Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

86 – Legends (Fall of the Mutants, Part 1 of 3)

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

In which we begin our 3-part coverage of Fall of the Mutants; Roma is very good at her job; strange things are afoot in Dallas; Mystique’s parenting skills are somewhat lopsided; Neal Conan is awesome; Havok gets a soapbox; Storm and Forge flirt with godhood; Rogue’s costume exists in a state of quantum uncertainty; Colossus is the organic steel wrench in the gears of chaos; and the X-Men die for real (but get better).



  • Crossovers vs. events
  • The Fall of the Mutants
  • Uncanny X-Men #225-227
  • A really great marketing campaign
  • The Adversary (again)
  • Roma
  • The Starlight Citadel
  • Retcons as applied pareidolia
  • A metaphor that is also a real chess piece
  • A sort-of stabbing
  • Neal Conan & Manoli Wetherell
  • Literally hard-hitting journalism
  • A whole new world
  • Another variation on the Rogue’s-costume drinking game
  • A really improbable plan
  • The death and resurrection of the X-Men
  • Mutant metabolisms

NEXT WEEK: It’s Always Darkest…

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  1. Oh, Sovereign Seven. You bafflingly impenetrable so and so. I’ve got the entire run and multiple copies of the first five issues somewhere in my long boxes in storage.

    1. I remember punching out after the first year.

      There were bits I liked, but a lot of Claremont’s tics had reached their insufferable apotheosis and I just couldn’t anymore.

  2. Great episode as usual. Interesting to hear about the alternate version of the plot that would have involved Jim Jaspers. The only comics I’ve read that are related to the Jaspers Warp business are from Warren Ellis’s run on Astonishing X-Men, which I found eerie and fascinating. Anyone have any recommendations? What comics did the original Jaspers storyline appear in, and how good are they?

    1. The Alan Moore/Alan Davis Captain Britain stories where “Mad Jim” Jaspers was the antagonist are definitely highly recommended, and have been collected in the US.

      He hasn’t really made much of an impact in the non-UK comics, he is in X-Men 200, and I think (and could be wildly wrong here) that the Ellis story is really the only place he has appeared again.

      1. Jaspers reappeared in the mid-2000s (I thin around the same time as House of M) in one of Claremont’s lackluster returns to the X-books, on this occasion notable solely for being drawn once more by Alan Davis.

        In the story, Jaspers has fused with the Fury and destroyed the Captain Britain Corps, so it’s very similar to what Claremont had in mind for FOTM in a way. The Captain Britain stuff is a well he’s gone back to more than once; Excalibur’s the most obvious one but he even had this story arc when he was writing Fantastic Four in the late-1990s / early-2000s where the FF visit Otherworld and meet Captain UK.

        I definitely think Alan Moore’s Captain Britain was an influence on Claremont that can’t really be understated. Around the time he would’ve read it, you see his style of narration change (which I think Rachel and Miles have mentioned before, I’m going to say around the time they covered the Brood Saga) from the sort of very purple Bronze Age Marvel style that’s still not quite out of Stan Lee’s shadow, and more towards the kind of thing Moore would help to popularise on Swamp Thing.

    2. You need to run Alan Moore’s Captain Britain run with Mad Jim Jaspers, it’s a 10/10 stone cold classic. Some of my favourite stuff ever in there.

  3. Hello! I am a huge fan of the podcast, and appreciate it all the more after SCOIP – your format is so clear and accessible that it makes a barely-reader-or-comics like me able to follow, understand, and enjoy. I have taken your advice and read a few more Xmen comics and really enjoyed the whole experience.

    Congratulations on coming out as trans! I have to say, it was incredible touching to watch Miles being supportive in the video review.
    Can I ask an inexperienced question? When talking about Jay in the past; i.e. discussing previous episodes, what is the preferred name/pronouns to use?

  4. I appreciate the glimpse at the original plot, which would have had some payoff to the set up of Nimrod and Jaspers. I wonder if that would have been enough to convince my 1987 self to keep reading the x-books.

    In this reality, I decided “The X-Men died in Dallas? Fine. They’re dead to me.” I’d be Excalibur-only for several years thereafter, as far as x-books went.

  5. Is this the issue where Stonewall and Pyro are arguing about James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”? That’s one of my favourite character moments from all of Claremont’s work.

    1. No. That won’t happen until X-Men #255.

      Screw you, Donald Pierce. Stonewall was worth fifty of you, you cheap jack sorry excuse for a poor man’s emergency backup Harry Leland.

  6. One thing that threw me was about how Storm was getting around. I was under the impression (perhaps incorrectly?) that the house Forge builds is in North America. But Storm somehow travels to Africa on foot?

    Or did I miss something?

  7. Is there no love for the time the Joker was teaming up with Red Skull, until he realized Red Skull was an actual Nazi and turn on him declaring that “I might be a criminal lunatic, but I’m an AMERICAN criminal lunatic!”. Even the Joker hates Nazis, seriously

    1. Whilst I love both unreservedly, The Rocketeer movie did come out 5 years before the Captain America/Batman team-up comic, so Rocketeer got there first!

  8. I really like Fall Of The Mutants.

    . . .the X-Factor bit, anyways.

    The X-Men chapter is really problematic because it’s the X-Men plugged into a milieu that doesn’t really fit in with their world and really they feel like immigrants in the wrong plot, and for all Claremont’s attempt to square the circle, it never quite does.

    . . .however, this does get us close to the Brood and Genosha stories, so . . .it ultimately works out to the good.

