Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

7 – Cyclops Has a Good Day

With guest Greg Rucka!

In which death is a revolving door, we really liked Days of Future Past, space pirates are the best pirates, Vulcan is (still) the worst, Miles has a Corsair costume, Lilandra has lovely plumage, no one knows how to pronounce “M’Kraan,” we studiously avoid discussing the Phoenix force, Saurids speak Hebrew, Raza Longknife’s name is a bit on the nose, Rachel is the worst at hugs, Greg has a ‘ship, and we all kind of identify with Cyclops.


  • The Starjammers (and how to pronounce their names)
  • The Shi’ar
  • The Neremani Dynasty
  • Plumage
  • Apostrophe abuse
  • Corsair
  • The secret origins of the Starjammers
  • Why Hepzibah talks like that
  • The Rule of Cool
  • Visor iterations
  • Summerstaches
  • Cyclops’s dubious deductive skills
  • Hugs
  • The All-New, All-the-Same X-Men
  • Teenagers, again
  • Cyclops #1
  • Cyclops vs. Scott
  • Space-parenting
  • Rachel’s convention sketchbook
  • Greg’s Kitty Pryde feelings
  • An exceptionally vivid threat
  • Intergalactic fashion
  • Corsair’s pecs
  • Key parties in space
  • The greatest romance of the Marvel Universe

You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Next week: Welcome to the Claremont era, listeners—hope you survive the experience!



  1. Is it a general rule in the Marvel Multiverse that attempts to change the past may create a new universe splitting off from that change, but can’t alter one’s “original” universe? In other words, that one’s original universe can’t be “re-written” through altering past events? Or–if it has been shown to *sometimes* be possible to re-write one’s universe instead of creating a splinter universe–has what makes this possible been defined (as in “there’s a right way and a wrong way to try and change the past?”).

    Has there been a mutant (or other superhuman) whose power enabled them to simultaneously integrate the consciousness and volition of all their alternate selves–a sort of superposition human, as it were? Something like Madrox, or a Flashback people were actually afraid of?

  2. great podcast – super informative – I just binged on all 7 in two days. Big Corsair fan here too – hope when they get to the Shi’ar in the films they don’t mess it up too too much. Keep on mutating and thanks for the show !!!

  3. I love the podcast, but I felt the need to correct one thing. Sikorsky helicopters have always been made in the US. Igor Sikorsky founded the helicopter company in the US in 1923 after he left Russia following the Bolshevik revolution and didn’t invent a functioning helicopter until 1939, so calling Sikorsky a type of “Russian-model helicopter” is inaccurate as it was always a US-model helicopter (and often purchased by the US military). I would apologize for being pedantic, but if this isn’t the place to be pedantic, I don’t know where is. And I live down the street from their headquarters.

  4. Wonderful podcast. I just stumbled across this delightgful slice of fandom from Chris Sims on Comics Alliance, and was shocked that someone was actually taking the time to explain that which I’d honestly given up on 30 or 40 times by now: understanding (and subsequently explaining) the X-Men.

    In fact, I’ve actually taken to reading the old works again thanks to this podcast – while I’d already read through X-Men: Season One, it was the ‘cast on Silver Age Retellings that made me go back and find the other two mentioned. I’m admittedly having issues getting the First Class books, but Children of the Atom was… trippy.

    I, too, would love to see Rucka show up again. He’s got a voice and personality made for podcasting/radio, and other guest-stars would also be highly welcome.

    Now, I do have a question – though it’s less of the explanation variety. Since Cyclops is beloved by you, Rachel, and all of the “must keep myself under control” that 616 Cyclops is… how do you feel about the Space Pirate Cyclops of Mutant X who ran the Starjammers?

    1. Space Pirate Cyclops is the best part of Mutant X, and anyone who says otherwise is objectively mistaken and probably a vampire.

      I mean, look at this guy:

      space pirate cyclops forever

      1. Good to know – and I’m of the same mind. I do so love the 616 Cyclops (and all his faults) because he’s a complete trainwreck of a human being trying to hold himself together…
        …but seeing him as a Space Pirate who really had a Devil-May-Care attitude about everything was a sight to behold.

        Really, it’s a shame he wasn’t a major player in that book.

  5. Well, Igor Sikorsky is not a type of russian helicopter, he is ukrainian scientist, who basically invented modern helicopter.
    Kinda bummer to hear him being ignored, especially in Rocketeer movie, where he is implied to not exist in favor of some american fictional character.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode- Greg was great to listen to. Really engaging with some excellent insights. I’m another person who was drawn to Kitty Pryde, in large part, because of her overt Jewishness (although I stayed for her relationship with Wolverine and, during the Joss Whedon run, the snark). As was discussed in the podcast, there are very few Jewish superheroes, certainly in the A-List category, and even fewer whose Jewishness is highlighted in the comics themselves. Kitty always seemed like a notable exception to this- I have a really clear memory of reading one issue in which she lit a yahrzeit candle for Peter, and it made a huge impression on me. I understand that most people don’t want their comics to turn into a parade of religious tropes, but it’s nice to see a Jewish character that hits the middle ground between the complete, abject secularism/purely cultural Judaism of, say, Seinfeld and running around with peyos, a beard and a black hat on, on the other end of the spectrum. Kitty Pryde is one of the very few Jewish characters in media generally who bridges that gap at all.

    Tangentially, I’ve always found it fascinating that so many of the comic book industry’s founding fathers were Jews, but their characters where overwhelmingly WASPy, maybe with an occasional Catholic thrown in for a bit of variety. It doesn’t surprise me, really, given the era in which comics really got their start, but it’s definitely an interesting parallel with the superhero concept itself- this idea of having to hide a part of yourself or only reveal that side in the context of an alter ego.

    And for anyone who’s interested in the religion of various comic book characters, there’s this comprehensive list (I think my personal favorite is “Shaloman”- really, guys?):


    1. I don’t have links or names on hand, but there’s been a fair lot of writing about superheroes coming out of immigrant narratives around assimilation (Superman in particular, IIRC; and, while it’s fiction, I remember there being a fair lot of discussion around that in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). Same cultural forces, I think, that led to a lot of those creators anglicizing their names. Some of it, I think, is that a lot of America was still pretty fucking blatantly antisemitic in Golden and Silver ages, but there’s also the problem of self-perpetuating limitations: throw a lot of Jewish kids into a market where all the heroes are WASPs, and those’ll be what define their sense of what heroes can be and look like–not to mention what editors are then willing to gamble on. It’s the same thing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has talked about with regards to race and colonialism: when you grow up exposed to one kind of story, you grow up believing that that–and only that–is what a story can be, or who it can be about. It’s fascinating and frustrating and terribly, terribly sad.

  7. They should retcone Vulcan to be a dream created by mastermind and all the evil psyches in order to split the Xmen from the inside. And Polaris and Havok were just made to belive they were fighting that someone in space because they were both brainwashed. It’s actually closer to be canon.

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