Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

238 – Meet Them Where They Are

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

In which X-Force is the new New Mutants; Professor is what Cable has instead of a burn book; Cable develops emotional literacy; Jay has a lot of feelings about Shatterstar; Cowboys can be wizards, too; you really shouldn’t call adult people “child”; privilege is truly the greatest superpower; Cameron Hodge remains improbably difficult to kill; Candy Southern gets to write the ending to her own story; and Emerald City Comic Con is coming up REALLY fast!

  • Jay & Miles at Emerald City Comic Con
  • Some new merch
  • X-Force #26
  • Uncanny X-Men #305-306
  • The evolution of Tabitha Smith’s code name
  • X-Force and its members (more) (again)
  • Professor’s narrative function
  • A sudden mustache and its potential implications
  • A lot of things about Shatterstar
  • Cable as a leader
  • Armor full of skin
  • Louis St. Croix and/or Mark Twain
  • An inappropriate nickname
  • The first Xavier school prom
  • Inflatable erotic accessory semantics
  • The return of Candy Southern
  • The return of Cameron Hodge
  • Moral event horizons and how to handle them in comics
  • Pros and cons of dating telepaths

NEXT EPISODE: A Maximoffstravaganza, feat. Max Carleton

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  1. If they ever do a “Spiderverse” type animated movie for X-Men, Cameron Hodge would make and excellent villain for it.

      1. Well, he did show up in Phalanx form in the “Warlock” episode of the X-Men cartoon, so it might not be a new nightmare, so much as a repressed one resurfacing?

        I’m… not helping, am I?

        1. I’m thinking now about what interesting things animation could do with the light from Cyclops’ optic blasts and Storm’s lightning reflected in Hodge’s glasses. It’s an oddly specific reason to want an animated Hodge, but now I want one.

  2. I think it’s important that in Bishop’s eyes, he was the hero of the story. And to everyone except Cable and Hope it never happened and never will. That’s not to say everyone should forgive him, but it would be a lot easier to do if they felt that way. I mean, a lot of them share a house with Wolverine, who once happily time-travel murdered Henry Pym.

    I don’t think the story should be swept under the carpet, or retconned. It’d be really interesting if he developed PTSD, even while maintaining that he was right. That’s a common problem with soldiers, after all.

  3. Well, if he’s Sam Clemens, wouldn’t he also be Hal Holbrook?

    Also, Jay and Miles, I want to thank you both for leading me to have to stifle amused laughter at work that would in turn lead to questions.

  4. What were the odds that you two were going to cover issues that I really liked to copy the artwork out of in the same episode? Not sure how many times I tried to redraw bubble-tape-Rouge, but couldn’t get the perspective right…

  5. I’ve said it on the discord, I’ll say it on here, Cameron Hodge is a Taylor Swift song turned into a person.

    And Candy super-went out like a chump back in X-Factor (I can’t wait until Hub & Cory get to the New Defenders issues, Candy was awesome in that book) and I’m pissed she’s still dead, but at least in this issue she got a *good* death.

  6. Scattered thoughts:

    – OK, so you have an Irish character to whom you have basically given no character development for two years, aside from “She has an accent.” So finally, you get around to remembering that this Irish person is part of your cast, and you decide to give her a storyline.

    So you make this Irish character an alcoholic.


    I’m not going to pretend that this particular piece of offensive negative stereotyping is an enormous deal to me. Irishness is no longer a particularly marginalized or underprivileged category (although it was, not too long ago, and the stereotype of the “drunk Irishman” was central to that). But, look, this is an X-book: if it’s going to be praised for being sensitive about these things, it’s important to call it out when it trades in things like, well, this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Nast#/media/File%3ATheUsualIrishWayofDoingThings.jpg.

    Irish culture does have its problems with alcohol – this is not something that can be denied, although it’s a place that, bluntly, you shouldn’t go without familiarizing yourself with the history of economic deprivation and national trauma that’s responsible for it. (Prior to the Famine, Irish alcohol consumption was very high by modern standards, but comparable to that in Britain and the United States at the time. It’s in the decades following the Famine that Irish drinking culture took its modern shape. Oddly enough, having one-third of your population die of starvation and another third be forced to emigrate, while – except in Ulster – you miss out on the industrialization that transforms your neighbour to the east — this has effects.)

