Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

77 – Die Hard With a Lobster

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 10/11/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 10/11/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.


In which we relax our definition of X-book; we really want Sunspot to grow a mustache; Miles gets an excuse to say “shillelagh”; Bill the Lobster goes on a rampage; and Fallen Angels is really, really, really wonderful.


  • Devil Dinosaur
  • Moon Boy
  • Fallen Angels #1-8
  • Jo Duffy
  • Assembling a team
  • Sunspot as a point-of-view character
  • Compassion as a superpower
  • Da Costa’s Devils vs. Ma Guthrie’s Gorillas
  • Goat Simulator
  • An unfortunate incident
  • Somewhat harsh student evaluations
  • The moral compass of Magnum, P.I.
  • Warlock and Sunspot as mutual foils
  • Chance
  • Ariel
  • Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox) and several notable duplicates
  • Siryn (Theresa Cassidy)
  • Gomi
  • Bill
  • Don
  • The Fallen Angels
  • The Vanisher
  • The Marvel Girl Fan Club
  • Lobster feelings
  • Kirby monsters
  • Doris Danger
  • Dinosaur World
  • Fallen Angels as a spiritual antecedent to Runaways
  • The tragic death of Don the Lobster
  • Fallen Angels II
  • How to party like Dr. Doom
  • Doom Patrol vs. X-Men

NEXT WEEK: A Sinister debut.

You can find a visual companion to this episode on our blog! (Thanks for your patience!)

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy prints of this week’s illustration at our shop, or contact David Wynne for the original!


    1. I always took that as a given, to be honest. The description of the Glorification Church was that of a South Korea originated religion with a distinct personality cult towards their leader. The Moonies is a pretty short step from that.

    2. I also thought it had to be an expy of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church. I also wonder if the Glorification Church reappears (or will) since the real life church owns a newspaper (The Washington Times) and has some relationship to the Christian right.

  1. There is a mysterious unnamed character showing up in Uncanny Avengers who has been described as someone who offers more support to the team – and I can’t help but wonder if Chance IS, in fact, finding her place in the marvel universe, costume and all.

  2. Yeah, that was my first assumption as to what Duffy was hinting at. The moonies were/are a pretty big cult that had a big Korean following– Rev. Moon was from South Korea in fact. Outside of owning the Washington Times, I don’t think they have been all that relevant since the 60s. Think of them as Scientology that failed to buy their way into increased respectability.

    Including them sort of fits with Fallen Angels, since I got this odd Beatnick/Mod vibe from the series, or at least from from Ariel and the Vanisher’s outfits. Not sure it was something that Duffy was trying to do, but it certainly struck me as a series that had its roots in a lot of 60s and 70s counterculture.

  3. Also–I really wish Colleen Doran had got that run on FALLEN ANGELS II. I really love her work and I think it would have been a great thing to have out. Probably woulda been a small cultish thing people have to discover, but end up loving when they do.

    1. Have you seen the pages she did for the Fallen Angels characters in “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition – 198something Update” (She did, Gomi (with Don of course), Chance and Ariel and they look pretty sharp!)

      1. I have! I really thought she brought a lot to them.

        It’s so weird to see that Update, given it has early work from the Image guys and lingering results of false starts like this.

  4. The first chunk of Duffy’s “Power Man and Iron Fist” was recently published in an Epic collection (along with the Claremont issues that set up the teaming). I recommend it. It was one of Marvel’s breeziest, funniest books of the era.

    I recall a history of Power Man & Iron Fist (I think it was at Comic Book Resources, I can’t find it now) where Duffy recalls that she got the book because she was the only editor who didn’t have a writing assignment, and Claremont had to give up something because he had too many books. She was afraid that because she was the only woman, she would get Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel, who she didn’t like, but fortunately Claremont loved Carol and didn’t care so much about Luke and Danny.

  5. I haven’t actually listened to the episode yet, I got excited and had to write this before I listen…I bought the TPB collection of this after you mentioned it a few weeks back. I am old and bought this when off the spinner racks when I was a teen. I loved it then, I love it now. However I hadn’t read the series in decades. It’s huge amounts of fun.
    However, this also ranks in my top ten list of…
    “Homosexual context in comic book stoies, hidden well enough that I missed it as teen”. Most of those are X-men related. it wasn’t until I could go to bars and drink with gay friends, who explained things in slurs, that I learned to appreciate said contex. Now every so often I find something like Fallen Angels, wher my memory is “Boby andWarlock run away from home” when the reality is “Bobby and Warlock have a fabulously styled in that way the 80s didn’t talk about adventure”, and I wonder how I missed it.

