Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

170 – Minor Punitive Heart Attacks

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

In which Miles speculates about superheroes’ sex lives; Doctor Doom is an incorrigible scamp; the Lady of the Lake visits California; Captain Britain lacks basic superheroic social skills; Jay has strong feelings about doggerel; the warwolves know how to commit to a bit; and Excalibur and the X-Men continue to have terrible communication skills.


  • One aspects of doombot functionality
  • Excalibur #37-41
  • The Soul Sword’s origins and current status
  • Promethium
  • Semantic disambiguation with regards to Limbo
  • The West Coast Avengers
  • The Lady of the Swimming Pool
  • Doctor Doom’s personal demons
  • Several team-ups
  • The heart of Limbo
  • Phoenix science
  • Darkoth the Demon (Desmond Pitt)
  • The Trial of Lockheed
  • A long-awaited reunion that isn’t actually a long-awaited reunion
  • A theoretical Frost-Summers wedding
  • What happened to Jen Askani post- “Endgame”

NEXT EPISODE: X-Factor Forever

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  1. Jay is quite right that there’s no 1991 equivalent of Youtube. It is of course therefore obvious that Apocalypse did a zine, and probably sent a copy of every issue to Mike Gunderloy so that he’d remember to list in Factsheet Five. Ditto with a copy to Ivan Stang for listing in the High Weirdness By Mail zine/mailing list.

    Glad to help. 🙂

  2. With you 100% on the shitty verse thing, Jay. Bendis did an issue of Guardians about a year back that strayed right into this trope, and it was even more annoying than the rest of his run. Are writers no longer taught to read this shit out loud before declaring it finished?

    1. Can we cheer everybody up by citing examples of comics poetry that scans?

      Off the top of my head, I can think of either a 2000 AD or Judge Dredd annual from the ‘80s that had a story about Dredd fighting Satan where, if I remember correctly, the versification was nice and strong. The only passage that I can remember now went,

      Dredd nodded his head
      And to Satan he said
      “OK, creep, hop on the pillion.”

      And they rode right on down
      To a place across town
      The Aggro Dome’s giant pavilion.

    2. Thirded, *enthusiastically*. That’s just… ugh. (Maybe it scans in Space Dragon? Maybe Lockheed’s real crime was being so bad at poetry?)

  3. I listened to this episode immediately after listening to the latest episode of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”, which had Brian May as a guest for Not My Job, so I ended up imagining this episode title being sung to the tune of the title of “Sheer Heart Attack” by Queen.

    Oh, and on the “CZ Contextualizes Comics Through anime Tokusatsu” – The “Imagination” thing instead ended up reminding me of one of the Super Sentai series – particularly Ressha Sentai ToQuger (pronounced “ToKyuGer”) – where the power of imagination is a major theme of the series (and is the catchphrase of the show’s Zordon figure.)

    The show also features one of the best explanations in any work of fiction for why nobody attacks the characters during the transformation sequence.

  4. I’m not familiar with these issues – but it seems to me that they were the basis for a cold open in a prior episode? Is this one of the first cases where issues have had a full episode devoted to them after being in a cold open?

    1. Cable’s backstory was in the opening for the second episode, and has had about three episodes dedicated to it since then: Jay’s portion of the end of The Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts (episode 85), episode 140 with Dennis Hopeless was a primer on Cable, and the actual 1st appearance of Cable in New Mutants for episode 141. Not to mention his portion of “Dear Mister Sinister” during episode 134, the retcon being realized in the recent episode 167 and so many other references. “Cable, Cable, Cable!” It isn’t just an UncannyXMen.net bot-created series, anymore.

  5. Was there such a thing in 1991 as subscription order VHS instructional tapes? You pay your monthly fee and Apocalypse sends you his tapes which is basically how he finances the whole evil conquest thing. Presumably he also had some kind of aerobics series too?

    Also, unrelated to this episode, I have a question, but as I don’t have tumblr where most questions for you guys seem to be posted.

    I’ve been thinking a bit about the New Mutants recently what with the trailer and everything: the horror angle does kind of make sense to some degree as all the New Mutants (except Doug) have powers that are traditionally coded villainous: Werewolf, Demon Sorceress, Nightmares, Possession, Lava, Alien Invader, Shadows and Explosions.

    To what degree do you think this was an intentional choice when the New Mutants were first being created? While I get the impression that it was kind of dealt with on a character by character basis for many of them (Mirage, Wolfsbane, Magik and Warlock in particular), was the idea that practically the whole team to varying degrees had that angle to them ever explored much?

    1. I think Apocalypse might have his own knock-off Time/Life series of books and videos. Along with a line of collectable plates with the results of his makeover masterpieces.

    2. I don’t know that I would sum up Sunspot and Cannonball as “Shadows and Explosions.” Sunspot has super strength, he just looks far different from any other strongman people had come across. There was a transformation involved, but Roberto wouldn’t receive horror comics narration during it. Cannonball had flight, but since he was a teenager rather than a member of the Nova Corps, being a human rocket was difficult to control. Arguably, the explosions didn’t occur until Rob Liefeld’s tenure.

      1. Cannonball I will admit is the one that’s a bit of a stretch of the bunch, but for Roberto while the actual practical side of his powers are fairly simple, the visuals that accompany them are much more traditionally “evil looking” than is usual for superheroes.

  6. I love the sexing of the doombot, it’s hilarious. I wish there was a scene where Doom is stooped over his workbench, and he thunders “ANOTHER TRIUMPH! DOOM HAS PERFECTED THE SYNTHETIC LABIA MINORA!”

    1. Or more worrying, but perhaps as plausible, Doom is a bit slipshod with the complexities of the female anatomy but hasn’t made much of a fuss about it because none of the men affected have ever complained. At some point he might decide to put in a clitoris just to see if the men notice.

  7. I have thoughts after this week’s episode.

    First, when hearing the discussion of whether dragons listen with their hearts, I of course immediately thought of Roxette but quickly realized that they listen *to* their hearts. I can only assume that this means Roxette is some obscure subspecies of dragons and should be known as Flocksette hereforth.

    Second, I have a simple No Prize candidate for the forced dialog provider re: the magic lifeforce crystal. The girl was a slightly younger (hey, it’s Marvel time) Layla Miller. Boom, done.

    Lastly, yes, there was no youtube in 1991. What there was, though, was freaking gopher, which would have allowed Apocalypse to make available a repository of low resolution AVIs detailing his sartorial triumphs.

    I hope these data points are as useful as I think they are!

    1. Entirely digital video archiving was quite some ways off, given the hard disk drive capacities and compression available in 1991, but Video Toaster was definitely a possibility. I don’t think this would have been used by Apocalypse, however. The podcast has already established Apocalypse as the middle-management figure who will not give up older office productivity suites. If you’re one of the warwolves, who do you get to be your master of video editing? Spiral.

      1. Oh man, Spiral would be the BEST early 90’s low budget video editor…

        I was in college in this period (because I’m fucking old) so I’m used to having mainframe capacity with Sun or DEC workstations to access them, so there were lots of places accessible via gopher that had video archives, they just were, like, Twitter analog-sized video clips 🙂

    2. Except, minor spoiler, we know Layla’s knowledge of possible timelines wasn’t actually a result of her role in M-Day at all, but something actively given to her by her older self due to Time Paradox Shenanigans ™ just after.

      But now I want to see an Annual Story where Layla does some time skipping into the past and is assorted random young women who Know Things ™ in random X-stories.

  8. I have to disagree with one point made this episode, since at the time I was reading Avengers West Coast. AWC wasn’t the wacky Avengers book. It was pretty dark most of its existence. Lots of demons and mental illness stories. And most of the time the cast was fighting with each other. The zanier stuff usually happened in the backups of Avengers Spotlight.

  9. Oh wow, now that I made it to the end of the podcast, I finally learned that I got bamboozled by Doctor Doom, and he took the Soulsword no less.

    How did you two know that I’m an absolute raving Magik fanboy???

    1. How did they know? They’re research monsters Steve. If they don’t know, they specialize in knowing how to find out.

  10. So I know it’s a NYC neighborhood and all. But otherwise I only know Forest Hills from Spider-man stories.

    So hearing the “recorded in Forest Hills and Portland” tag at the end of the episode keeps giving me a “Oh cool Jay’s neighbors with Aunt May” moment each episode now.

  11. Long time listener, first time commenter and question asker.

    Jay, as a fellow person that appreciates correct grammar, can you settle a debate I have with myself and the interwebs? With the success of The Gifted, and recent 25th Anniversary of X-Men: The Animated Series, there have been a lot of lists/articles by various outlets about X-Men, which are fun to read. However, whenever I read “What is your favorite X-Men” rather than “X-Man” or similar poor application of grammar skills, I want to crawl under a rock. This seems so prevalent, and like such a easy catch. Did I miss that day in English class where one might have been told that this was acceptable? Can someone send out a memo?

    I love the show and you both so much!

  12. I was never happy with the idea of the Soulsword being an indepdent “thing” in it’s own right.

    In the Magik miniseries, Illyana had tried to focus her utmost inner magic the way her mentor Ororo did, in the form of acorns, but it never worked for her because of the demonic side of her, so she reshaped her magic to suit her personality, and instead of acorns, shaped it into a sword.

    I’d never imagined it existed before that moment, and it’s matter was the core of her magic (I’m resisting the urge to suse “Focussed totality of her powe…” oh… bugger).

    To have it be a separate entity which it would seem Illyana just happened to what…? Snag on to? Summon up? Doesn’t work as well for me. It existing for as long as it was bonded to Kitty well, okay, I guess, it was leeching off whatever made her susceptible to it, but later stories, like Warren Ellis’s story make it something which has it’s own existence as something made of “soulsteel”

    Oh, and Doom using Promethium as a namefor a metal is just confusing. Aside from the fact that Promethium is an actual pre-existing element (Atomic Number 61) DC had been using the name for a fictional adamantium-like metal for some years.

  13. On the 1991 equivalent of YouTube – all the guesses above are great, but the first thing that came to my mind? Late night Public Access TV show.

    I kinda love the thought of turning on PBS at 1 am in the Marvel Universe and being treated to Apocalypse (in his cable-knit, but probably not Cable-knit sweater) striding around a college lecture hall, walking everyone through the finer points of leather stitching.

    Of course, he dreams of hitting it big, having the show getting picked up by nationwide PBS, and getting moved into his own homey studio and a choice Saturday morning time-slot. En Sabah Nur’s Notions, anyone?

  14. Dr. Seuss rocks and yet there are SO many children’s books that are written in rhyme as bad as this. In our house those get read once and taken immediately back to the library.

  15. Jay’s talk of playing Polly Pocket space ships takes me back to my own memories of having all the Star Trek TNG polly pocketlike toys as a kid. Those things were awesome.

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