Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

68 – The Most Dangerous Game

most dangerous game v5
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 8/9/2015 , or contact David for the original.

In which we catch our breath after the Mutant Massacre; Miles’s taste is both epic and adorable; Dazzler’s Achilles heel is fame; Madelyne Pryor; it’s hard to be a teenage ghost; Crimson Commando is not actually Frank Borman (but we wish he were); Wolverine may or may not make truck noises; Heroes for Hope is profoundly baffling; and Sunspot would definitely be way into Leslie Knope.


  • Several untimely deaths
  • Uncanny X-Men #214-216
  • Heroes for Hope
  • The post-Mutant Massacre X-Men
  • Malice
  • Another set of Phoenix callbacks
  • The Murder Grandpas
  • Crimson Commando
  • Super Sabre
  • Stonewall
  • Actual superhero Marsha P. Johnson
  • Priscilla the jerk
  • Wolverine SFX
  • Some fairly spectacular misunderstandings
  • One hell of a jam comic
  • X-costumes
  • A Thomas Magnum for 21st-century X-kids

NEXT WEEK: Elle Collins and Graeme McMillan X-Plain Beast’s solo adventures!

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  1. That bit in Heroes for Hope when Hungry’s just finished emaciating Kitty creeped me out for ages afterward. That was some cask-strength nightmare fuel.

  2. Regarding the art in this run, what happened to John Romita Jr? I remember seeing him interviewed on film somewhere — I think it was in one of the extras on the Maguire Spider-Man DVDs — and he mentioned being fired from X-Men. He had two X-Men runs, but I got the impression that he was fired from this one, the first run. I’ve never heard any elaboration on this. JRJR mentioned it matter-of-factly, so it didn’t seem to be big scandal or anything, but I’ve always been curious what the story was.

    His 2nd X-Men run was after Claremont left. Maybe they had a falling out? It’s been mentioned elsewhere that Claremont is usually very complimentary towards his artists, but Romita is rarely mentioned. Any stories, conjectures, gossip, or wild rumors?

  3. Isn’t “reverse Clue” basically 13 Dead End Drive?

    I . . .do not like these issues very much. Malice is yet another distillation of Claremont’s fetishes (non-Storm demonstrating her ascendancy division), I find Super Sabre/Commando/Stonewall to be pretty dreary (and like 90% of the bad guys during this time, gets dropped into Freedom Force because that’s a convenient holding bin for thinly-drawn bad guys) the notion of the X-Men becoming a proactive squad despite essentially failing in everything they set out to do really bakes in a problem that the book never really resolves to the point Storm explicitly walks it back by saying “we spent so much time surviving that we forgot what we were surviving for.” This is where we set down that road in earnest, and the book will suffer for it.

  4. So, not ten issues ago Wolverine was ready to and successfully killed someone, Rachel, because they gave up on ideals and were proactive in dealing with a known repetitive threat. Now starts these issues off in a almost X-Force mood? It’s not that I don’t think cross-overs fail to make people more violent, but if he just waited that would have saved Rachel a ton of trauma. Like she needs anymore.

  5. I’d argue that Dazzler’s lightshows influencing emotion is definitely a byproduct of her powers. My Dazzler comics are a few states over so I can’t pull up any actual instances off the top of my head, but she’s able to lull people in a trance-like state or to calm people down by flashing patterns of light in certain patterns, it only seems logical that she’d be able to hype people up by doing the opposite.

    Dazzler’s powers are ridiculous in the best way possible and kind of operate on ‘whatever the plot demands.’ Aside from just lightshows and lasers, she’s been able to fly, generate solid light shield things, eye lasers, turn her body into solid light, etc., as well as fully absorbing Klaw (a supervillain made of solid sound) once. She also beat the Enchantress in a singing contest and had a brief career killing alternate Charles Xaviers, but that’s neither here nor there.

    1. IIRC in her first ever appearance she shuts down the minds of several Hellfire goons by overloading their senses with flashing light pulses.

    2. During Cockrum’s 2nd run, when Storm, Kitty, and Spider-Woman go to a Dazzler nightclub show and meet Caliban, Dazzler uses her powers to soothe the crowd and keep them from panicking. She later uses her light to calm down a murderous Eric Beale.

  6. Pretty sure I remember Dazzler calming a rampaging Hulk in her solo series with a “soothing lightshow”. 🙂

  7. Christopher Priest has some FASCINATING stuff to say about race relations at Marvel & elsewhere, and Heroes for Hope turns out to have played a big part in it. Someone overheard half a phone conversation between Priest (African American) and Larry Hama (Japanese American) where they were laughing about how there were no black creators involved at all, and that overheard comment turned into a whole big thing…which, again, punctuates the overwhelming whiteness of Heroes for Hope AND race at Marvel in the ’80s.

    The incident is at point 7 on this page, although I recommend reading the whole thing — especially the stuff about Larry Hama, as that dude’s just amazing all on his own.


    1. The cold open is scripted, and the intro and outro are pretty much the same every episode. Otherwise, except for the occasional weird little bit (like Rachel’s “The Things They Carried” reference ages ago), all we use for the rest of the episode is a pre-written outline containing plot points, discussion points, and occasionally jokes we want to make sure we bring up.

