scatters all the missiles and they strike buildings all over causing debris to fall down around civilians. That and Mags slamming War Machine into every building he can causes debris to fall down on Senator Kelly.

Thankfully, for him not Magneto, Annie stops all of it from hitting him. All he says is, “saved by one of them?” and a camera crew captures it all.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Urge to kill rising

So despite this more debris are falling on Annie and only Iron Man can save her, since it’s his show after all. Not like she could stop them herself or get out of the way. Pepper told him about Annie being in trouble and when Tony says she changing her mind on mutants she says she never said she hated all mutants, just evil ones. Ah such a black and white viewpoint.

Back in the fight War Machine still is getting thrown around like a tin can because, again, it’s Iron Man’s show so even his sidekicks can’t upstage him. Tony blasts him after he chucks Rhodey away and we get more of Magneto overpowering him. His force fields aren’t stopping everything and Mags has started using anything metal that isn’t bolted down to encase him in a metal sphere. Annie telepathically contacts him again saying they need to get his helmet off and that she’s coming up a fire escape to join them.

Pepper tells him the blindingly obvious and to stop with the defence and do some offense. So he has at it with the Unibeam, which knocks Mags onto a rooftop. However he soon overpowers Iron Man again and pins him on the roof about to tear him apart. However War Machine somehow sneaks up behind in and just takes the helmet off.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

Get out of my head Charles, I mean Jean, I mean Annie!

So if Mags wasn’t holding it in place with his magnetism then why could Annie just lift if off his head? Ah screw it episodes almost over. Annie tells him to sleep and says he’ll wake up in a few days. Tony makes a comment about a plastic prison. Or a prison made out of nonmagnetic metals, which would probably be better and easier.

So as Iron Man and War Machine land on the ground next to Kelly as he’s getting into his limo, and then he starts shouting at her. Saying she’s a mutant and the cause of all of this. No that would be bad writing, but you were close senator. Iron Man points out Kelly’s full of crap and the crowd, in full Spider-Man 1 mode, start agreeing with him and throwing cans at Kelly as he gets into his limo.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

CANS! NO! The one thing that can hurt my campaign!

Kelly’s a horrible politician. If something like that happens you get the hell out of dodge before a news crew can ask you uncomfortable questions, not shout at the person who saved your life. Politicians can be douchebags but most of them know not to do crap like this or else it’ll hurt their agenda. Sure not all of them are that smart, but I don’t think any of them have yelled at someone who saved their lives. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if someone has done that.

Back at the school for rich runaways Tony exposits that after the can incident and seeing Kelly yell hate speech at a teenage girl his supporters have bailed and he doesn’t have a platform to stand on. HA! Because bigotry works like that and having one person at the top turn out to be an arsehole will immediately change peoples opinions on it. Yeah, no, the world doesn’t work like that. I’ve seen politicians say worse things and platforms have so much damaging material about them it’s surprising they’re not condemned, but are still be around and have supporters. That incident would hurt things, but there’s no way it’d stop “Prop X” from happening on its own.

Moving on we see Annie getting harassed by that school idiot who wants in her pants. He says she has no friends because she’s a mutie, cue Tony, Pepper, and Rhodey showing up behind him and just their presence scares him off to possibly change his pants. So this must mean she’ll be sticking around as a regular character. That’d be cool, having a non-comic regular mutant around so we see it’s not just the X-Men. And it’d give them a window into another part of the Marvel Universe as well as showing bigotry isn’t solved in one episode.

Nah. Turns out her real name is, and brace yourselves, Jean Grey. So that explains why everyone wants her. And as soon as she tells them that Professor X shows up saying he believes she’s been looking for them. Just like before this episode we’ll never heard about mutants again so none of it really mattered since they might as well have ended mutant bigotry. Screw it, we’re done, let’s end this.

Frame By Frame Review Iron Man Armored Adventures: The X-Factor

I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you with my mortal enemy, we cool?

Final Thoughts

Firstly if you don’t know the science then don’t use it in your technobable. “Polyresin iron” really?

Secondly if you’re going to do a tale of mutant bigotry then don’t do straw men arguments with little maturity. If you’re going to make one of your characters into a mutant hater at least think about why they hate mutants other than the “OMG people with powers!” attitude that’s stuck on non-regular characters. When her best friend got superpowers literally the episode before then she especially needs more of a nuanced reason. And try to think about why she changes her mind in the end rather than just using weak statements that don’t actually grow her character.

Also the same applies with the counter-argument of “because the same thing happened to black people.” Yes having Rhodey, the only black man on the show, saying that was great, but when it stops at just that it’s very weak and simple minded. Because while the ends are similar the reasons are not. Mutants are scary; the idea that anyone you see could read your mind or kill you with a look is a terrifying prospect. The episode doesn’t have Rhodey or anyone touch on why people should ignore that. Yes we see that Jean is good, but we also see her invading their private thoughts against their will and probably did more than that to get her fake name and get into Tony’s school. So why should we not be sacred of mutants? If you want to make these message episodes then put some thought into it. Its great Jean does some morally questionable things, but maybe make us question that morality rather than ignore it like it’s OK for her to do so.

Overall this is an above average episode for the show, yes really. The ethical dilemma of mutants was hamfisted and simplified so much that I wonder why they bothered if they weren’t going to tackle such a heavy subject with the respect it deserves. Just goes to show that even ignoring the fact that ‘teenage Tony Stark’ is a stupid idea this show was dumb and terrible. Hilariously terrible mind you. I’d recommend it to any fans of bad cartoons to give it a watch because there’s a lot of stupid to laugh at.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog