Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Rachel & Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 65

Week of December 2, 2015:

In which we briefly wallow in nostalgia; serialization does Extraordinary X-Men no favors; we do Deadpool & Cable: Split Second no favors; and All-New X-Men is the team book we’ve been waiting for.


  • Extraordinary X-Men #3 (01:47)
  • *All-New X-Men #1 (07:22)
  • Deadpool & Cable: Split Second Infinite Comic #4 (12:42)

*Pick of the week (16:08)

Hear us talk to Dennis Hopeless about All-New X-Men in Episode 81 – The Kids Are All Right.

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  1. EXM is definitely feeling bland. And I really hate X-Haven in Limbo. The idea that mutants are better off literally fleeing into Hell than trying to be part of society is really frustrating to me.

    ANXM was really good. The scene of Iceman in Austin is the kind of thing I want to see more of. I desperately want more of those scenes, showing people who are actually totally OK with mutants. Also, it’s hard not to like anything drawn by Mark Bagley.

  2. I really enjoyed ANXM too. Young Cyclops especially seems well-portrayed to me, with his mix of obsessiveness, recklessness, and self-loathing. The story moves fast, but still has a lot of room for flavor, detail, and character moments. I did think the antagonist whose power is apparently to spit large amounts of water was pretty lame. (And to do that in a library – what a horrible person!) But whatevs. Hopeless is nailing it!

    1. Also, I like it when we get to see how society reacts to mutants in ways that are more complex than just fear and hatred. Morrison was good on that, I thought. And occasionally, so was Bendis, like with Goldballs’ 15 minutes of fame. The Ghosts of Cyclops are kind of in that vein – and if it turns out that they’re inhumans rather than mutants, as J&M suggested, that’d be some pretty nice irony.

  3. I hate to fall into the grouchy old dude role again, but I’m a bit taken aback by Miles’s comment on giving a new series an arc and one issue of the next arc. There’s a certain logical justice to that, sure. Give the creators a chance.

    But at $3.99 an issue, you’re asking me to spend like $24 bucks reading a comic that seemed substandard in its first issue (in the example of EXM), and that your reviews have indicated continues to be pretty blah. And this week I’ve purchased a novel that’s got me eagerly turning the pages for $3.99, and the first Buffy Season 10 trade paperback for $3.99, and both of those seem like radically better decisions than buying EXM #2 and EXM #3. I also tried the first issue of several other new Marvel titles, pretty much all of which I liked better than EXM #1.

    Unless you’ve got an unlimited budget for entertainment, I just can’t justify continuing to buy a dodgy book on the hopes it will get better…

    1. That’s valid, yeah. I think it’s easy for me to forget that buying every issue of every X-book isn’t standard human behavior, and you’re right that comics are much more expensive than most other forms of media in terms of bang-for-buck. I was directing my arc-and-an-issue advice mostly toward folks who are heavily invested in a given title or line and want to make absolutely sure a book isn’t for them before dropping it. For less obsessive folks, I agree that sticking around for that long could be a waste of entertainment dollars that could be more enjoyably spent elsewhere.

  4. On the Extraordinary X-Men front, I’m liking it a bit more than you guys are. The writing does feel like it’s treading water a bit, but already knowing that Sinister was involved going into this arc is keeping me going. I do like having Young Jean and Old Logan having interacting, and so far it’s book good interaction. Though it could get real icky, real fast if they start moving into the romantic direction. As far as the Limbo front, I think with the T-Mist hanging it’s head all over the earth, Magik is really the only person they have immediate access to to get them to a place where the T-Mist won’t come. Limbo is definitely dangerous, but it’s making for some good fight scenes in issues that could have been really mundane without them. Also I LOVE Glob Herman’s reaction to actually “being X-Men” while they’re helping fighting off demons. Forge’s Sentinel Cerebra continues to be some good source of comic relief. I think now that Jean and Logan are in Limbo with most of the team, things will start picking up. We might not see it full force until arc two, but I’m OK with that.

    As for All-New X-Men, I’m a little more divided on. While I loved the issue as a whole, I had some problems with it. Similarly to Jay, the narration inconsistency bugged me. I had to go back to the beginning as well to make sure it was Cyclops who was narrating all the way through. The opening scene felt a little weird for me as well. Hopeless doesn’t seem to have a grasp on Laura or Warren’s voices yet. Giving Angel weird Millennial slang like “Increb” (substitute for incredible I’m assuming) and then having him say “frets” a few pages later was just awkward. Also why is he writing Laura and everyone else calling her “The Wolverine” instead of just “Wolverine”? It sounds off. The issue was very Cyclops heavy. While I understand why there is a need to focus on him right now, I don’t want to book to turn into a Cyclos solo with some of his friends tagging along. The Ghosts of Cyclops are are really great antagonist for this first arc. Having the All-New team going up something like this feels appropriate compared to what’s going on in the other books (Sinister/Killer Clones). It’s a team with a similar number of members and they’re around the same age. Cycople being the crap out of them without his powers in that first attack scene was great. Showing how competent he is by himself shows just how good of a leader he is for the team. One thing about that whole interaction I was disappointed with was him walking away from the girl who called mutant’s “trash”. I really wanted him to say something to her, but I get he was trying to keep a low profile on his mutant status. Everything in the Bobby, Hank, Idie, and Evan panels were perfect. Everything single thing. Especially Evan wrestling an alligator. I know that Hopeless has a lot more planned for the other characters, but with a cast of 7 I hope he can juggle them all effectively without some of them fading in the background.

