Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

206 – Anatomy of a Phoenix

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

In which you should all come see us at FlameCon; all lizards are good lizards; we recap a recap; the Phoenix force is really complicated; Earth-99476 may or may not be the secret history of Earth-616; Alan Davis takes on continuity; the X-Men fail to save the day; the Phoenix says its piece; Rachel takes a vacation in space; Captain Britain doesn’t like to be psychoanalyzed; and the Crazy Gang gets a happy ending.


  • Evil Shadowcats
  • Jay & Miles at FlameCon
  • Excalibur #51, 52, and 54
  • A brief history of Excalibur
  • The Phoenix Force
  • A recap of a recap
  • What this episode isn’t covering
  • Lizard Excalibur
  • The most meta t-shirt in the multiverse
  • Several long-ago Halloween costumes
  • Dinosaurs of Earths-616 and -99476
  • National Lampoon Vacation apocrypha
  • Earth-99476 and its Savage Land
  • The Fantastic Five
  • A vow of vengeance
  • Feron as an antecedent to Kubark
  • Alan Davis’s modern authorial counterpart
  • A telepathic journey
  • The full history of the Phoenix Force (as established circa 1991)
  • Inherited vs. inherent mutant powers (and a No-Prize explanation thereof)
  • The rehabilitation of Rachel Summers
  • Several retcons yet to come
  • Jean Grey’s inconsistent relationship to the Phoenix Force
  • A mysterious disappearance
  • What the Crazy Gang has been up to
  • The nicest kind of twist
  • A very easy way to make Kitty Pryde textually queer
  • Differentiating X-teams
  • The X-Plain Discord
  • Strong Guy’s new hobby

NEXT EPISODE: Cable: Blood & Metal

UPDATE: Not only can birds see color, but they can see a wider spectrum than humans. THE MORE YOU KNOW!

Check out the visual companion to this episode on our blog!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

We’re in the process of migrating our official shop to TeePublic! Click over to check it out! (You can still find the designs we haven’t moved yet at Redbubble.)


  1. After this week’s cold open, I have only one response: please tell me that when the time comes, you’ll be devoting at least one episode to the glorious insanity that was Mutant X.

  2. I always loved the issue summarising Phoenix and Rachel Summers’ backstory. Sure, it’s an exposition dump. But as a reader catching up on back issues, it was invaluable, and it was also a (mostly) elegant tying up of the various ends. And it is so so sad too!! Poor Rachel. Annoying Davis didn’t draw the issue but oh well, can’t have it all. And what a shame subsequent Phoenixy-ness ignores all this. The whole “nobody can control the Phoenix!” and Rachel is standing right there… Sigh

    I also felt the revelation (issue 50?) that the Phoenix Force draws on life-not-yet-born to be shocking. That’s never been fully explored.

    Also: I love David’s Lockheed (“yoobet!” kind of foreshadows his learning to talk), I like that this issue has Xavier being an actual good guy, and I like the foreshadowing of Tangerine, my most favourite minor minor future x-character!

    The Crazy Gang stuff does leave me cold though. Too twee and odd for odd’s sake, but at least it wraps them up. Excalibur 54-55 are stone cold awesome though…

  3. Yes Birds can see colour and have four cones in their retina over our three allowing them to see ultraviolet and the polarisation allow them to see deeper and filter out colour giving them greater sensitivity to different colour shades

  4. Yes, birds can see color and in fact have better color discrimination than humans because they have a fourth color of photoreceptor which responds to deep blues and gives them some sensitivity to UV. (The other 3 are also slightly different than human RGB, but are pretty close.)

  5. As someone who finds color fascinating, I recommend looking up bower birds. They certainly can distinguish blue. Also, I’m sure less energy would go into technicolored plumage if other birds couldn’t see it. Mating strategy. etc etc.

    Looking forward to hearing you decipher that Cable series. I read it when I was 9,decided it was over my head, dug it back out 20 years later and changed my mind. Confusing masquerading as complexity. Possibly why I still don’t care for Cable the character.

  6. In terms of “Mutant kids of mutants who have powers of their own on top of inherited powers”

    Before the whole Azazel reveal, Kurt would have qualified, since his teleporting was nothing to do with Mystique’s abilities. though he got her physical mutation of blue skin.

    IIRC Daken inherited Logan’s healing factor, but also one of those creepy pheremone infulencing powers which his dad doesn’t have.

  7. You expressed joy at Strong Guy now canonically knitting. You may be interested in knowing that he has canonically done needlepoint since the last page of Incredible Hulk 390, the issue before the “War and Pieces” crossover. He’s doing it in the plane on the way to Trans-Sabal.

  8. I’m late coming to the episode, but wanted to note that even though the current interpretation of dinosaurs is to include feathers, dinosaurs are still absolutely reptiles. Dinosauria is a clade that falls under Archosauria (which includes all dinosaurs and crocodilians), which in turn falls under the Class Reptilia. So while we’re learning more about dinosaurs and how they were likely warm-blooded and many had feathers, it is incorrect to say that they weren’t reptiles.

    This also means that birds are reptiles.

    Also: Jay, I apologize if this annoys, but I thought your pronunciation of Compsognathus was off so I decided to look it up. Confirmed: the A in Compsognathus should be short, not long. Wikipedia suggests the A should be said like About, not Acorn. The accent is also on the SOG, not the NA.

  9. And yes, everything in that post was pedantic. But dinosaurs are cool and Compsognathus is cool and you both seem interested in them too and I think accuracy is great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *