Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

207 – Blood and Metal

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

In which Miles has a Dracula problem; we are really, really excited about FlameCon; Fabian Nicieza is the unsung hero of the early ’90s; Jay doesn’t explain the Iranian Hostage Crisis; Cable does not have a good history with trademark disputes; Cable: Blood and Metal is secretly an allegory for the X-books of the early 1990s; friendship and explosions don’t have to be mutually exclusive; and history evokes but doesn’t quite repeat itself.


  • Dracula disambiguation
  • One way to stop a vampire invasion
  • Wang beams
  • Cable: Blood and Metal #1-2
  • The continuing miracle that is Fabian Nicieza
  • Cable (as established in 1992)
  • Stryfe
  • The Wild Pack and/or Six Pack
  • The ongoing evolution of John Romita, Jr.
  • Tolliver
  • Several heists of varying quality
  • Numerous patches and their contents
  • How the Wild Pack became the Six Pack
  • An idiom, examined
  • A total dick move
  • Muscles-and-guns power creep
  • Guns of tomorrow
  • The McNinja point
  • A brief flirtation with Magic: The Gathering
  • A typo that became canon
  • The new She-Ra
  • The new, improved Garrison Kane
  • European nipple lasers
  • Mr. Richter
  • The evolution of Cable

NEXT EPISODE: X-Factor gets political.

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  1. You didn’t have to rip up Chaos Orb, though urban legend says that people did do so. You do have to rip up Chaos Confetti, though. It was inspired by the story.

    And you know, I’m confused by the She-Ra thing. I thought that reinventions of 80’s cartoon heroines were supposed to make them sexier, so only hot women can cosplay as them and basement-dwelling neckbeards can fap to them. Has the internet lied to me?

    Also, did Cable travel to Applecross? There’s a suburb of Perth by that name. I’ve never been there, but in my experience pretty much everywhere on the Armadale train line is a hole.

    1. I thought they said “Applecrust” which I took to be a riff on New York being “The Big Apple”, the outskirts of which could reasonably pick up the name “Applecrust”.

  2. Another great episode, guys. Good to hear Frenzy getting a shout-out for the listener question.

    Rachel’s current “Prestige” codename would probably be better if it had a better costume to go with it. She’s REALLY not a character I envision with a cape, though the thin eye mask/piece is alright. I wish she’d kept the red and yellow one from during the “Wolverine and the X-Men” days when she was on the all-girl team with Storm and Psylocke etc. I wanna say post-Schism? Does that sound right? She spends so much time in Jean’s shadow, burdening her with “Marvel Girl” – either the name or the outfit – doesn’t help her at all. Here’s hoping she gets a better go of things once Gold comes to an end.

    1. IMO, nothing – *nothing* – could make “Prestige” OK as a codename. A) It has nothing obvious to do with Rachel’s personality, powers, or backstory. B) It would make any character who adopted it come off as a horrible snob.

      I have two theories. 1) Rachel was tired of people asking her to explain her origin story and/or family tree, and wanted a name that would deter people by making her seem like a terrible human being who would be annoying to talk to. 2) It’s the second instance of the phenomenon first apparent in Guggenheim’s odd use of the word “subluminal.” In a brilliant metanarrative move, Guggenheim is writing this story as if he was himself from an alternate universe, one where English words do not mean the same thing as they do in our world. In that alternate universe, Prestige means something that actually makes sense for Rachel.

      1. All valid points. Basically, “get her away from Guggenheim” is the position we both hold, I’d say. Hopefully Uncanny will restore some semblance of dignity.

        1. Apologies if my hyperbolic* outrage at the thought that anything could make “Prestige” better was taken as more heartfelt than I intended.

          Aside from the name, Guggenheim’s use of Rachel as a character hasn’t really been the thing that has bothered me most about his run (disclaimer: I read it on Unlimited, so am six months behind). I’d even go so far as to say that I appreciate that he put the character back at the center of the X-line, where she should be.

          (She really should. Rachel’s family connections, her defining association with the iconic version of the dark future that the X-Men are defined by trying to prevent, to some extent also her association with the Phoenix — these make her the Xest of X-characters, one who should be at the forefront a lot of the time. I think she suffers from having had so much of her character history happen in Excalibur, a book which was off to the side at the time and now seems to occupy that “sort of didn’t happen except as needed for particular stories” status that one gets with large stretches of time in the Marvel universe – leaving Rachel as a character who was in UXM for a while in the ‘80s and then “sort of” didn’t do much after that.)

          But execution hasn’t been fabulous. That’s true, for me, of X-Men: Gold in general. The basic plan in outline seems very sound, but the possibilities aren’t exploited, and to a large extent one has the sense that Claremont-era nostalgia is being viewed as its own sufficient justification.

          *I mean, it’s not actually true that nothing could make “Prestige” better as a codename for me. If Guggenheim combined it with giving me a large sum of money, I imagine I could find my way to liking it without too much difficulty.

