Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

257 – The Adventures of Rachel Summers in the 37th Century

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

In which Rachel Summers’ continuity somehow becomes even more complicated; X-Men: Phoenix is pretty much a Star Wars (minus the stars); cultural appropriation remains a problem in the distant future; we are surprisingly into the origins of the Askani; and you should totally come see us at FlameCon!


  • Several Rachels Summers who may or may not actually be the same Rachel Summers
  • Time, somewhat
  • Gaunt
  • Jay & Miles at FlameCon 2019
  • X-Men: Phoenix #1-3
  • Bird stuff
  • What happened after Rachel got sucked into the timestream
  • High Councilor Diamanda Nero
  • An extremely poor choice of ornamentation
  • Luminesca
  • Ch’vayre
  • The origins of Blaquesmith
  • A questionable alias
  • Diogenes Chang
  • The Order of Witnesses
  • A rad team
  • Malachai Hark
  • Qua
  • Lexii
  • Ozana
  • The word “Askani”
  • The Hellhole
  • A resurrection
  • Penguins of Apocalypse
  • Sanctity (Tonya Trask)
  • A butt-on
  • The Phoenix Force and its hosts
  • Characters we’d like to see imported into comics from other X-media

NEXT WEEK: Jay & Miles take a week off.

NEXT EPISODE: Adventures in the funnypages!

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  1. Alyzr’n is almost certainly a reference to the color Alizarin crimson. Famously a staple of “happy tree” enthusiast Bob Ross.

    1. That’s what I assumed also!

      Jean’s future alias was Redd, Rachel’s is also a red spelled weirdly. Family tradition, sort of.

  2. Reading this in the context of 1994 comics felt quit odd.

    On the one hand, this makes for a striking visual contrast as something that’s immediately recognizable as a turn of the millennium Marvel comic. The revolution in coloring will do that, but also the style of lettering. More significantly, though, for all that this miniseries is set in a dystopian future, it’s tonally in a different universe from anything that our hosts have been covering lately — so much more light and cheerful. It is easy to believe that this was a comic that was coming out at the same time from the same company as Busiek’s Avengers or early Dan Jurgens’s Thor.

    On the other hand, this also feels curiously valedictory. Obviously, it’s a continuity tie-in to 1994 comics, and so couldn’t help but look backwards. But it’s more than that. This is a comic that is intimately intertwined with the whole world of X-Men comics in the ‘90s, and one that assumes not only that the reader knows about that world, but that s/he cares deeply about it — so soon before that ‘90s X-world was going to get wiped away. Look forward the same amount of time as this comic is looking back, to 2004, and you are in the year when Morrison finished his run, and Whedon started his.

    I mean, this is a comic which has as one of the main items on its agenda giving us an origin story for Blaquesmith, for God’s sake.

  3. I’m not 100% sure since I don’t have the book in front of me, but it sounds like the name Rachel was going by should be pronounced like the word”alizarin.” Alizarin is a substance commonly used in red dye, which makes it very on-point for something Rachel would use as an alias.

  4. I’ve thought about this for a while, but this might be a good opportunity to write it since the Witnesses existing in two timelines came up.

    At some point, I think an argument could be made for a coherent timeline between all the dystopian futures. Essentially, Days of Future Past happened first until that regime was overturned after the Summers Rebellion (hence, why the XSE members all have Ms as a tribute to those in the concentration camps). Eventually, that new status quo falls apart and Apocalypse takes over.

    I wonder when this became impossible and they were clearly identified as separate timelines.

    1. I’d say possibly the moment Cable was identified as Nathan Christopher Summers in a timeline where Rachel Summers had been confirmed as Scott and Jeans first and only child.

      1. I suppose that might be a question of how salient it was that Rachel was an only child. One might be able to dismiss that as a minor inconsistency of the sort that superhero comics forget about all the time (especially in this era of dropped plot threads). Or whether it could be rationalized away as, “Well, Nathan was not actually Jean’s son, technically, but her clone’s.”

        On the other hand, it was clear when Claremont created Rachel that he intended her to come from an alternate future, and I would wonder how coherent and specific any plans were in this era to undo that. At any rate, they never got around to having baby Rachel born, and you’d think you’d put that on the calendar after the wedding for another Very Special Issue.

        But I admit that I can’t quite grasp what they were thinking. On the one hand, you have a vague sense here and there that this is supposed to be heading for the DOFP future or a future that’s very like it. In Rory Campbell, you have this character who’s explicitly built around the idea that he is going to inhabit that explicit future.

        On the other hand, you write out the existing character, Rachel, who’s most useful to keep around for a story about heading to DOFP. (The Rory thing is really weird: why on earth do you invent that character and simultaneously get rid of the single Excalibur member to whom Ahab is directly relevant?) And you write her out in a way that seems designed to say, “No, we want to talk about this other new thing instead.”

        The miniseries that our hosts discussed illustrates that, in a way. It makes effective use of the idea that Rachel is an interesting character in Cable’s future because it’s the inverse of the one in which she grew up. There was no reason why one had to wait five years to realize that potential. For that matter, you could have mirrored this by exploring the same themes in reverse with Cable: what does it mean to him to see something like a Sentinel when he was shaped by the world that Bolivar Trask was afraid of?

        I really am starting to want a Rachel & Cable: Time-Travelling Half(?)-Siblings series. Low-hanging fruit, Marvel.

  5. Silly names and silly aliases are also very Star Wars!

    Speaking of Star Wars and naming choices: There were actually characters named Darth Havok and Darth Stryfe in a 90s Star Wars comic. Both spelled that way! The rest of the Sith in that series did not share their names with X-Men characters, unfortunately.

    1. However in other Star Wars comics there is a Darth Bane and a Darth Talon, if we go looking for DC characters.

      (Also ‘Talon’ was supposed to become X-23’s codename sometime in the future, so it almost sort-of counts).

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