Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

265 – Rude Awakenings

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

In which Glen Danzig was the most popular Wolverine fancast for a weirdly long time; breasts have physical mass; the Shi’ar empire is not your friend; Deathbird should not be left in charge of anything alive; Jubilee learns about privilege; Sinister is not subtle; plasma is the new magnetism; Scott and Jean return from the future; and Nick Fury probably sews his name into the waistband of all his underpants.


  • Some guy from Earth-1610
  • X-Men: Unlimited #5
  • X-Men #34-35
  • Shi’ar sexting
  • A rude awakening (literal)
  • Rococo Stryfe
  • Some uncomfortable fashion choices
  • X-pajamas
  • Definitely nude Charles Xavier
  • Breasts
  • Shi’ar imperial bullshit
  • A very impressive headdress
  • Reality TV… in space!
  • A rude awakening (metaphorical)
  • Shi’ar childhood
  • Negotiation
  • A total dick move
  • Another total dick move
  • Beast’s brief tenure as field leader of the X-Men
  • The return of Threnody
  • The titles of several sex tapes
  • High-tech spelunking
  • Sinister’s secret DNA library
  • Controversial outfits
  • Nick Fury’s stuff
  • Sunset Grace
  • The racism inherent to Evan Sabahnur’s background
  • A question we’ve answered before and will probably answer again


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  1. Only listened to the first half so far (short commute) but a few random thoughts

    Is Apocalypse the first mutant? I thought Selene still held that title by multiple millenia, what with the whole Hyborean era being part of her past, but there might have been umpteen retcons since then.

    Perhaps Shi’Ar court clothing is sort of like any longstanding monarchy/imperium, where the reason for everyone from the lowest flunky to the Imperatrx themselves wearing the bloody uncomfortable, outdated by centuries, gear has long been lost, but it’s tradition and that’s what they have to do. “Imperatrix Sk’wawhk XXIV wore that ornamental armpit-to-crotch piping twelve centuries ago, and despite the fact that the average Shi’Ar height and weight has increased significantly since then, by M’Kraan we’ll wear the damn thing or asphysxiate trying!”

    Though I can honestly say I’ve never given this a femtosecond’s thought before, I also find it easy to believe that the Shi’Ar, being bird descended jerks rather than primate descended jerks, don’t have pubic hair at all, and given their level of genetic obsessivness meant that than Deathbird was removed from the line of succession for being an atavistic throwback (vestigial wings), any discussion of body feathers anywhere other than the cranial crest is a social taboo.

    IIRC in Operation Galactic Storm (which to it’s credit did feel pretty cosmic in scale, a lot more than some purported “big” crossovers ever did) the Shi’Ar built the Nega-Bomb, fully prepared to use it.

    Now they may have been subject to Skrull infiltration (and thus indirectly the Kree Supreme Intelligeence, it was all kinda complicated) and manipulation, but they still have absolute responsibility for creating a weapon which wiped out BILLIONS of Kree instantly (and probably millions more in the aftermath), and the Shi’Ar moved in to take over opportunistically.

    That really should have been enough for Xavier to end his relationship with Lilandra, I’d have thought, no matter HOW good the snoo-snoo was (Not that he seems to have had much chance to experience that this time around). It also basically soured me on the Shi’Ar from that moment on. They may have been jerks in the past, but now they were genocidal jerks and that’s kind of a big deal.

    “Let’s give Deathbird a reality TV program”… Ummm.. look, I hate to be the one to raise this, but remember what happened when America let someone whose public profile was shaped by a reality TV show enter the world of actual politics? Yeah, do NOT do that with Deathbird, it will not end well…

    1. …but they still have absolute responsibility for creating a weapon which wiped out BILLIONS of Kree instantly (and probably millions more in the aftermath).

      Given that both the country that you live in and the one that I live in both consider it of vital importance to be prepared to inflict nuclear annihilation on mass populations and to deny that ability to other countries, I’m really not sure that merely building the Nega-Bomb is really all that shocking. Obviously, the numbers are larger in the fictional situation, but not proportionate to the populations involved, I think.

      1. A fair point, though one wonders if he’d seek a relationship with someone who’d do that on Earth either… Well.. leaving aside his long term boyfriend who basically IS an electromagnetic weapon of mass destruction.

        I got the impression that the Nega-Bomb was seen as beyond the pale by all sides, so it might be like someone in the UK or US deliberately constructing a new biological dirty bomb with intent to use. And it’s not like we’d ever worry about our entirely upright and noble elected officials doing such a … oh …. bugger. 🙁

        1. Well, Xavier was born with a relationship with people who did that, seeing as his father and mother worked on the Manhattan Project. Charles’ family is all about the weapons of mass destruction.

          The Shi’ar building the Nega-Bomb probably gave him a warm nostalgic feeling, like happening upon a treasured childhood book

  2. Head cannon time–
    Of course Mr. Sinister reads Madeleine L’Engle. But he was less into the Wrinkle in Time series, and more fascinated by the charmingly unambitious mad science of Arm of the Starfish, and the romantic adventures of poor little edgelord, Zachary Gray. Zachary reenergized Sinister’s need to meddle in Gray/Grey genetics.

