Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

299 – Toaster Ovens of the Gods

In which some universes are more pleasant than others; Havok is basically a Care Bear; Wolverine is a P.R. nightmare; Nate Grey tries; stealth is not among the Silver Surfer’s strengths; Night Thrasher ascends to godhood; Jay and Miles dive down the What If rabbit hole.


  • Earth-200500 (again)
  • Earth-42409
  • What If? vol. 2 #77
  • What If? Featuring X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
  • What If? vol. 2 #81
  • Earth-77995
  • Fashion editorials
  • One of the worse versions of Forge
  • Superheroes x fashion
  • Care Bears vs. X-Men
  • The Hellfire Club of Earth-77995
  • A surprisingly normal Grey-Summers family
  • Several uses for the Phoenix Force
  • Worst-case scenarios
  • Earth-93074
  • Savage Land home ec
  • Bad choices
  • The Defenders of Earth-93074
  • How to manipulate Nate Grey
  • Narrative benefits of omnipotence
  • A time loop
  • Earth-9601
  • A meeting on the moon
  • What the Watcher watches
  • Galactus
  • The Silver Surfer
  • Grandpa Magneto
  • Some remarkable technology
  • A heavy-handed metaphor
  • Our takes on What If scenarios
  • The Corbeau-Grey scale of decision making
  • Storm’s eyes
  • Our character voices


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  1. Maybe it’s because Generation X was a formative early comic for me, but if Legion killed both Xavier and Magneto, I immediately thought of Banshee leading a doomed resistance.

    1. I wondered about Sebastian Shaw, a self-motivated, self-made man who created the mutant-centric Inner Circlr within the Hellfire Club, even before Emma became his White Queen and turned that into a significant political and economic power.

      He has a rare combination of brilliance, practicality, ruthlessness and charisma which would make him a potentially terrific leader, especially if allied with someone like Emma (Revanche in AoA perhaps?)

      I mean, i could also see him allying with Apocalypse, due to self-interest, and would probably have been a prime candiate for Horseman (not that that’s exactly an exclusive club), but I can also see him not being the kind to accept an underling position like that.

      Plus, I don’t think he showed up in AoA, did he?

      1. Should add, I do really like your idea, especially including Revanche! She and Shaw are both characters I really like, and I too always wanted to know where she was in AoA!

  2. You came so close Miles, I’m guessing the Z’Nox homeworld is called that PRECISELY because Mark Gruenwald (writer/editor of the OHOTMU) read their name and just went with the obvious joke…

    Name – Species – Homeworld

    Z’Nox – Z’Nox – Huz’deyr?

  3. I wonder if that What If is the first alternate universe (publication-wise) where Rachel Summers appeared. She conspicuously did not have corresponding versions during the Crosstime Caper and I wondered if that was a deliberate reference by Claremont to the idea of her parentage being the actual Phoenix Force.

    1. She shows up in What If…? #12, the “What If… the X-Men had stayed in Asgard?” that Miles mentions in the episode, and that came out in 1990, so long before AoA.

  4. The cold open made me go “But the Asgard What If was happy!” But then you mentioned it later. 😀 (Sunspot did die, but it was a heroic death and he strikes me as someone who’d really enjoy Valhalla, so.)

    I think the full breakdown of characters who contributed to Storm’s original design is:
    Typhoon, a white dude with white hair and weather powers
    Black Cat, a black woman with Storm’s original costume (minus cape) and cat transformation powers
    Quetzal, an alien woman who contributed Storm’s facial features
    And the cape came from an unused Marvel Girl redesign!

  5. I would definitely have liked to see more of Earth-77995 and its dynamics! Like, WHY do they have public super-fights? Is there anything else they do? I’m particularly interested in their Hellfire Club International Inc and how it’s a public mutant corporation instead of a shady super-rich social club. I especially like the mix they have there, with Bobby and Warren there to argue against the excesses of corporate evil going on, which is far more like real-world ethical issues (ex: testing on poor people) than the usual supervillainy. Like honestly that’s way more interesting to me than Apocalypse just killing everybody and the usual status quo (X-Men vs Bad Guys) taking over.

    Also I feel like the “black person is hostilely anti-mutant” is a thing that’s been done more than once before and it’s always very ugh.

    AAAH YOU MENTIONED HAVEN! I’m so happy how much you like and remember her! I always wanted a universe where Haven just got to be Haven and have her own philosophy, which I think that, free of the Adversary’s influence, would be a very inclusive, compassionate, and peaceful one. Which, given that these worlds are bound by the laws of drama as Jay points out, means things probably would not end well for her here either :C

    As someone else mentioned, Storm’s powers came from a third character, Typhoon!

  6. So, thinking on the question of “who would be the mutant movers and shakers without Xavier and Magneto” there….Miles suggested Haven, and someone above brought up Sebastian Shaw. I like the idea of it being them both, and them filling the roles of Xavier and Magneto in some other universe, but with their own opposing ideologies.

    Once you take the Adversary out of the equation, I think just the good aspects of Haven’s outlook would remain, that of, as was once said on this show, looking at the world in a very “thoughtful, compassionate way” that advocates for unity, as opposed to the heartless corporate greed of Shaw, who is only as ever pro-or-anti-mutant as benefits him at the time. Both of them are incredibly wealthy, have a lot of reach, probably run in the same circles, and could probably have some really interesting discussions. They’d be a duality like Charles and Erik, but their positions wouldn’t just be copies of them.

    Of course, it gets Iffy As Fuck when you apply the mutant metaphor in there, since Haven (the non-mutant) would be the one advocating for peace and tolerance, while Shaw (the mutant) would be the one building Sentinels if he could make a profit from it, and like…what does that say, in the context of the metaphor? Like. Definitely iffy stuff there. But just in-universe, as a character contrast, I think they’d be great. (And from a point of intersectionality, it’d be interesting–_Shaw is a white man, but a mutant, Haven is a woman and a person of color, but a human, I feel like there can be really interesting stuff explored there if it was written with the right sensitivity and awareness)

    The main obstacle is that unlike Apocalypse, Xavier, Magneto, or Haven, Shaw’s never had an interest in spreading a message, never tried to make anyone think like he does, imposing a belief system on the world (peacefully or forcefully) has never been his MO in any universe. But that could also be an additional contrast between them, one that Charles and Magneto don’t have!

  7. You guys made me SO HAPPY with the Lunar: the Silver Star reference!

    The original Lunar for Sega CD not only got me into video game RPGs, it made me realize I wanted to be a writer. I loved all the Working Designs games for Sega CD and PlayStation, and like Jay said, their localized translations were incredible comedic works.

    I also loved the Working Designs official strategy guides, which usually came out so late you’d already finished the game, but they had so much great behind the scenes material you bought them anyway.

  8. Loved the Lunar references.

    I do have to say I think you are wrong about ‘Nights Thrasher’, though. I assume you decided on Nights thrasher because of the similarity in sound to Knights Errant (correct me if I assume incorrectly), but a knight errant is a knight who is errant and so knights errant are multiple errant knight. Night Thrasher is the thrasher of the night, not a night who thrashes, thus thasher would be the noun to pluralize.

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