Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

80 – For the Mutant Who Has Everything

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 11/1/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 11/1/2015 at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.


In which we go back in time to take a look at two annuals; everyone is really excited about Excalibur; Claremont ups his illusion game; Horde should probably not be allowed to dress himself; Rachel fires the X-Men; Havok needs better role models; Psylocke’s secondary mutation is femme power; Kyle X-Plains giant monsters; we check in with Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau; and you should totally come see us at Vegas Valley Comic-Book Festival on November 7!


  • Dazzler’s powers
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #11
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #7
  • New Mutants Annual #3
  • The Hostage, by Brendan Behan
  • Wolverine vs. Historical Fiction
  • Horde and his amazing outfit
  • The Citadel of light and shadow
  • The fantasy lives of X-Men
  • Things to do with a shed human skin
  • The secret origin of Wolverine’s overactive healing factor
  • The Impossible Man (and how to defeat him)
  • The Shogun Warriors
  • What happened to Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau
  • Powers we don’t like
  • Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival

NEXT EPISODE: All-New X-Men with Dennis Hopeless!

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    1. I’ve been slowly buying up issues and just finished my Claremont run (and almost done my Ellis run too). Aiming to start reading it shortly before this show reaches it.

  1. “and this is all about Wolverine, you know, appealing to his higher nature so he smashes through a wall.”
    This. Is something I loved so very much, and there’s a joke here that can be made in reference to X-Factor, I’m sure, but for the life of me I can’t find it.
    I’ve never heard of Wolverine regrowing his entire body from a single drop of blood(which really makes me wonder how he grows back the adamantium, too) but I know Lobo can, and I know there have been references to him being a Wolverine parody and this.. adds another interesting layer to that.

  2. I don’t know if this was tied into the “Kree and Skrulls can’t evolve” thread from the X-Men Annual or if it was just its own thing, but circa War of Kings the fact that the Kree had stopped evolving was a major plot point. If I remember correctly, that’s why Ronan the Accuser (aka Ronan the De Facto Head of State) agreed to terms with the Inhumans and let Black Bolt run the Kree Empire. He believed that the Inhumans’ Terrigen was the key to unlocking the evolutionary potential within the Kree.

    He was wrong, of course.

    1. Did they ever go any further with the Evolved Kree/Ruul after Maximum Security?

      That was the most recent time I remembered reading about them addressing the “evolutionary cul-de-sac” thing, and that was subsumed in a lot of heavy continuity lifting.

      1. Maximum Security was during a hiatus I took from comics and I never heard compelling reasons to go back and read that stuff. That said, I only have the vaguest idea what you’re talking about, so I’m guessing it was more or less dropped.

        So was Ronan’s search by the time Hickman started using the Kree and Inhumans in Fantastic Four, so I have a feeling Kree evolution is only interesting to a select few writers and everyone else gives zero damns.

      2. I think the Ruul were wiped out by the Kree because no-one was quite sure what to do with them in future stories and the status quo seemed safer… Could be wrong though.

        1. Yeah, from all I’m able to find, the Kree got re-set sometime or another and the Ruul have been quietly retconned and are scheming to conquer the universe on a nice little farm in the country.

          . . . and Nick, you missed nothing. MAXIMUM SECURITY was. . .not good.

          1. I didn’t think Maximum Security was actively bad, but I agree that it’s in the “not good” category. USAgent fans probably look at it fondly. I’m trying to remember if the Skrull mutants in the story existed before the crossover.

            And the Skrull mutants exist despite not being able to evolve from Claremont’s story. Maybe when they got their shapeshifting powers back, it kickstarted their evolution? Or perhaps as the Skrulls are the Deviants of their race (as in experiments by the Celestials), perhaps there have always been mutant skrulls.

            1. Well, just because some nameless cosmic muckity-muck decides to freeze your species’ evolution doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to un-freeze it again all by yourself .. I guess.

      3. The Kree/Ruul split was briefly important in Peter David’s Captain Marvel (since Genis was half-Kree). It got quietly dropped and never mentioned again.

  3. If he regenerates from a single drop of blood…why aren’t there millions of wolverines running around? It’s the D&D troll problem, when you hack up the troll you get a bunch of new trolls back.

    God I hate invincible Wolverine. 🙂

  4. For what it’s worth, I know far too much about musicals, easily going back to the 40s, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of The Hostage or its author. Forget how Wolverine knows it, I’m curious how the hell Claremont had heard of it!

    1. Brendan Behan didn’t really write musicals, for what it’s worth. He wrote plays that would often include a song or two. He was writing about Irish people, so you know, they’d just break into a rousing song now and again amidst the pain and strife.

    2. Claremont is a theatre person so it’s no surprise he knew it. His contacts in the NYC theatrical community probably helped him when he wrote the SNL meeting with Spider-Man back in Marvel Team-Up.

  5. Let me add to the Corbeau sightings.

    Super Astronaut Peter Corbeau was doing amazing sun science by piloting a spaceship near the actual sun before accompanying the avengers to the Kree homeworld in The Avengers : Earth Mightiest Heroes Season 2 episode 24.

  6. Brendan Behan is a favorite reference of legendary Irish pubrock bad the Pogues. Their first album, 1984’s Red Roses for Me features a song (“Streams of Whiskey”) that mentions Behan by name, as well as a version of a song he wrote, “The Auld Triangle” from his play “The Quare Fellow.” The Pogues also drop Brendan Behan’s name in “Thousands are Sailing,” but the album that song’s on (If I Should Fall from Grace with God) didn’t come out until a few months after this annual.

    If I know anything about mutant musical tastes (and we all know I do), there is zero chance that Wolverine is not a Pogues fan. And being a lifelong autodidact, it seems likely that after listening to Red Roses for Me (or possibly seeing the band live on tour), he got curious and found himself a “Complete Plays of Behan” volume in some used bookstore. Brendan Behan wrote smart literature for rowdy drinkers, and Logan would have fallen in love with it pretty quickly.

    Where’s my No-Prize?

    1. Brehan (or possibly his brother?) is responsible for “The Auld Triangle”? Okay, now I have reason to hate him…

  7. I was going to point out the same SDAPC sighting as Guillaume Berube above, but now I don’t need to do that. He was, of course, also integral to X-Men: TAS’s version of the Phoenix Saga.

    Most importantly, though, THAT COVER ART for this episode! Wow! Mr. Wynne proves more and more adept and dynamic each month. He is a true gem, and we’re lucky to have him!

  8. Something about the healing-from-a-single-drop-of-blood that always bothered me: Why doesn’t Wolverine always heal from a single drop of blood, if he can do that? I mean, he is always bleeding. Shouldn’t all of those drops of blood, separated from the main body, heal itself into another Wolverine? Why hasn’t the 616 been overrun by an army of Wolverines?

    1. Yeah, I just logged on after listening to point out this very thing. Their kaiju expert knew about Marvel’s Shogun Warriors series, but he was unfamiliar with Red Ronin, who was a significant part of Marvel’s Godzilla run? [vizzini] Inconceivable!! [\vizzini]

      1. I don’t know. My first thought while listening was “I wonder if it’s Red Ronin,” but after seeing Warlock’s giant robot in the As Mentioned, only the face and the color red (naturally) even remind me of Red Ronin. He really does look more like a general giant robot that, looking at the Shogun Warriors, does borrow some random features from them. I think the amalgam Shogun Warrior is probably slightly closer than Red Ronin, but it looks more like Davis just drew his own giant robot to me.

        1. Even allowing for the colour change Warlock performs at the end, given the fact that each face-off is between narratively appropriate pairings; Fury/Stucker, Thanos/Mar-Vell etc, and since Red Ronin was the giant robot who debuted in, and was specifically created to counter, Godzilla (whereas, as Kyle notes, none of the Shogun Warriors did), I don’t see how it can be taken to be anything other than Red Ronin.

          1. To each their own, but Warlock’s giant robot just doesn’t share any physical attributes with Red Ronin to my eye (primary color aside). Whether there was a mixup between plotting and art or Davis didn’t have proper reference, in my headcanon I just can’t accept that as Red Ronin. If other people can, that’s fine by me. I’m just offering another view.

    1. It follows for Rogue. There was then a fetishization of a denatured antebellum culture in the US South. Even if Rogue knew better, that concept, that idea, would speak of comfort, of home, before her mutant powers took human touch away from her.

      1. Yes, in the same way people look at UK country house life (Downton Abbey, eg) and happily ignore, or don’t even know how slavery money built up so many of the great Georgian/Victorian estates. Some people seem to be able to disconnect between the idea of the lifestyle and what supported/funded it (I think of, eg, Blake Lively’s Antebellum features on her lifestyle website).

