Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 65 – The Mutant Massacre, Part 1

Listen to the episode here.

If you want to follow along with the crossover, you can find a guide to the reading order–and how we’re dividing it between episodes–here.



  1. Whilst it’s lovely to see the introduction of Betsy’s pink princess floaty superhero costume one has to wonder (again) why she didn’t choose her Captain Britain costume (customised from the suit belonging to Kaptain Briton), the one which had a forcefield, some strength enhancement AND allowed her to fly, powers that would be too useful NOT to have on hand.

    Again Wolverine and Storm’s arrogance is irritating. Betsy is an instant member of the team because she wouldn’t give up under pressure. Point me towards a single member of the New Mutants who wouldn’t do exactly the same under the circumstances. There is no reason she should be an X-Man rather than a New Mutant, especially given how often she references that she needs training)

    And no happy New Mutants are as happy as Alan Davis New Mutants… look at that group shot! (And leave the Betsy/Doug thing as a non-mutual teenage kid’s crush as much as possible)

  2. Ooh! Delurking for this, because Uncanny X-Men #212 and #213 were the first X-Men comics I ever read!

    As a kid, I regarded comics as very much a ‘boy thing’. A big part of that was the way comics and superheroes were marketed; plus my mum, though a big reader who encouraged my love of books, had no experience of comics so she considered them pulpy trash, and that left a definite impression on me.

    And I was *such* a girly-girl. I liked princesses and fantasy kingdoms and magical quests. Care Bears and My Little Pony. Big buff dudes fighting in iron suits or swinging around on spider webs did not appeal to me at all.

    But I’d always thought the superpowers bit was cool. And the X-Men cartoon my brother used to watch had some awesome girl characters in it, especially the lady with weather powers. (Like Linka! My favourite Planeteer!)

    So anyway, one day I was snooping through my younger brother’s meagre comic collection, which mostly consisted of compilations of old Batman and Spiderman stories from the sixties and seventies. I started flicking through a book unpromisingly titled Marvel’s Greatest Super Battles, and that’s where I found Uncanny X-Men #212 and #213, and guys, it blew my tiny mind.

    I think the issues had been included for the Wolverine/Sabretooth battle; I skipped over those pages, they looked boring. What captured me was the fact that there were GIRLS. Girl heroes EVERYWHERE. Storm! Callisto! Rogue! Dazzler! Psylocke! I did not know who half of these characters were, and I instantly wanted to know more about ALL of them.

    Psylocke was my favourite, though. I don’t think I could have chosen a more perfect Claremont issue for me to pick up as a kid than #213. Up until that point, I’d associated superheroes with big buff dudes with muscles and knife hands — and suddenly I’m watching Betsy, this adorable Disney princess with purple hair and flowy pink outfits and a pretty butterfly-like psychic manifestation, BEING A TOTAL BADASS. Oh my godddd. Plus we’ve got a side-serving of Betsy trying to fit in/proving her worth/showing her hidden strength and gahhh it’s like this issue was WRITTEN for child-me.

    Lacking access to any other X-Men comics, I would re-read those issues again and again over the years. Funnily enough, these two issues from a crossover titled “Mutant Massacre”, collected in a book called “Marvel’s Greatest Super Battles”, actually taught me was that comics and superheroes were about *more* than just fights and explosions and killing and dudes with knife hands. That they could be filled with rich characters with complex, intelligently-written stories and powerful emotional arcs.

    1. I just put in my rant on the podcast page re: Betsy. I was so disappointed when they took away her pink outfits and butterfly projections and made her into the Eight Millionth Ninja of the ’80s.

      1. I agree completely! Aside from the really shitty racist stuff going on with body-swapped-ninja-Betsy, what drew me to the character as a kid was that she was both very overtly feminine AND tough as nails when the need arose, and that wasn’t something I’d ever seen before in my limited exposure to superheroes. It was the first time I realised that there *were* superheroes out there for shy, pink-loving girls like me.

        Reading stories with modern body-swapped Psylocke always just makes me uncomfortable. I want to like and engage with the character because she meant so much to me when I was a kid, but ffs, she’s a white British lady inhabiting a Japanese woman’s body, it’s awful and offensive and I don’t understand why it STILL hasn’t been retconned/reversed.

        (Hell, Brian Wood even doubled down on it in Adjectiveless by resurrecting Maddy Pryor in a Colombian girl’s body.)

  3. I felt the atmospheric overpressure of this comment a split-second before the comment itself. Good thing, too…

  4. I liked the homage to Claremont’s tendency to begin a sentence in one panel…

    …and end it in another.

    In a series of pictures talking about Claremontisms no less. Turtles all the way down…

    1. That seems to have returned in modern comics. DC is a huge user of that method so much so that if you were to take a drink of your bear every time they did it in a single issue of Justice League 3000 you would not have a bear and still have a few pages left. Amazing Spider-Man is getting into it too but they seem to know how to use it to actually convey tension between two scenes instead of just using it as a scene swipe to another scene.

  5. I love that final panel of UXM 213 — Betsy warmly accepted by the group as a proper member of the X-Men, while Callisto and Magneto look on from the fringes. Brilliant storytelling by Davis and Claremont in that moment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *