Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

201 – Pump Up the Jam

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

In which we begin our third podcast century; Cyclops is bi-inclusive; we have high standards for Mojoworld; Dazzler can survive your big-budget horror show; Jim Lee makes his exit; video games that involve Protomen are better than video games that don’t; and plasma is the new magnetism.


  • Carter Ryking and his Very Durable Underpants
  • Fontanelle
  • Jay & Miles Town Cry ye X-Men
  • An upcoming event
  • X-Men #10-13
  • A somewhat disappointing Wizard of Oz pastiche
  • Those who like to go both ways
  • A mysterious, shadowy figure; revealed
  • Several of Cyclops’s uncoolest Dad moments
  • Zima
  • Moist Alley
  • Mojo II: The Sequel
  • The Image exodus
  • Mojonium™
  • An announcement
  • Longshot in the Mojoverse vs. Longshot in the 616
  • A Maverick adventure
  • Alexander Ryking
  • The other Xavier File
  • Warhawk
  • The Ryking Hospital for Paranormal Research
  • A poorly defined power set
  • Technicolor skeletons
  • When and where paper was invented
  • A likely-irrelevant pattern
  • The devil who haunts Stryfe’s dreams
  • Some non-X Marvel recommendations
  • Rusty Collins’s codename

NEXT EPISODE: A musical interlude with X-Factor!

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  1. Man X-Cutioner’s song is going to be fun.

    Not good, but fun.

    I can’t wait to hear Jay and Miles’ reaction to Stryfe’s LiveJournal from the cards and the Strike File special.

  2. “He can’t be dead, I’m not out of bullets” sounds likesomething straight out of “Sledge Hammer”, the mid-80’s sitcom with David Rasche as the titular gun-happy (to say the least) SFPD detective

  3. Thibert is pronounced T-Bear he actually spelt it that way in his signature in the late 90s. He’s French Canadian but I’m presuming he’s not actually EVIL like an X-Men Canadian.

  4. Because any excuse to listen to Technotronic is perfect… like that David Wynne pin up of Jubes

  5. I can’t agree with Miles on Jason Aaron’s Thor. Or at least not without caveats.

    I mean the first 2 arcs of it (God Butcher, Godbomb) are fine standalone, but after that (2013) he starts building his giant “epic” War of Realms story, which currently seems to end in an event next year (2019). So expect a plot progression speed comparable to a glued down snail’s. This for me (and I’m probably not alone) severely devalues everything else the run does so beware. (I DON’T NEED MORE FILLER! IF YOUR TALE NEEDED THESE YOU SHOULD HAVE ESTABLISHED THEM BEFORE ANNOUNCING YOUR GREAT EPIC, NOT NOW WHEN IT’S JUST WASTING TIME! END IT ALREADY! DAMN YOU! END! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEND! … Yes. I might be slightly annoyed at this point.)

    1. I think you have it backward. The stuff you call filler is the story and the War of the Realms is meant to be filler that furthers the plot. Plus wars usually last years, not months.

      1. If the War of the Realms is not meant to be the story (yet), then it shouldn’t have been ANNOUNCED. Dramatically, with bodies falling from the sky, manic cackling of the villains, and so forth. In late 2015!

        Also no. In comic books wars end in 6-12 main issues (this should be true for every storyline that’s overtly communicated). 50+ is wasting the readers’ time and devaluing everything else in the book.

        For contrast: Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery run is a 31(!) part epic building towards and culminating in a war… it somehow manages to only push the war in the readers’ faces in the Everything Burns arc (for 8 issues).

  6. I’m surprised that Art Thibert’s art here is given a pass. It’s fine, but it absolutely SCREAMS “keep drawing like Jim Lee to keep the readers from jumping ship”, with a zillion cross-hatches and the same general look as Lee. It reminds me of how everyone drew Spider-Man after Todd McFarlane’s style became insanely popular.

  7. This is right at the point where I was forbidden to read comics. Not because of the comic content, but because there was an ad for something related to Dungeons and Dragons on the back page of one of these issues.

    So, y’know, this is the point where I started sneaking comics home.

      1. Yeah! Also, it turned out that those comics were the gateway to me playing Dungeons and Dragons.

  8. I disagree, M. While we got huge stories about Dario Agger, Jane Foster, Cul Borson, the Battleworld Thors, War Thor and countless other gems, the War of the Realms has been brewing in the background. I’ve been enjoying everything so far,even if the art fluctuates a bit. But even Simonson didn’t draw the whole run.

  9. There are a ton of great Spider-Man runs that I want to suggest, but I feel that fans of this podcast have a really easy answer: Spider-Man and the X-Men written by Elliott Kalan with Marco Failla on art. It’s a fantastic short series that’s premise I’d love to see revisited. It’s also all on Comixology Unlimited right now, so if you’re already a subscriber, free read!

    Outside of that, if you want some great modern era Spider-Man, “Big Time”, “Spider Island”, and “Worldwide” are all solid runs. If you don’t mind jumping into stories with a bit more lore, “Spider-Verse” and “Spider Men” are some of my favorites.