        (I guess I *can* understand to a point that people might not know that most of the links between the huge UK estates & slavery, as they don’t exactly publicise it, but if anyone’s interested in finding out more, I recommend this book:
        https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/slavery-and-british-country-house/ )

        And re the idea that THIS is her heart’s desire, rather than just X rated stuff, for someone who’s never been able to kiss, I can totally see the attraction of a ball-type setting, with flirting and touching from tons of different men, without having to have it go straight to sex, but with the possibility it could, if she wanted it to.

  9. What would I do with the hypothetical skin of my hypothetical twin sister?

    Incorporate it into the hilt of my sword so that I can still access my mutant powers, of course.

  10. Storm has a lot of flirty moments with a number of teammates, which I think is awesome. She and Kurt have some super over the top romantic suave swashbuckling moments, too. Hell, I’m pretty sure at this point I could find evidence for Storm being flirty with just about anyone and it is fantastic.

  11. re: Wolverine regenerating from a single drop of blood, why doesn’t it result in multiple Wolverines. How else do you think he’s able to be on every team at once?

    1. I wish i could remember the name of the author of the short story about a man who discovers a regenerative process which causes that problem, any body part which loses contact with the main body starts to grow into another version of him, even the skin cells he loses in the course of a day, and as for what the barber found the day after the man had had haircut, well, it was pretty nightmarish.

  12. Re: Wolverine singing musical numbers:

    The single biggest wasted factor in the X-Men films is Hugh Jackman’s experience as a musical stage performer. Seriously, HOW could the writers & directors look at Jackman’s resume and NOT have some bad guy mind-control Wolverine into singing and dancing something from “Oklahoma?”

    1. If we got Logan singing

      I’m just a girl who can’t say no
      I’m in a terrible fix!
      I got a habit of saying “Yeah!”
      Just when I oughta say “Nix!”

      with suitable dancing, I wouldn’t care what the rest of the movie was, I would watch it.

      1. I would have loved seeing one of the films basically adapting that scene of drunk cowboy wearing Wolverine singing showtunes, especially with Hugh Jackman’s voice!

  13. Re:Wolverine regenerating from a drop of blood: why does he still have Adamantium on his bones? That shouldn’t regenerate, eh?

  14. It’s interesting seeing Betsy assume her “mantle” here as the warrior, especially as she lost her eyes while being Captain Britain, and the depression and self doubt that went with it.

    Pleasohpleaseohplease cover the Alan Moore run of Captain Britain. It’s so deliciously insane.

    1. It’s a great run, and got some really nasty bleak stuff that was perfectly in line with Thatcher’s Britain… I wish Alan Moore had written some X-Men….

      1. I only read it this year, despite being a long time Excalibur fan. It was eye opening! So much of the Claremont and Davis runs were referencing stuff from the Moore run on CB. (I was doing a “complete” read of Excalibur for a panel at a convention.)

  15. One thought about Havok’s fate in Horde’s Magic Dream House. Around the time of this annual, there was a Graphic Novel called “Revenge of the Living Monolith”. I’ve only read a synopsis of it, but basically, the LM’s powers go out of control and he grows so large he’s taken out into space, where he becomes a living planet. Given the link between Havok and LM, I always wondered if Havok’s fate in this Annual was meant to comment on Monolith’s — Monolith becomes a planet, Havok becomes a star.

    More likely, it’s just that I think about the weirdest things sometimes.

  16. Fun fact: Brendan Behan was asked by Guinness to write a new slogan for them. He asked them to send him a crate of Guinness in return, and said he’d have a slogan for them in the morning.

    The story goes that the Guinness representative arrived at Behan’s house to find the crate empty and empty bottles strewn everywhere. Behan shuffled up to him, silently pressed a crumpled, folded scrap of paper into his hand, and promptly shuffled off again, presumably to bed. The Guinness rep left, opening the scrap to find four words:

    “Guinness Makes You Drunk”

    Pretty amazing.

  17. Wolverine/Storm seems like a great couple, although I’ve only really experienced it in the post AvX world. I really never understood Logan/Jean, which seems like it was such a big part of the cartoon and the 90s.

  18. One of the more interesting things about Annual #11, is how it foreshadows parts of the post-Australia story. I doubt this was planned as much as Claremont decided to revisit and repeatedly analyze themes and ideas.

