Morph"s Nickname for Daredevil Makes His X-Men "97 Cameo Way More Significant

  • Daredevil appeared in the final episode of X-Men '97, helping to fight Bastion's forces.
  • In a prequel comic to the series, Morph describes Matt Murdock as "the Man Without Cheer."
  • The reference confirms the X-Men have worked with Daredevil in animated continuity (something the original series doesn't establish) and also clarifies his characterization, which has been inconsistent in Marvel's animated universe.
When Matt Murdock's Daredevil appeared in X-Men '97's ambitious finale episode, fans of the Man Without Fear were overjoyed. However, the moment is even better once you know how the team's shapeshifter Morph sees Matt Murdock's horn-headed vigilante.
Currently, Marvel is publishing the prequel comic X-Men '97, revealing events before the TV show returned from its 27-year hiatus. The X-Men are currently tangling with Mister Sinister and his lackeys the Marauders, while Jean Grey (actually the clone Madelyne Pryor) has begun to sense there's something very wrong with her memories. In this issue, the team visit Jean's family to celebrate the news of her pregnancy. Unhappy to see Jean and Cyclops' romance progressing, Wolverine broods in the corner, where Morph tries to cheer him up.
Close Morph uses their powers to take the form of Daredevil, saying that if Wolverine doesn't cheer up, Matt Murdock is going to sue him for copyright infringement. Morph doubles down on the gag, saying Wolverine is becoming "a regular Man Without Cheer." The joke is a funny callout of Marvel's most self-hating hero, mocking his 'Man Without Fear' nickname, but it also subtly establishes an important fact about Daredevil in X-Men '97 canon and the larger Marvel Animated Universe.
2:33 Related X-Men's Nightcrawler Just Turned His Powers into an R-Rated Weapon Nightcrawler may be the X-Men"s beloved "Fuzzy Elf," but he just unleashed his teleportation powers in a gory attack more characteristic of Wolverine.
Morph's joke subtly clarifies the X-Men's relationship with Daredevil, which was left unclear by the original animated series. Future seasons can now build on what's implied here.
Daredevil's X-Men '97 Mention Establishes His Relationship with the Team Morph Confirms the Mutants Have Worked with Matt Murdock & Sets Up His Future Return Custom Image by Robert Wood In 'Tolerance is Extinction - Part 3' - episode 10 of the first season of the returned X-Men '97 - Bastion's Prime Sentinels perform a series of attacks all over the planet. To demonstrate the extent of the chaos, fans are shown the reactions of various heroes, with Daredevil, Black Panther, an out-of-costume Spider-Man and the Avengers all receiving cameos as they try to keep innocents safe. Not only do the cameos establish the scale of Bastion's attack, but they also remind fans of the many connections within the Marvel Animated Universe. However, the comic preview goes even further, establishing a new fact about the X-Men and Daredevil.
Spider-Man's cameo had its own subtle extra meaning, as the appearance of Mary Jane Watson closed a plot hole from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, where the real MJ was last seen disappearing into an interdimensional time vortex. The cameo seemingly establishes that MJ was eventually rescued, despite the show ending before resolving this plot line.
Morph's joke shows that the X-Men are intimately familiar with Daredevil and his penchant for brooding. That matters because despite other connections in the Marvel Animated Universe, the X-Men were never given a solid link to Daredevil, who did appear in other properties such as Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. In those shows, he's shown to be friends with other heroes, however the X-Men never teamed-up with Matt Murdock. Given the animated universe is its own separate continuity, that suggested the mutant heroes may never have actually met the Man Without Fear. However, for Morph to reach for Daredevil as a comparison to Wolverine's brooding, it's strongly implied that the X-Men know Daredevil well and likely teamed-up with him 'off-camera.' Not only that, but Morph helps to iron out an inconsistency in Daredevil's animated appearances.
The original X-Men animated series does reference Daredevil, but he never significantly appears. In the Halloween episode, a child is shown wearing Daredevil's original red and yellow costume, while in an episode set in an alternate timeline, an armored version of the hero can be seen for a few moments.
While Morph's joke seems small, it actually clarifies Daredevil's inconsistent characterization in Marvel's animated shows.
Morph's Daredevil Gag Helps Characterize Him for Future Appearances It's a Good Sign for Matt Murdock's Return in the Resurrected Marvel Animated Universe Morph knowing Daredevil is a brooding hero is also noteworthy because it firmly establishes Daredevil's characterization in animated continuity. Matt's behavior in Fantastic Four suggested him as more of a swashbuckling hero, while Spider-Man played up his gritty, street-level nature. This Morph moment makes it clear that X-Men '97 has gone for the latter, comic-accurate Man Without Fear - something that will be even more relevant if Matt Murdock manages to snag another guest appearance in the next series (or indeed his own spin-off show.)
X-Men '97's popularity turned it from a nostalgic ode to a great cartoon to one of the most celebrated shows of the year, likely fostering interest in an expanded Marvel Animated Universe going forward. While Morph's joke seems small, their description of Daredevil establishes that he has a close relationship with the X-Men and clarifies his characterization for future appearances - a pretty major accomplishment for a few sentences meant to make Wolverine lighten up.
X-Men '97 #4 is available June 26 from Marvel Comics.
  • X-Men '97 Characters By: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee Distributor: Disney+ Main Characters: Cyclops, Mystique, Rogue, Beast, Magneto, Gambit, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Professor Xavier, Storm, Nightcrawler, Jubilee Main Genre: Animation Producer: Charley Feldman


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