Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

143 – Seduction of the Innocent

Art by David Wynne.

In which the Cross-Time Caper has finally outstayed its welcome; we bid a reluctant farewell to Alan Davis; Inferno may or may not finally actually be over; Evil Doug Ramsey rocks our socks; the Shadow King is not a particularly nuanced villain; Kitty Pryde celebrates a birthday; and Courtney Ross represents an awful lot of dangling plot threads.


  • Nocturne
  • Excalibur #21-24
  • The end of the Cross-Time Caper
  • Post-Alan Davis Excalibur
  • Chris Wozniak
  • Crusader X
  • Earth-2122
  • How to track Excalibur
  • Phoenix-related telepathic idiosyncracies
  • Our general indifference to the Shadow King
  • An alternate history of Earth-811
  • Earth-23238
  • An extended Judge Dredd riff
  • Puberty
  • Another John Byrne cameo
  • Several variations on Courtney Ross
  • Kitty Pryde’s 15th birthday
  • Nightcrawler’s beard
  • The Siege Courageous

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  1. A funny thing about Michael Kube-McDowell (whose work I’m a fan of, and enjoy seeing on Facebook): The Quiet Pools isn’t a parallel-realities novel. It pokes at ways various genetic factors in combination might shape parts of personality we’d prefer to think of as matters of personal choice, as well as about the costs of space colonization and about the burdens of family complexities. Mike’s parallel-realities novel, Alternities, had come out two years earlier. (It is, by the way, something X-fans might well like – it’s got a cluster of realities all diverging from the same point, and it’s got some of the most truly plot-and-character-relevant sex I’ve ever read in sf. It’s not often you want to say “it’s got a genuinely heartbreaking sex scene”, but this book does.)

    I’d guess that Claremont had discovered Mike’s work and wanted to work in a plug that would do Mike some good, and blurred the details a little. Wanting to plug work you love can call for that kind of thing. 🙂

  2. The Crosstime Caper is 12 installments, one of which is filler, eh? I think this makes it the Daleks’ Master Plan of X-books. And The Daleks’ Master Plan is the first Doctor Who story to feature Nicholas Courtney, who would later portray Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, and I’m sure we all see the connection *there*.


  3. Sadly, I feel you on the Cross-Time Caper recollection versus reality. Although I would pay significant money for an Alan Davis maxi-series “Tales from the Cross-Time Caper.”

  4. It makes a lot of sense that you remember this arc as a lot better than it was, since the bookends are Alan Davis and amazing. There is a philosophy in performing, that you want to either first or last, as to stick in people’s heads better. The fact that the bookends are so good and you presumably got to read through all all of it at once means that you probably didn’t actually think too hard about things like the bad Speed Racer riff among other things on your first readings.

  5. The “thirteenth floor” dimension sort of exists in the DCU. Animal Man visits it late in Grant Morrison’s run. All the DC characters who have dropped out of continuity from disuse aimlessly hang out there. Animal Man meets the Space Canine Patrol Agents and a bunch of other forgotten DC characters. Mr Freeze is a real jerk.

  6. I’ll be honest, I definitely viewed this as a less of a fairy tale. The corruption (and grooming, unfortunately) angle definitely felt prominent to me. In fact, I was expecting the boarding school to be terrifying too (and then it turned out to be surprisingly fine). I’m not saying the charming aspects aren’t there – they absolutely are. It was just harder for me to enjoy them because of the underlying discomfort that’s also there.

  7. I haven’t listened yet but I have to tell you guys, I was about to turn off my computer and get the episode tomorrow (because its bedtime and doing things is haaaarrd) when I saw the title of the episode, slammed the download button and lunged for my ipod.

  8. The boarding school struck me as part of the grooming, too, in a sense. With the way Kitty ended up taking a group of disparate, often dangerous young women and molding them into an effective team and taking charge. To me it really seemed like another stage of Sat-yr-9’s planned ‘apprenticeship’ of Kitty.

  9. But when Kurt doesn’t have a beard, he must be shaving. Wouldn’t that give him a beard-shaped bald spot on his face?

      1. I would go with a trimmer, were I inclined to interpret him as “fuzzy,” as the comics describe. However, I am not so inclined. I haven’t come across an illustration where he actually looked “fuzzy.” To me, he always looks like he is simply drawn with blue skin.

