99 – Those Who Walk Away from Genosha

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 the podcast gets a new name; Jay starts (another) imaginary band; mutant issues break away from the metaphor; Genosha’s leading industry is cognitive dissonance; invisibility to electronic surveillance is not always a plus; Rogue and Wolverine are the X-Men most likely to find themselves nude in a fight; Carol Danvers is awesome even when disembodied; and we both have a lot of feelings about Mad Max: Fury Road.

X-PLAINED:

  • The Havok dilemma
  • Our new name
  • Uncanny X-Men #235-238
  • Genosha
  • Jenny Ransome
  • The Press Gang
  • A really good bit of vintage slang
  • The downside of electronic invisibility
  • Naked teleportation
  • The Genegineer (David Moreau)
  • Philip Moreau
  • Mutates
  • The (sort of) return of (sort of) Carol Danvers
  • The portmanteaus of Genosha
  • Moral binary in superhero comics
  • Possible antecedents of Sterling Archer
  • The only good reason to bring Logan back
  • N’astirh
  • Several versions of Madelyne Pryor
  • “Gone to America”
  • Off-page baby theft
  • How to have fun re-reading

InfernoWatch:

  • This week, it’s all about Madelyne Pryor: her first contact with N’astirh and escalating romance with Havok; the first hints of her connection to Mister Sinister; her oblique connection to the Phoenix Force; and her first foray into baby theft!

NEXT EPISODE: Chris Claremont


CORRECTION: In this episode, Miles mentioned Those Who Walk Away From Omelas as having been written by Margaret Atwood. It was, of course, actually written by Ursula K. LeGuin. Miles blames the Jaspers Warp for this mistake.


You can find a visual companion to this episode–and links to recommended reading–on our blog!

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49 comments

  1. Si says:

    The agency Madeline Pryor was working for is the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a real group that is basically a medical service for people living in remote areas in Australia. https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/

  2. Tom D says:

    Omelas is Le Guin, not Atwood.

  3. XMenXPert says:

    Congratulations on the name change!

    The Genosha arc is definitely cool. The Apartheid metaphor is neat. (Speaking of which: Don McGregor did a fantastic 1989 Black Panther story, “Panther’s Quest,” that actually took place in South Africa, and was very much an outspoken critique of Apartheid policies. It’s a really powerful story.)

    It makes sense Wolverine and Rogue would both get naked a lot. Wolverine’s character includes a strong element of The Primal Man, wild and untamed and all that. So, nudity makes sense. And then Rogue, of course, has to keep covered up totally because of her power, so making her naked is also an effective narrative tool. Few other X-Men have those justifications for nudity.

    I do like the use of the Carol Danvers personality here. It’s really cool. And I love Maddie’s dream sequence in this story. It’s so awesome.

    I’m pretty psyched for Claremont next week! That’s pretty amazing!

    • LAndrew says:

      I really love the Genosha story. It really has an anger and to it and it’s a real unflinching look at a inherently rotten society (you notice for what’s advertised as a utopia, the Genoshans aren’t really terribly happy?)and even the people who are awakened to the horrible injustice they perpetrated aren’t let off the hook because they only woke up to it when they were personally inconvenienced by it.

      I like that it’s willing to be so complicated and nuanced. It’s easily my favourite story from the Australia Era.

    • TheAmazingEmu says:

      I was going to point out there were apartheid metaphors even this early on, specifically with the propaganda of mutants wanting to be with their own kind and preferring it that way, which paralleled the idea of the Bantustans. It’s fairly subtle here, but I was impressed at how well it worked (since I wasn’t really expecting it to).

      I did, however, probably notice it because I had read Panther’s Quest by Don McGregor (which is an awesome story, the format notwithstanding).

      • Icon_UK says:

        Agreed on the Apartheid metaphor being very obvious early on, though perhaps that was because it was much on the minds of the UK at the time, since the Thatcher regime’s refusal to impose sanctions on Apartheid South Africa was the cause of much disapproval from the populace.

  4. Deoridhe says:

    I wanted to let you know my podcast player (Downcast) updated automatically without an issue and renamed itself beautifully – so all good here!

  5. renniejoy says:

    OMG! Chris Claremont! I’m so excited for you! And that we get to listen is amazing!

    I love this podcast. 🙂

  6. Ricochet Rita says:

    CC here!!! Oh my!!! Can’t wait!

    One thing that shocked me in Genosha’s run was Rogue being molested (raped?) by the guards. It kinda turned upside-down the usual unworried approach to her power (as a matter of fact, is Rogue a raper herself?, is this karma?). I found terrible that her first physical experience was aggresive and, above all, unwanted. Poor girl.

  7. Kates says:

    I think that Butter Rum, Firestar’s horse that Emma Frost murdered, counts as a good X-Man horse (even if he’s tangentially related to the X-Men). He certainly didn’t deserve to be tragically killed (can horses be fridged?) to mess up Firestar and I’m sure that if he were alive, he and Angelica would be traipsing around the fields together.

