256 – Mullets of Time and Space

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

In which you raised a lot of money for Trans Lifeline; we continue to miss Alan Davis; Rory Campbell should not be narrating a climactic event; Daytripper needs to dial up her eldritch patter; the universe is dubiously self-correcting; Britannic is not nearly weird enough; and we have ongoing concerns about the anatomy of incarnate concepts.

X-PLAINED:

  • The X-Men of Earth-77995
  • Excalibur #75-77
  • Daytripper
  • A somewhat pointless sacrifice
  • Rough times in the timestream
  • Britannic
  • X-theology
  • D’Spayre’s butt
  • The rest of D’Spayre
  • Margali Szardos
  • The blood-brain barrier
  • Acrobatic flirtation
  • The Winding Way
  • Stark emptiness
  • A shocking possible resurrection
  • Major X
  • Essential characters

NEXT EPISODE: The Adventures of Rachel Summers in the 37th Century!

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16 comments

  1. Ggodo says:

    Wait wait wait. . .

    Brian came back as these guys? http://www.britanick.com/

    Wierd flex, but OK.

  2. RaikoLives says:

    I really hope Lobdell wasn’t referencing that Beatles song, cos it’s not really a flattering term.

    D’Spayre was in Cloak & Dagger’s second season, out of interest. I know the show isn’t objectively fantastic, but I like it, and their version of D’Spayre was pretty good.

    It’s amazing to think that you guys (and us, I suppose) have made it THIS FAR into the X-Men’s publishing history, but also to then realise that progress is going to get slower, and slower, as more and more books join the line. I’m guessing there’s plans to cover Generation-X, for example, and Mutant-X when that replaces X-Factor. But they just keep coming! You’ll only be able to cycle round to a book every two months! … I wouldn’t want to be on this ride with anyone else. ^_^

    • Icon_UK says:

      I don’t see how it could be anything other than the Beatles reference to be honest. Since both their primary abilities are teleportation (albeit via different means), Night-crawler vs Day-tripper seems an apt comparison.

      BTW Is it that unflattering a term? Lennon said it was meant to mean a “part time hippie”, someone who dabbled in the concept. but didn’t commit. Given Amanda DOES have a fairly casual approach to magic it seems, and that Kurt’s name is a term for a nocturnal species of earthworm (and a purely American term at that so why a German circus would pick up on it is anyone’s guess) I think he wins the “Most unpleasant codename derivation” of the team.

    • John Derrick says:

      I’m glad someone else made the Cloak & Dagger connection! Though I would argue the show IS objectively fantastic. (Except for the general fact that all art is subjective, mileage varies, etc.) I love its mix of superhero adjacent action, teen angst, social justice, and psychological metaphors. It also uses music on a level right up there with Black Panther, Into the Spiderverse, and Runaways.

    • John Derrick says:

      I love the Cloak and Dagger show – and for a lot of the same reasons I love the X-Men, actually. I find it a really compelling and beautifully constructed mix of character drama, social justice, and superhero adjacent action. The use of music is also right up there with Black Panther, Into the Spiderverse, and Runaways.

      Glad somebody else caught the D’Spayre connection!

      • John Derrick says:

        Sorry for the double post everyone! I was having a technical issue and it looked like my first attempt had not gone through.

  3. Icon_UK says:

    Since Kurt has, as a minor aspect of his powers, the ability to cling to walls, for climbing and walking sideways along walls etc, I’d suggest that his hospital gown isn’t flapping open because he’s willing it to adhere to his skin (He’s a flirt, not an exhibitionist)

    Such a low-level, possibly subconscious, telekinetic ability being common among mutants would explain a LOT of otherwise wildly improbable and potentially unfortunate costume choices.

    • Voord 99 says:

      That… that is the most ‘90s No-Prize ever. So many panels of costumes torn in exactly those places explained.

  4. Evilgus says:

    At the time, I actually really enjoyed this issue. It was just so tragic for Rachel – she was so close to being happy! I almost do wish Scott and Jean had a “Rachel” in this timeline, to close the loop.

    I understand why she has to go – they were writing out time stream characters apart from Bishop in preparation for Age if Apocalypse, and at this stage Rachel is really a tertiary and confusing character at best… But it’s still a shame. Especially as ‘Brittanic’ is an abomination of a concept. And man, Ken Lashley’s art here is so workman-like.

    And it’s a shame we never got the Rory/Rachel romance we deserved! 😉

    Separately…
    Doesn’t Kurt get shadowy when he clings to walls anyway? So never mind how much clothes he’s got on, you can’t see him 🙂

    • Icon_UK says:

      Kurt fades out when he’s in shadow, regardless of whether he’s crawling on walls or not and, more importantly, if the writer/artists actually remember that that’s one of his pwoers.

  5. Matt says:

    I have been dreading this episode for awhile now. I hate Excalibur #75, like viscerally hate it. I also really owe it for getting me back into comics. I’ll try to keep the storytime short, but I have a lot of personal history with this comic.

    I was one of those kids that found the X-Men via the ’90s animated series. I started collecting the actual comics themselves during the Phalanx Covenant, but those weren’t the first X-Men comics that I read. My uncle was a long-time comics fan and he had left some old Uncanny issues from the 80s lying around in my grandmother’s basement. They were from the 190s-early 200s, the peak era of Rachel Summers era of the book. One of the first issues I read was the one where she broke into her grandparents’ house and absorbed the Phoenix Force. I was a very fast fan of the character.