        1. I picture him as like a dog with very short fur, like a beagle, so you can’t really tell it’s there until you feel it. But I totally understand deciding to ignore the fur in your headcanon. The beard trimmer idea doesn’t really work for me. Anyone remember the tiny little goatee he got in Warren Ellis’s Excalibur? I think I’m going to end up with a headcanon that Nightcrawler has no fur on his face. It’s true for some real-life primates, and it’s the only way his facial hair makes sense.

          1. You kind of have to handwave it away. But I do want to say that I always wanted Beast to grow a great big beard. I think it would suit the character. Nightcrawler, less so.

          2. The comment from an appreciative lady admirer in the Alan Davis writer/artist run that Kurt has fur that makes stroking his skin feels like stroking blue velvet supports that,I think

  10. I know you basically say up front that this is where you both acknowledged that the story arc has gone on for too long, but it really doesn’t come across that way when you’re actually going through your beat by beat. Perhaps the individual stories hold up better as stand alones in a serialized narrative than they do as a collected story arc.

  11. It’s worth noting that Excalibur #24 is the point where Kitty’s age officially stopped being internally consistent, since she said she was 15 in Uncanny #196, published 5 years earlier. The inconsistency aside–I don’t expect comics time to make perfect sense, but outright self-contradiction isn’t something I expected from Claremont at that point–having her be 16 or 17 would have made the implications of the issue a bit less uncomfortable.

    It occurs to me that Justicer Bull could have been the name of a Captain Britain Corps member, with the combination of a title and a name that I assume is derived from a symbol of Britain (John Bull).

    Looking forward to the explanation of the cliffhanger in #24, since it’s weird enough that it could have been a cold open.

    1. I’ve always taken it for granted that Bull was that earth’s a Captain Britain analogue (Not all the Captains even know about the fact that there is a Corps, after all Brian didn’t for a good long time)

      1. Justicer Bull was portrayed as a Corps member years later, in a cameo in the House of M issue. Maybe she was promoted, or was an alternate reality version. I remember wondering if Claremont had a specific character in mind under the helmet, but she was most likely just a Claremontian take on Judge Dredd. Can we make Claremontian a word?

        1. You’d like to make it a word, CitizenX, but for all your vaunted powers, for all your mighty deeds… you can’t, can you?

          CAN YOU?

  12. I miss Nocturne. T.J. was pretty great. Prior to New Excalibur there was an issue of Exiles where she met Earth-616 Nightcrawler and she was so great that he thinks, “I’m going to have to look up Wanda some time.” That’s right, Nightcrawler considered getting entangled in Maximoff drama if the result could be T.J. was their daughter.

  13. Nocturne! She’s great. I loved her. She also made me think a Kurt/Wanda relationship would’ve been fun. But man, someone needs to bring back Nocturne. Actually, bring back Exiles.

    I’m surprised “Don’t Bring A Knife To Gun Sex” isn’t the episode title.

    Kitty, Illyana and Doug as an Evil Triumvirate are pretty perfect. I would love to see them brought back.

    Yeah, as a teen male, the Kitty/Sat-Yr-9 scene was hot. As an adult? Ew, no. Not cool.

  14. As it happened, my subscription ran out just as Cross-Time-Caper ended, and the ending to the CTC and the next issue just left me disappointed enough that I didn’t renew the subscription.

    I was out of comics from here until around the time of X-cutioner’s Song.

    Loved the Judge Dredd issue though, even if I didn’t get the Judge Dredd reference yet. And still didn’t know who Betsy Braddock was supposed to be.

  15. Actually, Wolverine and the X-Men was my entry point for X-Men (and comics in general), and Exiles was among the first comics that I read (the other one was AoA) so Kurt and Wanda shipping seemed only natural for me.

  16. Jay, your idea about an alternate universe full of dropped comic book plot threads reminded me of the Chinese movie called Re-Cycle about a writer with writer’s block who falls into a strange dimension full of everything people have discarded, including plot lines. The visuals on that were amazing.

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