Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

131 – The Reaver Bunch

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 Jubilee is the sassiest Xenomorph; Lady Deathstrike is way too good for the Reavers; Wolverine gets a sidekick; Forge arm wrestles the Shadow King; Moira takes a cavalier approach lab safety; Magneto’s motives get kind of reconciled; Legion is a chaos gamer; Mystique and Destiny break our hearts; queer erasure in fiction reflects erasure in life; and the Shadow King is not even a little bit subtle.


  • That one time Donald Pierce pretended to be Cyclops for like a year
  • The post X-Men X-Men
  • What may be our deepest cut yet
  • Uncanny X-Men #252-255
  • Where’s Wolverine?
  • The Reaver Bunch
  • Major-League lumpoids
  • Robot dingoes
  • A prescient vision
  • Trouble at sea
  • Several significant deaths
  • Subtext and queer erasure
  • The key of agony
  • Smile noises
  • Non-mutants we’d team up with the X-Men

NEXT WEEK: Back to Asgard!

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  1. Jubilee is so amazing in this story. She really is the best of Wolverine’s teen girl partners. The fact that she is the one keeping him alive is really cool, and she is just so awesome. And then going forward, Logan and Jubilee are just SO GOOD together. They complement and contrast so well. It helps that Jubilee has more spunk and attitude than anyone should be allowed to have. But man, I just love their partnership so much.

    I weirdly enjoy the Fury and Danvers hallucinations in this era. They’re fun and snarky.

    Deathstrike is pretty cool in this era. She’s been very much an inconsistent character over the years.

    The Reavers vs. Muir Isle is . . . odd. It’s a weird line-up of characters. I do enjoy it, but damn, is it ever odd.

    I’ll agree that Mystique and Destiny are one of my favourite couples. I’ve said so often that one of my dream series is a mini showing how those two met and fell in love. Set it around the turn of the century, as they plan to steal some kind of drug that grants Destiny an extended lifespan. Period-piece lesbian-romance heist story! Exploring gender roles and expectations! It would be so amazing! Seriously, it would be so easy to make so amazing.

  2. Isn’t it serendipitous that the Reavers show up in an episode of X-Plain the X-Men the week after they were heavily featured in that phenomenal Logan trailer? Sometimes life’s funny that way…

    1. Clearly, Fox planned it that way. They figured out when Jay & Miles would talk about the Reavers, and scheduled their trailer accordingly.

      It’s the only explanation.

    1. I got behind on these, so I don’t know if anyone will see this reply, but here it is:

      The deep cut is a (partial) list of the noisy articles which appear near the end of a parodic “guided meditation,” which itself is one of the fake ads from the sarcastic trivia video game You Don’t Know Jack.

      You can hear the ad in question starting at the 6:37 mark of this video… but should probably go ahead and listen to ALL of them:

  3. Hmmm…. bulletproof New Mutant costumes? Why would they ever think to create such a thi..? Oh, yeah, right, the blond kid.

    Reading this issue at the time (leafing through the issue I liked the mer-spell idea) this X-Men made up of, effectively, random extra’s seemed doomed from the moment they appeared on that cover.

    Between them and the conglomeration of dull villains; Reavers, Matsuo, Shadow King this did seem to be spinning it’s wheels rather a lot.

          1. The most worrying realisation about that scan is that if the Muir Island suits are indeed a new, post-Cypher, bulletproof design, it means that at some LATER point, someone in Xavier School Admin decided to switch the student bodies costume to NOT be bulletproof by default, or else David could just have worn his old costume. There are some cost-cutting exercises which go too far.

  4. I’m so glad they mentioned the retfore related to Age of Apocalypse! I had that same feeling (read Age of Apocalypse a couple of times, but only just read this arc for the first time last night). You really can trace AoA all the way right here (especially since it was Mystique’s quest for vengeance in X-Factor 108-109 that resulted in Legion escaping his restraints at the hospital, going back in time, and killing Prof X).

  5. I’m really confused about something Miles mentioned. Wasn’t this whole Magneto flip a preparation for Acts of Vengeance, not The Mutant Wars? That was my impression. Then, during Acts of Vengeance, you get that whole retcon in Captain America about Magneto doing it all to kill Red Skull… it’s all very confusing. But my question is this: wasn’t Magneto’s turn, from a publishing standpoint, about what Byrne was doing in Acts of Vengeance, not what Claremont was doing in Mutant Wars?

    1. My understanding is that while Magneto’s heel turn was largely due to Byrne wanting to re-villain him (partially due to Acts of Vengeance, partially just in general), the upcoming Mutant Wars were used as the justification for why Magneto was suddenly a bad guy and/or pretending to be a bad guy. Basically, it seemed like Claremont and Simonson were trying to make lemonade from the evil-Magneto-lemons Byrne had given them.

      That said, I could totally have the causality backward – there are lots of conflicting reports of just what was happening and why.

  6. I’m always torn about this era. I love the concept, with the team disbanded, various members gone, etc. It’s that constant changing, unpredictable shifting of the status quo that made Claremint’s tenure so great.

    But the execution…well…this is where the X-titles started to drop off. There are still good moments to come, sure, but the long joyless slog of the 90s is here.

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