Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

75 – By Their Deeds You Shall Know Them

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 9/20/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 9/20/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.


In which Masque is the worst Morlock; makeouts are a good reason to learn to control your powers; Cyclops and Marvel Girl are terrible role models; Iceman is the heart of X-Factor; Cameron Hodge finally shows his hand; the kids are all right (and probably the only ones who are); and we’ve basically given up on X-Factor ever learning to use doors.


  • The Right
  • The Ani-Mator
  • X-Factor #16-20
  • Training with X-Factor
  • Skids’ backstory
  • Motivational makeouts
  • Miles’s Thor-ner
  • Thor #377-378
  • Why you don’t make deals with frost giants
  • The mystical realm of Pittsburgh
  • Redundant funeral graffiti
  • A totally rad villain speech
  • The evolution of Iceman
  • Dubious flight safety precautions
  • Rictor (Julio Esteban Richter)
  • Some really epic gaslighting
  • A probably-inevitable confrontation
  • Supervillain team-building exercises
  • Park maintenance

NEXT WEEK: Rachel & Miles Live at Rose City Comic Con; with Ann Nocenti, Jeff Parker, and Christopher Yost!

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  1. Is it…
    terrible of me that I thought Miles’ Thor-ner was a boner pun when I saw it in the X-Plained bullet point list?
    (will totally understand if this comment is taken down but I had to ask)
    Apocalypse has always been one of my favourite villains, not for his own sake, but simply because of his horsemen choices. Especially when he takes people who are supposed to be good guys and makes them horsemen – some of my favourite X-Men moments have been just that. Professor X as a horseman in Evolution, or Rogue, Beast, X-23 and Iceman being Horsemen in the Facebook game. Beast as a Horseman of Pestilence is such an amazing choice and it’s an added layer of interest to know that Pestilence’s first X-Man victim WAS the Beast.

  2. Wally West REPRESENT!

    The Right: Smiley-faced robots with machine guns. Walt Simonson’s design is solid gold. On the other hand–ruby-quartz armour. The Right’s technological progression is . . .odd. They ain’t exactly AIM, are they?

    We are now into Peak X-Factor [Original Generation]–from here until Fall of the Mutants, I would say this is probably the best run for the team X-Factor is at this point.

    Generally, I think the Horsemen are pretty rad (I love their intro on the X-MEN cartoon, if only because Apocalypse sells it with such vociferous hamminess) but for every time you get an Archangel, you also get Death-Gambit or Gazer.

    Off that question y’all handled–it’s amazing how the advent of Apocalypse mirrors that of Onslaught. To much more diminishing effect, obviously. The only thing Apocalypse mentions pre-Egypt retocn is that various cultures know him as a god of death and change. Apparently this eventually just got boiled down to him being from Egypt.

    1. The Four Horsemen are definitely an example of the Law of Diminishing Returns. From targetting mutants with directly appropriate powers/personalities (an anorexic as Famine, a former soldier as War etc) to the veritable grab bag of whoever was handy in subsequent iterations, each one has been less impressive than the one before, pretty much consistently.

  3. I don’t think Rachel’s going to find anybody to fight about Wally West being better than Barry Allen.

    (Also, the contrasting X-mission statements of “Protecting a world that hates and fears them” vs. “FUCK DOORS” is making me giggle endlessly.)

    1. There’s probably some kind of metaphor to be wrung out of breaking down walls, but mostly it just never stops being funny.

  4. Famine uses her powers directly on people at least twice, Marvel Girl and in the Captain America crossover (where she is seen destroying fields of wheat with her powers too). In both cases the effect is as if they were suddenly starving to death at vastly accelerated speed, so she seems able not only to destroy any food they have consumed within their stomach, but any food which is being processed withing the bodies systems.

    1. Much later in the X-Cutioner’s Song she also tries (and fails) to use her power against Quicksilver and successfully uses her power on the Beast.

      Great podcast as always!

    2. Right, but when she does, it’s just the effects of starvation, not total disintegration; which is how they’re initially defined.

          1. The whole Horseman thing has some really ropey rules, honestly–some Horsemen revert back after awhile, some don’t, some’s powers work entirely differently, some don’t, and then sometimes it’s just a black palatte swap of an existing character.

            1. The duration of their powers probably depends on whether or not they took out the extended warranty at the time of the upgrade.

  5. This moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqZMlSZzUu8
    Also, Shiera will always be the one and only hawkgirl for me. Screw you, Kendra!

    And these horses are the ones Fox had used in the 92’s cartoon, which – watching them as a kid – really gave the dramatic feel of awesomeness for me. So I did like them. It’s all about the dramatic effect with Apocalypce.

  6. Love this episode, and glad to see that we’re getting into Fall of the Mutants! But would it be alright if I ask for a correction of the show notes? You discuss X-Factor 16-20 but the show notes go as far as 19. Before the episode, I made a point of reading issues 18 and 19 (I don’t own 16-17), as I enjoy reading alongside you guys, and I didn’t know to read 20 as well. I’ll have to do that one tonight 🙂 Thank you!

      1. Thank you! I once left you a Tumblr message (which you were kind enough to answer) regarding those reading lists. I love reading the books shortly before discussing them (if I’m able to; just bought tons of Excalibur so looking forward to that!), so it’s great having that reading list 🙂

  7. A theory as to why Apocalypse goes for the Judeo-Christian imagery: because it’s probably the best known imagery in the world. Pretty much everyone has at least a passing familiarity of what it’s about, and he’ll go with whatever gets his point across. Or maybe he just plain likes it.

  8. Question for the podcast:

    In this episode, we hear about X-Factor moving away from the whole “pretend to be mutant hunters” idea. But do they ever reckon with the horrific effects (seen also in all the other X-books at the time) of that decision? Do they own up to that terrible mistake and try and make amends for it? I mean, yeah, Cameron Hodge fooled them, but they also all signed on to this idea that was pretty obviously terrible (both to readers (I remember this being why I never got into X-Factor at the time) and to all the other mutants in the X books). I read Inferno, when they meet with the X-Men, and the X-Men asked them, “how could you do that?” and X-Factor seemed dismissive, along the lines of “whatever, that’s over anyway.” But it did real harm. Do they ever confront that at all?

    (If this question is answered later — I’m going through these in order — please ignore it. If not… I’m curious!)

    1. Not that I recall, which irked me too. I always felt that Kitty should have ripped the whole lot of them a new one because of what happened with poor Larry Bodine.

  9. In particular, Skids’ origin was my first exposure to the X-Men in comics form – but not in the form of the issues covered in Episode 75. You see, like a lot of people my age, my first x-posure to the X-Men was the 90s cartoon series, and that got me looking for more X-Men material, and the first one I found was, in retrospect unfortunately, one of the 90s Marvel PSA comics, one of which re-told how Skids first manifested her powers.

    So, I did a check of the Marvel PSA comics, and of those, two of them tie in with X-Books: The one with the New Mutants and Skids (which I mentioned earlier), and one with Jubilee. Are there any plans to talk about the PSAs on the show, maybe as a side episode. They don’t particularly fall into continuity, but they might be worth talking about in terms of how well they do (or don’t) get their message across?

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