Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

236 – Baggage of Traumas Past (Fatal Attractions, Part 3)

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

In which Decimation was kind of sketchy; you should definitely come see us in Seattle; Wolverine has a rough day; Colossus has yet another rough day; Excalibur plans for the future; and Fatal Attractions comes to a close.


  • How Professor X got his groove and/or powers back
  • Jay & Miles at Emerald City Comic Con
  • Wolverine #75
  • Excalibur #71
  • Psychic trauma
  • High-stakes references
  • The personal Ragnarok of a shattered soul
  • A really effective sound effect
  • The first day of the rest of Logan’s life
  • Butterflies of the Xavier School
  • Muir Island’s psychiatric ward
  • Medical consent
  • The worst bar, probably
  • Professorial disambiguation
  • What Micromax and Kyluun are probably definitely up to
  • Several variably awkward Grey-Summers family reunions
  • A betrayal
  • Amelia Voght
  • Unuscione
  • Katu
  • The future of Excalibur
  • Proactive superheroism
  • How not to make a White Russian
  • Shadowcat’s recovery post-Mutant Massacre
  • Our etymological destinies

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  1. I remember someone claiming that Charles, Jean, and Scott were going to join Excalibur because of that pin up. This was in a comic shop in Northbridge, Western Australia. Now long gone. But if that person is reading, you were completely wrong. Hah.

  2. I love Hama’s Wolverine run so much, I’d love you to do even a one-epsisode speedrun through it. Either way it made me smile when you acknowledged it was a good run. The best Wolverine/Jubilee stuff you’ll find, and long-running convoluted time-travel subplot about Elsie Dee and Albert blew my 10-year-old mind.

    1. I haven’t read much of Hama’s run, but at some point I should sit down and start reading through what’s Unlimited, even though I’m not that fond of Wolverine as a solo character (and think that as a member of the X-Men he was getting tired and uninteresting by this point — so I’m happy to hear that this marks his removal from UXM/XM for a while).

      This issue really was the best part of Fatal Attractions, at least for me. It’s amazing how much more appealing all that overwrought angst can seem when it’s done competently. Our hosts said that it would be nice if it were the end, and strangely enough, on Marvel Unlimited, it is: they have Wolverine #75 as the last issue of the crossover. I can confirm that this makes for a better reading experience, or at least that it did for me.

    2. A one episode run down summarizing Hama’s Wolverine run would be a completely insane episode, there are a few b plots from that run that I can’t wrap my brain around. I’m pretty sure there’s an editor’s note referencing a future issue due to time travel hijinks.

      It would be cool if Wolverine 90 was covered, since that’s when Logan comes back to the X-Men, and it’s relevant to the best/worst Sabretooth subplot ever.

      But let’s ignore issue 57, I’m still traumatized by it, but I did get it signed by Larry Hama.

  3. Getting into the CountZero Contextualizes Comics through Anime thing I occasionally bring up in the comments

    I’m pretty sure the issue of Wolverine is the one where Rogue or Quicksilver mention that they “faster than any fly-by-wire interface”, while she’s helping to bring in the Blackbird – and that line stuck with me, because later I watched Gundam Wing on Cartoon Network, and there’s a plot point in that series where Zechs Merquise, the show’s Char Clone, is talking to his mechanic about not being to get more performance from his Mobile Suit, and the mechanic says that the reason he’s feeling sluggish in the machine is that he’s reacting faster than the interface could respond – so he needs a better mobile suit (leading to him later stealing the Epyon and turning evil.)

    So, when I revisited that trade later and re-read that line, it threw me out of the issue, as now the speed of the character in question would be detriment rather than an asset in that situation.

  4. Some scattered thoughts:-

    – Good God, is Larry Hama better than anyone else writing these books! One particular touch is that he does the Fabian Nicieza thing of providing X-appropriate purple prose that verges on parodying Claremont. But Hama has put some thought into it. It’s disproportionately Charles Xavier that comes up with things like “the personal Ragnorak of a shattered soul”, and it’s part of an overall affected and hypereducated Latinate quality to Xavier’s dialogue — using a character’s voice consistently for characterization, an area in which there have been a number of lapses since Claremont left.

    Admittedly, Hama overdoes it a bit: one has the sense of of a Charles Xavier who would ask “Would you possess the capacity to direct me to the aisle assigned to the function of containing raisins, please?”

    But he also knows how to drop it strategically: “Aww, Charlie — don’t you think I know that?” The normal vocabulary hits me very hard because of the contrast with Logan’s over-the-top description of where he’s going just before. I don’t think it’s too fanciful to take this as revealing that the over-the-top stuff before was bluster, and was overdone precisely because Logan was talking to Xavier and adopting the same kind of language that Xavier uses.

    – reading Lobdell’s dialogue for Spoor seems to confirm it: Scott Lobdell thinks Banshee is Scottish.

    – “There are good guys like us, and bad guys”. Rachel, it’s more complex than that. You would know that if you were from a dark alternate future in which you were forced to do terrible things.

    – Kitty is oddly legalistic, with her talk of not being a “minor” any more. (I mean, who can forget the moment when they realized that, to their parents, they would always be a minor? “Damn it, Dad, I’ve attained the age of majority!”) Maybe Hama’s Charles Xavier dialogue has rubbed off on her.

    But it is, I think, textual evidence to support the idea that Lobdell consciously intends Kitty to have made a sudden age jump to be at least 18, to suit Jubilee replacing her as the “young” X-character, as part of reintegrating Kitty and Excalibur into the X-books. Or rather, integrating “Katherine” into the X-Books – having Xavier call her that was quite a nice touch.

