Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Rachel & Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 33

Week of April 15, 2015:

In which Jordie Bellaire is our god now, Black Vortex is way too long, and Miles makes gremlin noises.


  • Spider-Man and the X-Men #5 (0:28)
  • Uncanny X-Men #33 (1:55)
  • *Magneto #17 (3:59)
  • Legendary Star-Lord #11 (5:46)
  • Wolverines #14 (8:01)

*Pick of the Week (9:39)

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  1. I am really happy to see Magneto as your issue of the week, because, guys, I loved this issue. I was also a little nervous about the Nazi storyline, because comics. We are accustomed to seeing Nazis all the time, and they are mostly reduced to opera bouffe villains, with surveillance cameras for heads, or purple hoods, just blah blah blahing away really stupid plans for world domination. Even the Red Skull, who in the right hands has a real capacity for menace, is usually just over-the-top idiocy, more Charlie Chaplin dancing with a globe than real danger.

    But Hitzig: he scared the hell out of me. This is what can be done with real evil in the comic book context. And Magneto’s solution to the problem explored the real, horrifying compromises that sometimes feel necessary when dealing with that kind of evil.

    “Briar,” says Magneto, “the killer is always among you.” And here, the killer is with Magneto in every way possible: ripped from his memories, yes, but also himself, and his ability to justify his behavior with: what? He doesn’t exactly say, but you can imagine: Magneto must lead these people. His life is more necessary. His experience cannot be disposed of. Without him, things would only be more dangerous. So he makes the decision that puts blood on his hands, while (incidentally? primarily?) saving himself.

    Compare him to Kitty in this week’s books. I liked the Black Vortex installment this week more than you did, because it is about the exploration of self-sacrifice (even if it, admittedly, doesn’t make a lot of plot sense). Compare Kitty in space to Magneto in the remains of his concentration camp: each sacrifices. But what do they see fit to sacrifice?

    And look at Uncanny. When the demands of humanity/mutantcy as a whole become too overwhelming, Illyana and Kitty abandon it to protect a single young girl. For them, it all comes down to the individual. Conversely, Magneto, when the demands of protecting a single girl become too overwhelming, sacrifices her for humanity/mutantcy.

    Magneto 17 is terrifying and unsettling in all of the ways that a story like this ought to be. Also, it came out the day before Yom Ha’shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), and is the most effective comic about the lasting effects of the Holocaust I can remember. If you happen, at some point, to interview Cullen Bunn, I’d be interested to hear if he did that on purpose, or it was just a coincidence of scheduling.

    Sorry for the long post, but I don’t really have anyone to talk comics with (I also quit reading in the 90s, sadly after Onslaught, and when I came back to it I didn’t have any comics-reading friends left). I hope you don’t mind my using your comments section as an outlet for this stuff.

    1. No problem at all – that’s why the comments section exists.

      I don’t have much to add, but I appreciate the excellent analysis, especially you pointing out the different takes on sacrifice and responsibility among this week’s books. Nicely done!

  2. Thanks for the reviews. Uncanny X-Men #33 was so sweet. This story seems a little reminder what the X-Men are all about: finding mutants who’ve been abandoned or are in some trouble due to their powers and helping them. It seemed an appropriate so close to the big finale thing.

    I’m getting really tired of Black Vortex as well and dearly hope that Secret Wars isn’t horrible. So many books I’m reading are ending/going on hiatus during Secret Wars that I hope the series and tie-ins I’ll be reading are actually good.

    I was wondering what you are planning to do for the event? I’m guessing you will be reviewing the X-Men tie-ins for Secret Wars, but will you be including the main Secret Wars series and/or titles which may include a minor X-Man character?

    Thanks again, and I’m very much looking forward to the next episode of the podcast!

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