Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

163 – Shut Up, Conscience

Art by David Wynne. Wanna buy the original? Drop him a line!

In which Rose City Comic Con was in fact pretty awesome; we return to Marvel Presents; Colossus has a bad day; Ann Nocenti engages in some bipartisan satire; Cyclops has a bad day; Moira MacTaggert gets possessed again; Master Mold is really hard to kill; you should absolutely not send Jay naked leprechaun pictures; sentinels are basically rationalization engines; and that is really not how consciences work.

NOTE: In this episode, we said that the U.S.S.R. dissolved in 1989. That actually happened in 1991.



  • Sentinel Aesthetics
  • Prime Sentinels
  • “Colossus: God’s Country”
  • Butt physics
  • The Cold War
  • Colossus’s feelings about porn
  • The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library
  • Some varyingly dubious politics
  • The Cold Warriors
  • Alexander, who is probably not actually either Colonel Sanders or Howard Hughes
  • Bipartisan satire
  • Jay’s grandfather
  • An uncomfortable picnic
  • Limbs
  • Number Six (but not that one)
  • Terrible neighbors
  • “Cyclops: The Retribution Affair”
  • Bobbie and Mary Campbell
  • Master Mold (again)
  • Stephen Lang (again)
  • Servitors
  • A well-honed lobster alert system
  • The Retribution Virus
  • Conscience
  • A terrible party
  • Kitty Pryde’s Gal Pal Squad
  • Community Organizer Magneto

NEXT EPISODE: Live from Rose City Comic Con!

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  1. The cold war is a funny thing. I’m a couple of years older than you two, I think. But I’m Australian. By the time I was aware of the cold war, it was already over. It seemed to happen long ago and far away, despite our sycophantic government jumping into whatever scrap the Americans start.

    I also disagree about comparing the USSR to ISIS. ISIS seem kind of barbaric, there are no depths they won’t go to. Yes, the KGB will interrogate and shoot you, but they’ll do it in a civilised way and apologise that it had to be that way. They might even offer you a cigarette and blindfold before you go in front of the firing squad. Most of my knowledge comes from James Bond and other such movies, yes.

    Also, I get that you aren’t historians. I really get that Jay isn’t exactly a biblical scholar either. But I’d really like to read that book about your grandfather. It sounds really interesting.

    1. Also, there’s a connection between cold war fiction and X-Men comics. Patrick Stewart played a KGB higher-up in a couple of John Le Carre mini-series. However, he had no dialogue. I assume his Russian accent is as good as his French one.

    2. It makes me feel old that Jay and Miles had to X-plain the cold war but then I realized today that kids born after 9-11 are going to be driving cars this year.

      I would hope kids today are taught about the cold war because so much of modern world politics is still feeling its aftershocks.

      1. Agreed, I have a godson who’s just celebrated his 16th birthday, and it struck me that he’s grown up with 9/11 and subsequent events as a permanent part of the world.

        And the Cold War being ancient history also makes me feel very very old, which I suppose I am.

  2. Love the Billy Ireland library. Got to attend. The grand opening when they moved to the new building a couple years back.

  3. “Grandpa, who is now living in his car, which is plastered inside with old movie stars and WW2 memorabilia…” I too would look down upon a neighbor who plastered the inside of his car with famous elderly people. Hell, I’d hope I’d call the police.

    1. There’s a significant difference between “elderly” and “old”, I doubt that Grandpa has pictures of, say Lana Turner as she looked in 1989, but rather, circa 1941. 🙂

      I think I’d be more likely to all the cops on someone who had their father live in a car instead of inside the house.

  4. In regards to Colossus’ fleeing from the porn vendor… It is possible that since Peter has been surrounded by strong females since he was a teenager, it has imbued him with a strong sense respect and appreciation of women and thus seeing women depicted in a way that may be perceived to disrespect women is more confusing for him than one might think. Yes, he’s a talanted artist who has done with doing artisticnudes but most of his direct experience with the opposite gender is a place of mutual respect and positions of power coupled with long friendship of those some people. So our friend Peter has a high regard for women and thus something like pornography pushes his buttons in a way that he’s more embarrassed by it (for the women he respects) than angry about it. Of course there is a real chance I’m talking out of my ass…

    1. I think it’s really just a straightforward piece of characterization of him as being from Soviet Russia. Soviet propaganda had a strong Puritan streak to it in how it depicted the US as a decadent land. One of the things about Colossus that at the time was really salient and important about the character is that he was not depicted as a defector, but as someone who just happened to be from the USSR and had no particular hostility to its way of life.

      1. Most of the time, that is. Jim Shooter’s comic depiction of him in Secret Wars II #1 as fanatically devoted to McDonalds is first and foremost a cheap shot at Steve Gerber’s politics, but incidentally looks to be a response to how Claremont avoided doing anything of the sort in UXM itself.

  5. I now feel like an underachiever for never having passed on any news about mutant lobsters or Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau. 🙁

    Conscience always made me think of Lucifer from original Battlestar Galactcia, the more sarcastic Cylon with two tracking red eyes and voiced by Jonathan Harris

    And I found the lack of connect between the Retribution Virus and the Legacy Virus to be really annoying.

  6. Great episode! The legacy virus was actually left by Stryfe aka the Jan Brady of the Summers’ family tree after X-Cutioner’s Song, not X-Tinctikn agenda. Easy to conflate those two eh such similar titles.

      1. I spent the whole of all the ‘X-Tinction Agenda’podcasts going ‘wait, when does Cable seem to shoot Professor X or whatever’.

        It was the final episode before the break when I realized they were not the same thing.

  7. Really stupid question here. What issues of MCP were these stories in? I usually try to read along with the podcast, but I don’t have any of this title and would like to know which issues I should be looking for in the bargain bin.

  8. I really enjoy the Colossus story. Nocenti’s socio-political commentary was always very interesting. It’s an odd story, but a really cool, interesting one.

    I think the thing that kinda stuck with me most, as well, was the observers, and in particular, the bit about there being “no such thing as a victim.” That’s such a horrible mindset, but it’s not really uncommon.

    HOLY CRAP I did not catch the “iron the curtains/Iron Curtain” thing. Dammit!

    Punisher is also surprisingly good with kids. I mean, for certain values of “good.” There was the time he threatened to kill a kid if he didn’t stay in school.

    The Cyclops story . . . I enjoyed less. It started off well enough, but damn, Conscience was annoying. I thought the story took a huge drop in quality at that point. The character was just annoying, and very ’90s, in a bad way.

  9. The weirdest thing about the Legacy/Retribution Virus thing is that Harras was EiC for much of the Legacy Virus, right? So wouldn’t he at some point have been like, “Hey, can you give my story a shout-out?” (Also, quick question, would he have been X-Editor around the time the virus was introduced?)

    Funny thing about US/Soviet propaganda during the Cold War is that apparently the Soviets did not villainize US citizens the same way. There’s a good AV Club piece about it (http://film.avclub.com/the-villain-gap-why-soviet-movies-rarely-had-american-1798245725). From it: “Portraying a monolithic United States of true believers, focused on the eradication of the USSR, would have gone against two essential aspects of the mythology of Soviet propaganda: the defeat of Nazism, which rid the world of an evil the likes of which it would never see, and the notion of communism as a self-evident ideal.” Which isn’t to say they didn’t have their own propaganda machine, but it’s interesting that there wasn’t such a perfect reflection.

    (Also, I’m SUPER excited for the Mutant Revolution ep. Will either you guys or Titan Up the Defense be broadcasting your joint panel?)

  10. While you’re looking at a Leonardi story I’m reminded that the Excalibur Special that ended up being printed as X-Men True Friends was started around this time and probably makes more sense reviewed before you get to the second Davis run of Excalibur even though it wasn’t published for about 10 years.

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