    You can always tell what Claremont is reading or the entertainment he’s invested in by references in his work. The Niven references return for his Fantastic Four run. Shortly after the annual, it appears that Claremont began an Andre Norton reread, focussing mainly on her Witch World novels.

  19. Okay, a few random musings.

    I read the explanation in the book, but I took Longshot having no dreams to latch on to as being entirely down to his amnesia. His mind simply doesn’t have any dreams or nightmares yet so the building couldn’t find anything

    Dazzler’s choice was just so… depressing. After this issue I actually could never look at the character the same way again. Given the (admittedly deeply flawed) discussion in the previous annual about “What differentiate’s an X-Man from a New Mutant” this was the final nail in the coffin. What on Earth was someone with this approach to their life and their powers, doing as an X-Man? She’s not so much fighting for their cause, as hiding from her life and that’s hard to root for.

    I adore that New Mutants Annual, and no just because the original art of that splaah page of Cypher in the Danger Room hangs in my living room. (Smug grin)

    I notice you actually didn’t include in the “As Mentioned…” the VERY Doug moment of being on beach in Rio and, as many a hormonal teenager of his age has discovered when surrounded by the gender they are attracted to “Please, Lord, don’t let anyone notice how tight my suit is” (I guess we finally know what he uses the unstable molecules in his spandex outfit for)

    Also note that when they find Lock and Impy posing, it’s Doug who appears enraptured by Lock more than any of the others and describes it as a “Beauty contest”… I think he’s seeing his selfsoulfriend in a WHOLE new light! 🙂

  20. I remember last week watching Hitchcock’s The Birds, thinking to myself: I wonder what would have happened if suddenly a bunch of Emues come to this place…

  21. I’m from Rio and I’d like to x-plain that we only talk like that when goofy aliens try to emulate our ridiculously good looking citizens. At any other occasion, we speak as articulate as Dr. Hank McCoy (especially at the beach).
    And Rahne was right, we have no shame!

  22. Regarding the “specific” powers being irritating to Miles, I must confess I can like then when done well, as powers would be filtered through the prism of human nature.

    If someone has a liking for something, or a distinct personality trait then it would only make sense that their powers might manifest in a way that is affected by that.

    My favourite is the old Spider-Woman foe Gypsy Moth (Later Skein oof the Thunderbolts). She is telekinetic, but she doesn’t like the “feel” of using her powers on hard materials and so only uses them on soft materials like fabrics.

    The Wild Card novels have a lot of similar ideas.

    I totally agree on the names thing though. Parcival Plunder was destined for a life of crime from the moment of his birth (if only to get revenge on parents who would name their child “Parcival”!) and three guesses what the codename of the man called Christopher Cross who got hit by powerlines that left him with electric powers and his body covered in x-shaped scars… Yup! Criss-Cross!

  23. Speaking of Super-Astronaut-Doctor Peter Corbeau, could you remind what is this bit of music that is now his very personal theme song? I’ve tried looking it up, but I couldn’t remember where it was first mentioned.

      1. Thanks! I don’t think it ever aired in Poland. The song has a very earworm-like quality to it. It’s like the jazziest elevator tune ever.

  24. Oh, you guys… I… there is… Disagree. SO much disagree.

    Uncanny Annual 11 is a lot to process. It’s very information-dense and requires the reader to accept a bunch of narrative magic whammies without much explanation. But it stands out as some of the most solid–and more importantly, *resonant*–characterization of this era. Many character beats over the next several years that readers decry as inexplicable have solid foundations and clear explanations in this issue.

    And yes, it’s a tonal shift. It might strike folks the wrong way reading it out of context, but it was very welcome at the time. 1987 readers had three major concerns:

    1) Holy crap, when do we get a break from the human/mutant conflict and mutants being hunted? Remember epic cosmic funtimes?
    2) Who the hell are these pinch-hitter X-Men and why should I care?
    3) Who are the X-Men at all anymore? The team is evolving, but into what?

    This issue not only addresses all three concerns, but it sets up character strengths and weaknesses that will inform story arcs for years to come. Claremont continues to push the “outlaws” angle, this time cementing their rep as master thieves when the need arises.

    As for the Citadel’s defenses, Claremont is often guilty of over-explaining, but there are several issues in this era where he goes the other way and actually uses misdirection. The Citadel offers them not their “greatest” desires (as in most aspirational or most noble), but their most *secret, selfish* desires. Most of them are left feeling ashamed, even tainted, for giving in. But this can’t be acknowledged by either the narrator or the characters, else it would cheapen all their actions and undo the plot contrivance itself.

