Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

273 – The Back-End Creep (The Phalanx Covenant, Part 3 of 3)

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

In which we have been on All the Podcasts; Full Shred Thrash is easier to say that it sounds; the Phalanx uses dial-up; Cable is a very large man; Larry Hama writes excellent banter; Cyclops has been progressively desensitized to plane crashes; Cameron Hodge is never graceful in defeat; and Final Sanction is actually about family.


  • Mithras
  • A large number of guest appearances
  • Thor: Metal Gods
  • The Phalanx Covenant so far
  • Full Shred Thrash
  • Adam Kubert
  • Wolverine #85
  • Cable #16
  • Gorp, Waldo, and Apache
  • Popping silk
  • A Summers family reunion
  • Jean and Nathan
  • Jean Grey’s astral form
  • Genetics
  • Several airplanes
  • Mountain climbing
  • Gelatinous yahoos
  • Several impermanent deaths
  • Pregnant X-team members
  • Outside references to the X-Men

NEXT EPISODE: House of X, feat. Chris Eddleman

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  1. I discovered puberty at the same time I discovered Psylocke, and have always had a crush on her. “Doing something weird” and “She lets him do something extreme” made me let out a juvenile snicker.

    The Two Towers has some of my favourite stuff, Rohan, and some of my least favourite, Gollum. Yes, I understand his role in the story. I just don’t like him. So Jay, I’m not going to give you shit about it. I’m sure you’re relieved.

  2. I do like the family nature of the storyline, and that they’re acknowledging the time travel and stronger family ties. (Though I am curious as to why Cable knowing would risk the future, since the events are in all three of them’s respective past now.)

    I am a little less enamoured of Jean’s astral plane armour being basically Charles Xavier’s design. Yes, he taught her, but she has learned a lot more since she was his student. A stylistic nod would be fine, but an outright copy seems to be selling Jean short a little. Perhaps something with a hint of Phoenix-ness to it, since she has those memories?

    I’m also not sure I’m as enamoured of the global level conflict level in this chapter, or at least how it’s resolved here. There’s no real point knowing the Phalanx had nodes all over the world if all that the others are going to do is vanish in a single panel by someone pushing a big red reset button a la “Russell T Davis Dr Who series finale”.

    Oh, and congratulations to you both on getting through the whole Phalanx Covenant without referencing the Borg even once! 🙂

  3. Yeah, Icon_UK, I’m equally confused by how Cable knowing would mess up the future, as they’re all now at the same part of each other’s timelines it seems. I’m gonna No Prize it by saying it wouldn’t, but Scott and Jean have dealt with so much time travel nonsense that they’re expecting another twist and now are just paranoid.

    My least favorite X-Men reference is from Pete Buttigieg’s memoir (I was skimming a lot of candidate books earlier this spring…). He refers to going to Harvard as “like being at the Academy of X-Men.”

    Leaving aside the problematic conflation that the Ivies are actually hubs of intellectual and skilled perfection and not mid points typically in narratives of privilege and therefore shouldn’t be equated with a school of marginalized outcasts…THE BIGGER PROBLEM is what he called it. Like, seriously?! He had SO many names to choose from “Xavier School” Xavier Institute” “Jean Grey School” etc. But no! He literally makes up a name that the school never had. Bet he thinks wizards in Rowling’s books go to “Harry Potter School”

    Sorry to Jay for continuing the weirdness that comes with mention of Pete Buttigieg, btw.

  4. The Phalanx Covenant was my entry point into the X-Men books and I have a probably overinflated fondness for the crossover because of that. With that said, though, I never read Final Sanction at the time. That was part apathy towards the solo books and part not finding the issues as readily as the rest of the crossover. I finally read these chapters for the first time a year or two ago and I found myself pretty underwhelmed. I assume it’s a combination of multiple factors: distant removal from when I read the rest of the story, general disinterest in Cable and his backstory, and an innate dislike of Larry Hama based on his later Generation X run (the Penance retcon was the first time I ever ragequit a comic). I may want to try reading the whole crossover together at some point and see if my opinion changes.

    In any case, the really important thing I wanted to say is that you guys mentioned badgers at one point in the episode and it made me think about how much more fun this would have been if Honey Badger had been in these issues. And then I started thinking about how much more fun every major X-Men story would be if Honey Badger was there. Can we do that? We already got a “Secret Wars with Deadpool” miniseries, how about an “Inferno but with 100% more Gabby Kinney?”

  5. On the “favorite X-Men reference front” – Studio Trigger has come out and said on multiple occasions that they’re fan of Marvel comics in general and the X-Men in particular.

    I’ll just say, without getting into spoilers for their film Promare, for those who haven’t seen it yet (since it’s getting another wave of screenings in December), that they make a X-Men reference in the plot, though not quite in the form of an outright name-drop.

    The character design references are more along the lines of giving a character a cybernetic arm as a reference to Cable, and a character who has a visual that is evocative of Ghost Rider, but those bits don’t have much plot relevance.

    Also, I’m kind of wondering now if the Life Fiber collective consiousness from Kill la Kill was a reference to the Phalanx.

  6. Necro-comment, but I wonder if Wolverine was maybe making some oddly astute observation on software architecture when he referred to “The Back-End Creep.”

  7. A couple of comments for anyone else to reads these comments long after they are posted:

    One of my favorite pop culture references to the X-Men is in a little know Poe song called “How Long” :

    “I wish I was like the X-Men in the comic books, because then I could have withstood the blast”.

    Second: Though it is counter intuitive, The Phalanx Covenant actually reads better in publication order rather then in the way it is blocked. I understand why it couldn’t be covered that way but just in case anyone wants to reread it after reading this comment.

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