  10. It’s actually a Loki comic rather than a Thor comic, but Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery run is what made me fall in love with Asgard.

    1. I think pretty much every series with Loki (JiM, Young Avengers, Loki: Agent of Asgard) was very good up until Aaron got his hands on the jerk.

  11. It just occurred to me that Miles’ Mojo impression is basically Freddy Krueger from the campier later Elm Street Movies.

  12. I almost feel the need to defend Warhawk. I mean, the only real interesting thing about him is he’s an Iron Fist character Chris Claremont invented. He appeared in X-Men because Claremont loved to take characters from one property and bring them to another. It’s how Mystique, Sabretooth, etc. came to the X-Men. Of course, Warhawk didn’t catch on. He’s more interesting because he was retconned to be part of the same experiments as Luke Cage and was used very well in David F. Walker’s recent Luke Cage run.

  13. An easy answer for non X stories is to stick with Walt Simonson in the 80s and 90s. His FF run is quite stand alone with some highlights the new fantastic four with wolverine and the experimental issue where reed fights room trough time. His avengers is darker but it one of the best team break up stories you will see, I would actually read the stern run first as there is one long story from under siege to inferno.

  14. For great Avengers and Spider-Man stories, the first name that comes to mind is Roger Stern. He had sizable runs on both titles, all of which were at least decent. A short Spider-Man story that I enjoyed was “Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut” (reprinted in many places), which was 2 issues of Spidey struggling to capture the vastly more powerful title villain. My favorite Avengers story is “Under Siege,” in which an army of super villains form a new Masters of Evil and manage to take over Avengers Mansion. In addition to the action, Stern weaves in plenty of great character beats.

    Other the Roger Stern, Kurt Busiek has written some of my favorite Spider-Man and Avengers comics. With Pat Oliffe drawing in a style reminiscent of original Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko, Busiek launched Untold Tales of Spider-Man in the mid-’90s. It was one of my favorite takes on teenaged Peter Parker, and often either heartwarming or heart wrenching. Busiek’s late ’90s Avengers run featured the best Ultron story,* “Ultron Unlimited,” drawn by the great George Perez. The whole run is worth reading.

    * best Ultron story, non-vs.-Daredevil-with-a-stick division

    1. Amazing Spider-Man #229 and #230. Probably the single best Juggernaut story I’ve ever read. Which surprised me, because I didn’t even know about the story beforehand. It has that reputation though.

      Best bit is Black Tom Cassidy hanging out on a yacht for no in-story reason except where you get Marko you get Cassidy.

  15. I’m gonna go with a Jay and Miles strategy and recommend some Avengers stuff based off X-Men stuff.

    If you like continuity and time-travel based nonsense (with strong writing, art, and character work), try Avengers Forever by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco.

    If you like early Bronze Age soapiness (a la Claremont/Cockrum era X-Men), I’d try out the late Roy Thomas or Steve Engelhart Avengers (start around issue 80ish). This’ll also work if you’re more a fan of the X-Men space opera stuff (again of the Claremont/Cockrum era), as it has the Skrull/Kree War.

    If you want something taht both gets the team back to basics but also modernizes it, try (as Mike recommended) the Busiek/Perez Avengers (avengers vol. 3). While I’m not a fan of Whedon’s Astonishing, this series feels very much to me as I imagine Whedon’s run felt to those who did like it.

    If you’re a fan of side stories of main cast members (a la the Storm or Iceman series) I’d recommend either Matt Fraction or Kelly Thomas’s Hawkeye runs and Tom King’s Vision.

  16. 1) Kurt Busiek’s run on Avengers with George Perez and later Alan Davis on art was amazing. (It’s the reason I bristle every time podcasters dump on Hank Pym among other things).
    2) I think in that same issue of X-Factor, a couple of Hodge’s thugs refer to Rusty as “the firefist.” Like “the firefist has been restrained” type lines. I thought it was hilarious at the time because it was so explicitly not a codename, just two goons describing Rusty in utterly banal and reductionist terms that showed what pieces of crap they were.

  17. Unrelated to this episode, but I just wanted to share something. I just woke up from a dream where Apocalypse was critiquing bridal wear. Thank you, Miles for assigning Apocalypse a voice in my head.

    1. Distressingly easy to picture.

      “Ah, a plunging bodice, just as I planned. When this scheme comes to fruition only the worthy will stand before I, Reverend Apocalypse!

      “I see, you’ve decided instead for the high neckline, just as I planned. When this scheme comes to fruition only the worthy will … No, no, honey, you do not want gathering at the hips with your waistline. Apocalypse has spoken!”

      1. “Mermaid-style? Unacceptable! A-lines are the way of the future. Only they shall survive and create the wedding of the strongest fashions. So says Apocalypse!”

        1. “Behold, the four bridesmaid outfits of Apocalypse! They will outshine all but the greatest of brides!”