    Now, by the time I started reading comics she was already gone and killed off in the name of giving Cable more backstory and I wouldn’t actually read her full run on the X-Men or much older Excalibur until much later. I still really loved the character, though, and I really resented how thoroughly she was discarded. She wasn’t just lost in time; we saw her die as an old woman. That’s about as thorough a “she’s gone and never coming back” as you can get. And during the period where I read the books she really was gone. The only new comic I remember her appearing in was one of the -1 gimmick issues. It felt like such a terrible waste of a good character.

    Ironically, if it weren’t for Excalibur #75, I would probably have never come back to reading comics. My LCS was one of those “gone overnight” casualties of the speculator bubble bursting and the only other reliable comic store in town burned down in a failed attempt at insurance fraud around the same time. This was during the era where Alan Davis was just scripting editorial mandates, so I pretty much walked away with no regrets. I randomly checked in with some websites a few years later to see what had been going on and it happened to coincide with Claremont’s re-return to Uncanny X-Men with Rachel Summers dug back out of obscurity and rocking a highly questionable costume. That’s all it took to bring me back and I’ve been reading again ever since (and listening to a relevant podcast for the last few years, to boot).

    tl;dr Excalibur #75 can jump into a paper shredder, but Rachel coming back years later brought me back, too.

    • Voord 99 says:

      Agreed. In my case it’s being happy that none of this is on Unlimited, so I can’t read Excalibur #75 now, and I doubt I ever will get round to it.

      I’ve said this before, but although Rachel was brought back, I don’t think she ever really recovered as a character. Things have been done with her, but she’s always pulled back to the margins, a character who’s there, but has no real continuous thread of story after this point. The extreme case was Avengers vs. X-Men, where her history with the Phoenix was treated as almost completely immaterial to a story that turned on the Phoenix.

      I don’t think that’s entirely because of Rachel being killed off at this point — a lot of it is because Excalibur has mostly been allowed to drift out of collective memory —, but it was the final nail in the coffin.

      Rachel is still waiting for the writer who can realize her potential a second time: she is perhaps the single character best suited to be at the center of the X-books After Magneto, she is the character most viscerally affected by the issues wrapped up in the mutant metaphor, she has *literal* family ties that put her at the center of the web of relationships, not to mention her relationship with Kitty.

      It is also really annoying to me that Rachel never had a proper first meeting and extended conversation with Cable (a character whom our hosts have persuaded me to like), and that all the potential interest of that conversation between two characters with parallel histories of *equal* weight was wasted by subordinating her to Cable’s backstory as a way of writing her out.

  6. James says:

    I was thinking D’Spayre had appeared in Cable just before this issue but it turns out my memory was wrong and this came out first. Excalibur was April 1994 and the Cable issue was September 1994. I was buying both books off the spinner racks somewhat irregularly so it’s very possible that the order I had read them.

    Weird he gets used in peripheral X-Books so close together. Oddly I think Cable in this era also has a feels like a fill-in even when it’s not. And D’Spayre is very much a fill-in/plug and play villain.

  7. Voord 99 says:

    Having listened to about half of the podcast:-

    I haven’t read these issues, specifically Excalibur #75, so I may have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

    But do I have this right? Brian Braddock is *forcing* Rachel to become lost in time so that he can return, despite her pleading with him not to do this. And the art presents this in body-horror terms of personal violation, with parts of his body invading and taking over hers. (And a side-effect is that Meggan is compelled to reshape herself with the implication that it’s to make herself sexually available to Brian?)

    If so, surely any question of who’s more valuable to keep around is beside the point. Rachel shouldn’t sacrifice herself for the sake of Brian Braddock, because Brian Braddock has become the sort of person who will force this upon someone else — enough in itself even if it hadn’t been presented in such a disturbing way.

    It would obviously be different if this was presented as something that was happening without Brian choosing it. But as it is, he doesn’t deserve it, and the only reason to do it would be because it would be wrong to leave this person at large to roam around the timeline.

    I’m already not happy with the effects this had on Rachel, who is one of my favorite X-characters. But I’d also spare a thought for Brian. Buffoonish, arrogant, hotheaded: those are one thing. But symbolic rapist? That’s an astonishing piece of character assassination.

  8. Mark says:

    Yeah, this is terrible and dumb. If they had to write out Rachel, there are other ways they could’ve done it. Have Scott & Jean conceive a kid and have THAT event overwrite Rachel in this timeline. (Still awful, but it makes more sense then Brian replacing Rachel … because?)

  9. Icon_UK says:

    Yet another issue with the Rachel/Brian swap is that it doesn’t feel like a fair trade-off in terms of cosmic balance.

    Rachel isn’t just a person, or a mutant, she’s the avatar of one of the most powerful cosmic forces in the Marvel universe; the Phoenix Force.

    It may be dormant, but it’s something that can go toe-to-toe with Galactus and so you have to think that it makes a bit of a dent in causality.

    So when Rachel goes into the timestream, the present day MU is what? Just left without a Phoenix Force? That sounds like a bad idea on general principle.

    Actually, that’s a question, when was it next seen in the MU after Rachel left?

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