  9. I remember being confused reading this at 14 when it was new. For all times I had to reread that Wolverine’s bones are laced with adamantium I would have appreciated a little more of an introduction to Marvel UK characters which I had zero familiarity with. At the time I liked Silvestri’s pretty girls but looking back now they all look the same and their poses are really silly.

    For me, the image I remember is this promo pic: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/a/ad/Fall_of_the_Mutants_promotional.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20100524135430

    All of the leads of all the books as corpses? What must they have thought of their audience?

    1. And the only member of all three teams who actually DID die (The Dallas X-Men team were revealed to be alive to the reader in the same issue as their apparent death) isn’t even visible in the image.

  10. In 1987, I had been reading Marvel comics for a decade or so, the X-men for five years. I had a couple of years under my belt buying my comics at a very nice comics store about 30 minutes drive away, and was building up a nice collection of independent comics. (Lots of First’s Michael Moorcock and Phil Foglio’s Myth Adevntures.)

    I don’t think I had any idea that Marvel UK even existed. I don’t remember knowing about it until I saw a friend’s copy of the Captain Britain trade paperback a year or two later.

    So Roma was completely out of the blue, with no context whatsoever. The good news is that a decade of reading Marvel comics had taught me to roll with the punches of characters I didn’t know about showing up in my comics. Though usually at least with a decent footnote and/or exposition in dialogue.

    I don’t remember these issues well enough to really comment on them. But I do clearly remember how let down I was by what came after. The whole Plan Omega thing is stupid, irresponsible, and pretty heartless too. It might have been worth it anyway if things that were legendary and epic had followed in their time in Australia. But in practice, it was pretty much just business as normal for the team, only with a new headquarters and a stubborn insistence on not communicating with their friends and family.

  11. Does the Mutant Registration Act storyline ever really go anywhere? It was made to seem like a huge part of the Fall of the Mutants, and, at least when it comes to the X-Men chapters, it just sort of peters out and stops being mentioned as they gear up to face the Adversary.

    My guess is that the Registration Act is a leftover from when the story was supposed to involve Jim Jaspers– the original Jaspers story also involves heroes being rounded up by the government, so in that context it makes way more sense. (Whereas mutants being forced to register really has nothing to do with Naze/Roma/the Adversary.)

    But that makes me wonder exactly when Claremont switched up his plan– because I think the Mutant Registration Act is still being talked about in the story and mentioned heavily in the promotional materials right up until the Fall of the Mutants actually starts. It’s kind of weird, right?

    1. The Mutant Registration Act is definitely enacted, Freedom Force are used to enforce/justify it a lot.

      A few years later in the early 90’s there’s reference to it in regard to the proposed expanded version; “The Superhuman Registration Act” which would have included all mutates, augmented humans and the like (The vague meaning of “Superhuman” is brought up a time or two, like would Iron Man count?).

      Generally though, it was sporadically enforced, and it seemed to just sort of… fizzle out after Claremont left.

  12. This is such a weird detail to get hung up on in the middle of this storyline, but wouldn’t NPR-TV be PBS? Did Neal Conan and Manoli Wetherell jump mediums in the 616 universe due to public media consolidations after one of Congress’s periodic “let’s shut down the Corporation for Public Broadcasting” phases? Do people not have radios in the 616? Or are they still radio reporters, but in this instance, they’re so dedicated to their chosen path of objective journalism that, since they can’t get to Dallas’s local NPR affiliate to file their report, they take up the futuristic TV broadcasting equipment as a last resort to get the story out on the airwaves however they can (note: I haven’t actually tracked down this issue yet, so I apologize if all this is explained on-panel).

    I’m sorry, everyone; I’m just a huge public radio nerd.

    p.s. Was Nina Totenberg at the Trial of Magneto? She should have been. That sort of legal precedent seems right up her alley.

  13. Daaaaaamn! that original plan for FOM sounded MUCH better!
    I mean, the story was great, don’t get me wrong, but in the bigger perspective to the Xmen world and especialy Claremont whole run – this would give much better purpose for both the Nimord plot point and the mutant registration act. It would also give the X-world a much better villian than the Adversary in the name of Jim Jespers. And also the Marauders have always seem to me underwhelming. Theye’re bunch of badly costumed random powered poorly written pile of faceless goofballs. Giving one giant unstoppable super killing machiene which was composed from two of the world greatest superhero and mutant threats the role of the butcher in the mutant massacre could be so much better!

    It’s like the small silver line that could solve all these different stories problems without too much effort and give Claremont’s run a whole more coherente feeling and purpose! So many unfulfilled promises… So much waste and broken young naive dreams…

    Now I’m sad.

    1. And Also the massacre would then made sense and serve a concret and story-driven purpose!
      Oh, dear god. Sweet Mary and blessed… saints. and so on… ;_;

  14. Storm’s 1-year journey around this new world reminds me somewhat of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – or rather the conclusion of Restaurant at the End of the Universe, when Ford goes on his voyage of exploration* on this planet, and finds Slartibartfast’s signature on the glacier.

    Would that make Forge the X-Teams’ Arthur Dent?

    *Also happens in the Primary Phase radio play.

    1. Ethically interesting question. Clones do generally seem to have souls of their own in the MU, since they are still their own people, they just happen to be based off of other people’s DNA (Kaine over in the Spider-verse would count).

      The Marauders and Sinisters clones in general are an unusual case because they get killed and then re-cloned (I suppose respawn would be the current term for it) and might have some awareness of what happened to their last incarnation. I THINK Mirage once said something about her “death perception” for them was weird, as if it wasn’t a normal death, but it was so long ago it MIGHT be a fanfic I’m thinking of.

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