Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

66 – The Mutant Massacre, Part 2

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 7/26/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 7/26/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which we wrap up our first official two-parter; Gambit ruins everything; Rachel has a theory about Mister Sinister; Marvel communication technology is behind the times; Trish Tilby is tired of your bullshit; Walter Simonson is the best of the best; X-Factor pulls it together; Power Pack gets uncomfortably dark; Miles has Thor feelings; and even more mutants die.

NOTE: This episode is the second of a two-parter! If you haven’t listened to Episode 65, where we cover the first half of the mutant massacre, you should probably do that before you listen to this one!


  • Masque
  • Tentacle disambiguation
  • More of the Mutant Massacre
  • A Sinister hypothesis
  • Several Marauder-related retcons
  • X-Factor #9-11
  • Power Pack #27
  • The Mighty Thor #373-374
  • Trish Tilby
  • Artie & Leech
  • Several awkward reunions
  • Walter Simonson
  • The fall of Angel
  • Apocalypse’s horsemen
  • Yet another crossover that will probably scar the Power kids for life
  • Franklin Richards
  • Thor, Donald Blake, and Sigurd Jarlson
  • The best issue of any comic, ever.
  • The Tunnelers
  • Ongoing repercussions of the Mutant Massacre
  • Rachel & Miles’s horseman identities
  • Which X-Men could and should wield Mjolnir

NEXT WEEK: The New Mutants party like it’s 1299!

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  1. For all that I said last week that the Mutant Massacre does the X-Men little favours and sets them down a path of failure and disillusionment, I have to say it was probably the best thing that could have happened to X-Factor, and I would say that the run of stories from the Mutant Massacre tie-ins to the end of Fall of the Mutants is probably the peak of X-Factor’s run before Peter David comes in.

    Funny how that works out, I reckon.

  2. I picked up the Mutant Massacre collection on Comixology after last week’s episode (before this, I had only read the X-Factor parts, and that was in like 1992). I have to say, I am a bit bummed that you didn’t cover the Daredevil issue, because I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the depiction of Sabretooth in it. It is really nothing like the Victor Creed I know from his later connections with the X-Men and Wolverine. Except, maybe, that one time that he lives in a pile of furniture in the X-Mansion eating raw meat and Jean Grey slaps him around to make Jubilee feel better (although at the same time being dismissive of firecrackers, which presumably would be a little insulting to Jubilation).

    1. Man, they had a hell of a good line there in the mid-90s with people slapping around Sabretooth in the name of character development.

      It seemed like everyone from Jubilee to Boomer took a turn.

    2. I love Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil. But that issue is pretty much terrible. It works a little bit as emphasizing Nocenti’s themes about superheroes and the cycle of violence and then falls apart in a series of alternating scenes of Daredevil and Sabretooth fighting matched against a house cat chasing a mouse.

      Although, iirc, it was Nocenti’s first official issue as the new writer for Daredevil (previously, she had one fill-in issue). I wonder if her ties to the X-Men had any factor in that decision.

  3. I’ve always thought that Thor’s involvement was one of the true high points of this storyline. It reminded us that the X-family didn’t exist in a vacuum. In a way, it also helped reinforce the idea that the X-titles were really supposed to be underdogs, because as Rachel says, most folks don’t beat the Marauders so much as survive them…but the same could be said for Thor.

    On the other hand: it’s also a reminder that comics titles often have irrational firewalls to heighten drama and a sense of risk, because there’s seriously no reason why Thor wouldn’t immediately go into Avengers mansion and say, “Uh, guys, turns out there’s a gang of superpowered mass murderers running around in the sewers. We should probably go deal with that.”

    1. It was his absolute certainty that there were no survivors left that always worried me a bit, there might have been some poor bugger emerging from the pile of bodies that had shielded them from Scalphunters bullets and was just thinking “I’m alive? I’m alive! I’M ALIVE, I MADE IT… Hang on, what’s that crackly burning sound that seems to be headed this wa—-“

      1. Well, and the way his cosmic fire nearly burned the returning X Men to death too – his checking if the tunnels wasn’t that good…

  4. Another interesting tidbit: Franklin Richards is now *also* best buds with Leech, as part of both Generation X and the Future Foundation. This issue, #27, is one of the first times they ever interact.

    Other dark moments for Power Pack:

    -Kurse smacking their mom through a plate glass window, putting her in the hospital where she’s in a coma for several issues.

    (This did, however, lead to the classic Power Pack #19, in which Katie gets Annalee, Leech, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Cloak and Dagger, and Beta Ray freakin’ Bill, to come over to their apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.)

