Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

237 – X-Treme

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

In which there is only one Big Pine Key; Empyrean is actually a pretty sensible dude; the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are ride-or-die; you should probably avoid setting X-Men stories in Phoenix, Arizona; Adam X the X-Treme is the Longshot of the 1990s; Miles adopts a ship; heteronormativity is why we can’t have nice things; and you should really seriously come see us at ECCC!


  • Why Nate Grey is Like That
  • X-Men Annual #2
  • X-Force Annual #2
  • The worst book Aron Wisenfeld ever drew
  • Big Pine Key
  • Empyrean
  • Jonathan Chambers
  • A very fancy bathrobe
  • What’s going on in Psylocke’s head
  • Pallative care for late-stage Legacy virus patients
  • Revanche’s fairly bleak legacy
  • X-Men: Time Gliders
  • How to dress to discuss Adam X the X-Treme
  • Adam X the X-Treme
  • Personal lettering styles
  • Michelle
  • Flashing, but not like that
  • Martin Strong
  • Miles’s new ship
  • Subtext vs. canon
  • Heteronormativity
  • X-Crayons

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  1. When I first heard about Adam X, I misheard his name as Adam X and the X-Tremes, so now every time I see him I’m just a little disappointed that he isn’t the lead singer for a pop-punk/rap metal band who are also superheroes.

  2. DC Comics, during their annual this year, had the same gimmick of introducing new characters as part of their Bloodlines stories. In their Legio. of Superheroes, they created the character Jamm who is like X-Treme and creepy Teenage Bart Simpson were screwed up in a teleportation accident. His main power was to convince superheroines to take off their tops. CBR did a brilliant overview of the character here:


    1. I feel like the most interesting parallel is that each company got one idea good enough to generate a sixty-issue run of cult-beloved stories by a writer with some iffy opinions (Hitnan for DC and Genis-Vell for Marvel)

  3. Claremont did put Kitty’s queerness into text… Once. Kind of.
    There’s a scene in the Mekanix mini between Kitty and Karma written as a typical meet cute – they somehow fall on top of each other, there’s a moment of connection and an awkward transition to whatever the plot actually was. And it can’t be read as anything other then a scene where the characters realize their mutual attraction, because it’s supported by narration about ‘what could happen between them’ if they weren’ running for their life or something. (Sorry, I’m going from memory here).

    Obviously, this isn’t a scene where Kitty actually comes out, but I remember that narration didn’t leave wiggle room. I think? Maybe.

    But whatever could have happened between them, didn’t. This went nowhere and even Claremont himself didn’t revisit that subplot despite quite a few occasions. And of course nobody else mentioned it anywhere, but that’s unfortunately to be expected, because, well… nothing Claremont wrote in the 21st century mattered to any of the other x-writers…

    (I wrote it as an off-hand comment, but now that I think about it… Sage curing Gambit’s blindness might be Claremont’s last actual contribiution to other writers’ stories. He obviously wrote stories where important things happened, but it seems to me they were only important to other Claremont’s stories, and other writers largely ignored them).

    …I might have gone slighty off-topic. I mean, I definitely have.

    1. This did get followed up a couple of times, albeit not in a way that led anywhere. In the subsequent New Mutants series, Karma was subletting Kitty’s apartment, and said something about how she’d thought there might be something between them, but Kitty wasn’t up for it (without naming her). After Kitty was shot into space in Whedon’s run, Karma was upset and snapped at one of her siblings for asking about “Aunt Kitty”.

      I can relate to the frustration about fans that won’t accept same-sex relationships that aren’t overtly textual. Back in the Usenet days, I maintained the Legion of Super-Heroes FAQ, which included a section on the relationship between Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet, which was pretty clear but not explicitly stated in the comic itself. The need to have a FAQ section on their relationship demonstrates how much denial some fans were in.

  4. Whoo, Empyrean! I love little-knowns from the 90s and Empyrean is one of my low-key faves! Glad he got included in this!

    Yeah, he came off a LOT better in this issue than it seems like he was supposed to. He’s much more of a dick in the Time Gliders miniseries (which I have indeed read!) as you said, but to be honest, I like him more here, not because he’s a better person but because the concept is so much more INTERESTING, as you guys also point out.

    I really hated that Kwannon died in Betsy’s body, it basically felt like a way to make sure the bodyswap had to stick, and it basically meant she was created just to give Betsy said body and then die. Which is, as has been discussed here many times, problematic as fuck.

    I reckon the Legacy boils are meant to further evoke AIDS, since one of the symptoms of AIDS is lesions. I think the AIDS metaphor is hit really hard here especially with Avalanche and Pyro, it really came off as one partner visiting a convalescing lover, complete with Blob’s joke about them kissing and Chambers/Empyrean (I know it’s technically not his codename but I call him that) basically calling him a homophobe for it. I’m not saying Avalanche and Pyro were queer or in a same-sex relationship, but that they were used to represent that in this specific issue.

  5. I think I thought, because of his powers and the lack of anything similar with Illyana (who admittedly didn’t have her powers when she died) that the physical signs of the Legacy Virus which Pyro displayed were not so much boils, as burns with blisters, as his own power started to consume him.

  6. Amazing to see how successful many of X-Force’s artist have gone on to become superstars. Greg Capullo, Tony Daniel, Jim Cheung…. Tony Daniel’s art brought me back to X-Force after a pause in my collecting. He brought a great energy once he got the ball rolling as the series regular. By the time he left, he was doing STELLAR work. His run brought Dani Moonstar back on the team! Ironically, these guys (Capullo, Daniel, Cheung) are all real heavy weights over at the Distinguished Competition.

