Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 52 – Previously on Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men…

Listen to the episode here!

Art by David Wynne.
Art by David Wynne.

Given the nature of this week’s episode, we decided against putting together a visual companion (we instead recommend clicking through the preceding visual companions as fast as you can). However, we did assemble a handy index of every single previous episode, which you can find below the cut!

1 – The Strangest Podcast of Them All

  • In which we begin at the beginning: everything clicks with #3, Professor Xavier is a jerk, Magneto is a fearless fashionista, Cyclops gets a name, Jean Grey has a chronic case of the Silver Age, and allegorical diversity is not enough.

2 – Sentinels in the Mist

  • In which we introduce the villains of the Silver Age: Magneto makes some valid points, Mastermind is a Nice Guy of OkCupid, the Scarlet Witch predicts Cat Breading, the Trasks should really have known better, and the Comics Code Authority is down with pterosaurs.

3 – Cartoons, Lies, and Video Tape (feat. Chris Sims)

  • In which Rachel and Chris X-plain three cartoons and track a disagreement to its source; Gambit is definitely the worst person you know; Broadcasting Standards and Practices is tired of your death ceremonies; Storm doesn’t have an inside voice; and we finally get around to mentioning that one dude with the claws.

4 – American History X-Men

  • In which Rachel finally gets to say “WHAT?!,” we examine three variations on the Silver Age, Twin Peaks is reality TV, we can’t believe you hired Hitler, Angel is not Batman, even the most sympathetic Xavier is still pretty creepy, Cyclops has a good day, Marvel Girl is not going to throw a dinosaur for you, Iceman is the Troy Barnes of the X-Men, and we say a fond farewell to the Silver Age.

5 – The Retcon That Walks Like a Man

  • In which the Bronze Age begins; Dave Cockrum is your god now; the band gets together; Sunfire joins the team; cultural sensitivity is not Marvel’s strong suit; Sunfire quits the team; it sucks to be Cyclops; Professor X crosses a moral event horizon; Sunfire joins the team; Ed Brubaker channels Thomas Hardy; you are probably a Summers brother; and Sunfire quits the team.

6 – Days of Future Whatever

  • In which we more or less prepare you for the upcoming feature film; Rachel Summers is a black hole of continuity; Kitty Pryde breaks the Danger Room; Earth 200500 is clearly the best earth; even the X-Men have no idea what’s going on; First Class Emma Frost is so boring that we forget she exists; wolverines are definitely not wolves; and you can have Rachel’s Community references when you pry them from her cold, dead hands.

7 – Cyclops Has a Good Day (feat. 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.

8 – What We Talk About When We Talk About Claremont

  • In which Chris Claremont defines the X-Universe; Sunfire quits the team (again); Nightcrawler is the best; the narrator is nobody’s friend; Colossus is a good kid; Cyclops has a long series of bad days; everyone is a bondage Viking; Rachel is a space pedant, we meet the Phoenix, and Wolverine is the Batman of Marvel.

9 – Leprechaun Surprise Party

  • In which Rachel refuses to back down from a challenge, we reject a point of canon, Leprechauns know Wolverine’s secrets, Erik the Red is (still) awful, Professor X is (still) a dick, the X-Men are your D&D party, the Shi’ar do a Star Trek riff, Phoenix is kind of a big deal, the circus comes to town, and Magneto gets creepy.

10 – Not All Mandroids

  • In which Phoenix has nothing on Jamie Madrox when it comes to retcons, Pterosaurs have super punchable faces, Colossus gets laid, we are uninterested in the Savage Land, Wolverine and Storm are both pretty interesting, smiling costs extra if you’re Doctor Doom, Banshee saves the day, Alpha Flight tries, Angry Hovercraft Guy comes back, and Proteus is fairly upsetting.

11 – Who Would Win in a Fight

  • In which we answer 45 straight minutes of your questions and alienate everyone with our answer to Jean vs. Emma, Miles is probably too nice to win in a fight, we are reallyinto The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rachel is the Vega to Miles’s Shepard, Excalibur is awesome, you should stop punching the DNA, Wolverine is Rogue, Longshot is the prettiest man, and Professor X is a pufferfish.

12 – Inner Circle Jerk

  • In which we wade into the first arc of the Dark Phoenix Saga, Rachel does not like Sage, the Hellfire Club are the mean girls of the Marvel Universe, Cyclops and Phoenix have a Moment, Mastermind ruins everything, Emma Frost is a force to be reckoned with, Wolverine gets awesome, and we meet the Dark Phoenix.

13 – Last Stand on the Moon

  • In which Jean commits genocide, the Shi’ar are total dicks (again), we have feelings about X-Men #137, Claremont and Byrne do what they do best, shit gets real on the moon, Kitty joins the team, and the Dark Phoenix Saga concludes.