    1. I think I’d only ever heard of Coconut Grove because it was heavily used by NASA and is where “I Dream of Jeannie” was set.

      1. Wasn’t I Dream of Jeannie set in Cocoa Beach (more convenient to Cape Canaveral than Miami’s Coconut Grove).

        1. Ah, you may well be right, it was a long time ago and I’m an old fart, so some things just slip through the old memory banks.

          Thanks for the correction though! 🙂

  6. Um actually… (I hate myself) you mention that the Doom that Arcade struck a match on was retconned to be a Doombot. But in Loki Agent of Asgard #6 this is re-retconned to have actually been Doom.

    After listening to this episode I dug up the first issue of Amazing Heroes I ever bought. It had a Fallen Angels cover feature and a long article on the series. In the end the guy writing the article (Paul Carbonaro) says: “One small gripe I would like to clear away while I have the chance, is that Marvel does seem to be putting out an inordinate number of comics featuring characters who are mutants. I am tempted to say ‘enough, already’, although you cannot argue with a sales success.”

    1. I love Al Ewing’s work. Loki was fantastic and so was his Mighty Avengers run, which also made Nextwave canon and made Monica Rambeau a badass again, so I’m sure his New Avengers run with Sunspot as the leader will be good too, I can’t wait for it.

  7. Still not sure why they retconed the Jamie in this series to be a dupe, particularly if this series was one of his first major bits of characterization.

    Ariel’s return in X-Men Legacy after years of no use felt very random but was one of the things I liked about the series: deep doves into continuity. I think some of the others appear in one of those handbook specials, possibly the 198 book?

    1. Yeah, Ariel’s sudden re-appearance puzzled me to no end as she was referred to as having been involved with the X-family in the past. Sometime later, while flipping through the Handbook of the MU ’89 update I came across her profile while looking up a different entry, decided to look her up online to see what the lesser exposed members of the Fallen Angels gang has been up to since the ’80s and only then put it together. I’ve had the first half of the Fallen Angels series since I was about 12 or younger, and more recently got the trade as soon as I found out it existed AND have read it to my son at least twice. NEVER would have occurred to me these two Ariel’s were the same person. At first I just thought the “new” Ariel was somehow the writers misremembering Skids…

  8. FWIW: The paper containing the widely accepted premise that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs wasn’t published until 1980, with Walter Alvarez’s K-T Boundary, and even then was very critically received…like, in a bad way. the existence of the Chicxulub Crater, generally accepted as the most likely candidate of evidence that such an asteroid struck was known of for years, by an oil company, but not published, because that’s not what oil companies do. Studies weren’t conducted until 1990 that posed the crater as a possible dinosaur killer. Thus, in 1978, the fate of the dinosaurs wasn’t as certain. Jack get a little bit of reprieve.

    Note: I can’t believe I finally get to “Well, actually”, and it’s about science history, and not comics.

    1. Yeah I still have hand-me-down old dinosaur picture books of my sister’s that were from the ’70s and ’80s that list several theories for the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs, and the asteroid was not mentioned. The big ones were climate change and smaller animals eating up all their eggs. The illustrations were pretty cool at least…

  9. So The Misfits was solicited when I was still collecting. But Fallen Angels came out after I had stopped collecting around the Mutant Massacre. For some reason, I always assumed that when Roberto was returning to The New Mutants in NM#43, he was returning from his adventures in The Misfits. As I had been collecting the entire time from the The Misfits solicitation to New Mutants #43, I didn’t get how I possibly missed The Misfits. And then I stopped collecting a few months later. So this episode filled a major, major gap in my understanding of X-Men continuity. Thanks a lot for that, X-Perts!

  10. Hey guys love the show. been watching since i accidentally found you guys on pod cast since episode 3. you all have to check out this guys stuff on newgrounds. its friggin hilarious.
    most of his stuff is centered around the x universe.


  11. Why was the green lobster not a mutant? I never got why the blue one was singled out but the green one was just taken for granted. Shouldn’t one be red?

