Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 12 – Inner Circle Jerk

Listen to the podcast here!


Links and further reading:

The Dark Phoenix Saga has been collected roughly a million times. Here is one such collection. Seriously. You need to just straight-up read these comics. They are very good.

Cameron Harris on Sebastian Shaw (the quote Rachel referenced in the episode but didn’t have on hand):

“So, I was all set up to haaaaaaaaate the HFC and yaaaaaaaaaay Jean and the X-Men. But I didn’t, and it was pretty much because of Shaw. His entrance, his presentation, his presence was all big, bold confidence. He wore those eighteenth-century-dandy duds with complete aplomb, and I could tell almost immediately that he was in charge of everything he wanted to be in charge of. Okay, so a good villain type. This X-fight will be great!

“But he had something I hadn’t expected. I had thought we’d get another (bigger, better, eviller) Mastermind, or a Magneto: grandiloquent (Miles’s word!) and charismatic, would-be king of all he surveys, but not a mano a mano fighter, you know? I’d been reading so many villains whose attacks came from a distance or through non-physical means–and then Shaw is taking a punch from Colossus and laughing about it and taking off his fancy coat to duke it out with the X-Men, and I thought, Holy shit. This guy is the real deal. He’s going to fight them on their terms, not hide behind robots or tele-powers. In fact, the more you beat him up, the stronger he gets! How do you even stop that? (Besides pulling a Hercules-with-Antaeus move, I thought, and was kinda hoping to see that.)
“So. I was into Shaw for that combination: immediate confidence and social control + physical prowess and willingness to fight his own fights. The capper was that when everything at the HFC goes to hell, he hops into a car and leaves. I love a canny opponent who not only isn’t afraid to retreat but doesn’t care how it looks. I commend such priorities.”


  1. Loved this episode! I jumped on board X-Men pretty recently and haven’t gotten around to all the old stuff so this podcast is wonderful. THANKS, RACHEL AND MILES.

    that said, allow me a moment of pedantry and suffering. You had a listener ask why Magneto is depowered along with the rest of the Phoenix Five post-AvX, and your explanation makes SENSE. It’s a good explanation. It’s the explanation the story was hinting at all along. It makes sense!

    And it’s wrong.

    So, spoilers for Bendis’ current run of Uncanny X-Men/All New X-Men. In issue #22 of Uncanny, it turns out that, uh, Dark Beast (!) injected the Phoenix Five + Magneto with nano-sentinels, which no one noticed before then, and those nano-sentinels were what was ruining their powers. Nothing to do with the Phoenix Force at all.


    That said, I like your explanation better, so I’m just going to pretend that’s what it really was.

    Thanks for the podcast, and keep up the good work!

    1. Was I the only one disappointed that Dark Beast ended up being the mastermind behind that whole arc? I was really hoping for an actual betrayal from within (or at least the shocking return of a long forgotten villain).

    2. Wait, were those nano-sentinels responsible for ALL the problems they’ve been having with their powers since AvX? I thought they were just the cause of Cyclops and Magik freaking out at the Jean Grey school.

    3. Yeah, you’re totally right (although Bendis has yet to adequately explain just how or when that happened). It’s a single line in a single panel that connects the nanosentinels to Scott’s (and by extension, the other affected mutants’) loss of power control, but it’s there.

      That… does kind of seem like it came out of nowhere, both the Dark Beast reveal and his plans, especially since the power-futzing happened EXACTLY after the Phoenix Five thing ended. Bendis is generally pretty good about this kind of thing, so let’s hope he can make some sense of this in the coming issues…

    4. I thought they said something at some point about Magneto’s powers malfunctioning because of the way he got them back from the High Evolutionary after M-Day as well. I thought they made some reference to his powers being unstable because of that. I could be making that up though.

  2. Love the podcast. I’m old enough that I was buying the Dark Phoenix issues as they were coming out. I remember being really impressed that Kitty was only a little older than me. I’m not sure how old she’s supposed to be now, but I’m pretty confident I’m old enough to be her father.

    Great panel choice to demonstrate the disco. I remember reading an interview with Byrne where he said he had hoped that panel would be colored so that everybody had white skin and green hair. The guy on the left in the foreground is the Joker.

  3. You need to look up some pictures of Peter Wyngarde as “Jason King”. It’s a little scary just how good a job John Byrne did….

  4. I remember leafing through “digital back issues” of this part of the run forever ago – back when I was in high school, and the internet was still a dangerous and wild place, filled with Geocities and Webrings.

    And now I’m going to have to read it all again.

    Admittedly, I’m actually slowly reading through the Silver Age content right now (which is stuff I’ve never gotten around to reading before) alongside the entire run of Spider-Man, but I’m just going to have to read as much of the X-Men that I can muster.

    Thanks so much for making the X-Men sound way more awesome than they are at their worst, and showing off the X-Men at their best by making the awesome still sound awesome.

  5. Just found this podcast- I’ve been listening through from the beginning and loving it! I wasn’t planning to comment until I was closer to caught up, but I noticed this bit:

    “Mostly here for the hat detail, which is pretty clever; and the tiger line, which is not”

    and I wanted to chime in with some extra info- “imitate the action of the tiger” is actually a Shakespeare reference. (Of course, there’s a good chance you know this and are just mocking Wyngarde for being pretentious, which I entirely approve.)

    For future listeners less familiar with the play, it’s from Henry V, the “once more into the breach” speech where Henry is psyching up his troops before the battle of Harfleur, and I thought it was really interesting because I can’t tell how much the parallel is intentional. Henry’s a young and inexperienced king, (and the French have been mocking him over his reputation for goofing off) and this is the first battle in basically the first major event of his reign, so I could see Wyngarde comparing Cyclops to Henry out of contempt. But on the other hand, Henry winds up with a spectacular victory at the end of the play (and an explicitly miraculous lack of English casualties), so that would be a little odd for Mastermind to be calling up that parallel at a point where he’s sure he’s won… but it *totally* fits if that’s the writers making that connection in the larger context.

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