Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

26 – The Other Team America (featuring Chris Sims)

Art by David Wynne.
Art by David Wynne.

In which Danielle Moonstar is the Wolverine of the New Mutants, Henry Peter Gyrich is the Walter Peck of the Marvel Universe, Michael Rossi is no Peter Corbeau, Xavier is a Brood Queen (who is a jerk), Bob McLeod draws really good teenagers, the New Mutants do an after-school special, Chris Sims drops in for some emergency X-Plaining, Elsie Carson is the Harvey and Janet of Hydra, and Team America is generally sort of baffling.


  • Viper
  • Brood stuff
  • The original New Mutans (more) (again)
  • The New Mutants #1-6
  • Denial
  • Dani vs. the Danger Room
  • Mall stories
  • Neighborhood kids
  • Henry Peter Gyrich
  • Sebastian Shaw (again)
  • Project Wideawake (sort of)
  • Michael Rossi
  • A poorly-timed crossover
  • Gabrielle Haller
  • A profoundly unethical relationship
  • A Very Special Episode
  • Overkill
  • Magnum, P.I.
  • Team America (but not that one)
  • Elsie Carson, middle manager of Hydra
  • The Girl With the Silver Eyes
  • X-Men reading order

The visual companion for this episode will go up mid-week, due to New York Comic-Con generally kicking our asses (Among MANY other things, Rachel is tweeting–mostly cool X-cosplay pics–from the show floor, and Miles is working at the Dark Horse booth. Come say hi!). Meanwhile, for further supplemental material, we recommend reading Chris’s in-depth history of Team America:

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  1. I just picked up the New Mutants graphic novel last weekend, so I’ve been trying to get my thoughts around the Team America crossover ever since. Thank you for not skipping over it with only a snide commment!

  2. After this episode, I really want to see a Marvels-style comic about Harvey and Janet being hired by Elsie Carson to hunt down Boom Boom from Nextwave as she goes on a robbery spree through all the malls across 1980s Middle America.

    Janet: “We used to work for the Black King, now we work at the Chess King.”

    Harvey: “It isn’t all that bad. Check out my snazzy suspenders. As employees, we get a discount.”

  3. As a long-time ISB reader, I’ve been SO PSYCHED since I found out Team America was involved in this episode. I remember that three part history fondly. Someday I’ll make the effort to find back issues since it sure as hell isn’t on Marvel Unlimited. And yes, I looked. Stupid licensing.

    Anyway, I was not disappointed and I adored this episode as usual. You guys are actually going to get me started on New Mutants, even though I’ve never read it before.

  4. So why do you think the members of the New Mutants aren’t still around? I’ve been reading newer Marvel stuff (Uncanny X-men, Captain Marvel, etc) and I haven’t seen Sunspot, Mirage, or any of the New Mutants. Did they just not catch on with readers the way Kitty, or Illyana did?

    1. You’ve just been looking in the wrong places, though admittedly the places they’ve been in aren’t ones I care for. The New Mutants has a revival title a couple of years back 2009-2012 that ran for 50 issues. Most of them have floated back and forth from different teams.

      Wolvesbane, for example, has been in X-Factor, X-Force and Excalibur. Sunpsot and Cannonball are on the Avengers right now, having outer space adventures. Mirage joined SHIELD for a while, led the Young X-Men and reformed the New Mutants. Karma becomes a teacher at Xavier’s (as do most of the NW at some point) and works with various teams.

      Basically, most of the NM bounced from team to team over the years, always visible but never strong enough to hold their own title for too long. They are effectively X-Men these days, really. When they’re not Avengers.

  5. Hi,
    I think this doesn’t have much to do with anything, but you mentioned the 90s in the final question and I am wondering about something. I recently attempted to read the Age of Apocalypse storyline and I had never read any x-men comic from the 90s before. I just couldn’t go past a couple of issues because the artwork was so… distracting. I guess my question is, is the artwork from the 90s and specifically this arc supposed to be good or am I missing something? I am not trying to be catty here, I just found it to be very unpleasant and comparing it to the little from the 70s and 80s that I’ve read and genuinely enjoyed, I just can’t understand how it got that way.

    1. In the 90’s there was a push for a more anime style. Which got annoying. Everyone had big eyes and boobs. It does get better and different artists had different looks.

  6. The Viper was back with Hydra in Hickman’s Secret Warriors series, and was killed by Nick Fury’s girlfriend masquerading as Madam Hydra. She was then resurrected by The Hive and became the new Madam Hydra, with an octopus attached to her head.