    (I’ve read her books about the Austins many times. Zach Gray was probably my earliest fictional crush. )

  3. Noting that Shi’Ar males seem to get to cover up, I’m reminded of the Order of the Stick Drow joke, “If this is a matriarchy, why do we all dress like this?”

    Regarding the toy room: Perhaps all those giant stuffed animals are just their best guess of what mammal children would like, sort of like how they figured the pajamas were formal wear. I’d guess Shi’Ar kids would be more into games involving pattern recognition and judging others.

    1. Yeah, Shi’Ar wouldn’t need a cuddly toy to sleep at night, because all they need to do is remember to throw a blanket over the cot and they kids fall instantly asleep. so when they had a chance to use them they just went nuts.

  4. Hey, I get to bring up some of my anime knowledge this time.

    While Marvel did not work with Glenn Danzig on a comic, Danzig *did* work – briefly – with Go Nagai. Danzig got the rights to do a Devilman comic, put out one issue, and then it never went anywhere after that, and the rights ended up being enough of a mess that it burned Nagai out on releasing his manga in the US for several decades, until we got the releases of his stuff that Vertical is putting out now.

    So – as far as this comic goes… Akira kind of ruined giant stuffed animals for me. Once a stuffed animal size, it goes from “cute and cuddly” to “really creepy”.

    Oh, on the “On the third hand” thing – I’ve found a alternate term for that is “On the gripping hand” (because Moties).

    1. The Phoenix would look Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau over and ask “Ummm…. what do you need ME for?” before flying away feeling slightly insignificant for the first time in it’s existence.

  5. A couple of other thoughts.

    A cosmic power source that flits about the place, empowring completely random people before moving on in the MU?

    Am I showing my age again by remembering Captain Universe? The name given to any of many random humans empowered by the Uni-Force, an extradimensional energy being who grants enormous powers (flight, strength, energy manipulation, invulnerability etc) to an individual for some singular purpose and then moves on to it’s next host.

    First showed up in the Micronauts back in the late 70’s and has popped up here and there since, most notably in a fairly long stort-arc where it gave it’s powers to Spider-Man.

    Given Threnody is a musical term for a mourning wail I could imagine her speech bubbles are like that because hwe powers and face tech might give her a voice a constantly shifting modulated undertone, tending towards slightly sad minor keys.

    I find it amusing you mention the specifity of certain powers in an episode involving Threnody, whose mutant power (Originally linked to general death) suddenly started only being triggered by the Legacy Virus, which wasn’t released until some years after her power developed. Now THAT’S specialisation IMHO!

    And yup, Scott and Jean instantly somehow discarding what, fifteen years?, of not being around is the sort of continuity shenanigans that annoy me unduly. You haven’t seen any of your family or friends for a decade and a half, at least have the courtesy to stumble over someone’s name, or forget who the current line up of the Hellfire Club is.

  6. I rather enjoyed this week’s homework, but there’s one thing that really stuck out about X-Men #34 that did get a little on my nerves.

    A while ago, Icon_UK pointed out a problem with Rogue in this era: she has been reduced to a character whose only storyline is her (non-)relationship with Gambit, after having been a female character who was distinctive in not being defined primarily by her relationships with men.

    X-Men #34 is an extreme case.

    If one asks oneself what soap-opera there is in this instance of “comics’ greatest superhero soap opera,” then there are basically two ongoing character-story elements to this. One is the whole “Beast: just how close to being a mad scientist is he?” storyline, the other is the stuff about Rogue and Gambit’s breakup. OK, so of those two plotlines, one is directly material to the plot of this issue and thematically coherent with it, and that’s the Beast one. It is striking that Beast’s dark turn is *not* the plotline that is threaded throughout the issue. It is introduced fairly abruptly towards the end. On the other hand, Rogue/Gambit is introduced early and reinforced by returning to it, despite the fact that one could have dropped it into any old X-Men story and doesn’t really gain anything by being in this one.

    But that’s not the real problem for me. The real problem is that the Rogue/Gambit plotline is presented entirely from Gambit’s point of view. It is not only that Rogue has been reduced to a character who exists solely to be Gambit’s (not-)girlfriend. That relationship is then being treated in this issue as if the only thing that matters is what Gambit feels about it.

    Granted, I just don’t get the appeal of Gambit as a character, and that’s probably playing into my reaction here.

  7. While I agree that Jubilee was fine here, I will admit when reading it I was super uncomfortable with the alien teenage girl and how she was drawn. She was very clearly sexualized, both in form and attire, and for someone who is A) supposed to be around Jubilee’s age and B) supposed to be an oppressed, conquered race, I found it a bit icky honestly.

  8. Thinking of the question about the Phoenix Force – what Miles is describing (unintentionally, I’m sure!) is the plot of Starbrand, the generally pretty bad New Universe comic. Makes me wonder if that sort of story has been told in other places.

  9. My theory is that Shiar clothing is uncomfortable for the X-Men because it’s designed for an Avian humanoid species rather than a Mammalian one.

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