232 – Careful With That Axe, Cerise

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

In which we’re still not over Into the Spider-Verse; Excalibur becomes an official X-book; Feron tries to help; Butts are fundamental; we care about the weird stuff; threats are unnecessary; and we were all always already Erik the Red.

X-PLAINED:

  • Several characters’ Earth-65 counterparts
  • The X-Office
  • Judging people for not being Alan Davis
  • Excalibur #68-70
  • A slippery story title
  • The unceremonious disappearance of Captain Britain
  • Mullets of space and time
  • Angst-ridden super-types, all of whom are morbidly obsessed with death
  • The other war criminal in Excalibur
  • Fashion trends of the Shi’ar Empire
  • Krag
  • Important conversations to have with your significant other
  • A sadness staredown
  • Cerise’s actual secret origins
  • A fairly poetic life sentence
  • The cleverest fights
  • Our 2019 Convention Schedule
  • How to get Jay & Miles at your local convention

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25 comments

  1. WrestleFest says:

    How long until we get to X-Men 25/the Fatal Attractions crossover?

    • Devin says:

      Probably soon. Jay and Miles have been mentioning it for a bit, but they’re also pretty clear that they’re crossing their continuity “t”s and dotting their “i”s first. Also, since they want to do Fatal Attractions without hte “month-by-month” staggering, it needs some more build up. But I think after Unlimited, it should be pretty soon (some point in Feb would be my guess).

  2. Jake says:

    *sigh*

    Thank you guys for hating Greg Land’s art as much as I do. How has he been ruining X-Men comics for so long?

  3. Icon_UK says:

    Cerise as weird alien from an unknown time period/dimension/culture/civilisation was such fun.

    The fact that someone, somewhere decided that, instead of taking the opportunity to construct and explore a new alien world (if they were felt like addressing it at all), they’d shoehorn Cerise into the freaking Shi’Ar says a lot about the risk-averse approach of this era of X-Men. Everything had to be homogenised to the existing status quo. You can bet your bottom dollar Alan Davis didn’t intend her to be linked to them.

    It had never occurred to me that she was remotely Shi’Ar mostly because she didn’t have the feathered-hair. Her adopting a vaguely similar style because it was the style of the imperial powers makes sense I guess, so marks for creativity there guys!

    And I’m going to try an “Um actually” here (and probably get “Um actually”‘d back) but AFAIK Fang didn’t debut in the Brood Saga, he was a Dave Cockrum creation seen in X-Men 107, the Imperial Guard’s first appearance and he’s a direct analogue to Timber Wolf of the Legion of Super-Heroes (naturally).

    Oh, and having met Alan Davis a couple of times at Conventions he seems like a thoroughly pleasant sort.

    • Voord 99 says:

      Everything had to be homogenised to the existing status quo.

      I’ve not been looking forward to this change of writers on Excalibur, and so it was quite pleasant to discover that these issues aren’t on Unlimited. But from everything that I’m hearing, there are further instances here of Lobdell’s parasitic approach to writing the X-books, with its implied contempt for the reader, defined as someone who wants the same-old-same-old namechecked but doesn’t care about it being handled well.

      But it does sound as if there was a germ here of Lobdell doing something a little bit better. Because Claremont never really confronted the fact that the Shi’ar Empire is an empire. And why would he? His version is very obviously a love-letter to classic “Golden Age” SF space-opera, and displays pretty much the same quasi-admiring fascination with empire as those stories did. It would be well worth having a sharp and critical look at that, and how the X-Men have been just as inclined as their defining writer to revel in the swashbuckling glamour of it all.

      On the other hand, I find it hard to understand why Lilandra is sending the Starjammers to do this. Is that explained in the comic? I mean, she has an entire imperial apparatus on which to call — why does she entrust what should be a pretty routine job (bringing back a fugitive from justice) to some criminal associates who happen to have been instrumental in placing her on the throne?

