Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

255 – Rules of the Game

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

In which the Upstarts are the worst at Calvinball; Moonstar remains a non-mystery; Speedball gets a new costume; Shinobi Shaw never gets to finish a bath; Gamesmaster comes perilously close to getting context; Cable gets a new superpower; and Rahne Sinclair is too good for your crossover.


  • The time Husk went evil
  • An anniversary
  • A guest appearance
  • X-Force #32-33
  • New Warriors #45-46
  • A crossover
  • A game
  • Younghunt
  • The semi-debut of Paige Guthrie
  • Deeply uncomfortable bathing-suit choices
  • A toy that never actually existed
  • The New Warriors
  • Justice (Vance Astrovik)
  • Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor)
  • Nova (Rich Rider)
  • Silhouette (Sil Chord)
  • Kymaera
  • Speedball (Robbie Baldwin)
  • Rage (Elvin Haliday)
  • Firestar (Angelica Jones) (more) (again)
  • A plan
  • Bantam
  • A lot of mind control
  • A very ambiguous game and its potential implications
  • Favorite ads
  • The narrative economy of resurrection

NEXT EPISODE: Mullets of time & space!

Check out the visual companion to this episode on our blog!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy rad swag at our TeePublic shop!


  1. Regarding the Narnia series, there was a Eustace Scrubb in several of the books (Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Silver Chair, and Last Battle). He was Edmund and Lucy’s cousin. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

  2. Miles is right on Eustace. He’s a cousin of the OG Narnia kids who’s kind of a jerk and gets drawn into Narnia in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He learns Important Lessons, and is much nicer when he shows up in the last two books.

    Voyage is also the book where I realized the Christian allegory thing, because at the end Aslan shows up in the form of a lamb and tells Lucy and Edmund that they’re too old for Narnia, but that he’s around in their world too but there he looks like this.

    1. The name is in the first line of the book, which is one of the better opening lines in literature: “His name was Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

    2. Yep. Eustace appears in three books that I can recall, starting out as a self-centered brat and then maturing. At his worst he’s almost certainly more annoying than Edmund was at his, but mostly in that child that needs to grow up a bit vein.

  3. – I love the Fenris twins outfits SO MUCH it’s a shame they’re too awful for even me to like. And I love Fabian Cortez and Shinobi Shaw. Speaking of Fabian and Shinobi, I feel like all the other Upstarts just refuse to sit next to the twins at meetings.

    – Namorita is the clone/”daughter’ of Namora, Namor’s cousin 🙂

    – Eustace was in third Narnia books, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader! He’s also a jerk kid. Like Edmund 2.0.

    – I really wish “Shinobi Shaw keeps getting attacked in the bath by X-Men” became a longer-running theme. Love the David Wynne drawing! AND THE SEXY SHINOBI SHAW VOICE LOL

    – Yeah, I’m cool with minor villains just popping back from the dead for no reason. Bigger characters feel like they need at least a token explanation though. But also in stuff like Pyro, when their death MEANT something, I think they should be allowed to either let lie, or if they’re brought back it also has to be important, because it doesn’t make sense for him to just come back as a jobber baddy all over again.

  4. Hey, unofficial Wolverine/Larry Hama fan club checking in.

    Darick Robertson & Fabian Nicieza did a fill in issue in Wolverine 54, Shatterstar’s in it, but not the rest of X-Force. I looked through the issue and Robertson is using a style closer to his normal style, with more realistic proportions, instead of the “90’s Xtreme” style that he used in NW.

    As far as, randomly bringing back characters. The way that Cylla died in Wolverine 78 was epic, and I was pissed off that she came back in The Hunt for Wolverine. SPOILER WARNING FOR A COMIC THAT CAME OUT IN ’92: With the part that Cylla played in Mariko’s death, I think she got what she deserved in issue 78 and should have stayed dead.

    With original Pyro showing up, I’m wondering if it was an art mistake and the script didn’t specify to use Pyro 2.

    Okay, back to your non-Wolverine/Narnia discussion.

  5. Reading this made me quite sad, because it means that I’ve read the last Fabian Nicieza New Warriors on Marvel Unlimited, and have to wait to see when they will put up more (not that there are all that many more issues — the day when I have read all of it looms).

    I was struck by how Nicieza’s attitude in his interview to the three books that he was writing at this time: X-Men was where he was unhappy, but doing his best with stuff that wasn’t what he wanted to do, X-Force was where he was writing diligently to a good pitch that wasn’t his own, and New Warriors was the best work he’d ever done. Not sure about the last – Nicieza’s done other good stuff – but I think it’s clearly better than X-Force, which in turn is clearly better than X-Men. Which matches very closely to his experience writing them. In particular, I’d say that Nicieza’s unhappiness with writing X-Men might even come across in the tone of the book.