          1. Perhaps depressingly, the Four Bridesmaids of the Apocalypse would not be the weirdest themed wedding I’d heard of…

  18. I’ve not listened to the podcast yet. I’m just gonna tell in advance that X-Men #10-11 is probably some of the WORST CRAP I ever read (seriously, it cannot be more OOC). Actually, by then I was so sick and tired that X-Men #12 was the last X-issue I bought for a long long time.

    To be continued…

    1. I finally listened to the podcast.

      I’m not sure ‘cause your English (thick accent!) is still quite hard to me, but I think I heard you mentioned me when you’re talking about Longshot’s biggest (sole) fans, Miles??? Or were you talking about real Rita?

      I was particularly interested in your assessment of Mojoworld depictions, and I strongly agree with you both. It’s often disappointing how writers and artists use to focus only in the TV and ‘Spartacus’ aspects and forget about magic and horror and weirdness –those things that make this dimension so alien. As you said, Adams and Davis DID understand about it, as well as about Mojo as a hideous and lethal creature: he’s not a clown, he’s a deranged lunatic who kills with a touch. The dreadful thing about him is that you never know what’s gonna be his next movement –neither himself.

      As for Longshot, you nailed it, and those are exactly my thoughts about him. He’s a character between bittersweet and naivety (between sublime and ridiculous, I use to say). He’s deeply pure alright, but his background competes in rawness with Wolverine’s, and his honesty and directness makes him pretty harsh sometimes. It’s this fragile balance, this walking at the razor’s edge, which makes Longshot a so interesting character…and so difficult to manage.

      Now, some things I therefore hate about X-Men #10-11:

      1. Jim Lee drawing pretty much below his ability.
      2. Lousy ‘humoristic’ mood by Lobdell.
      3. Brawny Longshot with blond eyebrows and no fangs.
      4. Reduccionist interpretation of the plot as a vulgar power struggle.
      5. Solving a despotic system by trading one tyrant for another –well, that says nothing good about the writers.
      6. The notion of Longshot as any kind of leader already seems annoying and OOC to me, but –sort of a ruler??? Come on! That’s absurd and offensive to the character!
      7. Dazzler and Longshot as kind of the ultimate love story. There was NEVER a romance between them. They had fun together in bed, and that’s all –in fact, that was what made that pairing a bit interesting and different. The word ‘love’, though, was never pronounce by any of them.
      8. Of course, the awful idea of Ali’s pregnancy (actually, is Longshot ever fertile?) and all Shatterstar stuff, but that’s canon and can’t be fixed.

  19. J. M. De Matteis’ run on Captain America (with great energetic pencils by Mike Zeck) really is something to try. De Matteis, who often seems like he’s impersonating Claremont -though he’s probably juste drawing from the same sources- writes a street-levelled, socially-conscious Captain America, with a solid and relatable supporting cast, notably the first (or one of the firsts ? the first I read anyway) openly gay character -Arnie Roth- in Marvel Comics, and openly gay couple for that matters, treated with no fetichization. This gives way to the characterization of the Red Skull as an extremely awful homophobe (and recist, and antisemite), which reads pretty oddly today but that I must confess I find fun (nazi characters being awful, actual homophobia or nazism I don’t find actually fun). Perhaps the main character suffers from some lack of mythological greatness, but the blue prose and the somehow forward-thinking themes made it a great read for me. Cap is very aware of the discrepancy between the American dream and actual America and at moments even reads like an actual human being, which is so rare. The very end of the run is extremely dramatic and make you hold your breath while still being goofy enough that you know you’re reading great comics.

    1. Oh ya, it’s the worst living up here in Canada. People are constantly trying to put a thin coating of adamantium over the exterior of ur skeleton, etc etc. Meh u get used to it, we just call that Tuesday up here.

  20. In so far as the Spider-man question comes, Beyond the X-stuff, I’d say if you want to get into the 80’s era, Amazing Spider-man 258 is probably where I’d get into it. That’s where Mary Jane reveals that she knows that Peter Parker is spider-man, and it’s the place where I feel that Spider-man really shines. I can’t say it’s equal to the X-men of that time period, but it’s comparative to the other comics of the time (and continuing past those issues, as far as the 90s X-men, well, I’d say McFarland’s departure to Image isn’t going to be missed).

  21. Wait, is Maverick Canadian? I thought he was German, and figured he was working for the BRD in this story. Was I wrong about him being German? Or is he an expat winning for Canada? Or is this like a Schwarzenegger movie, where you have an action spy for a North American nation who just has extreme and unexplained teutonicity?

  22. The obvious choice for a recommendation for Captain America is Ed Brubaker’s run. Not only is it good and relatively recent, but it’s also mostly self-contained. As someone who grew up reading Gruewald’s 10-year run, I’d say it means much to me, but it had its up and downs and its last few years may be not the best. I think the real diamond is Mark Waid’s run that immediately follows it, especially the part before the whole Heroes Reborn experiment. His Captain America with Ron Garney I think would be some of the easiest issues to get in to. It’s very action oriented and, despite being the story that brings Sharon Carter back to life, very low on continuity baggage.

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