Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

220 – On Your Bike

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

In which we approach the end of Alan Davis’s Excalibur run; “duopenultimate” is not actually a word; Captain Britain pops the question; we do in fact (kinda) get follow-up on Alysande Stuart’s death; Miles needs to get a little less credulous about bureaucrats’ good intentions; Shadowcat engages in espionage; Nightcrawler and Cerise are tactically saucy; and the sun definitely ought to set on the British Empire.


  • Warpies
  • Excalibur #61-65
  • The Jaspers Warp (more) (again)
  • The RCX (more) (again)
  • Agents Gabriel and Michael
  • What happened to Jay’s mom’s Hypercolor™ T-shirt
  • What not to do with a dead parrot
  • Several Hamlet references
  • Scott Wright (MicroMax)
  • The Cherubim
  • Cloud Nine
  • Agent Peter (Nigel Orpington-Smythe)
  • Warpie naming conventions
  • Beetroot
  • Screen tone
  • An idiom
  • Evasive makeouts
  • A specific thing on The Gifted
  • Why Kitty Pryde tends to go by her given name

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  1. A screentones, the letraset of inking materials, that takes me back! (Though I remember it being referred to as Zipatone in the DC comics I was reading at the time, I assume that was a brand name)

    “On Yer Bike!” is indeed “Get out of here, and faster than walking pace”. It is a little unusual for someone of Brian’s class and usual mode of speech to use the term, but he’s using it very deliberately here.

    It came into some notoriety in the early 80’s when Conservative Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit, responding to comments about riots resulting from rising unemployment under his tenure, said; “I grew up in the ’30s with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking till he found it.” and it sort of mutated into headlines about “Tebbit tells unemployed “On yer bike””.

    So many thinhs to love in this arc

    The Warpies have long been favourites and I ADORE the “Animal/Vegetable/Mineral” approach to naming, which seems very practical and British. (Probably not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but an “Aberdeen Angus” is a breed of cow).

    The RCX taking advantage of the Warpies special senses to record information more accurately is the sort of thing we should see more of in a world of mutants and superbrings.

    Them noting that Kurt’s acrobatic and atheletic prowess is down to hard work rather than his mutation was a nice acknowledgement, and his 3-D spatial sense when teleporting was another nice Davis addition to his abilties.

  2. Icon got there first with the “on your bike” idiom. To be honest I’d never realised it was UK only until listening to the episode. Love the Cherubim. I wish they would reprint the Cherubim stories from Marvel UK by Mike Collins and Mark Farmer(or put them on Marvel Unlimited). I’ve never read them and they sound like my sort of thing. I’d also love to read the UK based Spider-Man stories from the same era. Fascinated to see how they managed to explain why he was in London.

  3. Re: Shadowcat/Kitty, my first introduction to the character was X-Men: Evolution so I was used to calling her Shadowcat. That being said, I feel most characters who change their names get called by their personal name more frequently. Jean Grey is a prominent example (but not a clear example). Dani Moonstar is another one.

    1. The name “Shadowcat” is very 80s, which probably also has a lot to do with it.

      It always strikes me as strange that she’s still called “Kitty” though. It’s okay when you’re 14 and like dancing, much less so as an adult no-nonsense paramilitary minority-group leader. It would be the full “Kathryn” or a ninja kick to the face. That especially goes for the various personalised nicknames each individual X-Man has, Kitten, Katschen, Katya, Punkin, et cetera et bloody cetera.

      1. She might be shying away from that a little, given what she knows about “Kate” Pryde from the Days of Future Past.

  4. Oh, and you guys managed to get through an entire dead parrot anecdote in an Excalibur episode and not one single Monty Python reference? I don’t know whether to be amazed, or disappointed.

  5. One subtle little touch of the whole “rejecting older ideas of Britishness” theme that runs through this story deserves special notice.

    It’s when Orpington-Smythe accuses Kurt, Kitty, and Cerise of being illegal aliens. With Kitty and Cerise, he may have a point. But with Kurt, he doesn’t, because Kurt is a citizen of an EU country, and is free to live in Britain if he chooses — Orpington-Smythe is simply and straightforwardly wrong as a matter of law. In 1993, this was a salient political issue – Maastricht (which cemented freedom of movement by establishing the concept of a European citizenship) was only the previous year.

    Obviously, that was a long time ago, and these things are no longer a source of controversy in British politics.

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