Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

282 – The Tide Takes the Castle

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

In which the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning should really be the setting of a stoner comedy; Garrabed Bashur’s brain is probably 90% porn by now; the tide always takes the castle; William Drake remains terrible; Adam X the X-Treme deserved better; Jay pitches a series; disability is not a boolean and exclusively medically-defined state; and we are all about some weird X-Men tie-in products.


  • Mariko Yoshida in the afterlife
  • Moon Talk
  • Some upcoming X-books
  • X-Men #38-39
  • Uncanny X-Men #319
  • Many unhealthy coping mechanisms
  • Sinister foreshadowing
  • Fancy hair
  • Commcast (Garabed Bashur)
  • Hawk sex
  • An exceptionally resonant callback
  • Intersectional bigotry
  • The domestic dynamics of the Drake household
  • The remarkably poignant return of Adam X the X-Treme
  • The opposite of a Jack London story
  • An unlikely intergenerational frienship
  • A novel use of a novel superpower
  • Mutation as and intersecting with disability
  • X-Men tie-in products we’d like to see

NEXT EPISODE: X-Factor fills in!

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  1. From my time having worked customer-facing Helpdesk, I will say this – Rogue feels like she’s still pulling her punches a bit – or the person writing her either doesn’t know “Southern” or wasn’t playing that up, because I feel like it would be completely valid for her at some point to slip in a “Bless your *adverb or adjective x3-5* heart.” Maybe also an “I’ll pray for you.”

  2. I’m listening right now, and I had to pause to say that the part about Bobby’s dad, and shifting the responsibilities of de-escalation onto the children hit me very hard. At 30, it’s something I’m finally starting to unravel and have the courage to not give in on. My mother begging me to just appease him because it’s easier still breaks my heart every time.

    Thank you for being a supportive voice when I’ve had none.

  3. Man, that Iceman issue hit me hard to reread last year and then to listen to now. It reminds me a lot of how my husband’s family were for YEARS after he came out (they’ve gotten A BIT better over time). I’m trying to remember if the mother is different in the Grace series or I just projected but man…I had a different reading of her influenced by my mother-in-law (essentially, lets the dad be the attack dog of shaming the son, claims to want no conflict and acts like she’s more tolerant but afraid of dad, but – when push comes to shove – reveals she 100% is on board with it and just wanted to appear to be the good guy). Again…I may be bringing A LOT of ish into this…

  4. Couple of scattered thoughts:-

    -“90s Watch: I think XM #39 is the first manifestation in the X-books of the wave of “Greatest Generation” nostalgia for World War II that became so prominent in America during the 1990s. It had a lot to do with the perception that the generation that fought in the war was passing away, and XM #39, with its emphasis on Philip Summers’ aging and consequent loss of his sight, is a very good example of this.

    Attached to the phenomenon was also this recurrent set of worries around later generations that “might not be capable of doing the same thing” (something that’s implicated in how the response to 9/11 led to the Iraq War), and I think there’s something in this story about how the kids *are* alright, in how it presents Adam-X (not actually a young person from Earth, obviously, but if one thinks in terms of what his visual representation suggests) as having had parallel experiences to Grandad Summers.

    – Our hosts informed us that this is essentially the end of Adam-X as a significant character. This surprised me — he’s so famous/notorious that I felt there had to be more than this handful of appearances.

    That he’s a very minor character who essentially only appears in three stories does have a consequence, though. Does Nicieza ever have the time to settle down into a consistent portrayal?

    Adam-X is certainly a more congenial presence in this story. Visually, as our hosts mentioned, but also his dialogue has shifted noticeably. It started, in Adam-X’s first appearance, as this peculiar switching between posturing macho BS in a modern American idiom and highly formal and stilted vaguely 19th-century English. In his second appearance, the comics-90s-I-am-just-so-awesome-feel-my-attitude element was removed, and Adam-X talked entirely as if he was in a Regency novel that happened to feature Arcade, except at the very end, when he suddenly developed a line in normal American English. Now, in his (effectively) final appearance, he’s shifted again, and while he still speaks formally, the archaisms are turned way down.

    Combined with the fact that we basically never know much about Adam-X as a person in any substantive way – is this a character whom it makes that much sense to approach as a coherent character at all, or is Adam-X just a visual design and a ridiculous power?

    -I’m struck, looking at the juxtaposition between Dad Drake and Grandad Summers, by the tendency to portray human characters in these sorts of designated normal person lroles as all-around great and supportive (see also the Guthries) or else as completely terrible. I think this has something to do with the way in which the X-books are very cautious about exploring the way in which anti-mutant prejudice would be marbled throughout society that don’t reduce to narrow hate groups from whom the reader will find it easy to separate themselves.

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