  3. One thing that struck me as interesting reading this and the last issues of X-Force (and bearing in mind that I didn’t read any of Cable’s early years at the time) is how there’s been a complete 180 degrees flip on an aspect of his characterization, in the relatively short time that the character has been in existence.

    When Cable first appeared in New Mutants, Simonson and Liefeld (wherever the balance was) went out of their way to stress what a good leader and mentor he was for Sam and the rest, despite having just popped up out of nowhere. Now the whole point of Cable in these stories is how bad his leadership is, morally and physically, for those he leads.

  4. re: Dracula’s moon base: now I’m wondering how long it would take a vampire bat to fly from the Earth to the Moon.

  5. You mention Darwin in the list of African-American mutant female (or female presenting) characters. I thought Darwin was male (or male presenting)?

    1. Sometimes, you and your podcasting partner write an outline together, listen to one another as you record in case someone gets something wrong, proof the episode after editing… and something like this still happens. I have no idea how we missed that screw-up!

  6. BTW – On Jem, Stormer of The Misfits played keytar, and their songs ARE better. Therefore keytars are awesome. QED 🙂

  7. Believe it or not, Kraven’s laser-firing nipples are an actual thing from the comics (though I believe they’re supposed to be coming from the eyes on his vest and not his nipples). They first show up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #47 (i.e., the issue that Deadpool later got “gumped” into).

  8. So, I posted these with pictures in the excellent (or would it be X-Cellent) Discord as examples, but I thought I might as well post this here as well:

    I was listening to the podcast on my way home from a job fair and started thinking about other female characters in animation who didn’t have boob armor. I couldn’t really think of many from western animation, but I could think of a few from anime.

    First off, the example that immediately came to mind is Arturia Pendragon/Saber from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero. Her armor is pretty standard, except she’s kind of got an armored dress to go with the traditional greaves. Arturia’s daughter, Mordred Pendragon/Le Fay (Saber of Red from Fate/Apocrypha), also has a practical armor design. Her street clothes are more fanservicey, but the fan-reaction I’ve seen has overwhelming seen that described as an act of rebellion by Mordred (including a one-panel fan-comic I saw somewhere of Arturia telling Mordred “You’re not going out like that, young lady!” with Mordred responding “You’re not the boss of me!”)

    Next up is Casca from Berserk – and in particular the Golden Age arc. While unfortunately the her more recent figures and her depiction in Berserk Musou gave her boob armor, while Kentaro Miura, the artist and writer of the manga has some very real faults (in particular related to how Casca is written), he generally does a good job basing his armor on historical examples, and the armor that Casca wears in the manga, and in the two anime adaptations of the Golden Age arc is very practical convex armor.

    I was generally disqualifying “Bust Armor” from consideration (that is, armor that while not having individually depicted boobs did have designated “bust” area), probably the one exception I saw that worked was with Asuna’s armor from season one of Sword Art Online (a series that has a boatload of other problems when it comes to depictions of female characters). In particular, there’s a version of that armor used for a figure made by Good Smile company that has the “bust” portion as literally a separate piece of the armor, going over another piece of armor that could presumably be another, more flexable (but still durable and protective) material (dragon hide maybe?)

  9. As someone with huge gaps in my comics knowledge (i.e. no idea if this even lines up timeline-wise) I looked at JRJ’s art on this and instinctively thought “Oh, this looks like someone doing an impression of Dark Knight Returns-era Frank Miller.”

    1. The big leaping figures are very suggestive that DKR is in the mix. I found it interesting that Jay specifically mentioned JRJRs stint on Daredevil with Ann Nocenti as being more sinewy. It certainly was, but it was precisely during the Inferno(yes, no escape..) issues of that run that I noticed JRJR’s figures becoming more bigger and more dynamic. I remember looking at an issue in a shop where DD is fighting a tube train and thinking about this…I initially thought Kirby, but he may have got his Kirby via Simonson and taken a bit of George Bridgman from there as well. It was certainly exciting seeing an artist with such an established career pushing to find new means of expression.

  10. Yay for She-Ra! One of my friends is a writer on it (and I may’ve first bonded with her over a mutual love of X-Men – particulalry everything Phoenix-related – during freshmen orientation) and it looks SO good.

    This pitch of the Cable miniseries sounds so much like how i hear people pitch the Fast and the Furious movies (aka Feelings and explosions)…which only adds to my intrigue towards both of them.

  11. “I don’t believe just ’cause ideas are tenacious it means they’re worthy.”
    Correct. Ideas are only determined to be worthy if they can pick up Mjollnr.

  12. I loving it that you are convincing me to give cable a chance…

    But hold on, did Miles really just say Pacific Rim is not a very deep movie? I am shocked. I tought you were cool. Everything in that movie is deliberate, the colors, the items, the story…
    I used to think it was popcorn, till I listened to the School of Movies podcast talk about it for like 2+ hours. If you ever got time, check out their episode on it, opened my eyes.

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