    The country does have the highest per capita alcohol consumption in Europe; rates of depression and alcoholism are disproportionately high. But if your immediate default image of an Irish person is an out-of-control drunk like Theresa is portrayed as being here, you are doing something that is not as bad as if your immediate default image of an African-American is an ex-con, but is the same sort of bad thing: you are taking something that is indeed disproportionately true of the group in question compared to other groups, but is still only true of a minority. The alcoholism rate in Ireland is about 7% of the population: high, but still less than 9 in 10.

    This would not bother me as much in an Irish cultural product for an Irish audience (which I suspect would be more sensitive to issues such as the way in which “stand your round” culture produces excessively heavy social drinking, which is a much more widespread problem in Ireland than the kind of solitary drinking depicted here). But it bothers me more in an American cultural product engaged in an exoticizing depiction of Irishness for an American audience.

    Does it bother me as much as the more familiar stereotype of Irishness in Marvel comics from this period, that absolutely everyone is connected in some way with terrorism? Not as much in some ways (I mean, it’s not morally as bad). But in others more: I know that “All Irish people are somehow involved with the IRA” came out of an arrogant but well-meaning attempt to be sympathetic while not having a clue that, in fact, most Irish people didn’t support the IRA and that the Northern Irish conflict was not a conflict between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. (And to be fair, the complexities of Northern Ireland genuinely were and are very complex indeed.)

    This, on the other hand, is rooted in 19th-century Know-Nothing [expletive deleted]. Nicieza should have known better, and it gives me very little hope for his handling of Siryn as a character going forward.

    – On a brighter note (well, not much brighter, but dark in a good way), I do like that, if Lobdell is going to pursue his “Absolutely everything is about Charles [expletive deleted] Xavier” agenda, he is at least exploring how very, very creepy it would be to have anything to do with him. For the rest of your life, you could never know if anything you thought, felt, or decided was not something that he’d placed there. If you trusted that he wouldn’t do that — maybe he placed that trust in your head.

    – On the other hand, the morality that Lobdell gives to Storm is completely messed-up. “I’ll kill for you, but I won’t steal for you.” In what world is killing people OK, but stealing from them isn’t? Especially since the particular act of stealing is a minor piece of industrial espionage in service of an altruistic end, and the harm that it would cause to any actual victims is very small and dispersed.

    I can’t help but feel that Lobdell is insinuating a rather right-wing point of view here, that stealing is terribly, terribly wrong, and only Evil Commies would think otherwise, and that Storm’s background as a thief is something of which she should be profoundly ashamed and from which she desperately needs to be redeemed. (Which is not how Claremont saw it, I think.)

    But come on: even by the rightiest of right-wing points of view, this is is taking the profound sanctity of property rights a bit far.

    – Jean, if you’re shielding someone from a “tremendous” amount of pain, you don’t need the adjective when you’re telling them to do it. They already know how much pain they were feeling.

    1. Quick* correction, or correction: when I wrote this, I had in my head the idea that Storm at least implied that she was OK with killing. Checking the comic, she doesn’t — I think the ‘90s was getting to me. It’s possible that Lobdell is taking conventional superhero stuff here for granted, and is assuming that it can be taken as read that by “fighting” Storm means something which will never cause permanent harm.

      I think the basic point is still valid, because relatively harmless property crime is being regarded as utterly beyond the Pale in comparison to inflicting violence on another person. But it’s not as extreme as I made it out to be.

  7. I should also thank you both for the analysis of the Shatterstar and Cable TV watching scene in terms of autistic behaviour and accommodation. For some reason I do remember the scene, but this added a layer to it I hadn’t considered before.

  8. Reading these books at the time, I totally understood the “anatomically correct” comment. As a guy who grew up with very few female friends, all we guys had a crush on the girl in the group because she was the girl in the group. That’s the feeling I got when Warren said that, and I completely know that feel bro…

    1. Epiphany:
      Earth 1298 (Mutant X)
      The only Cyclops that is well adjusted.
      Also the only Cyclops not raised by and hooking up with telepaths. Coincidence?

      1. Flipping this around, there’s also the question of why telepaths find Scott Summers so attractive. My speculation would be that constant emotional repression is the psychic equivalent of spending a lot of time in the gym. “Look at the defense mechanisms on that guy!”

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