Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

148 – That’s So Ravens

Art by David Wynne. Contact David to purchase the original!

In which Archangel falls in with the LARP crowd; all yuppies are (probably) vampires; Beast is kind of a jerk; there are a lot of reasons to be mad at Forge; and you should totally come hang out with us at ECCC!


  • A peculiar scheme
  • X-Factor #54, 56-59
  • Crimson
  • The Ravens
  • A gallery opening
  • Several varyingly tortured souls
  • Charlotte Jones (more)
  • Archangel vs. Archangel’s wings
  • Ethical reporting
  • An accidental bank robbery
  • The return of a long-lost villain
  • Timmy Jones

NEXT EPISODE: Old Man Logan!

Special thanks to Lillian Cohen-Moore!

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  1. I just want to say thanks for putting your episodes up when you do. I get them Monday afternoon or evening. Often I’m busy on Tuesday, and it’s always hard to wait when there’s something I want to listen to.

  2. Man, I really like Archangel in this era. It’s definitely his best arc as a character and Saimonson definitely give him a lot of spotlight to make it about him more then any other character, so you get the feeling that she really cared for him. Which is rare, cause it’s seems everyone else are quick to ditch Angel as he is considered to be a boring character both from the sense of his powers and his statue as the waspiest wasp X-Men. But it happens so much that in fact I really feel for Warren and see him as sort of an underdog – not in life, of course, but on behalf of the franchise.

    You never get to see Archangel like this later on, being badass and complex and full of character. You never get to see him on par with the big leagues just because he’s having those metal wings – aside from the Uncanny X-force arc where I don’t really consider him having an agency there. It’s almost like no one cares about Warren, which is exactly why I favor him so much. I really want to see some writer do something with him. I want to see another Warren-centric arc, getting to see him as a human being and as a hero. That would be really cool.

    I also think he’s a kind of a character that works best while in relationship with a non-superhero human beings. With all due respect for Betsy, Both Candy and Charlotte makes such great counterparts for him, showing his humanity and sensitive side, while every time he dates a fellow superhero (Psylocke, Wolverine) he seems more drawn to his superhuman factor, which also makes him seem less of a character and overshadow him.

    1. It is indeed a thing; my grandfather was a huge fan of this movie (being an odd mix of a fan of old monster movies and old westerns) and took me to see it once as a kid at an old theater that showed obscure black and white and/or campy films. Billy the Kid V Dracula was but one of two or three Vampire westerns they showed, but sadly I cannot recall the others. I wouldn’t recommend it beyond the ultra camp value though, BUT the comic book series AMERICAN VAMPIRE in general and with several arcs in particular covers this exact cross-genre with “American Old West-specific” vampire traits tossed in along with the period and setting; such as swapping silver with gold as it’s breed of vampire’s metal of weakness.

      Damn, considering this episode covers an X-Factor arc I always forget about is quickly becoming one of my favorite J&M X-Plain episodes ever, what with the Vampire the Masquerade, Shakespeare’s X-Men and Vampire/Western elements.

  3. OMG, “Yuppies! LARPing yuppies!” made me LOL and possibly made the lady out walking her dog think I was laughing hysterically at her.

  4. So Vampire Hunter D (both the films and the novels) has had some strong vampire western elements, though with a topping of post-apocalyptic science fiction, though some of the female characters can be incredibly poorly written.

    Also, is it just me, or could Crimson absolutely have also worked just as well as a Spider-Man or Daredevil villain? Both are New York superheroes known for their massive amount of angst.

  5. I know you guys are especially proud of the Darkplace reference but I cracked up way more than I should have at the jump from Warren & The Wings’ clip episode to “Why are we walking like this?”

  6. There are only two things you need to know before moving to New York: (1) you eat a slice of pizza by bending the edges of the crust together, and (2) The street is pronounced “HOW-ston”.

    But yeah, Soho is “south of Houston,” which is a bit of a real-world retcon, since the neighborhood is actually named for the Soho in London. The old name of the neighborhood is just about as goth as the Ravens: “Hell’s Hundred Acres” (there were a lot of fires).

    As for why it shows up in comics around this time: the neighborhood was transitioning from artists in shabby lofts and clubs (the movie After Hours is a great depiction of this era) to yuppies in renovated lofts and established galleries and boutiques.

    1. One further point, though. Nowadays, soho isn’t just *anywhere* south of Houston. I would say that the section below Houston bounded by 6th avenue on the west and… the Bowery (?) on the east. To the east is probably now part of the East Village. On the west… maybe part of Greenwich village now? Answer unclear.

      Probably the defining characteristic of today’s “soho” is boutiques and art galleries. Although I think the art galleries are starting to fade away a bit.