  8. I thought this might be the same Malice that appears in Fantastic Four, but apparently they are completely different entities (according to Dr. Wikipedia).

  9. Regarding naming of TPBs. Old Soldiers was one of the earliest collections I worked on and was timed to coincide with the return of Claremont and Davis to Uncanny X-Men with #444. We were reprinting their previous collaborations in Uncanny and New Mutants. We were basically planning a Visionaries-style tpb, but that line had lost some favor internally so we couldn’t call it that. We needed a name and “Old Soldiers” was the most concise of that bunch of stories.

    1. Neat! I hadn’t realized that rereleasing old material would be timed to coincide with current runs, but in hindsight, that makes perfect sense. That makes me hope that Louise Simonson does something big soon and early X-Factor gets some kickass color reprints…

  10. There actually is at least one mutant (or rather a Warpie) with the power to create and manipulate fabrics. Silkworm was a young green kid who showed up in an issue or two of Excalibur as one of the Warpies that the RCX were “looking after”. He repairs Nightcrawlers fairly shredded costume by just touching it, and in the process redesigns it. When one of his friends says he shouldn’t have changed it he comments that he’s an ARTIST!

    Presumably he lost his powers when the Warpies all started reverting to human (And I’m ignoring the horrible Warren Ellis story which implied that all the Warpies had been killed and dissected for study)

    Beast has also shown a slight talent for costume design, he came up with Wonder Man’s superhero outfit when they were both in the Avengers, though Simon decided to go with his infamous sarafri jacket look instead.

  11. Also, being unaware of mall fashions from ten years after the fact, Malice’s “form” was a rather stylish antique Vistorian cameo brooch on a ribbon choker. I liked that bit of design as it suggested she might be a LOT older than you might first think.

    Wolverine losing control of his senses about Malice struck me as completely hollow even on the first read of it, as we’d just seen an entire issue about the fact that you could tell who she’s possessing at any given time whoever it is will be wearing a highly visible item of costume jewellery. “No choker = no stabbing, Logan.”

  12. Sorry to keep posting, been a rather fragmented day, but I always wondered, if the Marauders were going after the families of known mutants (To the extent of targetting the sister of someone who was, as far as the world knew, basically dead), why were Leong and Nga the only New Mutant’s family members that they thought would be targeted? Why not the Guthrie clan, or the parents of Berto, Doug and Dani?

  13. I haven’t gotten a chance to look over these issues yet (I just recently repurchased them), but I wondered if there was a racial undertone to Storm being picked up by the Crimson Commando and Co. for “looting.” In other words, if she has been a white person might they have tried to find out what she was doing first? I mean, are we to believe that this trio felt that the punishment for ALL CRIMES is to be hunted to death? Sure, some well-connected rich drug dealers may require vigilante justice, but a lone looter?

    And damn, I wish I had remembered that Heroes for Hope issue when I did my series on Storm. . . oh well, something else to add to the list to re-acquire.

  14. Regarding Malice’s form, I have a vague memory of a scene between her and Mr. Sinister at the beginning of Inferno where Malice is lamenting that, because she has possessed Polaris for so long, she is trapped there and can’t return to her original body. Sinister responds by noting that she can still possess other bodies besides Polaris so it doesn’t matter. Anyway, because of this I always thought that Malice at some point did have an actual body. I will have to go pull out my Inferno TPB tonight to check if I am completely mis-remembering something though.

    1. Close, but not quite, John. She says (UXM #239) “I tried to separate myself from Polaris’s body– only I COULDN’T!”, and Mr. Sinister tells her that “you’re still free to roam, my pet, and possess whom you please– only now you’ve a body to come home to. I thought that was what you wanted. And this bond will keep Ms. Dane subservient– even when you aren’t in ‘residence’.”

      “only now you’ve a body to come home to. I thought that was what you wanted,” heavily implies that Malice had no body beforehand. This is in keeping with UXM #214 where Psylocke declares that Malice is a “psychic entity”, and that it uses “host”s.

      1. She’s sort of an telepathy-less equivlaent of the Shadow King, well, after it was revealed that Farouk wasn’t his original body, but just another host for the purely psychic entity the Shadow King was was.

  15. I’d like to believe the New Mutants would to Leslie Knoppe as their modern TV inspiration. When I was listening to the question before the X-perts answered, I was thinking more along the lines of a Jack Bauer or a Rust Cole, along with the sad and gloomy implications that come with those characters. But Leslie is a way better role model! I guess that’s why the X-Perts are X-perts and I’m a patron.

  16. I feel like the pop culture equivalent of Magnum PI now is John Cena, Sunspot especially would be a huge wrestling fan.

  17. Sorry to comment only when complaining – the podcast is generally lots of fun – but the Marsha P. Johnson joke in this episode really rubbed me the wrong way. The combination of standard comic book “hunting humans for sport is normal behavior” and real-life “this person is the best” creates a situation where you’re saying it would be OK for people you really like to hunt down and kill others. For a podcast that is normally very careful to draw the line between comic jokes and real world shoutouts, I’d appreciate being more careful next time.

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