  7. Even though Shatterstar & Rictor have been my OTP since long before they were made canon, I’m loving the ship between Shatterstar and Adam-X. Thanks for doing this podcast, it really is a delight to listen to you both go in on the X-Universe

        1. Quick question: would you say there’s an issue that it really clicked for you? I remember reading the first arc and very much feeling, “I’m super happy this exists, but I may not be the target age audience.” Mainly curious if there’s a point at which I should read to if I give it another shot (Which I keep wanting to)

          1. Lockjaw’s in the second volume, and Loki’s in the third (and he’s almost as much fun in that one as in Squirrel Girl.) The run bogs down a bit as the book gets pulled into Marvel’s crossovers, but doesn’t everything? I’d try reading through #19, because the lead-up to Secret Wars is actually pretty sweet.

            I’m not the target age either, but the book’s such a delight it doesn’t matter. Jay’s on the money with regards to Ms. Marvel’s significance; it’s arguably worth reading just so in 20 years you can say you were there when this character got started.

          2. I’m 60 in a couple of months. I haven’t enjoyed a run of a teenage superhero this much since OG Spider-Man. I started reading that when I was seven, so I wouldn’t claim any degree of objectivity about the first 100 issues of that series. If it’s not for you, it would make a great gift for a young person curious about superhero comics.

  8. It’s fascinating to see the warmth for Adam-X here — he was just about the last straw for me as an X-Men reader and I dropped the title for a decade shortly after this. (Though I came back for Age of Apocalypse.) It really never occurred to me that *anybody* liked him.

    Everybody views art through the lens of their own experiences, and when he debuted — I was in my early 20s — I was reflexively repulsed by anything that seemed like youth-demographic marketing. Maybe it was the backwards hat, but this guy just seemed like Poochie the Dog with swords.

    (For similar reasons, Transformers will never be cool to me, because they arrived just as I’d aged out of the target market; they’ll always be the toys that little kids played with. I have fond memories of Micronauts toys, though, so they’re always cool.)

    1. I’m about the same age, but I had given up superheroes by this point, and so missed out on Adam-X the X-Treme, with the result that I found out about him a decade after his creation. Which gives him an appeal to me — he is so over-the-top that he seems like some fascinating artifact of a strange and bygone past.

      I will be curious to see how his dialogue develops though. It’s markedly inconsistent: sometimes he speaks in ridiculous X-Force macho posturing which is clearly meant to be Badass and Kewl, but then he says things that make him sound like an outraged Victorian matron (“How presumptuous! How conceited!”). I am genuinely interested in finding out whether this is meant to be a character feature or not.

  9. I still think more could have been explored with the bodyswap dynamic between Psylocke and Revanche. Hey, it could have ended up in a neat Stepford Cuckoo style one mind two bodies thing. Lots of mileage there.

    I’m also pretty certain the Revanche body was killed off just to tidy up the mess… But has that ever been explicitly said by the authors or editorial of the time?

  10. The Phoenix thing…yup. Every time in Phoenix, I usually end up with some variation of “I must be Scott Summers on a mesa, cause I’m in Phoenix!” Though with the marathon this year, it was instead, “I must be Kitty Pryde’s tongue, cause I’m running all over Phoenix!”

    ….I’ll see myself out.

  11. The oddity that I think our hosts have commented on about the Legacy Virus, that it is apparently transmitted by plot mechanic, gets very noticeable in these issues. I’m trying to sort through how problematic that is for its status as AIDS metaphor, and I’m not sure.

    But it plays merry hell with my ability to take any of the medical-thriller-esque conferences in labs seriously, when the characters are not interested in the first question that people ask about a disease.

  12. I may have mentioned it before, but the events of M-Day being mitigated by Dr Strange casting a spell to try and ward off Wanda’s effect is canon, and may be indicative of why so many X-Men kept their powers, because they’re the ones that Strange is most likely to remember well enough to specifically protect.

    “There’s the one with the wings… Cyclops… Storm… the hairy one with the feet… the one with the claws… crap who’s the one with the sparkly firework-y things? Oh no matter… Rocket butt kid… Magneto… Is the kid who does languages even alive? The girl who walks through walls, German teleporter guy… By the Vishanti this is hard….”

  13. I had originally thought that listening to this podcast would get me reading the periods of X-Men I had skipped out on. Apart from looking up an odd issue or image, this has not happened. There’s a lot of this I find more fun to listen to you talk about than read myself. However, since I had no other visual reference, I found myself picturing Mr Strong as being the Roger Hargreaves character. I will skip the visual companion for this episode to support my living my best life.

  14. I’d think blood ought to be at least as conductive as water, which is a pretty good conductor, so … maybe?

    1. Pure water is a very bad conductor in and of itself, but the ionic compounds it’s so good at dissolving ARE good conductors.

      Blood IS a decent conductor because it does contain lots of ionic compounds (but not because of the iron, that’s not in a conductive form)

  15. I was going to wait until I was caught up with your timeline to comment but I had to make an exception for this episode specifically because it made mention of my personal favorite npc I’ve used in marvel based ttrpgs that I’ve run, Magento the Master of Magentism.

    In my games he’s a down on his luck small time villain who often ends up being escalated as a much bigger deal than he is due to confusion about his name. He is a mutant with the ability to manipulate anything magenta. He resents Magneto for ruining his image.

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