Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

259 – Kwannon Leap

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

In which fix-it fic goes canon (or vice versa); Psylocke is a complicated individual and/or individuals; assassins have complicated personal lives; it is probably ethical to tell your teammates about your camera eyes; Beast takes over Blue Team;  we get our first tease of Generation X; Sabretooth is a surprisingly fun narrator; that Hickman fellow seems to know what he’s doing; and you should totally come see us at FlameCon!


  • X-Men #31-33
  • What Forge does in his downtime
  • Several retcons, including a metaretcon
  • Psylocke (Betsy Braddock)
  • Revanche (Kwannon)
  • What we are not wearing
  • Hawks
  • Digital Chameleon
  • Assassin romance
  • What actually (probably) (mostly) happened to Betsy and Kwannon
  • The Eye Fairy
  • The death of Kwannon
  • The future of the Xavier School
  • The last will and testament of Emma Grace Frost
  • Rogue and Gambit’s breakfast-cereal habits
  • All the eyes you’ve been given
  • Nyorin’s “diary”
  • A murder cliché
  • Genevieve Darceneaux
  • BabyGoth Gambit
  • Henri LeBeau and his majestic mustache
  • Our (very early) thoughts on HoX/PoX

NEXT EPISODE: Havok once again fails to complete his dissertation.

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  1. The Butterfly and the Hawk… Hawk moths are a thing. I wonder if there’s ever been any hero/villain with the name of Hawk Moth. Who does everything like a hawk AND like a moth.

  2. The Sabretooth story is when he became one of my favourite characters. Yes, he has muscle, ruthlessness, cunning, and ability. But his greatest power and skill, is fucking with your head. You will not trust him. He has shown himself to be the worst. You might as well put your fingers in your ears and go “lalalalalalalalala”. And he will still get to you.

  3. Does anyone know why, out of universe, the decision was made to make Betsy Asian? I think I understand all the in universe explanations and retcons, but why did Claremont make her Asian in the first place? Did he/editors just want to make drastic changes to the character’s look. It just always seemed like a weird thing to do to the character.

    1. I’ve always suspected it was partly Jim Lee coming on board and wanting a female Asian X-Man and Chris Claremont not wanting to add a new character,and this being a compromise.

  4. The name “Darceneaux” may be ringing a bell because it sounds like “Arsène”, as in Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief from a French novel series.

    You would probably be more familiar with his grandson, who was the protagonist of a fairly famous anime series.

  5. So the whole Psylocke retcon was going on when I was introduced to the X-Men. There was the comic adaptation of the 90’s cartoon, with back ups of main X-Men issues. So I met her when Wolverine pins Psylocke between his claws with the “So Betts… Who the hell are you?” line. Yep, I was hooked! Who is this badass confusing character who isn’t in the cartoon?? And was British? Neat!

    Anyway, I lapped this all up but appreciate it may be the last straw for many readers. I liked the final reveal… That essentially both women were body swapped, but in a state of confusion due to Spiral’s spiteful manipulations. I liked Spiral’s involvement – it fits her history as a bit of a Psylocke antagonist. And the end does feel weirdly elegant and allows Kwannon to bow out with some grace and agency.

    For the new House of X line and Fallen Angel: it’s taken such a long time to get Psylocke as a character back on track after this bodyswap story. I think it’s a bad… if not terrible idea to reintroduce Kwannon as a distinct character, and take on the Psylocke codename and butterfly insignia. It reopens a confusing period and doubles down on it. And reverses the appropriation of one character by another, rather than giving them their own identity. I get that it’s a marketing thing, and an effort by Marvel to address the racial appropriation inherent in Psylocke’s being-in-an-Asian body for the longest time. But I do think Marvel is trying to have its cake and eat it for marketing rather than authentic purposes.

    If Hickman has planned this out, then I’ll trust it, bit otherwise I’m concerned!

  6. Minor funny aside – I was listening to the most recent release (meaning a back episode) on the Car Talk feed before the new episode of Jay and Miles, so I kept having a moment in my mind over whether Jay was going to slip a joke in there about the Puzzler, or if that would be too on the nose/beak.

  7. There’s good stuff in these issues. But there’s also one of the most cringeworthily awful pieces of dialogue in the entire history of the X-books:

    “Look at you – – a soft British girl inside the hardened, Asian body!” (emphasis original).

  8. I once wrote what Emma Frost’s rejection letters probably look like. They are the most passive aggressive school rejection letters are.