    – Still trying not to be too hard on Scott Lobdell, I loved both the Kurt-Scott and Rachel-Jean conversations. The second (the more important for me) makes me quite sad to think that Rachel is shortly to be decisively killed off and will never recover as a character, even when the killing-off turns out not to be decisive after all. Even if I can’t help but be aware that there may be an element here of tying up Rachel’s dangling plot threads before killing her off, Lobdell is tying this one up very effectively.

    Kurt-Scott doesn’t have the same power for me, but it’s good stuff. Especially how Scott never says “Remember how once upon a time I was the experienced leader and you were in my team just starting out, and look — now we’re equals, and I know that even if you have doubts about yourself,” but that’s all there in the background.

    – And then Lobdell has to spoil it: “You’re having a baby, so you must be getting married.” Well, I suppose that I have to remember that things were different in the Silver Age and that the notion of a couple having a child without being married would not be something that you could get away with in 1963. It would, obviously, be different if this comic were written in, say, the ‘90s.

    – Also, I really dislike the whole “I was an atheist, Professor, but you taught me to believe” bit. I find it muddled. An atheist – and definitely a Communist! – is perfectly capable of “believing” in the sense that Colossus means, believing in the value of a cause — there’s no way that the concept would be as alien to him as this needs to be to make sense. Frankly, I think we’re dealing here with a shallow* Christian conception of atheism — it reminds me a *lot* of the default assumption of a minimal religious “faith” as a universal norm that I encountered when I moved to the US in the ‘90s (much less true today), the idea that without it, one would be some sort of alien being that would be unable to have values at all.

    Of course, I realize that the X-books were in a bind: Colossus’s past atheist beliefs were tied to a Soviet Union that no longer existed. But I think a tacit retcon was the way to go.

    *Before I offend someone, let me note that there are also deep Christian conceptions of atheism, and also that there is no shortage of shallow atheist conceptions of Christian and other religious belief.

    -“Gross, messy, and has double consonants!” (Checks pseudonym quickly. Double vowels. Whew!) But I thought Jay’s favorite X-character was Scott Summers?

    (Seriously, I did laugh out loud at the idea of “double consonants” possessing some inherently disgusting quality.)

    1. @Voord99, “using a character’s voice consistently for characterization, an area in which there have been a number of lapses since Claremont left.”

      Yes, completely agree! Claremont did such wonderful work with unique character voices. It’s why you can read a script of X-characters,no visual, and be able to tell them apart. Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Beast… To name a few, all have their own cadence.

      It’s why I think some characters will just never be as successful, as their voices were never fully developed. Havok, Polaris, Iceman, Dazzler, Psylocke… What is their voice??

  5. Might I imagine that Jay’s “Von Doom Paradox” power would be something akin to the one off Legion of Super-Heroes character Implicate Girl? That because of the uniqueness of the name, he’s linked to every other Edidin at a morphic resonance level, and would thus be able to manifest any talent that any of them possess, for a limited time?

    And since there would be a low level telepathic connection between them, Jay would always be aware of his position in relation to every other Edidin, providing a functional, if perhaps rather… specific sort of GPS?

    (I was already imagining Miles Stokes as being something of a cross between the Flash and a non-flying Cannonball, able to run at incredible speed, but redirecting the resulting friction heat into a fireball field around them)

    1. One could take a leaf from T. O. Morrow and exploit the senses-shattering power of abbreviation. J. Edidin > Jedi Din.

    2. Ultimate Doctor Doom was Victor Van Damme. Perhaps Jay is the multiversal inverse, and Earth 1610 Jay is Jay Editin(‘)?

  6. The only times I liked Jean (before Morrison) were those beautiful moments when she was an asshole to Rachel.

    So, for me, this Excalibur issue was a very sad one.

  7. I always assumed Unuscion was the offspring of Unus the Untouchable. But I don’t think there was ever, ever any mention of this. I mean her name is literally Unus-scion. Plus her powers were force-field based to a degree.

    Scion: 1. A young shoot or twig of a plant 2. A descendant of a notable family.

    1. Given Unus’ real name is Angelo Unuscione, I think the familial relationship is definite and she’s either his daughter or, probably less likely, sister.

  8. One more thing… Regarding the question about Kitty’s powers being fixed following the Mutant Massacre, there was an X-Men vs. Fantastic Four mini-series by Chris Claremont and John Bogdanove where the X-Men I believe go to Dr. Doom for a cure for Kitty’s ailment. Its been years since I’ve read it, but recall a lot of really nice character moments, plus beautiful art by Jon Bogdanove. Did you guys every cover this story in the podcast?


    1. Good memory! The X-Men do indeed go to Doom to fix Kitty’s post-Massacre gradual discorporation, and he’s successful along with Mr. Fantastic’s help – but after that, Kitty’s default state is still phased whenever she’s not concentrating, as shown in early Excalibur. At some point, she was able to again be default-solid, but I couldn’t find an explanation as to why…

    1. Wow. Congratulations! A good omen for 2019!

      (I mean, it’s Thor. Calling it a good omen seems like the sort of thing that one should do.)

  9. Re: Logan seeing Illyana as he’s heading toward “the light”:

    I can see why it would strike an odd note for readers b/c of their lack of relationship. For me, it always landed as a bit of dream logic — Logan’s dying mind is going surreal and free-associating and so the recency of Illyana’s death leads to him seeing her as he nears the end. Just one interpretation, and leans heavily on not believing that Logan is LITERALLY heading into purgatory/heaven/hell/whatever.

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