Who Is the Adversary From ‘X-Men ’97’?


Editor’s Note: The below contains spoilers for X-Men ’97.

The Big Picture

  • X-Men ’97
    focuses on mutant rights, the discrimination they experience, and engaging sci-fi plots.
  • In the latest episode, Forge’s musical archenemy from the X-Men comic, the Adversary, appears.
  • X-Men ’97
    ‘s Adaptation of the Adversary storyline is likely to have a different twist because the series lacks some of the story’s important characters and the storyline wouldn’t fit the show’s primary focus of mutant rights.

Like most good X-Men stories, X-Men ’97 focuses mostly on the relatable challenges its mutant characters face due to the public discrimination against them, with the series’ most significant conflicts relating, in different ways, to the advancement or reduction of mutant rights. But, like both the comics and the original X-Men animated series, the new show is also perfectly comfortable tackling more outlandish sci-fi and fantasy plots as well. The latest episode, titled “Motendo/Lifedeath – Part 1,” features both the return of alien television mogul and recurring X-Men enemy Mojo (David Errigo Jr.) and the introduction of the equally freaky, mystical threat, known as the Adversary (Alison Sealy-Smith) with the latter set up for at least one more appearance by the episode’s cliffhanger. So, who, or rather, what is this demonic new antagonist, and how is it connected to controversial X-Men ally Forge (Gil Birmingham)?

X-Men ’97

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann


Number of Episodes

Streaming Service(s)


The Adversary is Forge’s Archenemy in the Comics

Created by Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr., the Adversary originally appeared in comics in The Uncanny X-Men #188 in 1984. A demonic being from another dimension, the Adversary sought to spread its world’s chaotic nature to Earth. Forge’s Cheyenne tribe was aware of the creature, which they referred to as the Great Trickster. This allowed Forge himself to be trained in mystical skills to combat it as a shaman. But when many of his fellow soldiers were killed in action during the Vietnam War, a vengeful Forge used a spell to unleash a horde of demons against enemy forces, unintentionally giving the Adversary a chance to move onto the Earthly plane.

Years later, an alien Dire Wraith kills and impersonates Forge’s mentor, Nazé. The Wraith itself then falls under the control of the Adversary, who is subsequently able to fully escape to Earth. As Nazé, he tricks the X-Man Storm into attacking Forge, and then the Adversary traps them both in another realm. Without Forge and Storm to oppose him, the Adversary commenced his plan to remake the world in his image. Forge and Storm eventually escape, and the former manages to seal the Adversary away again, but the spell he uses to do so requires the sacrifice of nine souls to work. The X-Men and their friend Madelyne Pryor offer their own lives to enact the spell, and their heroic sacrifice is televised to the world. Fortunately, the goddess Roma revives them, although the team elects to keep their return secret so they can covertly seek revenge against Mister Sinister’s Marauders for their murderous actions during the Mutant Massacre storyline. The Adversary has subsequently escaped to menace Forge a few more times, but fortunately, it is always defeated.

How Is The Adversary Introduced to ‘X-Men ’97’?

At the end of “Motendo/Lifedeath – Part 1,” Storm (Smith) leaves Forge, despite his promise to help her regain her mutant powers, because she learned that he was involved in creating the technology used in mutant inhibitor collars. But, as she rides away from Forge’s ranch, she is attacked and teleported back inside by the Adversary, who appears as a monstrous bird. The Adversary bites Forge and explains how it plans to feast on the misery Storm has felt since losing her powers, leaving the character in a dangerous situation.

‘X-Men ’97’ Might Take the Adversary Story in a Different Direction

The cover to Uncanny X-Men #289 featuring Storm and Forge in an embrace. Art by Whilce Portacio.
Image via Marvel Comics

Although it faithfully recreates the conflicted romance between Storm and Forge, X-Men ’97 seems to be headed for a less direct adaptation of the Adversary storyline. While there’s every chance a few of Storm’s teammates may realize she is in danger and go to aid in the battle, it seems unlikely the whole group will make the kind of dramatic sacrifice they did in the comics for several reasons. First and foremost, Roma has not been introduced or even referenced, so there would be a lot of work to do to set up the team’s resurrection. And, while Sinister (Christopher Britton) recently renewed his feud with the animated team by abducting Cyclops’ (Ray Chase) son, nothing resembling the Mutant Massacre has happened in X-Men ‘97’s continuity, so there would be no reason to have the team fake their deaths, especially since the public reaction to Magneto (Matthew Waterson) taking over as X-Men leader has been such a big part of the season so far. Finally, and most importantly, given that the title of the three-part season finale is “Tolerance is Extinction,” it will probably return to a focus on the discrimination storylines. Indeed, there’s a good chance Storm and Forge will ultimately neutralize the Adversary themselves in the upcoming “Lifedeath – Part 2.”

‘X-Men ’97’ is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+


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