      I’ve lived in NYC for over 50 years, and it’s still sometimes confusing. :-/ I can navigate it pretty easily, but explaining it? Ow. My brain hurts.

  7. “SoHo” is, I believe “South of Houston (St)”. In this case, “Houston” is pronounced “HOW-ston.” Now you can seem like less of a tourist. (I’ve never been to New York, but I’m pretty good with random trivia, and feel pretty confident about this one.)

  8. Crimson is Bonnie Tyler, right? I bet there was a bit where her exposition was interrupted by a choirboy with glowing eyes.

  9. The mention from this (and I think an earlier episode) of Warren’s family acting out Hamlet started me thinking about an X-Men production of Hamlet…

    “The flachette, the flachette,-O my dear Warren,-
    The flachette, the flachette! I am poison’d by deadly neurotoxin.”

    Would the Claremontian narrator play Polonius as the only character that can match his verbosity?

    This then led to more Shakespearean X-Men thinking, which included…

    Stryfe and Cable playing Edmund and Edward in a King Lear production that starts with Magneto dividing up his various super villain lairs among Wanda, Pietro, and Lorna.

    Lilandra accusing Professor X of infidelity and trying him for treason, leading him to die of grief. Years later, it’s retconned that he faked it and has been pretending to be a statue of Professor X.

    After one battle, Wolverine and his friend, James Hudson, are walking through the woods, only to encounter three witches. They prophesize that Wolverine will be an X-Man, an Avenger, and run the Jean Grey School. He laughs it off at first, but then the first comes true…

    Phoenix, unable to control her dark side anymore and worried about capture by the Shi’ar, tricks the X-Men into cornering her into the asp-infested area of the moon.

    Cyclops, enraged by all of Sinister’s manipulations of his family and loved ones over the years, takes all of his carefully harvested genetic samples and bakes them into a pie.

    Gambit, approaching the seemingly dead Rogue, “Thus, wit’ a kiss, Gambit ‘ere dies”

    [Exit, pursued by a Brood]

    1. Ugh, now I just want to read The Tragedy of Inferno. Madeleine would have SO many good speeches…more than one of which would include lines about how she is fit to live among the demons now that her husband’s infidelity hath given her horns.

    2. Considering how often Shakespeare borrowed his story ideas from older legends and stories…imagine what Shakespeare would have done with a couple volumes of Essential X-men blasted back in time to the 1590s.

  10. So this episode triggered an obscure geek episode…in the middle of my office at work to boot:

    When Jay mentioned a “poisonous pellet” all I could start doing was singing quotes from “The Court Jester.”

    “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with a pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.”

    My coworkers are looking at me funny right now.

    1. They broke the chalice from the palace, and replaced it with a flagon, with the figure of a dragon.

      So now the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon

  11. Having a child – which would be much easier if she had a telekinetic force bubble (or at least a healing factor) – I’m going to utilize my re-familiarity with Crayola and suggest that Archangel’s yuppie-LARP-goth-vampire name should probably be “Perwinkle.”

    Or, if you’re new-school, “Macaroni and Cheese.” Can macaroni and cheese be gothy? Provided there are absolutely no follow-up questions, yes. Yes it can.

  12. Sometimes I feel like my whole work life since I graduated from law school is an interminable yuppie LARP.

  13. Ah, the Ravens. The None More Goth arc. It’s so ridiculous. Cringe-worthy, most of the time. It’s so bad it becomes pretty funny.

    Nice Monty Python shout-out there. I love that sketch. One of my favourites.

    You know, I kinda dislike Hank’s tendency of getting angry at Trish’s reporting. Because, like, she’s doing her job. And she’s good at her job. And he wants her to not do her job, and that’s dickish.

    Spider-Hodge! So creepy and awesome.

    I do like Charlotte Jones. She’s probably my favourite Archangel girlfriend.

  14. I’m surprised you were able to post that panel without commenting on Scott using verbal quotation marks when explaining how Jean’s costume is a “take” on their old ones.

    It’s the squarest way to use widely accepted slang, and fits so neatly into 90’s Cyclops.

    1. Now I feel like “bad with slang” should just become part of Scott’s character. Even Teen Scott. Have him use slang like a 40-year-old white dude trying to sound cool. Scott should always be The Squarest Person Ever.

  15. Always love when you all toss in White Wolf elements!
    So…thank you for this episode’s VtM stats portion, and just wondered if you all would ever be interested in a World of Darkness/X-Men crossover special episode?
    Dang, are there even WoD podcasts? Would you ever do one?

    Anyway, loved the stats read for the Sabbat Toreador… just… wow…loved it!

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