Stuff We Love: X-Men: The Animated Series episode “One Man’s Worth” is a lovely alternate history

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This summer there was quite a bit of discussion about a deleted scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past that revealed Storm and Wolverine were in a relationship in the future. It’s not the first time the two mutants have been shown in a romance, but it did start me thinking about when they first became my favorite X-Men couple.

That brought me back to the ‘90s animated series I used to watch as a kid. With the 25th anniversary of X-Men: The Animated Series’ premiere approaching, I recently decided to rewatch this episode, the two-parter “One Man’s Worth,” and was reminded why it’s such a fun episode for its unique romance and much more.

“One Man’s Worth” starts with the Charles, Storm, and Wolverine we recognize from the present day gathering together for a picnic, but a temporal disturbance quickly changes things. We see different versions of Wolverine, Storm, and other X-Men being led by Magneto in a terrible new present. It turns out someone from the future went back to 1959 and assassinated Charles Xavier, changing the fate of the world and erasing the creation of the X-Men from existence.

Bishop and Shard go on a mission to fix things and encounter the new Storm and Wolverine. It takes some convincing, but eventually Storm agrees to go back to help them save Xavier. Wolverine is more hesitant, since he realizes he and Storm won’t be married if the world changes, but while he is willing to condemn the world so they can be together, she’s not. Eventually, he agrees to go with her and help. While it takes more than one try after they meet Xavier, they are ultimately able to save him from the assassins and thus reset the timeline back to normal.

 

The episode is an interesting attempt to explore the idea of how much one person can make a difference to history. Professor Xavier touched many lives, and that had a ripple effect far into the future. Here we see how one person can mean so much and have an impact on a global level as well as a personal one, which is represented in the romance between Storm and Wolverine. Their unique future selves and their marriage was one of my favorite parts of this episode. Storm was always, and still is, my favorite X-Men character, and so I enjoyed any episode where she was prominent. However, the combination of her personality with Wolverine’s as a couple was just a lot of fun! It was sad to see the two say goodbye, see these versions be erased from existence, and then see the Storm and Wolverine we know back with Xavier at the regular picnic in the present with no recollection of this alternate-timeline romance.

It’s an episode that tries to do a lot for a two-part cartoon, and while it might not be perfect, “One Man’s Worth” continues to stand out as a must-watch X-Men story.

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