14 – Look Upon My Man-Thing and D’Spayre

  • In which Canada is complicated, the X-Perts join Twitter, Rachel cares about a Wolverine story, Angel had one job, Kitty Pryde is pretty cool, Cyclops gets a hat, neither of us knows how to pronounce “Aleytys,” Doctor Doom is a terrible date, and the X-Men have an awful lot of signature moves.

15 – The Ballad of Harvey and Janet

  • In which we announce exciting new developments, the ASPCA should probably have a word with Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde gets a new costume, Lee Forrester is still the best, Cyclops has an octopus on his chest, Magneto has a change of heart, and Wolverine embraces transhumanism.

16 – The Official Unofficial Not-at-SDCC (Rachel and Miles X-Plain the) X-Men Panel

  • In which we correct a startling omission, explore the current state of the X-Universe, and speculate wildly; Quentin Quire has excellent fashion sense; Rachel gets a new accessory; Miles goes off-brand; the X-Men are somewhat complicated; Iron Man has poor decision-making skills; Charles Xavier dies for real; Beast might be a supervillain; we briefly forget Marc Guggenheim’s first name; and the future remains a relative mystery.

17 – The Island of Dr. Corbeau

  • In which we make our Comics Alliance debut, Cyclops makes a startling discovery, Carol Danvers joins the team (sort of), Chris Claremont calls out some bullshit, Havok still has terrible taste in hats, and Peter Corbeau gets his own theme music

18 – You’ve Got a Dracula Problem

  • In which Dr. Nemesis is delightful, Bill Sienkiewicz foreshadows himself, Dracula hits on absolutely everyone, Blade Godwins a crossover event, Jubilee get a jet ski, the X-Men do Castlevania 2, Rachel and Miles pick a vacation destination, and Cyclops wants you to follow your heart.

19 – Acorns and Swords

  • In which we continue our delve into the eldritch end of the X-Universe, Illyana Rasputin has a rough childhood even by X-Men standards, Kitty Pryde is a Niven fan, Limbo is way metal, Vincent Price is our Belasco, and Rachel and Miles have feelings about female friendships in Claremont’s X-Men.

20 – The Brood They Carried

  • In which Claremont levels up; the Brood are legitimately scary; Colossus is an ethical dude; Nightcrawler and Wolverine share beers in the face of certain death; Storm turns into a space whale; we are Carol Corps for life; New Mutants are really intoMagnum, P.I.; Kitty meets a dragon; and Xavier dies (again).

21 – Kurt Busiek at the Coffee-a-Go-Go

  • In which special guest Kurt Busiek is the J. Robert Oppenheimer of X-Men, Rachel and Miles learn to love the Silver Age, Cyclops gets a job, Bernard the Poet falls from grace, we really wish X-Men: The Secret Years was a real book, everyone recites poetry, and we still don’t get around to Marvels.

22 – Through Death and Through Life

  • In which Rachel and Miles celebrate an anniversary with a retrospective of one of the great romances of the Marvel universe; the Summers/Grey family tree is more of a transdimensional strawberry patch; the X-Men play some football; Professor Xavier isnot a jerk; and Scott Summers and Jean Grey are the power couple of existentialism.

23 – Meet the New Mutants

  • In which Rachel and Miles return triumphant, the X-Men get a second ongoing series, we hit peak Moira MacTaggert, R-A-H-N-E is definitely pronounced “rain,” Sam Guthrie is the nicest henchman, Claremont is hit-and-miss on cultural diversity, and Bobby da Costa is the teenageriest teenager of them all.

24 – Ororo, Queen of the Galaxy

  • In which Professor X is (canonically!) a jerk, Miles has Sidrian Hunter feelings, Kitty Pryde is Clarissa Darling with a dragon, we introduce a drinking game, the X-Men doBarbarella, Rachel has a ‘shipper moment, Rogue joins the team, Storm gets a haircut, Mastermind is still the worst, and Madelyne Pryor is underrated.

25 – The Best at What He Does

  • In which Wolverine gets his first miniseries, Yukio is still (and forever) the best, we categorically reject the classification “manic pixie dreamgirl,” everything is noir as hell, Wolverine gets an Iron Giant moment, Storm is too cool for your dress code, and we finally made “Probably a Summers Brother” t-shirts.

26 – The Other Team America (feat. Chris Sims)

  • 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.

27 – NYCC 2014 Special (feat. Kris Anka & Russell Dauterman)

  • In which we sit down with two of our favorite X-artists for an hour of continuity, character design, and a lot of wine; Corsair is the coolest; Emma Frost is a secret viewpoint character; Bishop is the anti-Booster Gold; Adam X the X-Treme gets a new hat; and none of us know how to pronounce “Bachalo.”

