Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

194 – Brood Trouble in the Big Easy

In which Ghost Rider has some fairly serious medical issues; you should probably never invite Bishop to a picnic; Gambit’s past catches up with him; it’s always Mardi Gras in Fictional New Orleans; Wolverine is thrilled; and Jay swears a solemn vow.


  • The Tithe
  • The Momentary Princess
  • The T’ieves Guild
  • Why real New Orleans doesn’t have catacombs
  • X-Men #8-9
  • Ghost Rider #26-27
  • The abstract idea of Nicholas Cage
  • Genesis
  • The last of the X-Men
  • A sick burn
  • A picnic
  • Boundaries
  • Bella Donna Boudreaux and her many apostrophes
  • Ghost Rider
  • Psegway
  • Julian Boudreaux
  • How not to respond to a speeding ticket
  • The Bootie Man
  • Horse names vs. katana names
  • Cathartic excess
  • X-holidays
  • Doomsday
  • Good characters from awful events

NEXT EPISODE: The Externals, for our sins

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  1. Full marks to Jay for even attempting Candra’s accent, which seems to me to be “Irish buccaneer having got stranded off the coast of Jamaica where she lived for a few years, before settling in New Orleans little seen Glaswegian Quarter, and learning to cope with her bad case of recurring acid reflux which leads to odd hiccups mid word”

  2. Would subtext that’s no longer subtext be called subtEXt, with an extra-large X on it if it’s X-Men related?

  3. Random thoughts…

    Johnny Blaze: great name, two bloody awful movies.

    I was reading some of his appearances back in the 70’s and 80’s, including his time with the Champions alongside Bobby and Warren. In those days he wasn’t a burning skeleton the Danny (and himself) later became, rather when his Ghost Rider form triggered, his flesh and blood became transparent, leaving only bone visible. His hair was still on fire mind you, so it was certainly a weird process.

    The crackling fire addition to Ghost Rider’s voice was a very nice touch BTW.

    Psegway is a keeper (If Kirby can give us the Silver Surfer and the skis-wearing New God, the Black Racer, and Neal Adams can give us ummm… Skate-Man (if you haven’t read it then I wouldn’t recommend it without copious quantities of alcohol to hand) then Pseqway is the hero the world needs.

    1. Listening to Ghost Rider’s voice makes me think, if you hang around with him, do you have to resist a nice cozy campfire feeling, or is it just hot and annoying? I bet it smells like burning tyres.

  4. Drive Angry is the best Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider movie. Technically, he’s not Ghost Rider in that movie, but he does drink beer out of a skull.

  5. The first Ghost Rider movie was pretty good in my books, though I know a lot of people don’t like it. That’s the one with Sam Elliot. The sequel was just awful from every angle, and is the one where he pees fire.

    I don’t know if Nicolas Cage has a penis bone, but Scott Bacula definitely has multiple. The penis bone is called a baculum you see. And almost every mammal has one, just not humans.

  6. Having listened to the podcast, scattered thoughts: –

    – Re: Bella Donna’s accent “coming and going.” Really, our hosts are usually so sensitive and aware about this sort of thing! She’s code-switching. For instance, when the dialogue read “Thieves’ Guild” with an “h,” that’s meant to be pronounced as an ostentatious hypercorrection, a strategic distancing of herself from Remy intended to send the message that he did not count as a member of the in-group any more.

    – OK, the Thieves’ and Assassins’ Guilds. It did not take me long to find out what Krzysiek Ceran meant three weeks’ ago when he talked about how the problem with Gambit was that once you found out Gambit’s backstory, it wasn’t all that good.

    Because all this does not work for me. But I will say, I think it’s a mistake, but it’s not the obvious mistake that I’d have thought they’d have made.

    Because the thing about New Orleans is, it’s world famous for being really, really interesting. In lots of ways. It’s not at all obvious that you’d look at a character from New Orleans and think, “You know, I don’t think there’s much I can do with that geographical origin. I think I’d better spice it up a little by flicking through a couple of pages at random from the AD&D Player’s Handbook and see what phrases grab my attention.”

    No, what you’d think they’d do is overdo one or many of the New Orleans clichés. I mean, you’re doing a crossover with Ghost Rider. It practically screams, “Marie Laveau is going to be in this, isn’t she?” But no, it’s all about the Brood and the refugees from a D&D campaign. It cannot be said to be the obvious pair of things to go for.

    Of course, there was the Mardi Gras bit that our hosts pointed out.

    – But, although they can’t be accused of being a clichéd part of the setting, that doesn’t mean that the Thieves’ and Assassins’ Guilds are a good idea. They’re really not, at least not for me. They just don’t have a purchase on anything interesting, not in reality, and not in the genre.

    One thing that’s really odd is that they read as if they’re something that was mandated, to which creators had to pay lip service but in which they had no real interest, so that they kept the names and layered them on a completely different story. The Thieves’ Guild don’t seem very thief-y, and the Assassins’ Guild really don’t seem like they assassinate people. Does anyone at any point among the X-Men raise that as a concern about Bella Donna’s crowd — that what they presumably do is kill people for money? You’d think it would seem a salient aspect of the situation.