    On that note, Namorita as written by Fabian Nicieza in New Warriors is an excellent character, one of the most compelling characters in the book (which is a high bar). Prior to that, not so much. Or at least, I don’t think so. I haven’t read all of her earlier appearances, which I think go back to the early ‘70s, but those that I have read don’t come close to what she became.

    Also, while I haven’t read the preceding issues of New Warriors, Dwayne having Vance not tell anyone what he was doing is entirely in character. Night Thrasher may by some bizarre alchemy be more than “shameless Batman clone, but African-American with a skateboard, with one of the worst names in comics.” But at the the end of the day, “shameless Batman clone” is irrepressible, even if overall the character is a remarkable example of the triumph of (Nicieza’s) execution over (DeFalco’s) concept.

  6. X-Force and the New Warriors had also done a sort of crossover story a couple of years before this one, in a story “Who Mourns the Hellions” (New Warriors 31) where Firestar, Warpath Empath and Magma reunite to mourn the recent deaths of the Hellions over in X-Men.

    Namorita originally thought she was the child of Namora, Namor’s first cousin and grew up with that belief, but it turns out she’s a clone of Namora. Her clone nature going a bit awry (amidst other comic “stuff”) eventually led to her developing the blue skin of older Atlanteans and she chose the name Kymaera instead.

    I never think of the New Warriors as being all twenty somethings. Speedball is a senior in High School by this point I think, but his Speedball form is much taller and his voice is all echo distorted because of his powers that no one realises this until he chooses to switch back to his non-powered self quite a while into the book.

    Rage is also an odd case, given that despite his size, he’s only thirteen. His powers come from exposure to toxic waste which basically made him grow mach larger and superhumanly strong/invulnerable and basically made him look like and adult. He applied to join the Avengers, and they let him join until such time as they discovered his real age and fired him.

    The original Vance Astro was also the founding member of the original “Guardians of the Galaxy” a millenium in the future (Any present day GotG group is technically a retcon). It was his idea for his fellow prisoners (Yondu, Martinex, Nikki, Charlie-27 and Starhawk) to join forces to fight the Badoon, who had wiped out pretty much the entirety of their respective species.

    The older Vance who came back and talked his younger self out of choosing the timeline he was from (and also keep using his full surname Astrovik), also awakened his telekinetic powers years earlier, and after running away from home because his Dad was abusive because Vance was now “different”, Vance spent a good deal of time with the Thing as a junior pro wrestler before returning to his family. Then there was the accidental manslaughter of his father (In a story which examined some of the MU’s laws regarding abuse of superpowers) and the prison sentence.

    Sorry, not relevant, but I find the New Warriors fascinating characters.

  7. Just got caught up on the last 3 weeks of the podcast and I finally have a question for you two that I think is worth submitting! Do comics need to get publisher/artist clearance to use song lyrics in their books (a la “One” by U2 and Jean and Scott’s wedding)? This has been bothering me for about 10 years, ever since an issue of the Kyle/Yost X-Force series had a scene where Warpath was listening to “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails (or possibly the Johnny Cash cover) in his car.

  8. In response to Jay and Miles comments about Richard Ryder/Nova – while he doesn’t ride, but as a member of the Nova Corps, he does Regulate.

    Also, Speedball’s new costume is way better than the new costume Speedball gets in Civil War.

    1. We do not discuss what happened to Speedball between Civil War and…roughly the start of New Warriors v…4? It’s not a pretty subject (not even a particularly well written one)

  9. I can’t seem to find the Karma handwaive anywhere…can someone tell me what it is? (I.e. Claremont’s explanation for her costume)

  10. My personal favorite comic book ad is a truly bizarre one that seemed ubiquitous in Silver Age Marvel mags: “GROG GROWS OWN TAIL”, which advertises a little plastic dinosaur that supposedly grows a “beautiful shade tree” out of its tail stump but in fact seemed to be a crappy sub-Chia pet.

    My second favorite is a bright red ad that pops up in a ton of ’70s comics for karate lessons from “the world’s deadliest man”, Count Danté. Every time I see it, I can’t help but whisper, “Oh shit, it’s Count Danté!”

  11. Guys. Guys. Guys.

    Is Muppet Babies Sabretooth the one who ate Grover in The Monster At The End Of This Comic?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *