Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

263 – The Oldest Teens of Them All

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

In which Cable and Domino may or may not be very old teenagers; disguises are not Dani Moonstar’s strong suit; Empath remains awful; Shatterstar probably talks exactly like a telenovela; X-Force needs an office manager; Mothra is larger than most things; and if you get to choose between being an External or a Guthrie, always be a Guthrie.


  • Bastion, to some extent
  • X-Force #34-37
  • Optical disambiguation
  • Moonstar
  • Face tentacle semantics
  • Sandwiches (again)
  • The Richter family
  • An entirely avoidable fight
  • Some time-travel bullshit
  • Hannigan Electronics
  • An insecurity system
  • Nimrods
  • Things neural networks would probably do instead of murdering you
  • Defining traits of the Externals
  • Adoption, X-Factor style
  • Wolverine: The Long Night


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  1. The Fun with Neural Networks thing remind me – LoadingReadyRun did a Magic: The Gathering draft with cards created using a neural network, and it was *hilarious*

    Sadly, though, I don’t know if the X-Men got to team up with Mothra (as Mothra is universally heroic – it’s Battra who is evil) during that time that Marvel had the Godzilla license, and those comics are OOP.

    1. Fellow LRR fan here. I also enjoyed the Robo Rosewater draft, despite the fact that my MtG knowledge is all either 16 years out of date or incidental. Their reactions to the cards were superb.

  2. The thing about running cables through ceiling spaces by means of a nerf dart is real, but you had the details slightly wrong. In my office we used a tennis ball for the purpose, but the theory is the same.

    You can’t shoot cables, they’re much too heavy, so what you do is you have your projectile attached to a length of lightweight cotton string, like kite string. You shoot or throw your projectile to the other end and then, once the string is in basically the right place end-to-end, you tie the cables to one end of the string and feed them in while your partner pulls the string from the other end (where the dart/ball is now) to run the actual cables into place.

  3. I really enjoyed the Wolverine podcast, it is available without a subscription (released episodically and ad supported, rather than bingable and ad free) via various pod cathers/ or as a RSS feed (I personally used Pocketcast)

    And as all the episodes are now out for season 1 and 2, the episodic release is no longer an issue.

    Season 1 felt like the stronger season, season 2 tried harder to fill in gaps of what’s and whys than was really needed I felt.

    But the main thing I took away was how a radio play format could really ramp up the visceral nature of wolverines claws and power set with sound effects and voice acting in a way that I have not seen paralleled in other portrayals.

  4. I know it would still be a few years before Dora the Explorer aired on TV, but now I can’t help imagining Shatterstar dropping into señor Toucan’s basso profundo when speaking Spanish to Richter. That will never not crack me up from now on…

    Both seasons of The Wolverine podcast are now available for free on Stitcher. I listened religiously to the first season really expecting Wendigos). Second season gets a bit confusing when they try to cram too much action scene noise into an audio format, but I’m curious to see where things go with Gambit and Mastermind.

  5. Some thoughts:-

    – When Sam talks about the differences between X-Force’s “side of the coin and the MLF’s” — well, I suppose he had to touch on it, but it’s just a reminder that this comic has never really worked out exactly how it’s negotiating the tensions between (a) the conventions of how violence is handled in superhero comic, (b) its own stylized Awesome! and Cool! use of violence (or rather “violence”) as an aesthetic and (c) its use of language that’s redolent of real-world political violence.

    This becomes painfully obvious with “After you kidnapped a government official!” Also the way in which Domino opposes “No slitting any throats, no breaking any faces” to “quick, quiet, and efficient.”

    (No, I haven’t forgotten Nicieza talking of a “dirty war” as if that’s somehow an admirable thing in a hard-headed and pragmatic sort of way. I’m never letting that go.)

    I’m not saying those internal contradictions couldn’t be productive and interesting, because obviously they could be, but in practice they just aren’t. Instead, raising them as issues just pops the soap bubble for me.

    This is part of why the Rictor gun violence story didn’t really work for me. Admittedly, I have idiosyncratic issues about American cultural products that exoticize violence as something that Those People In Other Countries Do. (Much less common nowadays, for sad and obvious reasons, but common in the ‘80s and ‘90s.) One observes that, in condemning the Rictor family as people who sell guns, the story at no point addressed the question of where they got these guns. Guns just sort of exist out there as a fact of nature, and we have the Hallmark movie resolution with the child, that whole “the only solution to this problem lies in healing the human heart” line.

    – You can see a related problem – not necessarily a problem, as long as you don’t draw attention to it, but it stands out here – in the whole way in which the Nimrod story treats “military involvement in development of sentient machines” as somehow shocking and unthinkable, and not something that is so obvious that it would be unbelievable if it weren’t the case.

    Despite its “tough,” “hard-headed,” and “cynical” trappings, at its heart X-Force is very much a rose-tinted, soft-focus production with an idealized view of the world that makes one of those “Gosh! We have to save this fictional small Central American/Southeast Asian country from the Commies!” Marvel stories from the ‘60s look like a dark and radically self-critical examination of US policy in the Cold War.

    On the other hand, that idealized view of the world is one of the things that makes #37 work for me. Best thing in these issues. Blame our hosts for perversely convincing me to like the Externals when they were criticizing them as characters. I really liked the way they were depicted in this: the focus on the idea that, just because you’re immortal, that doesn’t make you awe-inspiring and amazing. You can still basically be a bit crap.

    And did I hear our hosts right? The only reason to believe that Sam is not an External and not immortal is because *Selene* said so? As far as I’m concerned, this is all still canon until we are presented with a more reliable source!

    – Ah, the bit where Cable says “We’re hurtling towards that terrible future, the awful, terrible future that I myself…know about from the fact that it was past history in this *other* dystopian future, where I’m from.” Oh dear. All the impact of drizzle.

    You know what you should do in an X-era in which you’re going to have grim stories about how maybe everything is on the road to Days of Future Past? Keep around the character who’s actually from the DOFP alt-future.

    – Of course you were talking about Charles Xavier, Paige. Because in this era, Charles Xavier is at the center of [expletive deleted] everything.

    – Mr. Nicieza, just because Peter David is gone doesn’t mean that you should start doing cringey pop culture references.

  6. *Busts through the internet X-Factor style*

    *I wish I had something more relevant to this particular episode*

    BUT I’M HERE! After a year and a half of binging this podcast I have finally caught up. I’m very excited and feel oddly out of breath. I avoided joining any discussion until I was caught up. So, I’ll be better at interacting in the future, but for now… Hi!!!!

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