    This is really so when Gambit says that “guilds” are just what people in New Orleans call “families.” Next time I am there, I shall make sure to call my family “my guild.” I am sure that this will come across as completely normal.

    1. Assassins and T’ieves having Guild’s (and flashy outfits) makese sense in a fantasy based society where such things are more of a business.

      Like the Discworld, where the current Patrician organised the city by making the Thieves Guild responsible for controlling the carefully agreed and regulated levels of crime in return for come degree of social acceptance.

      So your average citizen can arrange to be mugged in the comfort of their own home at the start of the financial year, and will thereafter have a signed and notarised receipt rendering you exempt from all street crime for the rest of the year) and unauthorised criminals are dealt with by the Guild enforcers, who are a darn sight more creatively vicious in such situations than the local Guard are allowed to be)

      As a concept it works _less_ well in a 20th century urban democractic society.

      I would have thought “T’ieves get long lives” would have made for a handy explanation if Gambit was inteneded to be the Witness, given the relative ages involved, but that’s the 90’s for you.

      Actually I’m not sure why “long life” rather than “many and varied superpowers” would be considered particularly useful for an assassin rather than a t’ief.

      1. Even in fantasy settings, Thieves’ Guilds work best as humor. It doesn’t have to be outright humorous stories like Pratchett’s. But I think the big fantasy author that made most use of a Thieves’ Guild before him was Fritz Leiber, who may not be outright parody, but is definitely tongue-in-cheek.

        From what I understand from, well, Wikipedia, the idea essentially goes back to a satirical piece by Cervantes. Who obviously lived at a time when there were actual guilds that dominated towns and such. That seems to have been the point (from what I understand – haven’t read the story itself): it’s about how funny it would be if thieves were like guild members, with set rules of apprenticeship etc. With (I imagine) the underlying point that, aside from all that ordered regularity, they’re really not that different.

        So the equivalent nowadays would be to have an organized crime family work exactly like a major corporation, with a CEO, Board, shareholders’ meetings etc. and pay a great deal of attention to dotting every i and crossing every t before having somebody rubbed out.

        1. Gentleman Gino – “Big Louie, just because we is moirderising dis bum, dat does not mean we do not fill out our R46-XV5 forms in triplicate, now does it? What does de Boss always say?”

          Big Louie – “Sigh… We are ORGANIZED crime, not DIS-organized crime.”

          Gentleman Gino – “Exactly so. If you will not fill in the form to invoice the cement, you do not get to make the cement shoes.”

    2. Code switching would make sense if the fluctuations in accent were context-specific. They’re not, particularly.

      1. That bit was meant as a joke. I don’t *really* think that level of thought went into the dialogue. Apologies for not being OTT enough to communicate that!

        1. I’ve been reading so many ’90s X-books that I am dangerously close to losing my already limited ability to tell the difference between deadpan and sincerity.

          1. We appreciate your valiant efforts on our behalf (And no one mention the show is only up to 1992 so far, as no one wants to hear Jay ugly-cry)

            1. There may be consolation to be had in the sadistic thought that some of us will be experiencing the horrors of these ‘90s X-books* for the very first time in our entire lives — entirely because we are reading along with this podcast. Seriously, from the way people talk about some of them, I’m expecting to be able to sue for the trauma.

              *Well, the ones that are on Unlimited, anyway. I have my limits.

  7. I loved this so much when it came out, although I didn’t have the Ghost Rider issues, so I had to guess at half the story. What I did get in those days was Marvel Comics Presents, which around this time was totally taken over by the Midnight Sons for a long and sprawling story that I remember as an endless cycle of cemetery fights and pointless arguments between ghost riders and vampires in an extradimensional bar. I would like to hear that story ghostsplained, because I still have no idea what it was supposed to be about.

  8. Am I the only one shocked that the Brood have skeletons? Like, they seem pretty insectoid to me…which would make me think they are invertibrae with exoskeletons. But what do I know?

    YES to “Kitty Pryde canonically kisses a lady [without an asterisk] Day”! Same would go for Storm for me (since I think she’s only kissed a gal when under mind control or something)

  9. Speaking of solo mini-serieses… will you guys be covering ALL those 4 issue stories of Storm and Sabertooth and Wolverine/Gambit and WAY too godamn many many others?

  10. You mentioned multiple times that the Femto-esque Assassin is Julian Boudreaux, but I can’t find a reference to that anywhere. Where was that revealed?

    1. I believe that was retroactively revealed in the Gambit miniseries a year or so later. We’ll definitely be covering that one!

  11. I just got to the comment about early 90’s Ghost Rider appealing to someone that had watched their VHS of The Crow to the point of distortion and now I just feel like you’re calling teenage me out with his distorted Crow VHS and stack of Midnight Suns/Ghost Rider books. On the other hand, yeah that’s totally fair.

  12. For the entire time I listened to this episode, I had the cover of the Suicide song Ghost Rider that Henry Rollins did for the Crow movie soundtrack running through my head. Am I alone?

    1. And then I was thinking about the Suicide song Cheree every time there was a Gambit line including the word “chere.”

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