28 – What’s New, Shadowcat? (feat. Greg Rucka)

  • In which we welcome back Greg Rucka, Rachel makes a valiant effort to read Secret Wars, Earth-200500 is still the best Earth, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine is kind of dodgy, Ogūn is low-rent Mister Sinister, Miles talks about empathy, Greg has an Edna Mode moment, and we all love Kitty Pryde.

29 – Mutant in a Box

  • In which Cyclops is the worst at vacations, Mystique is your favorite MurderMom™, Havok is eternally ABD, Kitty Pryde does science, Callisto doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation, Xavier has a Troy Barnes moment, Miles may be the only person with fond memories of Secret Wars, and Rachel finally gets to make Spalding Gray references.

30 – New-Wave Superteens in Love

  • In which the New Mutants are the Bobbsey Twins to the X-Men’s Sam Spade; Nina da Costa is Ms. Frizzle; New Mutants does a Rachel-and-Miles cold open; Selene is the Elizabeth Bathory of lava; Rahne likes Sam, Sam likes Amara, Dani likes Bobby, and Bobby likes everyone; Gil and Art are no Harvey and Janet; Miles has a Del Preston moment; Magma is a Horta; and if something super happens, you should tell a super adult.

31 – Chekhov’s Raygun

  • In which there is a whole, whole lot going on; we continue to have no use for Michael Rossi; Wolverine should be an advice columnist; Forge makes bold fashion choices; the health of a timeline is directly tied to the awesomeness of Storm’s hair; and the X-Men get their first dark-future refugee.

32 – Off the Map

  • 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.

33 – Crossoverload

  • 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.

34 – Mordenkainen’s Marvelous Mutants

  • In which we venture forth into an age undreamed of, there are so many reasons to have Northstar on your team, Selene is the worst guest, Rachel X-Plains Conan, Cyttorak is the Mordenkainen of the Marvel Universe, Miles loves Doctor Strange, we have some fairly serious Captain America feelings, the X-Men completely fail at hide-and-seek, and we make more D&D references in one episode than in the previous 34 combined.

35 – Post-Disco Panic

  • In which literally every character in Dazzler: The Movie is the absolute worst; Beauty and the Beast is secretly kind of awesome; Ann Nocenti is an editorial war-bard; Rachel issues a hat-related retraction; and we would read the hell out of Tales from the Heartbreak Hotel.

36 – Steal This Podcast

  • In which we play Six Degrees of Lila Cheney; Cannonball gets a makeover; Earth does not in fact blow up; the X-Men like their s’mores with thinly veiled allegories; and Magik dabbles in erotic friend fiction.

37 – Giant-Size Special #1

  • In which we launch our first-ever giant-size special; God Loves, Man Kills is the definitive X-Men story; Producer Bobby makes his R&MXtXM on-air debut; we repopulate the world with X-writers; Rachel is really excited about x-plaining X-Cutioner’s Song; Miles takes a strong stance on Wolverine’s mask; we award some awards; and it’s all your fault.

38 – Welcome to Murderworld (feat. Chris Sims)

  • In which we welcome back Emergency Backup Co-Host Chris Sims; comics writers are basically supervillains; Cyclops is not here to have fun; Spider-Man flirts with objectivism; Murderworld is probably not financially sustainable; you should totally cosplay the Proletarian; Arcade may or may not secretly be the Archie Andrews of Earth-616; and Doctor Doom remains absolutely delightful.

39 – Forever Alone Together

  • In which Miles and his Doom voice return triumphant; we reach an understanding regarding Lila Cheney; Mob science is pretty shoddy; Magneto has fancy hair; New Mutants Xavier is Best Xavier; no one is more goth than Cloak and Dagger; and you can have Rachel’s Speed Racer references when you pry them from her cold, dead hands.

40 – Give Them Something to Punch (feat. G. Willow Wilson)

  • In which writer G. Willow Wilson joins us to talk about her new run on X-Men; the Future is really confusing; we consider the many iterations of Rachel Grey; Storm probably has strong feelings about climate change; and writing for a shared universe takes some seriously fancy footwork.

41 – Hated and Feared

  • In which Nimrod is probably an honorary Summers by this point; Claremont hits a centennial; it’s probably pretty hard to get an unconscious person into tight leather pants; the X-Men finally encounter a world that actually hates and fears them; and the Power Pack fits somewhat uneasily with the grown-up Marvel Universe.

42 – A Firestar Is Born

  • In which Miles has a brush with nostalgia; Angelica Jones is secretly a Thomas Hardy protagonist; it doesn’t need to make sense if it’s awesome; and Emma Frost really needs a mustache to twirl.

43 – It’s Not a Secret if It’s in the Title

  • In which we cover 21 issues in one episode; Secret Wars is a toy commercial; Jim Shooter’s X-Men are not the X-Men to which we are accustomed; Doctor Doom makes a surprisingly benevolent god; Secret Wars II is neither secret nor a war; The Beyonder learns to poop; and Boom-Boom is the best thing to come out of Secret Wars.