    • ray says:

      I mean… We now know that Emma has never been an evil person. And we also know that she’s a powerful telepath. So she must have known something about that horse that we as readers didn’t know…

    • Icon_UK says:

      Glad to see someone else remembered poor doomed Butter Rum!

    • Stephen Conway says:

      This is an even more tangential suggestion, but the Kymellian who gave Power Pack their powers was also a good horse (or at least horse-man).

  8. David says:

    Okay, I haven’t had time to listen yet today (my wife had our first baby last night!), but HOLY CRAP! Chris Claremont next week!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Icon_UK says:

      Congratulations on the new arrival!

      • David says:

        Thanks so much!

        So… right now I have an hour to either sleep or listen to Jay & Miles. Jay and Miles it is!

        Also, Havok did do ONE thing before Cyclops – become an Avenger. It’s a pretty major thing, as things in the MU go.

  9. Alex H says:

    Just an extra little thing about Madeleine Pryor singing a Steeleye Span song – the lead singer of Steeleye Span is actually a woman named Maddy Prior – I think I’d heard somewhere that the comics one was actually named after her? Someone was obviously a fan!

  10. Sol says:

    Wait, N’astirh is pronounced “nastier”? (Briefly wonders if he realized this three decades ago and forgot…)

    • pawpaw5771 says:

      Well now I have to re-listen to this episode, because I missed that pronunciation. I thought it was nah-steer. But now I’m not sure.

      As a bonus, I always liked how Sinister sounded close to S’ym N’astirh. Sinister. S’ym nah-steer. Sinister. Simnahsteer.

      Don’t mind me, I might be going crazy.

      • Gorm Nykreim says:

        I noticed that back in the day, although I didn’t write about it in my “Inferno Conspiracy Theory” letter that was published in The New Mutants v1 #78.

        Given that Mr. Sinister had no origin yet, I considered the extremely twisted possibility he might have been a Limbo-time-displaced technovirus blended hybrid of S’ym & N’astirh post (pre?) Inferno.

        I also wondered if N’astirh might have been a shapeshifted Belasco, sexually stalking Illyana in a demon’s skin. (The strongest objection to that was that N’astirh had two arms… but we had never seen them together, and it seemed farfetched that Belasco would have shared Limbo so casually. But really, where WAS Belasco during Inferno, anyway? Or maybe When???)

  11. ray says:

    Thank you! That was a ride.
    As a realism buff (I mean, I enjoy less the demonic and magic stuff. Does that count?) Genosha was like a pearl to me in a sea of… Well, unpearly water. I enjoyed it so much, every part in bit of it. Every time I expected the bad guys to follow the general boring comic books cliche of storytelling it stroke me anew. In only four issues Claremont built an entirely believable place. I didn’t nesseceraly liked Genosha (the place) but I felt like I’v known it for years. To me it felt more solid then, say, Australia. And that’s only the scenery, not including the characters involved which were so beliveable, and the story itself which wasn’t half bad. Seeing Wolverine and Rouge-twist-Danverse fighting with the back to the wall, enemy of the state style… Man, I love everything about these four issues!

  12. David says:

    It makes perfect sense that Rogue and Wolverine would be the X-Men who most frequently fight sans clothes. From a storytelling perspective, Rogue’s powers make naked-fighting meaningfully different from regular fighting in an interesting way (anybody who touches her at all gets drained).

    And as far as the art goes, naked Wolverine looks like a moderately shaved gorilla got into some poor primatologist’s emergency supply of hair gel, and that’s hilarious.

  13. Bob M says:

    BeyondPod on Android fetched episode 99 no problem for me, and the art is updated.

    So hyped for CC in episode 100.

  14. Eisen-Mitternacht says:

    ““old chum” could be a thing to call your buddy if you want a little mystery about whether you mean “well-established pal” or “stale fishbait”.” –Orion Scribner

    I note the comments that were 404ing during the site change posted themselves when I wasn’t looking, so when I went to do it manually they failed because it was obviously a duplicate. Neat!

  15. BRANDON says:

    I am so excited that Chris Claremont will be on the show, and none of my IRL friends even know who he is, so I just needed to express that here. I cannot wait!

  16. Elliott Kay says:

    My love for the X-Men as a young reader involved a steady decline in my appreciation for Logan. He wasn’t a favorite at the start, but I did really like him…and then it steadily declined. This arc is a big milestone in that. This was the third strike, after which I could no longer buy the Wolverine hype.

    The Dark Phoenix Saga: “Okay suckers, you’ve taken your best shot, now it’s my turn!” Aaaaand then he takes down like a handful of mooks. Not the payoff I expected after that panel.

    The Mutant Massacre: Storm says, “The rest of the Marauders are yours,” and it’s this big “OOOOH Logan’s gonna kick some ass!” …and he has a scuffle with Sabretooth. Granted, he did the right thing in prioritizing the Healer’s life over revenge, but still. The narrative promised me a payoff that didn’t come.

    And then this. “I’m gonna bring this flamin’ country down!” and he totally doesn’t.