    Have to say I’m disappointed that they changed the way Madrox’s powers worked. I liked the idea that they’re all equals. It made things unique. I suspect the change wasn’t a deliberate retcon so much as not realizing what had been established.

  12. I was 16 when Fallen Angels came out and about teenagery a teenager as you could be. . . but the lead up to Fallen Angels (the ads and such) made it seem like Roberto really did hurt and maybe kill Sam. YES! DARKLY DARKNESS FOR THE DARK TEENAGED ANGST-RIDDEN SOUL! But then I picked up the first issue and saw Sam not only wasn’t dead, he wasn’t even really hurt and Roberto was being a big baby about it (at least that was how I read it at 16), and was so disappointed I didn’t get the rest.

    Now, I may have to correct that. I connect it with having read Catcher in the Rye when I was around the same age and hating it, because I hated Holden. . . of course, the Lady doth protest too much, and all of that.

  13. Hi! I’ve listened to all your podcasts (amazing, by the way), but never commented. Now I couldn’t resist the irony: during the podcast you keep talking about how Jamie Maddrox was presentedas himself, as a full character… BUT IT WASN’T HIM!!

    In X-Cutioner’s Song (I know how you love this one), Theresa was caged with the rest of the X-Force in the danger room. Rahne was talking to Rictor and Theresa talks to James about the time they’ve been together in Fallen Angels (cause they were kind of a couple this time). So Jamie sad it wasn’t him, was a dupe. The same dupe that tried to be Maddrox Prime in th first arch of X-Factor.

    Yeah, I know, who the hell knows this stuff? But I read X-Men since my fourteens and I have eidetic memory, so go figure. And, yeah, this means that When Theresa got pregnant by a Maddrox dupe, it was NOT the first time she hooked with a dupe.

    And it’s not even the top fifty bizarre stuff that happens in X-Men 😀

  14. Oops! I didn’t know that the dupe stuff did happens in the series. I thought that it was a retcon. Ignore what I’ve said, I didn’t read Fallen Angels, wasn’t published in Brazil.

    1. No no, you were right the first time. In Peter David’s ’90s X-Factor run, it’s specificially established that the Jamie(s) running around in Fallen Angels is/are a dupe(s) (who ends up working with Mister Sinister, at that) and that Jamie Prime had no memories of the Beat Street crew, since he never reabsorbed that/those dupe(s). Until he does end up reabsorbing him, and presumably inheriting those memories.

      I’m not entirely sure how that squares with Fallen Angels itself, since it shows one version of Jamie agreeing to amicably live alongside another (so did the evil dupe end up eating the other one off-camera?), and then this gets even more complicated when, as R&M alluded to, Jamie dies of Legacy after PAD leaves X-Factor and is later “resurrected” via the reveal that the Jamie we knew was a dupe and the original had been hanging out somewhere off-panel. Which means that currently active “original” shouldn’t have ANY memories of being in ’90s X-Factor (or the Coconut Grove incident), but he clearly does, because Peter David don’t shiv and/or Rachel and Miles need more material for cold opens.

      On another note, I’ve been catching up on Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers, and I wonder if R&M had any thoughts on Bobby and Sam’s treatment there. Their unbreakable, unshakeable, and frankly kind of slashy bro-love for one another was far and away the highlight of every issue they turned up in, and I think it’s particularly interesting that Bobby’s positioning as someone who grew up idolizing the senior heroes of the MU ends up making him an unlikely conscience of the team, and also puts him and Sam in a kind of “second-generation hero” role a la all the DC Comics grown-up sidekicks, which is not actually something Marvel tends to do a lot, since they rarely did sidekicks, new characters seem to have such a hard time sticking, and pretty much every group of new mutants after the New Mutants end up dying and/or getting written out.

      In light of Fallen Angels, it’s interesting to note that Bobby never quite managed to stop being such an egomaniac, but he does seem to have gotten a decisive grip on that temper of his.

      1. Now I’m confuse (which is pretty normal when you talk about continuity in X-Men)… So the dupe that tried to assume Maddrox place was the dupe that walk around with Fallen Angels OR was the guy that everybody thougth that was Jamie when they came to NY in the first place. Because I think I remember a panel when the rebellious dupe said that him drugged Maddrox Prime to assume his place sometimes, Fallen Angels period included.

