Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Jay & Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 96

Weeks of 8/10/2016 and 8/17/2016:

In which we make a vaguely triumphant return, review two weeks’ worth of books, and have a lot of feelings about fictional teenagers.


  • *All-New X-Men #12 (00:53)
  • Old Man Logan #10 (06:41)
  • All-New Wolverine #11 (10:29)
  • Civil War II: X-Men #3 (13:51)

*Pick of the Fortnight (18:23)

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  1. ANXM is really good. I do still have some issues with how Hopeless writes Laura, but he does a much better job here than he has previously. And her scene with Scott is perfect, and I love the two of them as friends. Her irritation at being beaten to the various bad guys was hilarious, too.

    OML was really good. Sorrentino and Maiolo do such amazing work. Gorgeous art.

    Wolverine is great. The first half is hilarious – Gabby is wonderful – and the second half is really tense. Really good use of the self-fulfilling prophecy idea with Ulysses’ vision. I am really hoping for a fake-out with that cliffhanger.

    CWIIXM is OK. But not great. It’s very much a middle issue. I do like Rachel being brought in, because Rachel’s great. The scene between Storm and Medusa was cool, too. I like when Medusa gets haughty, and Storm immediately out-haughts her. No one does dramatic proclamations better than Storm. She has her own dramatic lightning.

  2. I loved the MASSIVE raised eyebrow from Jay when Miles was complimenting the tied-in and mainstream appeal of Civil War #3.

  3. I’m sorry, but I can’t disagree with your assessment of All-New X-Men more, because this book — and the “Larren” relationship specifically — has just been AWFUL.

    Seeing the interaction between X and Cyclops just makes it painfully obvious how horrible the Angel relationship is, and how much BETTER the relationship between Laura and Scott Bendis teased would have been. Those two had more chemistry in SIX PANELS than Laura and Warren have had in TWELVE ISSUES under Hopeless, to say nothing of just how forced and artificial it felt under Bendis.

    There’s NOTHING about “Larren” that works. Hopeless tries to set them up as Not So Different, while ignoring the fact that the difference they do have is HUGE. He pays lip service to how Warren chose to take on the Vortex, but then tries to compare Warren’s situation to Laura’s. Magically, Laura “understands” him just because Warren knows what it is to be driven by instincts he struggles to control. Y’know, even though he’s a privileged twat who CHOSE THE DAMN THING because he was too big of a coward to face what happened to his adult self, while Laura is fighting conditioning forced down her throat through years of emotional and physical torture, abuse, and loss. What’s especially troubling is that if you listen to Laura’s rant about how Warren has treated her — the constantly belittling her choices, the chastising front of their friends — that’s outright ABUSE. PERIOD. This is NOT a healthy relationship, no matter how Hopeless tries to spin it.

    There’s also the fact that the problems Laura argues with Warren about (her cutting, difficulties expressing her emotions, struggles finding acceptance among her peers) were addressed LONG ago. It relies entirely on either pretending the Liu series didn’t happen, or that she’s been faking the entire time. And yes, I get that such issues aren’t so easily addressed in real life, (frankly, Laura would be in serious need of professional help if she was a real person) but narratives have to move forward in order for characters to develop and grow.

    The simple FACT is that “Larren” is only possible because of just how ABYSMALLY out of character X-23 has been written from the beginning of this volume.

    I was really trying to give Hopeless a chance to get this ship righted, but I’m done. ANXM is off my pull list.

    1. See… This is the kind of attitude that forced Lauren Zuke to leave Twitter. I don’t mean to imply that you’re being a bad citizen or harassing anyone. You’re perfectly entitled to your opinions and this is an open forum [and I’m a straight, cis-gendered, married guy in his 30s, so I freely admit that I’m not the typical demographic for this kind of thing; grain, salt, etc.]. But I don’t feel like it’s healthy to be so emotionally invested in the relationships of fictional characters. At least not to the extent that you’re pitting one “ship” against another and trying to tear down one hypothetical relationship to build up the one you’d prefer.

      I too enjoy the bond Hopeless showed between Cyclops and Wolverine in this issue, but I don’t see where that bond means they should date. Platonic friendships are important too. The viewpoint that any pair of characters with a fun dynamic between them has to be shoved into a romantic relationship is just not something I can agree with at all.

      I also think you’re going a bit far by describing the relationship between Warren and Laura as abusive. He made a mistake in the way he was talking to and about her. He realized he was making a mistake and apologized for it. If any negative thing a person does to another is automatically unforgivable abuse, then no relationship is worth having. We all make mistakes like that from time to time.

      At any rate, it’s your money and your time. You can certainly choose not to read All-New X-Men in the future. But I think you’ll be missing out on a great comic for a silly reason.

    2. To briefly jump in: people have different levels of personal investment in characters and their relationships, and that’s totally okay. We’re all super into X-Men or we wouldn’t be here, so I suspect we all have more in common than that separates us, even if everyone interacts with fandom differently. People can be intense about things, but caring a lot about a relationship playing out in a specific way isn’t the same thing as harassing a creator because of that investment.