44 – Assembling Legion (feat. Si Spurrier)

  • In which Legion grows from setting to protagonist; Rachel is a master of narrative rationalization; “Claremont” is a verb; Warlock befriends an airplane; Xavier owns a significant mistake; New Mutants does a deep dive into power dynamics; you should go read X-Men: Legacy already; and Si reveals the true secret nature of reality.

45 – A Woman Who Could Fly

  • In which we discard our regularly scheduled programming to focus on Storm and Lifedeath II; no one draws motion like Barry Windsor-Smith; Storm goes up to eleven; and we really wish we had the frame of reference to place this story in the larger context of diaspora literature.

46 – Shadows Over Cairo

  • In which we bid a fond farewell to Bill Sienkiewicz; Secret Wars II continues to ruin everything; the New Mutants end up in an improbable number of gladiatorial arenas; Shadowcat’s secondary mutation is queer subtext; Magik gives no fucks about your crossover event; Warlock transcends storytelling conventions; and Karma rejoins the team.

47 – The Price of Power (feat. Elisabeth Allie)

  • In which Emergency Backup Co-Host Elisabeth Allie saves the day; the Berserkers are not the breakout hit you’ve been waiting for; Paul Smith continues to be awesome; nothing good ever happens in the Danger Room; Charles Xavier dabbles in cosplay; Nightcrawler has serious hat game; Rachel Summers lacks healthy coping skills; your life would be way more epic if Claremont narrated it; Northstar is a surprisingly good prom date; Loki is a total dick; and Longshot is totally Miles’s favorite.

48 – Guitar Solos of the Gods

  • In which Asgardian Wars occupies the precise intersection of Miles’s favorite things; Marvel Asgard is your favorite metal album; no one appreciates Cypher; Wolfsbane gets some action; Warlock gets meta; Cannonball is a catch; Rachel Summers gets a new costume; Loki does Shakespeare; and Rachel overthinks Leverage.

49 – Of Mullets and Miracles

  • In which we meet Miles’s favorite X-Man; Longshot is Secret Wars II done right; we are fairly committed to the idea of Ann Nocenti as a post-apocalyptic daredevil superhero; Longshot is patient zero of the ‘90s; Ricochet Rita is the best; luck is a zero-sum commodity; Mojo is legitimately terrifying; and nuance is Longshot’s secret weakness.

50 – The People Vs. Erik Lehnsherr

  • In which Magneto makes an official alignment shift; Claremont does a court drama; Professor Xavier makes poor choices; Rachel Summers comes by her communication skills honest; the Strucker kids are the evil Wonder Twins; and the podcast hits a major milestone!

51 – The X-Istentialists (feat. Kris Anka, Marguerite Bennett, Kieron Gillen, and Peter Nguyen)

  • In which Rachel and Miles go to Emerald City Comicon; six people try to share one microphone with varying success; you will never love anything as much as Kris loves Broo; Marguerite may or may not be a time-traveling supervillain; Peter is Laser Guy; Kieron joins an X-team; Hell is other X-Men; everyone lies egregiously; and it all comes back to Namor’s abs.


The return of Jean Grey!
The return of Jean Grey!


  1. I am really psyched for X-Factor to begin. It was the first x-book I read, after picking it up, one issue at a time, at a used comics store in a half-abandoned mall in a small farming town in northwestern Pennsylvania. It was a weird choice for a kid who knew absolutely nothing about the X-Men: it’s not like I had the nostalgia factor that the book banked on. Still, I loved it. When I got to the mutant massacre, I couldn’t believe it. I was hooked for good.

    1. You know, you’re right. Looking back through my notes, I’m not sure where I got that date for FF #1. It might have been from an article referring to the multiverse’s origins..?

      I do see Amazing Adventures #1 as having come out in June of 1961 – since Amazing Adventures is the comic that would later become Amazing Fantasy and host the first appearance of Spider-Man, I suspect that’s where the 616 designation actually comes from.

  2. Also, congrats on 52 episodes! I think I’ve spent more time listening to you talk about the X-Men than actually reading X-Men comics at this point!

  3. I have another Generation X update for anyone who cares, this time relevant to podcast episode #42, “A Firestar Is Born” In issue #59, Firestar actually does meet Emma Frost and they talk about Emma’s attempts at enslaving/mind-controlling her. Basically, Firestar’s still understandably pissed but eventually is willing to give Emma the benefit of the doubt with the Gen X kids.

  4. This was a super-fun recap episode. I haven’t read most of Uncanny X-Men #1-200 (though I’m working to remedy that), so the reminder of the topics previously discussed was very helpful, even despite having listened to the previous 51 episodes. Cheers, and here’s to many more years.

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