    Also, I now wish I had thought of submitting a question to Nicieza about what led him to A) do the first retcon and B) retcon his own retcon…

  9. I love the podcast and I’ve been listening since the first episode. It was an absolute treat to get a full Betsy/Psylocke/Kwannon episode.

    I did get a bit upset about your comments about Jonathan Hickman and that you are disappointed that Marvel have hired “another straight white dude” to write House of X. He’s a great writer and this is a really good move for the comic – I’m sure sales have been huge. I don’t think it should matter whether he’s straight, white or a dude – I’m sure he can bring his own perspectives to the stories. It’s not his fault that he was born straight, white and male, and your comments come across as a little heterophobic. Can you see the double standard? It feels like an attack on someone who is just living their life the way they were born, and that’s not healthy and it’s not getting us anywhere. How would you feel if a podcast presenter was frustrated because “another gay dude” was writing a comic? Or “sigh, another trans person is working on that comic?” ‘That would be homophobic.

    I’m a gay man and I have no issue with Hickman at all. I don’t care who writes the book as long as it’s exciting and challenging. Also, the spin-off comics will feature more diverse creators.

    I’m not writing this to anger, upset or provoke you, but I am just pointing out how odd your comments come across sometimes and it often makes me think about unsubscribing from the podcast – and I may not be the only person who feels this way.

    1. Wanting to see a series about marginalized people written by more marginalized writers is not an attack on the privileged folks doing the job already. Wanting to see more marginalized creators given more opportunities outside the margins, full stop, is not an attack.

      It doesn’t mean Hickman can’t write a good story, or that someone else would write a better one.

      There’s no double standard because no one is saying straight white dude (people like me) can’t write a flagship X-Men book. They’ve already written them – almost exclusively, in fact.

      What we’re saying is that more types of people should also be able to add their perspective and their lived experiences to the series. Especially when the book’s driving themes have always been about prejudice.

      What we’re saying is that every type of person should be able to look at the X-Men line and feel like their story is being told, and that every kind of kid should be able to see growing up and making this kind of art as something on the table for them.

      The judgment isn’t on Hickman, or any other writer. It’s on a publishing line that over decades has hired one type of writer to drive the ship. Especially when so many of the stories told in the books are attempting to reflect experiences of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. that the writers did not experience firsthand.

      And in some cases, the writers have gotten those experiences painfully, harmfully wrong – unintentionally increasing feelings of isolation and despair in the very people they set out to champion and illuminate. Okay, so that part does involve a judgment on certain writers, but not a moral one. I believe the writers meant well. But when you’re writing experiences you haven’t lived, you’re going to get some of it wrong. That can have painful effects, particularly in 2019.

      We need more voices telling their own stories. Marvel has recognized how important it is to put characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Ironheart in the trust of writers of color. The X-Men would benefit from a similar treatment.

      And yes, it makes a difference who gets to write the central X-Men books, to determine the fates of the most popular characters and set the tone for the line as a whole. It’s the difference between being a show runner and a staff writer in television. It makes all the difference both in the size of the impact the stories have and the profile and acclaim for the writer.

  10. On Hickman’s new line:

    Is anyone else weirded out by the use of the Marauders name for a team of mutant heroes? I get the pirate reference, but there’s something distasteful about ‘reclaiming’ the name of a team of genetic supremacists who slaughtered the ‘lesser’ mutant Morlocks.

    And I’m 100% with Jay on the frustration with another straight white male architect for the x-line. And I say that as a straight white cis man myself (and a writer). I wish Marvel would treat the x-line as they have a lot of their other books about women and POC in recent years, and recognize the importance of matching the life experience to the characters.

    Too often in the last 20 years or so, the X-books have felt like generic reflections on how white guys perceive being an “outsider,” rather than real reflections or explorations of the experiences of people on the less privileged end of the spectrum.

    The Age of X-Man books by writers like Leah Williams, Vita Ayala, and Seanan Maguire really brought a fresh feel to the mutant universe (and not just because they were set in an alternate reality). Magdalene Vissagio’s Dazzler one shot was incredible. I want more like that.

  11. “Hey there Hawk Talk, this is Carter Hall, I’m a long time listener first time caller. My life is a mess and I was wondering if you could help me sort through–”

    “AAAAAND that’s all the time we have today for Hawk Talk, join us next week only on ZZ-105!”

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