    From a narrative perspective, it’s really good that X-Men wasn’t The Wolverine Show in those arcs. I’m glad it leaned more toward an ensemble feel rather than Wolverine and His Amazing Friends. Yet those cliffhanger “Wolverine’s Gonna Kick All the Ass!” moments still soured me, because they never came with a payoff.

  17. W. H. Rad says:

    Wow, Pipeline sounds like such a mess. I can only imagine Genoshan Magistrate training to go something like this…

    Listen up, new recruits. You’re here today to learn about your duties in supporting our mutant retrieval program: The Press Gang. The Press Gang will be deployed whenever a mutant has tried to not contribute their share to the Genoshan way of life my keeping their individuality. Now, one of the members of The Press Gang, Pipeline, may be called upon to transmit you lot in as data when they need backup. When you are on duty you must be ready to be transmitted to anywhere there’s a phoneline, along with your over-sized armaments which are probably very expensive. Pipeline could be transmitting you to any kind of environment, so we’ll also give you as much gear as we can to help you succeed in your mission. Once you have apprehended the target, you’ll all be transported back but you’ll be leaving all of this equipment including your clothes, probably in a foreign country. Pipeline can’t transmit anything other than people into Genosha, except he can because he can add a sedative to apprehended mutants while transmitting them.

    Also, the reason you’re doing this is because we don’t have many resources in Genosha. There are those who think the problem started when Pipeline became a part of The Pres Gang, but those people are bean counters who don’t understand what a patriot he is.

  18. I have long counted Genosha as one of those things introduced to X-Men after my time reading it and that I had no interest in as an idea or metaphor.

    But after listening to this episode I want to read this arc for myself.

    Damn it.

    Anyway, is it collected?

  19. Kyle says:

    As someone who first got into comics with Peter David’s run on X-Factor, I’m trying very hard not to take Jay’s derision of my favourite Summers brother to heart. Sure, Havok’s had his share of problems — questionable headgear, frequent villain turns, occasional failures to recognise his privilege — but he’s one of those characters that I feel like is constantly thrust into situations that he’s never fully prepared for, and gets a lot of expectations put on him. I feel for the dude, y’know?

    As for Genosha, it’s not something that’s going to come up on the podcast for quite a while yet, but I wish they had done more with Magneto’s tenure as its iron fisted ruler. It seemed like a really interesting idea at the time which didn’t much exploration before Morrison nuked the place via sentinel and made Magneto into a drug addled caricature of himself.

    Anyways! Great episode as always, even if the cold open stung a bit.

    • Miles says:

      Nah, we love Havok – we just tend to be more extreme and cartoony in our perspectives during cold opens. (That said, it’s hard not to be morbidly entertained by just how much crap the Marvel Universe has shoveled onto him over the decades. Poor guy.)

      • Kyle says:

        Oh, totally. And I was being a bit hyperbolic on my end in my sorrow over the mistreatment of a fictional character who I identified with a lot as a kid, but could honestly not say whether or not he’s appearing regularly in a comic these days.

    • Jay says:

      FWIW, Havok’s legitimately one of my favorites. What you wrote here–“he’s one of those characters that I feel like is constantly thrust into situations that he’s never fully prepared for, and gets a lot of expectations put on him”–pretty much nails what I was shooting to lampoon in the cold open: a lot of writers seem to have no idea what to do with him, and so he’s saddled with way more than his share of either recycled or dead-end storylines.

      • Kyle says:

        Heh. Originally I was going to comment that Havok was terrorist long before Scott, in reference to his run as leader of the Brotherhood, but then I remembered that X-Factor was originally conceived of as a terrorist organization by design, even if that was part of an elaborate ruse.

        Poor Alex; always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

  20. A couple things I noticed and am not sure if anyone’s mentioned:

    1. The Genoshan “newscaster” is Lola, seen in Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (image link: http://samplereality.com/gmu/engl685/files/2010/09/LolaBatSymbol.jpg), complete w/hair and angled geometric earrings.

    2. The “This is The World” line comes back during Morrison’s run when we’re introduced to the artificial environment where Fanotmex and Weapon XV are born–which is called The World. And, of course, it’s yet another example of mankind’s oppression and attempted enslavement/manipulation of mutants. Also, just one more reason to love Morrison.

    • ajpursell says:

      I came here to say the exact same thing about Lola and glad I’m not the on,y one. I remembered thinking that when I first read the issue and loving the Easter egg.

  21. Donkey Option says:

    I actually do have a friend whose last name is Hawkshaw. This makes this all very odd but cool. She’s getting her degree in German linguistics, and her father (the other Hawkshaw) is a music professor. So, no ties to investigators at all 🙁

  22. Count_Zero says:

    The description of Maddiline’s semi-psychic murder outburst reminds me a *lot* of the scene in Akira where Tetsuo is stopped by those two guards in the hallway – you know the one.

    I find this doubly interesting because in 1988 not only was the Akira film in theaters, but the Akira Manga was getting its initial English print run – in a colorized form by Marvel.

    I realize that I’m posting on this topic a little late, but I wonder how much of an impact Akira (and Katsuhiro Otomo) had on the depiction of psychic powers in X-Books (stylistically).

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