In which we dive into two crossovers; our DCU is the DCAU; the Greys just cannot catch a break; Darkseid is basically Santa Claus; the Phoenix Force has Cyclops feels; Baron Karza is the sonic screwdriver of supervillains; and the Enigma Force is aptly named.
CONTENT NOTE: The Micronauts portion of this episode involves not-particularly-graphic but still fairly involved discussions of sexual violence. If that’s not something you want to listen to, we’d recommend stopping the episode after the Teen Titans portion at 26:26, and fast-forwarding to 47:52 for conclusions, questions, and outro.
The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans
The Teen Titans
The One True Flash
The Source Wall
Deathstroke the Terminator
Cyclops and the Phoenix Force
The X-Men and the Micronauts #1-4
The Hero Initiative
Evil Xavier (more)(again)(seriously, how is anyone still surprised when this happens)
Several moral event horizons crossed in quick succession
Female protagonists in X-books
Next Week: Captain America in a loincloth!
You can find a visual companion to the episode on our blog.
Given that we’re in the United States, and it’s that day when it’s customary to sit down and think about what we’re thankful for, we want to take a moment to do that.
We were completely unprepared for how quickly Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men took off. When we started the podcast in April, our threshold for ridiculous, unfathomable success was 50 listeners, not counting our moms. Seven months later, we’re averaging around 10,000 unique downloads per episode. Thanks to your support, the podcast and site have become a significant chunk of Rachel’s job.
But while we are thankful for those things, they’re not really what we wanted to talk about here. What we want to talk about is you.
When we realized how big we were getting, and how fast, we got really worried. We know the Internet; we know what happens when you tip over a certain size or a certain level of visibility. And we sat down and worked out rules for comments moderation, and contingencies for some worst-case scenarios, and generally kind of braced ourselves.
So far, we’ve had to use none of those contingencies. None. Think about that.
On the website, we’ve deleted or stopped maybe a dozen comments. Of those, all but two were accidental double-posts; and despite containing content we decided not to let through, the remaining two were polite and obviously well-intended. We’ve never needed to block a Twitter account. We’ve never gotten an e-mail that didn’t make us smile. (Even the corrections. Especially the corrections.)
Ten thousand listeners.
Two blocked comments.
Listeners, you are amazing. You are passionate and engaged: at our site and on social media, we loved watching you dive into involved, challenging, and universally respectful and civil conversations. You make us think. You make each other think. You share information and resources and recommend books. You make art. You send us wonderful, heartfelt notes that make us mist up at work.
We know a lot of people who podcast; who make art, and write, and work on the web. We’ve never seen anyone with a fan base as universally awesome as ours.
So, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we’re thankful for, in context of the podcast. We thought about characters we love and identify with, comics that have become touchstones and security blankets. But when it comes down to it, listeners–if we had to choose just one thing–we’re most thankful for you.
SPEAKING OF ART! When we were uploading David Wynne’s gorgeous Demon Bear for the print of the week, Redbubble suddenly confronted us with a possibility we had never previously considered but found absolutely hilarious: Demon Bear travel mugs. I mean, look at this:
After a hurried twitter conference with David, we decided those should probably be a thing, and now they are. (Both prints and mugs will be up at the shop until Sunday, November 30, at which point the prints and probably the mugs will disappear forever.)
The first full reveal of the Demon Bear. (New Mutants #18)
Gradually, across the Demon Bear Saga, the strangeness bleeds out from the panels and into the design elements. The corner square of New Mutants #18 was a Bob McLeod team portrait. This is the corner square from New Mutants #19.
The same thing is happening on the credits pages–in this case, the title, but just wait ’til you get to next issue… (New Mutants #19)
Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander are both charming and in serious trouble. (New Mutants #19)
Those sound effects. Those colors. That layout. (New Mutants #19)
The Demon Bear is less a creature than a space: looming, protean, with very little detail save for its eyes, teeth, and claws. (New Mutants #19)
Illyana’s soul armor makes its first appearance. (New Mutants #19)
And then that happened. (New Mutants #19)
The cover of New Mutants #20. We have no idea what’s going on in the corner square.