      • Staffan Johansson says:

        If the Empire had tracked Cerise to Earth, it stands to reason that they would not send official forces there, particularly not if said forces might over-react or something and thus cause an incident. If you’re a space empire, you do NOT want to fuck with Earth, because someone there WILL fuck you right back and depose you and destroy whatever doohickey is the source of your empire’s power.

        • Voord 99 says:

          That’s a very common take (e.g. Geoff Johns’s decision to displace Oa in favor of Earth being the “center” of the universe where life began). But it’s one of which I’m not fond, this idea that Earth is the bestest and specialest and most powerful place and humans are the amazingest (in part because one has a definite sense that Earth = USA and humans = Americans).

          That Earth is constantly seeing off alien invasions and defeating them is an extradiegetic genre inevitability, but it’s one that I personally would prefer not to have as an intradiegetic thing — I’d rather have it as “sort of” not the case, so that the alien invasions can genuinely be threatening things and the defeat of them really is against overwhelming odds. It’s the same way that (to use my favorite example) we ignore the fact that Matt Murdock does not have a plausible career for an actual lawyer that people would continue to hire.

          • Staffan Johansson says:

            I see your point, but I also think the idea has merit within the story and not just as a genre convention.

            Earth-616 does not have the resources or mainstream tech to actually go out and conquer anything. So in that sense, they are “weak”. They are no challenge to the Kree, the Skrull, the Shi’ar, and so on. But what they do have are an *astounding* number of powered beings. Not only that, but these being are *amazingly* diverse – psychics, bruisers, sorcerers, sneaks, whatever. Other species might have highly powerful individuals as well, but those are usually species traits – e.g. once you figure out how to deal with Skrull shapechanging, that’s no longer a threat to you.

            But the Earthlings have thousands of different powers. The chance of one of them having your particular kryptonite (to borrow from another universe) are pretty high. In addition, they also have a number of super-scientists who can probably *invent* kryptonite if properly motivated. So if you’re an interstellar imperialist, you probably don’t want to antagonize Earth without a really good reason.

            This reasoning particularly applies to the Shi’ar Empire, because it wasn’t that long ago that their Emperor died because of contact with the Earthlings – Lilandra knows why the butt on the throne is hers and not D’Ken’s. And so, when she wants the saboteur back, she sends the “independent contractors” whose leader has ties to Earth, and not the actual Imperial Fleet.

      • Icon_UK says:

        Agreed that the concept of Empire is usually glossed over in such cases (cf the Klingon Empire which seems to only have Klingons in every position of power, and every crewmember of every ship, despite having countless alien worlds under it’s authority) and we’re still supposed to find them admirably honourable or humourously jolly.

        As for why the Starjammers, if Cerise is on Earth, then it’d be an idea to send a human-conversant team. And someone who can talk to the X-Men would be a definite advanaage.

        • Voord 99 says:

          I suppose. But on the other hand, surely this must come up a lot given a big universe with FTL: people fleeing the Empire because they’re wanted for some crime? There must be some agency that already handles retrieving fugitives on a routine basis.

          In fact, why is this particular instance even rising to the level of Lilandra’s attention? She’s the Empress of a political entity with countless worlds, each of which probably has several billion people living on it. She can’t personally take cognizance of every single Cerise-equivalent.

          My gut sense is that this should be a job for one of those roaming Star-Trek-expy vessels that the Shi’ar had when Claremont introduced them, authorized by some low-level functionary in the Justice Division of the Imperial Ministry for Matters Concerning Primitive Species Outside Our Glorious Empire, Long May It Reign.

          ——

          With Klingons, the erasure of their imperial subjects is creepy. It’s not just that we never see non-Klingon personnel in the Klingon navy or in positions of authority. We never see non-Klingons at all: they are voiceless and invisible, so little do they matter.

          Really striking in DS9, which was so engaged with these issues (and did a generally good job with them) in the Cardassia/Bajor context, and ended up with a huge war against enemies who were really good at infiltrating and exploiting internal discontent, who might be expected to take advantage of the oppressed condition of the subject populations in the Klingon Empire.

