Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

300 – Götterdämmerung

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

In which the Age of Apocalypse comes to an end; Angel briefly lives up to his potential; Bishop was sometimes right; It’s not a climactic ending without an X-Men #137 reference; Colossus breaks our hearts; X-Men: Marvels Snapshot will be out in September; and somehow we have made 300 of these things.


  • Beast vs. Dark Beast
  • X-Men: Omega
  • The entirety of the (first) Age of Apocalypse
  • Potpourri vs. incense
  • Dramatic hair
  • Many, many errors
  • Unforeseen consequences
  • A long-anticipated team-up
  • Many deaths
  • Art as artifact
  • Narration that has haunted Jay for 20 years
  • One of the more persistent deaths of David Haller
  • Blast Attack
  • The end of a world
  • Refugees from the Age of Apocalypse
  • Our favorite X-milestone issues
  • Theoretical teams
  • Orphans
  • When X-Men: Marvels Snapshot is actually coming out
  • Our favorite show bits
  • How Jay’s chickens-in-law are doing


Check out the visual companion to this episode on our blog.

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  1. Happy Tricentennial chaps!

    A certain macabre part of me wonders if bones would be able to burn to give off a smell a la pot pourri OR incense… would that not be the squishier remains, which might move the discussion more into the realm of scented candles? But let’s put that one aside for now.

    I confess I was never sure how much of Piotr’s going to the bad was predicated on the events of Gen Next series, and how much of it dated from long long before then given that it was clear from the outset that this Piotr and Kitty should absolutely not have been allowed anything to do with looking after kids. (and also how Piotr getting disturbingly, creepily, obsessive over his loved one’s safety was also a thing in the 616)

    Though they were married, would this Kitty ever trust ANYONE enough to NOT phase. Heck, you’d have thought through long periods of working together she’d have learned better than anyone to phase reflexively when he was near since all it would take is one accidental trip on his part and she’d go splat.

    Illyana is looking awfully teenager-y in the shots in the visual companion. Isn’t she supposed to be her true, non-Limbo messed with, age in AoA?

    I don’t remember much about this issue to be honest, but I DO remember having the same thought about Blink and Morph being just as viable people to be in the room as Destiny and Magik. Blink was a cool character, and we deserved a wacky, fun, AoA Morph in the 616 ((Exiles doesn’t count).. I mean, we don’t get them, but we DO get frikking Holocaust?

    Anyway, minor points so, again, congratulations on your millsto.. I mean MILEstone achievement, AND on finally reaching the end of AoA… normal multiversal services will be resumed as soon as possible!

    1. I imagine that this makes me a horrible, horrible person, but I’m afraid that I can’t repress the thought that Mark Waid’s bit about Kitty not phasing quite possibly originates from Waid adding dialogue to the art, noticing that Kitty would have the obvious way of surviving and going, “Hang on, I need to explain that.”

      One of the things that sort of sums up Age of Apocalypse for me is that its conclusion, i.e. the part that’s overall most significant for what the story is saying about its themes, is written by one person and dialogued by somebody else. Might not be very fair of me — mainstream superhero comics are normally a collaborative medium, and this is much more true of big crossover events. But it symbolizes for me how the whole of AoA is less than the sum of its (often rather good) parts.

  2. If the whole mission had failed, then moments later Moira MacTaggert would have died, and then the entire universe would have reset anyway.

    So there’s that.

    1. Maybe that’s why this universe survived after all. Because Moira was able to make just enough difference.

  3. Happy 300th! It was interesting to hear the Miles gave up X-Men after AoA. I’m about the same age and did the same thing. As much as the story was a good jumping-on place, the end was also a good jumping-off point. Part of sticking with comics is just the rhythm of getting a new installment monthly, so when that was interrupted it wasn’t heard to give it up for good. After all, by the time the story ended, readers hadn’t heard from the 616 versions of the characters in several months and I realized I didn’t miss them that much.

    Obviously I still like the characters though, or I wouldn’t be a regular listener to the podcast! I’m excited to finally discover what happened in the late 90s.

  4. Thinking about Age of Apocalypse, now that I’ve waded through something that I only ever skimmed before: how much is there by X-Men: Omega that wasn’t there already in X-Men: Alpha? I don’t mean finding out who Character A is now that they’re in Universe B — obviously, there’s a lot of that.