It’s worth remembering, as you flip through these, that you’re watching the definition and scope of superhero comics change and stretch. We are–literally and figuratively–off the map. (New Mutants #20)
Map detail. (New Mutants #20)
Later in the same issue. (New Mutants #20)
And finally. (New Mutants #20)
Sienkiewicz’s art gets a lot of attention, but Glynis Wein’s colors are absolutely critical to what the Demon Bear Saga accomplishes visually. (New Mutants #20)
Illyana’s soul armor spreads. (New Mutants #20)
Corsi and Friedlander, in their demon forms. (New Mutants #20)
The Demon Bear breaks down. (New Mutants #20)
Whoa. (New Mutants #20)
New Mutants: generally pretty okay with race and culture issues, but when it fails, it fails HARD. (New Mutants #20)
“Also, I recently leveled up and learned Cure Moderate Wounds.” (New Mutants #20)
One of the best covers of all time. (New Mutants #21)
Actually, let’s take a moment to look at that without the design elements, too, because it’s just that gorgeous. (New Mutants #21)
The “don’t let the normal kids see” joke kinda never gets old. (New Mutants #21)
Binary’s hair, tho. (New Mutants #19)
In case you were wondering, this is why Lee Forrester ends up finding Magneto in the middle of an ocean in Uncanny X-Men #187. (New Mutants #21)
TEENAGERS. (New Mutants #21)
Scariest makeover ever. (New Mutants #21)
YAY FOR ROCKY & BULLWINKLE REFERENCES! (New Mutants #21)
Warlock wakes up. (New Mutants #21)
It’s theoretically possible to imagine Warlock designed by an artist other than Bill Sienkiewicz, but why would you ever want to? (New Mutants #21)
Can we take a moment to acknowledge the self-restraint we are demonstrating by not just filling this entire gallery with pictures of Warlock? (New Mutants #21)
Warlock trying to make friends with inanimate objects is the gift that keeps on giving. (New Mutants #21)
Doug Ramsey X-plains proportionate response. (New Mutants #21)
“Can we keep him?” (New Mutants #21)
Next Week: Crossovers!
Special thanks to Andrew Vestal for help assembling the images for this post.
In which we hit the definitive arc of New Mutants; Bill Sienkiewicz blows our minds; Rachel gets choked up over a credits spread; Rahne gets a makeover; Doug Ramsey is justifiably flustered; and Warlock is a friend to household appliances.
NOTE: This episode includes a lot of art talk. While doing so is not strictly necessary to follow the discussion, we recommend listening with the visual companion open.
The transmode virus
New Mutants #18-21
The Demon Bear Saga
Task leaders vs. social leaders
Page layout as a storytelling tool
The Demon Bear and its shadow
One of the best covers of all time
The deeply problematic fate of Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander
What the New Mutants are up to these days
Next Week: Crossovers!
You can find a visual companion to the episode on our blog.
(From Uncanny X-Men #28. W: Brian Michael Bendis; A: Kris Anka. Are you following this book? You should be. It’s consistently superlative, notwithstanding what we presume is a balloon error in panel 3.)
You can get prints of David Wynne’s “Back to the Future Past” art here, or contact David for the original!
We searched for the source for this for like an hour, with no luck. Wherever it comes from, we would very much like to send it back. (Update: It’s from X-Factor #69, with art by Whilce Portacio. Thank you, Breadcrumb!)
Rogue, no! He’s not worth it! He’s not even a Super Doctor Astronaut! (Uncanny X-Men #182)
Rogue’s schtick was–very briefly–throwing silver dollars. It did not last. (Uncanny X-Men #182)
Ooh, moral awakening! (Uncanny X-Men #182)
Aw, Kitty. Also, ace tandem use of speech and thought balloons. (Uncanny X-Men #183)
Remember when artists used to draw Wolverine at the proper height? (Uncanny X-Men #183)
SUNDAY PUNCH. Juggernaut, you delightful scamp. (Uncanny X-Men #183)
Wolverine is full of valuable life lessons, a remarkable number of which involve massive real-estate damage. (Uncanny X-Men #183)
Forge’s sweet, sweet pad. (Uncanny X-Men #184)
LOOK AT THIS DELIGHTFUL GENTLEMAN AND HIS DELIGHTFUL SHORTS (Uncanny X-Men #184)
Fun fact: Wolverine and the X-Men Forge is an unsettlingly accurate Miles doppelgänger.
He’s a nice dude. Too bad he’s SUPER DOOMED. (Uncanny X-Men #184)
Pro tip: the better Storm’s haircut, the better the general state of the timeline. (Uncanny X-Men #184)
Rachel Summers: THE SADDEST TIME TRAVELER. (Uncanny X-Men #185)