          In effect, I think by the time of TNG, the assumption was that there were no non-Klingons in the Klingon Empire, hard though that is to explain without genocide on an astronomical scale. I suppose you could speculate that Klingons evolved in an area of space in which there happened to be no other sentient species.

          • Icon_UK says:

            The “no one other than Klingons in the empire” might work as a genuinely terrifying notion, if we didn’t have at least one TNG episode about the Federation and Klingon sorting out a territorial dispute and the Klingons essentially winning the title to a planet populated by descendents of Native Americans, and the Klingons promising to honour their cultural desire for independence… or something.

            DS9 lost a lot of my sympathy when the Dominion rep showed up and said “Look, your wormhole opens up in our sovereign territory and since we don’t care about you, we want you cut it the hell out”, and the Federartion and Bajor promptly didn’t listen for a further five seasons, and seemed surprised when the Dominion mobilised against them.

            • CountZeroOr says:

              Umm… I just ran through the episodes of the first season, and I can’t find that episode – do you recall the title of the episode (I’d like to re-watch it).

              • Icon_UK says:

                “The Jem’Hadar” which is the final episode of season 2. The Jem’Hadar show up for the first time and explain they’ve destroyed a number of Federation ships for intruding into Dominion space, as well as wiping out an entire new Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant, and to not do it again.

                The problem being that though their reaction is way over the top, they do have a point that this is THEIR space. If the wormhole had opened near the Romulan homeworld, I doubt Starfleet would be quite so cavalier.

                • Voord 99 says:

                  It’s been a long time (I’m not that fond of TNG, so I haven’t rewatched it since broadcast). But I think that the Native- Americans-in-space story was about a dispute between the Federation and (designated Star Trek imperialists) the Cardassians.

                  Memory Alpha seems to think so, anyway: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Journey%27s_End_(episode) .

                  To be fair to the Federation, I think their initial exploration of the Gamma Quadrant is meant as well, exploration, and New Bajor is founded on apparently unoccupied, uninhabited territory. I suspect that at that point they can’t conceptualize the possibility of anyone laying claim to something as huge as an entire quadrant. (I mean, it’s about 50 billion star systems!)

                  So they think in terms of what they’re used to, five-year missions and contacting new civilizations, and if territory is apparently unoccupied and not near anything, hey, it’s res nullius and you can settle it. Because that’s how the Alpha Quadrant works.

                  They actually hear about the Dominion in S1 if I’m remembering correctly, and I think it’s quite plausible that they aren’t that bothered — they probably think of it as a major power on the scale of the ones that they know that they’ll encounter “in due course.”

  4. Gene Gray says:

    Which Age of X-Man books are you all most excited about?

    For me, it’s Apocalypse and the X-Tracts, along with NextGen.

    Love me some Glob!!

  5. CountZeroOr says:

    Based on the conversation on Pink Floyd song titles, I get the impression that (going strictly from the titles), the Pink Floyd song that might best encapsulate Alan Davis Excalibur (though I could be wrong) – in terms of what Excalibur would *rather* be doing (or could end up doing) would be “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict.”

    (If there’s a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it).

  6. Xander says:

    I always assumed the Cerise-Shiar connection had to do with how her hair looks like Deathbird’s. But now I like your explanation better

  7. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Kylun actually appeared very recently – he’s in the big (but not as big as the plot would suggest) team-up trying to take down X-Man in Uncanny X-Men #10. And not long before that he showed up in a support group for non-passing mutants in Domino Annual.

    Somebody in the current x-office must like him, because two appearances within a month or three surely can’t be coincidence? And given that he was in the big team-up in UXM#10, one can expect he might appear in Age of X-Man. Possibly.

  8. Kathy says:

    Could Cerise be from Shaskufrugnon? She mentions their technology when they were in Cloud Nine.

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