    But is there anything else? This is an event that from the beginning announces that it’s about big, important themes of genocide and ethnic cleansing that were salient in the mid-90s. It tries to reconfigure the X-metaphor as one about the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. But it seems to stop at just being about that as a sufficient end in itself, and doesn’t seem to have much desire to say much about what it’s about.

    I have the sense that there was a big whiteboard which had all the plots for the various miniseries sketched out, and a laundry list of the things that would have to be checked off in X-Men: Omega to resolve them (“You’re the mutant that Forge promised me!”) — but what was needed was another big whiteboard next to it that had written on it in big letters, “But what’s the [expletive deleted] point?

    Perhaps the problem is Apocalypse. I would be really interested to know which came first: the idea of a world without Charles Xavier, or the idea of a world ruled by Apocalypse.

    Because I can respect the whole “What does the X-metaphor mean nowadays?” impulse – it’s definitely a question that anyone responsible for an X-book needs to ask. But I think it works best with the first idea – there’s a natural connection between “Take away Xavier” and “Let’s examine what the ideas with which the X-books have historically interwined him.” By the same token, making Magneto the central figure on one side is great stuff, especially because his Claremont origin gives him a direct purchase on the theme of genocide.

    But there isn’t much organic connective tissue between “Charles Xavier isn’t there” and “Apocalypse becomes ruler of North America.” You really are reliant on the idea that Apocalypse is the natural figure to symbolize genocide. And I do still think that the story is doing something interesting by making Apocalypse so much like Silver Age Magneto – it works for me when Magneto accuses of him of being no more impressive than Hitler, because in a sense it’s a post-Claremont Magneto talking to the Lee/Kirby Magneto.

    But at that point, I have the same slightly squicked-out feeling that I have about modeling Dark Beast so closely on Josef Mengele. Apocalypse and many of the characters that surround him as presented here are simply too cartoonish to bear this kind of symbolic weight. This can be summed up in that this is the story that contains the awfulness of a character called “Holocaust” — and then compounds that with the added awfulness of having him in a story that is referencing the actual Holocaust.

    Part of the problem here is that we never have much exploration of Apocalypse’s regime. Bishop says at the end that this universe was claimed by “fear, prejudice, and hatred.” Tell me more? We see mutants as a ruling class, but not that much about how that came about. It is worth remembering that supposedly, this all came into being in the comparatively recent past (about two decades ago?), which is to say that the point of departure is a society that we should find familiar. In that context, how exactly did Apocalypse recruit his mutant army and take over? What did he tell them at the time? Were they being persecuted by humans? Did he tell them, “And our official aesthetics are going to be big on the dark and industrial, but don’t worry, you’ll be encouraged to grow your hair as long as you like?”

    There’s a whiff here of the Mirror Universe — the point is to show us our regular characters, but (mostly) Daaark, and not to worry about it beyond that. In that sense, Age of Apocalypse might be the perfect ‘90s X-story, in that it takes for granted that you are reading it because it is an X-comic, and alternate takes on the characters are worth all of these pages as ends in themselves.

  5. Best orphan to adopt:

    Then I get one of the best kids ever and he gets a better dad too!
    Ya know, not that I’m an awesome parent, but the fact that I don’t want him dead…

  6. Hey guys.

    You mentioned in this episode about the Masters of The Universe toys. If you haven’t seen it, I think you’d really enjoy “The Toys That Made Us” on Netflix. It’s a fantastic series about, obviously, toys and the history of how they were developed. They’re all good and extremely interesting, but there is one one the Masters of The Universe.


    And keep podcasting.

  7. For the benefit of anyone who, like me, is reading along with the podcast via Marvel Unlimited. In one of Marvel Unlimited’s well-known triumphs of indexing, it is vital for the next episode to be aware that, as far as MU is concerned, there is X-Men Prime and then there is X-Men: Prime.

  8. Speaking of milestone issues…episode 325 ought to feature a burping contest, in honor of the face Storm makes on the front cover of Uncanny 325. I always found it unsettling, especially since just removing a shadow goes a huge way toward fixing the problem.

    Thank you both for 300. I’ve let myself get behind a little so I can binge. But I’m still excited to continue and appreciative.

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