    Storm wants to shirk all responsibility so she can play and love and laugh. We know she could never settle for that life, but the selfish desire remains.

    Logan wants Mariko, but not really Mariko. He wants to be a part of the culture he feels unworthy of, yet still be free to indulge in ways that same culture deems dishonorable. (See: cake, having & eating)

    Rogue longs for a simplified, romanticized adolescence/young adulthood–a fairy tale sexual awakening, filtered through idealized, sugarcoated Southern sensibilities. It’s rife with issues, but shouldn’t it be?

    A part of Havok wishes he could just let go. Control. Duty. Rage. He’s becoming more like Cyclops right now than he ever wanted to be. Even his love life is beginning to resemble Scott’s.

    Longshot has no shameful desires. He may lose his head occasionally and act from “impure motives”, but there is no selfish wish he secretly dwells upon. The Citadel straight-up absorbing him seems to make little sense–after all, if selflessness is the test, he certainly passed. So maybe the Citadel removed him because this test was meant to determine the evolutionary worthiness of earthlings only…? The closing does state that it’s planet-/species-specific.

    Dazzler is emotionally defeated on every level right now. There’s no other era where she would choose to be a bag lady, but goddamn if Claremont didn’t nail it here.

    Meggan’s desire isn’t secret, but it does speak of her selfish, weaker side. She cares little for heroism or adventuring. When pressures mount, she often wilts, turning scrawny and goblin-like, wanting only all the comforts that she calls “Brian”.

    Brian is… yecch. What a mess. But I love that most writers consistently acknowledge this about him.

    Psylocke’s most secret, shameful desire is to actually become what she fears she truly is. She fears embracing her warrior nature, but doing so only strengthens her. Her pristine veneer was never part of her identity; it only ever frustrated her that that’s all anyone saw in her. This, btw, continued to flummox readers for decades. So many still continue to get hung up on her delicate “Princess Di” image or claim that her ninja evolution was completely out of character. Metal warrior under shredded ladyskins, yo. One of her earliest appearances in Marvel US, and it’s all right there.

    Horde’s design may not do it for you, but it accomplishes its goal: Floaty metal clothes on a smug-as-fuck 8-foot-tall behemoth who instantly turns the whole team catatonic and floaty. Okay then. Nigh-omnipotent cosmic warlord, check. Skip the fight scene. He’s in charge. I’d even argue that his tastelessness adds to his otherworldliness and the visceral reaction he elicits in others.

    Ultimately, the story starts and ends with Logan. For years, his internal conflicts had taken a backseat to more urgent matters for the team. Here, he starts out a mess and ends by claiming his place. Unable to be Lady Mariko’s samurai, he realizes he can serve that same role for the X-Men. Not their leader, not the keeper of their conscience, simply their protector.

    Not to end on a sour note, but: Holy cow! Rachel & Miles said it plainly and still people willfully misinterpreted it. Referencing Wolverine’s regeneration from a single drop of blood without acknowledging the omnipotent crystal is a classic nerdism which translates to, “I am a troll. Ignore me.”

    1. Awesome analysis! I caught the secret/selfish desire thing with Havok (although I don’t think that part of Rachel’s and my discussion fully made it into the episode), but I think you’re absolutely right that every character’s trap is the desire of their weakest self. Thanks for writing this up – I like that Annual better for having read your comment!

  25. I want to start a rumor that this story is the basis for how Marvel will bring back Wolverine from the dead this time. Perhaps a multi-part crossover where Storm leads an expedition to the Citadel of Light and Shadow carrying the ademantium statue and a bucket of Logan’s blood.

  26. Myxyzptlk is most recently pronounced Mix Yez Spit Lick. Some versions have been pronounced Mix yez pitle lick and mixle plick.

    It’s really inconsistent but DC seems to favor the first pronunciation.

  27. One of my favorite Wolverine literature-related incidents happened at some point in Hama’s 1990’s Wolverine series. Wolverine inaccurately attributes Sandberg’s “fog on cat’s feet” line to Robert Frost. Apparently, the editors didn’t catch it, but a reader must have and written in because, a few months later, he does the same thing again and Puck comments that Logan always get that wrong.

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