    -Mirage of the New Mutants literally fighting Death for their mom’s soul.

    -The kids fighting baby-snatching demons across New York in a sort of pre-Inferno.

    -Katie getting separated from the others on Snarkworld, so guilt-ridden for nearly killing Kurse and scarring the Snark prince Jakal that she pretty much becomes suicidal.

    -Fighting drug dealers; Alex nearly joins a gang, and the brother of one of Alex’s classmates gets shot by cops after robbing a bodega.

    -Fighting Apocalypse’s horsemen; during the fight Julie and Katie accidentally *SPOILER* (I’m assuming you’ll cover this when you get to Fall of the Mutants)

    -The Inferno tie-in which for my money is the darkest a kid’s comic can get without being an adaptation of The Book Thief.

    -Their parents having a shared mental breakdown when they learn their kids are superheroes.

    -Fighting polluters to save a family of dolphins, which Franklin can communicate with through his telepathy, only for the mom dolphin to die anyway.

    -And that Mike Higgins run. Which, admittedly, was dark more for the reader than for the characters.

    This has been “Alex Pontificates on Power Pack.” Hope you liked it.

    1. Gah! I’m somewhat familiar with Power Pack, but… man. I’m surprised Julie was the only one who ended up in a support group.

      1. I’ve said it before in a previous post, but my dream pitch for Marvel is a series featuring Katie Power/Energizer as a perfectly well-adjusted teenager.

      2. We’ve hardly seen Jack or Katie in years, so there’s plenty of time for them to show up with appropriate levels of psychological problems.

    2. I think Power Pack’s moral is “If a space horse wants to give you super powers RUN AS FAR AS YOU CAN AND DON’T LOOK BACK”

      1. But he’s a terribly pretty space sea-horse with a love of Earth literature and utterly fabulous taste in glam silver boots… How could that possibly go wrong?

  5. 66 is the number of issues the original series ran before it went into reprints. So congrats on that X-milestone.

  6. You sort of skip over one of my favourite moments in the Power Pack story when Scott finds Leech.

    The first thing Scott does is take his visor off, not so he can go on about how great it is not to need his visor, but so he can actually look this poor scared little kid in the eyes whilst reassuring him. It’s a very simple thing to do for most of us, but something that pretty much goes against _everything_ Scott has trained himself to do, but he knows it’s important that Leech sees him as Scott-the-person first at that moment, rather than the visor-wearing-Cyclops.

    (I believe that police, army and other people who deal with high stress people situations are advised to take off their sunglasses/raise their tinted visors etc so that clear eye contact can be made, it defuses some stress by humanisng them and helps to form as much of a rapport as is possible)

    1. Funny story: due to some technical difficulties, we actually recorded this episode twice. The first time, we had a discussion of exactly the scene you mentioned. The second time, it was hard to remember what we’d covered again and what was only in our minds because of the initial recording, and I suspect the latter is what happened here. Ah, well.

      But yeah – great scene, for exactly the reasons you described.

  7. As regards the question about who could pick up Mjolnir, I could see the Sunspot saga play out, and after his many life improving adventures and STILL failing to pick up the hammer trudges away with a sigh….

    The final scene though would be Warlock, who was passing by and has no idea what was going on, chasing after him whilst carrying something and calling out; “Selffriendbobby! Selffriendbobby! Did Selffriend _intend_ to leave this hammer behind?”

    Cue groan of despair from Sunspot as we fade out…

  8. I discovered 2 other interesting bits of crossover between X-Factor & the X-Men you didn’t mention here.

    In X-Factor #9 Artie “sees” with his powers Rusty & Skids enter the Morlock Tunnels, then Freedom Force searching for them, then the murder of the Morlock Tommy (from the end of UX 210). Shortly after that, Rusty & Skids trip over a body, which due to the timing of Artie’s visions, you come to realize is probably Tommy.

    During X-Factor #10, Marvel Girl & Angel manage to reunite with Cyclops, Iceman & Beast during a battle where she smashes Prism. Arclight brings down the tunnels behind her. This moment crosses over with The Uncanny X-Men #211 where Storm is nearly hit by one of Cyclops’s blasts and Wolverine tells her & Rogue he can smell “ALL the original X-Men” and they see the tunnel collapse.

    The X-Men arrive rather late to the party compared to X-Factor if you go back and check the timing between these crossover moments.

  9. It was great to finally see more ethnic diversity in comics with The Marauders, it’s just too bad that they turned out to be sadistic killers. Is Arclight the first transperson depicted in the X-books?

    1. Arclight is trans? Don’t remember that being a thing, certainly not back in the day. Is it a recent reveal?

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