  15. Just found this podcast and I am glad I did.
    I havent read a comic in a year or so. Now Ive gotta bust out my old Fallen Angels books. Thanks for reminding me!

  16. The use of the name “The Misfits” might have caused problems at Marvel because they were attempting to get the “Jem and the Holograms” comic licence and The Misfits were the gore (awesome) bad girl group there. PAD mentioned he had a problem in 1985 when HE wanted to call a team (consisting of Leap-Frog, Toad and Spider-Kid) the Misfits and wasn’t allowed to for Jem related reasons (Marvel obviously never got the Jem license (A shame that), but such is life)

  17. Warlock being on the team was always problematic for me, mostly because I could never imagine him abandoning all his other friends (and Doug in particular) without even leaving a note or getting in touch with them (I know Ariel had a hand in that, but Warlock has always shown as being immune to psychic influence (Xavier and Karma can’t reach him, Ariel’s “glamour” power never seemed to be in that league, powerwise).

    Again, I suspect that reading it all in one go instead of over 2/3 of a year as I did way back when might make my memories of it a lot less fun-filled than yours.

    Never being a fan of Sunspot (I could see he was well written, I just didn’t much like his rather whiny, arrogant, self centred worldview… probably because I was a little too close to that myself) him being the primary character was a bit of a turn off for me, and stealing ‘Lock from the team never say right with me.

    On the other hand I loved the new characters (Well, apart from Ariel, mind-bending powers always seem more than a little skeevy to me) and Gomi, Bill and Don were a delight, and the basic principle of the team was quite sound. Would be interesting to revisit the concept I think.

  18. There’s also an issue of Power Pack that follows up on this series. Basically, Sunspot goes back to moping around New York, trying to figure out how to be a hero. He runs into Power Pack, who decide to help him out and fail miserably. At one point Warlock accidentally eats one of the kids, and at another, Bobby attacks Spider-Man by mistake. On the bright side, Spidey’s very understanding about it.

    It finally ends when Warlock gets (a) so inspired by the kids’ effort and (b) so sick of Bobby’s angst that he decides to just fly Bobby back to Xavier’s whether he likes it or not.

      1. Well, it’s more like he *swallows* Julie Power when she’s shrunk. Immediately after that is a panel where he’s got this giant bubble belly and Julie is sitting there inside, not sure what to do. I’m sure it was innocent enough in the 80’s, but now it reads as a prophecy of Sonic the Hedgehog fanart to come…

  19. I’v read Fallen Angels while going through my first attempt at reading X-men from the beggining chronologically and my comment for this was: WTF am I reading?!
    I’m a very go-through person. I need to read everything from the start and know all the facts (those my attempts to read all of X-men stories, even the crappy ones) so this missadvanture felt to me like a derail from the “important”, continuity-wise, ongoing stories. Also, aside from Bobby and Warlock, I didn’t care for any of the characters in it.
    This episode made me want to read the series again, and I regret not keeping the series so I could do it now. 🙁
    That said, I will say that I agree with Miles on the part of this series having the most definitive incarnation of the Vanisher, for me too. So much that later attempts to present him as anything other than a D-type schlemiel crimial were automatically rejected by me. Which is an awesome concept, because this guy is one of the most powerful teleporters in the Marvel universe. He has no restrictions over his teleportation and can vanish in a matter of one-hundredth of a second, yet is too coward and lack of ambitions to make any use out of it! It’s such a compelling background for a villain! Even his name gets new interpertation, as he “vanishes” always when most needed.
    I really need to find a copy of this story now. The closest thing it resembles to me is a premise for a wacky episode of Rick and Morty.

  20. I know that you have children who follow your podcast. I found out the hard way (my son was playing goat simulator) that when you get to the higher levels, your character starts making sacrifices to on a Satanic altar. After I found that out, I dug deaperin the reviews on Google. Yup, he wasn’t the only child. The game seems harmless at first, but I thought you should know since you love your child fans.

  21. I have been looking forward to hearing you all cover this mini since I reached the episodes where you began to cover the New Mutants, and I must say you did a brilliant job. The best part though was how you recommended this one as a fun story to read with the kiddies, as I read the TPB for this with my son when he was about 7 or 8 (I’m a parent, I’m tired all the time so I can’t recall his exact age at the time, forgive me). It was fun for me too, aside from the parenting joys of blah blah blah, because it was the first time I got to read the end of a story I started when I was about 12.