      All of that to say: it’s totally valid to discuss whether various character dynamics make sense or work for us – and it’s rad to see people with so many different perspectives and passions coming together here – but let’s all remember to keep it respectful and civil and that there’s no wrong way to be an X-fan!

      1. Thanks for your input, Miles. I apologize if my post came off as disrespectful. I tried really hard not to be, which is why I included so many caveats. As I tried to make clear initially, I don’t believe Ambaryerno was doing anything wrong by posting what she posted. I only meant to say that I see parallels in the seemingly angry tone of her post (although tone can be hard to judge in text obviously) and those made by the Steven Universe fans. I have no issue with the way she’s chosen to express herself. This should be a safe space for all kinds of discussion and she was in no way harassing a creator by posting what she posted. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have made the connection between to two at all. It’s too fine of a line to thread without it sounding like I’m accusing Ambaryerno of something horrible. That’s just where my mind went since it’s such a recent event. Sorry, Ambaryerno.

        You’re also absolutely right that caring deeply is not a negative at all. If I conveyed otherwise, then it was purely unintentional. Caring deeply is great. It’s pretty intrinsic to being a fan. But I also don’t think it’s wrong for a fellow fan to gently remind someone to keep things in perspective. We can all use those kinds of reminders from time to time I think. I’ve greatly appreciated you and Jay doing that in regards to the whole “Marvel is killing the X-Men” conspiracy theory. Hardcore shipping can be a similar issue to me in that it can sometimes lead to a place of fan entitlement. When we let our own personal headcanon become so dominant that we can’t stand to see an author stray from it, even if the story they’re telling is well-crafted, we can miss out on a lot of great art. That’s all I was getting at. Sorry again if my comment was out of bounds and thanks again for responding kindly and moderating. 🙂

        1. Also, I shouldn’t have assume Ambaryerno was female just then. Oops. Should read “their post.” I wish this thing had an edit button.

        2. The problem is the story is NOT well-crafted. It goes back to the Brotherhood II arc when Bendis randomly had Warren interested in her. After having never interacted once on-panel, Angel is suddenly trying to get him some of that clone-tang. It’s not about shipping; it’s just plain BAD character development and writing (contrast X and Cyclops, whose connection Bendis was building up quite naturally and really quite sweetly. It’s why a LOT of fans believe that Angel/X was originally written for Cyclops/X, but Bendis had to change tack because Rucka poached Scott for the Cyclops solo. If you replace Warren with Scott, it actually DOES flow far more naturally than what we actually go).

          This only continued when Hopeless took over the book. Laura has been just plain BADLY written in this series. Everything about her is grossly out of character to make the plot work, and once again that’s just plain BAD writing and storytelling if the only way to make your plot work is to ignore everything about what defines who your characters are.

          X-23 is NOT the mindless, reckless, Leeroy Jenkins wannabee Hopeless has presented her as. She’s always been a cautious, thoughtful, diligent, strategist. Seriously, X-23 written in character DOES NOT GET STOMPED by a tool like the Blob (speaking of writers not caring, Hopeless outright acknowledged he gave no thought whatsoever into how Blob got his powers back. He just wanted him to have powers, and that was it. It would take all of one panel to confirm if it was Battleworld shenanigans, if he was still on MGH, or some other means). That’s part of why ANXM has managed her so badly, because Hopeless demonstrated in Avengers Arena he KNOWS this (seriously, read her PoV issues in Arena; she sounds FAR more KYost’s and Liu’s X-23). The fact he actually took time out of this issue to bring it up and then toss it aside with a pithy “But I’m the @#$%ing Wolverine now! Something something bub!” makes it clear he’s just plain trolling long-time readers. He KNOWS she’s out of character. He KNOWS that long-time fans of X-23 are pissed about how she’s being written. He simply doesn’t care.

          The biggest fear fans had when Marvel announced X-23 would be taking up the Wolverine name was that writers would suddenly forget she’s her own character, and just start writing her as if she were Logan with boobs. And that’s precisely what Hopeless has done. He’s using her EXACTLY how Logan would have been: the reckless, aggressive wild card that gets his butt kicked to show just how dangerous a situation is.

          What makes this most infuriating is that Marvel has made “Angry Fans Are Good” an official policy. It’s a Morton’s Fork that lets them get away with anything: If fans are vocally angry about the direction of events or characters (see Steve Rogers: Agent of Hydra, for example), they spin it as a good thing because it means “fans are engaged.” If fans say nothing, they spin it as a good thing because it means “fans are satisfied.” They’re willfully ignoring the fact that there’s a BIG difference between “Fans are Passionate” and, “Here, hold my pitchfork while I light my torch.” It leaves fans trapped in a no-win scenario in which it’s impossible for us to make clear that our dissatisfaction isn’t because of passion, but it’s because what Marvel has done is just plain BAD. I’m not even convinced that just not buying the book is even going to matter, as Marvel is just going to spin it how THEY want to regardless of the message the fans are ACTUALLY trying to send.

  4. I had to go back and read the page where Cyclops is handing the list to Wolverine a couple times. Adult Cyclops hasn’t had any friends, or even peers, for a long time. Young Cyclops here has a startling amount of empathy.


    I don’t have anywhere to talk about The Vision, and the last issue has grabbed me so hard!

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