  5. I know it’s an Inhumans book, but All-New Inhumans #1 does have an X-connection: the back-up story brings back the Jay-loved mutant Frenzy.

    1. If that project involved regular recaps like on the podcast, only there was video of Jay knitting character-themed stuff while they talked… I would watch. For sure.

  6. EXM #3 felt like it was finally ramping up a bit to me. It at least felt like an improvement over the first two issues, as the team was finally more together and less fragmented, and it felt like some momentum was finally accumulating. Next issue looks like this will only increase, as it looks like the group will catch up with Kurt, the Rasputins, and Sinister and his latest cronies. I was in a really good mood on Wednesday when I was reading my new issues though, so maybe that colored my view of this issue.

    All-New X-Men is right up there will All-New Wolverine as the strongest X-books so far, for me. The first issue really felt like a tremendous start and a great transition from concept/pitch to execution. Excited to see this one develop!

  7. Thanks for another good review show. I am a huge Dennis Hopeless fan from the previous work he’s done on x-titles and I’ve been looking forward to what he ends up doing on this book. I did have one big concern about the direction of this issue though, and i am hoping it’s just too early to see the full picture of the story to make a judgement.

    The Ghosts of Cyclops are being set up as a parallel group of teenage mutants that are inspired by a more militant philosophy, but it could not escape my attention that apparently they are all mutants of color. Counterposing them to a nearly all white superhero team of x-men seems like a really problematic way to set up these antagonists. Cyclops uses common racially coded language to discuss them in some of the first pages, calling them “thugs” and questioning their intelligence. Cyclops then outsmarts all of them easily and demonstrates these qualities in the antagonists. Maybe Hopeless is going to come around to some kind of more challenging and complex narrative and if he is i would applaud him for dealing with the intersection of mutant oppression and racism, but if he isn’t this feels like a really problematic framework and is really disappointing for a comic in 2015. What do you think?

    1. I don’t think the Ghosts of Cyclops are all people of color. I only see one of them who clearly is: the dark-skinned woman. Aside from her, the team includes:
      – Austin Deprez, the guy who spits water. He’s a brown-haired guy with a vaguely French surname; he could be Latino but I don’t see any real basis for that.
      – The blond-haired guy, who looks white to me.
      – The two big guys, one of whom is grey, the other pink; I can’t tell what their ethnicity might be.
      – The silver woman who shoots electricity; if that’s her in the red hat on page 14 then she could be Asian or Latina, but I can’t tell.

      1. Seems like both the All-New X-Men and the Ghosts of Cyclops each have a grey guy and a black woman. The icy guy and the silver lady also kind of cancel each other out.

  8. Okay, Evan Sabahnur is my favorite X-men, so I need to make an important correction: His codename is “Genesis” he is NOT Kid Apocalypse, that’s very important.

    An on a personal note, I’m actually worried about All New X-men, because Dennis Hopeless is the guy behind Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover, and there’s this event “Apocalypse Wars” coming….. Look, I’m just worried about Evan; AXIS was bad enough

  9. Thanks, as always, for the reviews. I agree with you that Extraordinary X-Men is moving really slowly. I really want to like it, because the idea of the X-Mansion being a haven for mutants who need safe place to stay is TOTALLY MY THING and one of the things I love about the X-Men; I’ve always seen the X-school that way. This story just isn’t living up to that for me. I did like seeing the students all excited about being called X-Men, though.

    All-New X-Men is adorable and so much fun and I want to give it a big hug. Though I though Season One was fun but not great, but I’m REALLY enjoying All-New X-Men so far. If this continues, I’ll probably end up liking this volume more than the first.

  10. I don’t get why the O5(-J+L) would be tooling around with a couple of (from their perspective) randos from the Jean Grey School instead of their former classmates from the New Xavier School who they lived with a lot longer. Especially because I miss Goldballs and Tempus and them and I’m worried they’re orphans now that Bendis is off the X-books.

    That being said, Pickles is my new favorite X-man.

  11. I know this is probably really off topic, but I really wanted to see a full view of the shirts you were wearing this week. I have the Buffy Summers version of the shirt Miles had on and I just wanted to see below the text on Jay’s shirt, but I couldn’t make it out. I know you’re both big on making the podcast and subsequently the reviews stand on their own without any shameless plugs. However, considering you wear a lot of rad independent artist-generated geekwear, maybe dropping a link in the text of where/from whom you bought it would be okay?

  12. Speaking as an extremely biased Deadpool fan (Seriously. I am ‘cataloging’ all of his appearances in 616.), I love Split Second, but I understand it’s not for everyone. I do want to point out something that I don’t think Miles or Jay picked up on with issue #4: this issue really, really does play with the digital format. it can (mostly) be read frontwards and backwards! Follow main Deadpool as you read forward, and then swipe backwards to follow the other one.

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