Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Days of Future Past, &c.

As promised, here’s a link to Rachel’s (miraculously spoiler-free) Days of Future Past review over at Wired.com.

We also want to take a moment to note that making a good movie does not give Bryan Singer a pass for allegedly raping children. Whether that affects your decision to see Days of Future Past is your call—we’re not advising one way or the other—but either way, we hope you’ll join us in making a donation to RAINN.

This week, writer Greg Rucka will be joining us to talk about the Starjammers and his new Cyclops ongoing series! If you have questions for us or for Greg, stick ’em in the comments below or our Tumblr askbox, or tweet ’em to @RaeBeta with the hashtag #xplainthexmen!


  1. I asked a version of this in the tumblr askbox a bit back, rephrasing it here to be more appropriate for Mr. Rucka:

    Why is it that so many great X-Men stories are about adventures across space? Their other big mainstay stories make sense, given the X-men’s core premise and themes: stories about discrimination/oppression, and time travel stories where we see what happens when that oppression wins. Nothing about “teens who defend a world that hates and fears them” suggests “wacky adventures across the cosmos!” Further, will Cyclops’ ongoing at all tackle traditional X-men themes/issues?

    1. Spoiler: You haven’t yet heard that question on the show because we were saving it for this episode. =D

  2. I read this article:


    after watching Days of Future past and wanting to find out more about the xmen comics universe.. I tried getting into it when I was a teenager but there were so many unknown people back then and I thought xmen was just what i had seen on TV and in the first film.

    So now I am older with more knowledge of Marvel I wanted to try again and I have started at New Xmen as suggested in the blog I linked to (which also linked to your podcast which is how I found you …. and its been very helpful by the way)

    My question is, was this a bad place to start? I really like the art style and I believe this is from 2000 so before this I imagine it would have been 90’s cartoon style art which I am not fond of at all.. But, it seems alot has happened in the world that I have missed, I thought it was a reboot but it seems to be just a continuation of the story but in a new style.

    I haven’t heard from some of my favourite characters like Nightcrawler, Havok and Gambit.. and the comics suggested alot of people have died.

    Is there something I can read to give me some back story from before New Xmen.. or can you tell me in summary what led up to it?


    1. That’s a really good question. We talked a bit about this in episode 1, but to expand on that: unless you start back in 1963, there’s no perfect place to jump into a comics world as convoluted as X-Men. The best thing to do is to pick a well-regarded run like Morrison’s New X-Men, get what information you can from context, and look up anything else you’re curious about online (or listen to our podcast!).

      X-Men has never had a real reboot and probably never will. Plus, there are usually at least half a dozen X-books published at any given time, each of which focuses on its own set of characters. (Nightcrawler and Havok, for instance, were being written about in Uncanny X-Men simultaneous to Morrison’s New X-Men run.) That’s part of the appeal, but it can also feel like jumping into the deep end when you get started. Dive in, don’t worry too much about not knowing every detail to start, and have fun!

      1. Definitely learning alot from the podcast thank you, and it also has been making my ride to work more bearable which will be a shame once I’ve reached episode 7 and have to wait for episode releases lol!

        Anyway, I will continue on in New Xmen, it’s alot darker than I expected but I’m really enjoying it and Jean is kick ass so far. Far from what she sounded like in the silver age and any other medium I’ve seen her.

        Thanks for the reply

      2. Not true–Ultimate X-Men is a reboot (I think there’ve been a few others as well, like the Marvel Mangaverse, but that was the only ongoing that I know of). Set in a (mostly) separate universe, separate continuity. It won’t segue into current books, if that’s what you’re looking for; and it’s not my favorite series by a long shot, but if you’re looking for a relatively self-contained thing, it might be what you’re after.

    2. Part of what I like about Morrison’s run is that it’s very good at providing the background you need from context, and it introduces enough new material to make prior frame of reference only a dubious advantage. I first dove in with no frame of reference past–gosh, the end of Excalibur, probably–and while it took me a little while to get my bearings, it’s definitely the series that got me back into the modern books.

      It helps more, I think, to be at least passingly familiar with Morrison’s style than with the X-Men. If you’ve gotten through The Invisibles, parsing New X-Men will probably feel a lot simpler.

      The only really continuity-heavy things I recall coming up (that aren’t Morrison additions) are Xavier’s relationship with Lilandra (and by extension, the Shi’ar), the Phoenix Force (which is explored pretty extensively in a few arcs), and the fact that Cyclops was briefly possessed by Apocalypse (which is really only relevant in passing).

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