Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

136 – Fill-In Frenzy

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

In which we find the idea of Jack Kirby as G-d deeply comforting; “Jercules” is our new favorite insult; the difference between camp and divinity is good backlighting; Zeus does not have the moral high ground; Ron Lim’s Captain Britain is the definitive cad; the Demon Druid is the saddest supervillain; Archangel broods like it’s his day job; and Jay gets to do all the fun voices for once.


  • The Upstarts
  • An inflatable Batman
  • New Mutants #81
  • Excalibur #20
  • X-Factor #47
  • Our favorite Magma story
  • The best insult
  • Pugilistic impunity
  • A context-inappropriate oath
  • The worst film festival
  • Fighting fire with Magma
  • The Demon Druid
  • A Satanic pirate tavern
  • Reactorhenge
  • The depths of fuchsia
  • Archangel’s deeply weird comfort mechanisms
  • Some dude named Greg
  • Publishing delays

NEXT WEEK: Lady Mandarin, feat. Sarah Kuhn

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  1. Fun ep as usual. I like that New Mutants issue a lot, it does a really good job of showing why I’ve always loved Marvel Herc. That X-Factor story, meanwhile, made me weirdly uncomfortable as a kid; I was pretty sheltered and religious, so Father Philip running the Foot Clan with added sexual exploitation really upset me.

  2. I do actually really like that New Mutants fill-in with Hercules. He’s a fun character, and I loved how Magma reacted to him, and how much she initially disliked him, and then how she came around to appreciate him. It’s a really sweet story. Herc’s always a great guest star.

    The Excalibur story is lame. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen.

    The X-Factor story is also pretty lame. I do like Cloak & Dagger, but this isn’t even a particularly strong Cloak & Dagger story.

  3. Ooh, I’d want to see Adam X as a sports celebrity. If/when they have a “Mutant League” (again, I think?), he’d take part and endorse every brand he can!

  4. Jay, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for Magma to assume that the New Mutants got the actor in an effort to punk her. When one of your teammates is an occasionally mean-spirited demon sorceress with the mutant ability to move through time and space, setting up a prank like this on a couple minutes notice seems like no big, and I can *almost* see Illyana doing it.

  5. The thing with the Judeo-Christian god in Marvel is… that he exists and may or may not be the One-Above-All (“Jack Kirby”) but official sources contradict each other wildly.

    Not surprisingly as any answer to that would offend somebody.

    However the most widely accepted theory on the One-Above-All is that they are the avatar of the creatives working on the comics (hence the appearance of Jack Kirby), which would imply that no he isn’t that God (except if said creatives happen to be devout believers of that religion family)… but this will probably never become text.

  6. I love that New Mutants story, and the resolution of Manuel and Amara’s discussion is nicely respectful to both sides. The conversation between Jesus and “Doubting” Thomas always comes to mind when I read it; “You believe because you have seen, happy are those who have NOT seen, and yet believe”

    (And the thought of “Zeus sex-tapes” being a thing scares the crap out of me!)

    I’d forgotten the Excalibur story completely.. You mention Kitty building something but not knowing why she’s doing it. Is that ever explained in story (I don’t think it’s a plot point you cover, but might have missed something.

    I also suspect that Jay’s sceptical “‘kay” reaction is going to get a LOT of use as we head into the 90’s…

  7. I think the Greg character in the X-Factor story was an in-joke based on the Marvel Editor and Writer Gregory Wright. He was apparently a good friend Kieron Dwyer and at the time Kieron was dating his Assistant Editor Sara Tuchinsky.

    How do I know this kind of trivia?

  8. I need to look up the New Mutants fill in. I think my memory just inserted Hercules into the ever-so-brief cameo She-Hulk had during a Sunspot story during the Headmaster Magneto era. So, now I’m not sure if I’ve ever read it.

  9. So I really hate to disappoint you…but based on a google search the Witchery by the Castle is a real place…but it seems to have gone through gentrification since 1989.


    Looks really nice now…but less gothic piratey.

  10. Isn’t that issue of New Mutants the one where Cypher and Karma are flirting really heavily with each other in the cinema? No word balloons or anything, it’s all in the art.

        1. In fairness to you, Doug’s chatting up of girls was rarely subtle, gawdblesshim, so it would be in character! 😀

  11. I just wanted to add that Kieron Dwyer did a lot of the extra pages in Classic X-Men, as well as the last backup story ever in that book, featuring Rogue’s childhood. He also did an excellent job in Uncanny 262, coming up shortly. On top of that, John Byrne was also his stepfather.

  12. I have been eagerly awaiting coverage of New Mutants #81 for some time. Can’t wait to dig in to the episode. Also we are creeping ever closer to the 90’s!

  13. While the Excalibur issue isn’t good, I actually do like that they had Brian complete that gizmo for Kitty. It’s easy to forget that he’s a scientist first and foremost when he’s normally treated as the dumb punchy guy.

  14. I meant to ask Jay, in the discussion about the fate of Jaime, you say that he wouldn’t have ended up in the Elysian fields, he’d have been stuck in Hades.

    Is that a thing in the MU version? In the Greek mythology I remember, everyone went to Hades to begin with, but were then judged (by Rhadamanthys, Minos and Aeacus) and either went for eternal punishment to Tartarus (if you’d been evil), to eternal happiness in Elysium (If you’d been heroic or had the favour of the gods) or sort of wandered around waiting for re-incarnation (if you’d been neither good nor evil).

    So I’d have thought Jaime was a shoo-in for Elysium.

    1. Yeah, I’m going to have to “Um, actually…” Jay’s “Um, actually.”

      Jay’s account of Greek afterlife is a very particular account, notably a c. 800 BCE version. By the high period of Athens (5th century BCE) there is a concept of Elysium going about. And especially by the time of the Roman Empire – when Magma’s people would have conquered, coopted, and “adapted” Greek myth to fit Roman ideals and already extant religion – there’d be a concept of Elysium/Tartarus that to an extent vaguely predicts Christian Heaven and Hell, though with some differences. Book VI of the Aeneid is a pretty good source for that and along the lines of how I’d imagine Magma would conceive of her afterlife.

      1. This is what happens when you’re a Classics major and take 5 years of AP Latin, but you only use a tiny fraction of that degree talking about epic similes in The Odyssey for tutoring. Any chance to show off that knowledge – even correcting a parenthetical note on an awesome X-Men podcast – is incredibly exciting.

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