Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

278 – A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

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

In which Moonstar really wasn’t fooling anybody; Bird Brain is somehow still alive; Cassidy Keep is weird; Gene Ha draws excellent Storm; Reeva Payge makes her sole comics appearance; and Shinobi Shaw is wrong about everything.


  • A not-particularly-cunning disguise
  • Upcoming coverage
  • X-Force Annual #3
  • X-Men Annual #3
  • The MLF
  • Reignfire (more) (again)
  • Moonstar (more) (again)
  • An unconventional way to keep a secret diary
  • A bittersweet semi-reunion
  • 3Peace
  • Murphy Keep
  • A ghost, maybe
  • The kind of thing that happens at Cassidy Keep
  • An excellent burn
  • Leather
  • “Neurotoxins”
  • Sex House as the definitive artifact of the 2010s
  • How not to draw someone having a nightmare
  • A very short-lived version of the Hellfire Club
  • How not to villain
  • Coming to terms with bad fictional tech

NEXT EPISODE: Giant-Size Winter Special, feat. Christina Strain & Chip Zdarsky!

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  1. While I understand that super powers could be used more efficiently, the problem is that that road ends with Superman: A Transitional Energy Source. https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2011-07-13 . I can’t see that ongoing series selling a lot of comics.

    And Miles, I hear that TV hacking scenes are deliberately written to be ridiculous. Does that make it any better? https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/f2i7t/ive_written_for_tv_shows_like_csi_and_numbers/ . Okay, probably not. Even deliberately bad is still bad.

  2. Scattered thoughts. Not many. These stories were so bland and throwaway that they might as well have been in X-Men Unlimited:

    – Wow, even in the MLF, Feral is my least favorite.

    – More evidence that X-Force’s worldview may be at heart solf-focus Reaganite schmaltz. We even have a Heroic Rebels against Evil Commies element that could have been lifted reasonably directly from a Lee/Kirby comic.

    – It’s a remarkable coincidence that 3Peace’s name is a pun in English. What are the odds?

    – It’s fascinating from the perspective of someone who skipped this era to see just how certain everyone seems to be that Shinobi Shaw is the most amazing character imaginable who will never ever go away.

    – Cassidy Keep is silly, but for some reason the name “Murphy Keep” goes beyond ridiculous into really, really no, just stop.

    – But for whatever reason, it bothers me more that Krueger put INTERPOL headquarters in London. I wonder if Krueger genuinely thought that Claremont invented INTERPOL, and that he was adding detail to a fictional entity?

    1. I know that some Japanese writers love a good pun, even better if it’s a bilingual one, not sure about the Chinese view of wordplay, but if you’re looking to get a reaction from the world beyond China, a decent English name for your team seems like it might be a good PR move.

      And given that Shinobi is another recent resurrection on Krakoa, it looks like the good times are gonna keep on rolling for the multitudes of Shinobi Shaw fans….

  3. Gene Ha lives near me and always attends my local libraries yearly comic con. He’s a really nice guy. We have a sketch of me and my family done by him.

  4. I’m so excited for this episode! I’m a huge fan of Shinobi Shaw, and to a lesser extent Reignfire. Who, yeah, was originally intended to be a future Sunspot, though as you know that got changed.

    Agree that Darkwind is TOTALLY badass and oh my gosh you’re right, Birdbrain is bird Jar Jar.

    Cassidy Keep would be such a great setting for a Gothic novel.

    YES, SHINOBI! God, what a total disaster he is. He’s so stupid and bad at this that it’s downright endearing, really. Storm thinking he’s some kind of dark titillating experience is honestly just HILARIOUS. Speaking of…I hate that her telling off Xavier is framed as her being in the wrong and the story literally ends with her on her knees weeping before him because he was right. Ugh. Also, why was ANYONE shocked at her wearing sexy leather??

    It SHOCKS me Reeva turned up anywhere else, let alone as a Big Bad! Thats pretty neat. For me personally, Benazir was my fave. And Benedict Kine…well, his powerset feels like something Claremont came up with. Speaking of his reappearance, that issue ends with Tessa calling the X-Men on Shinobi, not because he’s crossed some moral line but because she’s worried he’s just gonna destroy the Club through his sheer bullshit. I’m serious. And then instead of being all YOU HAVE BETRAYED ME I SHALL MURDER YOU like a proper bad guy, he’s just sulky and sad.

    Wanting Storm on your side isn’t just a bad guy tradition, it’s a Shaw tradition. I don’t know how canon you count the X-Men novels (I see them as “optional but not necessary” and also surprisingly good, at least the ones I’ve read) but in The Legacy Quest trilogy, Sebastian Shaw thinks Storm is just the greatest and there’s kind of a ship tease with them too (this was written before the “Shaw was Emma’s abusive lover/mentor” background was retconned in, and thus Shaw was still an enjoyable, interesting villain—I miss original 80s Shaw in a big way, man) Best part is at one point she flies him to safety in her arms like the goddamn superhero she is. Seriously, how do you NOT have a crush on Storm, right?

    Happy Holidays of your choice and thanks for doing this show! Your Sexy Shinobi Shaw Voice is AMAZING!

    1. Cassidy Keep would be such a great setting for a Gothic novel.

      I’m not sure the leprechauns would add quite the right ambience to a Gothic novel, would they?

      1. You might be able to do something with a retcon that brought them closer to traditional Irish folklore instead of American leprechauns. In particular, I think there are Gothic possibilities to a person over and over again hearing the sound of a hammer, but when they look, they can’t find where the sound came from.

        A job for my imagined continuity-implant miniseries in which everything about the Cassidys is retconned to make, you know, sense. Topical nowadays, Marvel. You don’t want to miss a chance to cash in on the centenary of 1921. OK, you probably do.

        1. Ooh, I love this idea! Should I ever write a totally original Gothic novel definitely not based on Cassidy Keep, I’m including that!

  5. I hate that her telling off Xavier is framed as her being in the wrong and the story literally ends with her on her knees weeping before him because he was right.

    Good catch.

    More grist for my argument that, whether it was a matter of conscious intent or not, Charles Xavier in this era is framed as a stand-in for Jesus. Another story about someone being tempted to fall away from Him but returning to the fold and being forgiven. I mean, consider language like “When you spared Shaw’s life I knew you were not lost to us,” and “No more words…just tears on his shoulder…and a weight lifting from her heart.” It would be *so* easy to rewrite this explicitly as sappy Christian fiction.

    The interesting thing is that this is not written by Scott Lobdell, which makes me wonder if Bob Harras was the driving force behind this version of Xavier and not Lobdell.

  6. AOA: Here’s an idea on how you guys could cover that. While recapping the issues, you should pretend that you are covering it while ur in the pens crouched hiding behind some cover. There would be sound effects etc to make it seem like ur there, and u would talk as if ur there. and from THAT setting, you cover the issues. lol

  7. As one who spends plenty of time for work in hotels in the middle of nowhere, and in fact lives in the middle of nowhere, I think I can hook you up for an Age of Apocalypse recording space. Also as one who was buying / reading / still owns the Malibu Ultraverse Exiles run, I’ve got to say that’s my favorite Juggernaut. He ends one episode telling off his brother for being an elitist jerk, and it’s golden.

  8. When was Dani Spellbinder? I’ve seen it on lists of her codenames but have no idea when she actually used the name.

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