    Sims mention of Elsie Carson being told to “take care of” Team America reminded me of this Mitchell and Webb sketch: http://youtu.be/U6cake3bwnY

  7. You guys missed the previous appearance Colonel Michael Rossi in X-Men #96(?) when Steven Lang blew up his plane and tried to kill him for trying to cancel Lang’s Sentinel program. The Classic X-Men backup stories would eventually tell us that Harry Leland and Emma Frost had saved him from the crash which I think was caused by one of Langs Sentinels. Rossi actually plays a pretty important part of the upcoming Rogue story as well, when Carols persona takes over Rogue and she rescues him from the helicarrier, so I really think he is more then a bargain basement Peter Corbeau, though I dont know if can swim as well as Corbeau :).

  8. After the most recent episode, I googled Peter Corbeau and looked up the character’s history. How have you guys gone this many episodes and not mentioned that he was also Bruce Banner’s college roommate?

    It’s nice to see someone at Marvel who still has a good relationship with their college roommate.

  9. I kind of skimmed through the first 40 or so issues of New Mutants again recently, and one thing that stuck with me was that – while I love the titular characters – a lot of the story arcs left me cold. The Hellion arcs were standouts to me, but stuff like this Team America arc was too plentiful for my tastes. Just out-of-place or uninteresting characters (including the rogues gallery), litter the first half of the series in my opinion. I think this kind of forced promotional stuff, combined with Claremont and the editors being spread too thin, really prevented New Mutants from soaring to great heights. This impression probably contributed to me getting out of monthly collecting for the first time, right around 1986. I, too, eventually went back and got all 100 issues of New Mutants when the collecting bug hit me again in 1990 – but it felt more like for the sake of being a completionist or out of a sense of obligation.

    I’m looking forward to your future episodes about the New Mutants series to see if my impressions are changed or if they help me see some of these old stories in a new light.

  10. Ladies Night is great, for the most part, but it comes from that era where Carol randomly takes over Rogue’s body gets her haircut, buys a new wardrobe and rearranges her rooms. Which everyone is totally cool with and wonders why Rogue doesn’t like her haircut.

  11. What do you guys think of the portrayals of X-characters in Hickman’s Avengers series? I think I can guess Rachel’s feelings on Wolverine being on Avengers teams, but I’m more curious about your take on Sunspot and Cannonball as the representatives of youthful joy in Avengers, and Beast as the least abrasive member of the Illuminati in New Avengers. Given your love of all and sundry, is Hickman doing them justice?

    (Until hearing these episodes I had no real clue who Cannonball and Sunspot were, but was really enjoying their presence in Avengers. Now that I know a bit about them they’re going to be even more fun.)

  12. Slight corrections: In the first issue of Team America, Hydra was trying to capture an experimental motorcycle made by a Japanese racing team against which Team America was competing. Also, not sure where Sims got that bit about hiding the Marauder’s bike. The Marauder’s motorcycle just appears out of nowhere when Team American summons him/her/it. In one issue, with Team America down on their luck and without a working bike with which to compete, the Marauder leaves his bike for them to use.

    I always thought of Elsie Carson as a stand-in for then-Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter, who wrote much of the series. She’s portrayed as a compassionate manager who tries to protect her employees from the uncaring higher-ups in the company. She even talks about how Hydra has a great health-care plan, something which Shooter implemented at Marvel. Shooter is also a motorcycle rider and tended to include autobiographical flourishes in his later work at Marvel in Secret Wars II (so awful it’s almost good) and especially Star Brand (which was great).

    I have a crazy artifact that I found on ebay, a bound book of Team America 1-12. Marvel staffers have told me they think it was lifted from the company library before I got it. I’ve since had it autographed by Shooter, original artist Mike Vosburg, and Gary Cohn (who wrote some back-up features explaining how motorcycles work!). Team America was an awful book but the first one I collected from issue one, and I was almost shocked when they showed up in New Mutants and were actually well written.

  13. Hey, thanks very much for your extremely kind comments about my art. I really appreciate it. NM was my first regular penciling job, and the deadlines were killing me, but I did try hard to draw them as individuals and normal looking people rather than comic book stereotypes. It’s very gratifying to know someone out there appreciated my efforts.

    1. Absolutely! Your work on New Mutants was hugely important in defining the tone of the book and each of the characters’ personalities and was a breath of fresh air in its realism. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help introduce so many new readers to it. (We’re also immensely flattered you’re checking out our show!)

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