    I first heard of this mini-series (well, the team the Fallen Angels that is) through brief and scant mentions of them in some of the X-book annuals (Days of Future Present and Kings of Pain crossovers) but had no clue who they were or what their deal was aside from having some connection to the New Mutants. Despite all but loathing X-Force, the NM back issues I could find were awesome and finally found some with ads for the mysterious Fallen Angels book.

    Regarding the ads for this series, I thought the same thing some have commented above, that Roberto left because he thought he killed Sam. The Fallen Angels ended several years before I started reading comics but I did manage to hunt down the first half of the run, and at first was not pleased it wasn’t as “dark” as I thought it would be, but eventually re-read the ones I had and was pissed I couldn’t find the rest… finally I was able to finish the series when it was reprinted in a collected edition and had fun finding out how it ended while reading it to my son.

    So, yes based on my experience it is a great pick if you’re a parent with a kid who loves comics, but I suggest not waiting until the horrifying specter of the teen years begins to loom. Also, it helps remind us all that the 1980s were fabulously batshit insane.

  22. As for the Madrox stuff regarding dupes, “the real” Jamie, how his powers work, if he even is a mutant or some other, whatever… I just have to say go with it and head-canon that the “all dupes are created Jamie equal”.

    Madrox, if I absolutely HAD to pick a favorite X-Men character, would be it. Considering I am a continuity stickler this makes absolutely no sense, but he has been ever since the first Peter David run, and my love of him has only increased in the subsequent runs by PD in recent years. So, I deal with this conundrum through the epiphany that by the very nature of his powers Multiple Men the the ultimate soap opera cliche of the “evil twin”. He can be anything, he can always be retconned into infinity, he can die or be defined or do any deed over and over and over and “its a dupe” will work. Yes, I know, this is a lame cop-out, BUT his powers make him the perfect being to live in the lunacy of the continuity-heavy Marvel universe.

    Madrox’s REAL mutant power is being the personification of the logic and physics of soap opera. He can, and has, been retconned so much that one never need take any of it as canon or definitive, since his powers are a natural perfect loop hole. HE is so easily retconned that he escapes it’s tethers; Madrox can be Madrox as the reader wishes because there is at this point no reason why anything that has, is, will, can, or never will be said about him cannot be true.

    That said, am I the only one who sees the similarity Jamie has to Doom/Doombots? Any Jamie can be a dupe, any Doom can be a ‘bot? It is as if they represent manifestations of certain elements of Vedanta philosophy…

  23. So basically, post-Secret Wars, the ideal book has the Fallen Angels staying at the Heartbreak Hotel?? When miniseries collide..

  24. Oh damn, kinda late to this but when you started comparing Fallen Angels to a BBC miniseries with teenage superpowers I immediately thought of the show ‘Misfits’ (which is C4 technically rather than BBC) so I spat out my coffee when you said it was gonna have that title originally.

    Also, I totally recommend Misfits. It’s great.

  25. I have also only read a bit of the Doom Patrol, but I’d have to say that it honestly seems like the similarities are mostly Zeitgeist type stuff. While there are a ton of similarities, the Doom Patrol always felt like more of a DC’s Fantastic Four than it felt similar to the X-men. But the main points of similarity that are often cited, namely the Wheelchair-bound leader, the Brotherhood of Evil (mutants or otherwise) and being marketed as “strange” superheroes aren’t as dissimilar from other things of the time.

    While I can’t seem to find a definitive formation point for each of those tropes, aspects such as the description of the heroes as adjectives such as “strange” were fairly common (and after all, there were at least two “Doctor Strange”s in comics, just counting the ones created in 1963 by Stan Lee) and the Brotherhood of Evil was running on the heals of golden and silver age teams such as the League of Crime and the Legion of Despair. The wheelchair-bound leader is harder to pin down, since I had assumed it was from “Mother” from the UK Avengers TV series, but it turns out I was wrong, as he only appeared in that show after both series had come out, so I don’t know, but with three characters filling the same tropes in a short span of time, I’m thinking there’s got to be something that put it in the Zeitgeist.

  26. This is the first comic I took the trouble to track down and read before listening to your podcast and it was utterly delightful. Don will be remembered!

Leave a Reply

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