Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

326 – Son of a Gun

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

In which it’s hard to be a hologram; the Internet is terrible and you should probably avoid it; we have no idea how Naze is still alive; this is not your mom’s Adversary (if your mom is Fall of the Mutants); Forge is an order muppet; and Sabretooth is not a great addition to most teams.


  • Skrulls in American history
  • X-Factor’s attrition rate
  • The spirit spell (again)
  • The Adversary (again)
  • X-Factor #119-121
  • Hypercolor(TM) t-shirts
  • Oblivion vs. masturbation
  • Mark Trail (more) (again)
  • Forge’s complicated relationship with magic
  • The death of X-Factor
  • Several retcons
  • The resurrection of X-Factor
  • (Mis)representation of indigenous cultures in X-books
  • Jim Jaspers vs. the Adversary
  • The spirit spell (YET AGAIN)
  • The Feron of X-Factor
  • Val ‘n’ Victor
  • Dubious use of technology
  • A red herring
  • The lingering spectre of Days of Future Past
  • Our tech issues
  • Reasonable accommodations at the Xavier School

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  1. * virtue signal * virtue signal * virtue signal * virtue signal *

    You guys talk like you are are the worlds leading expert & sole deciders of what is OK & not, with that cultural appropriation stuff.

    * virtue signal * virtue signal * virtue signal * virtue signal *

    1. They literally say in the episode that they aren’t properly equipped to decisively say what the correct way to discuss the issues are. If you don’t like seeing people address issues in media like this, you may be listening to the wrong podcast.

    2. I find that pretty unanimously the people who complain about “virtue signal”ing are the people who have no genuine virtues and only put on a pretense of decency when they need to hide their rottenness.
      Because for them any approximation of virtue is a facade they assume that when others show virtue it Must be fake.

  2. I confess I always found Shard to be somewhat confusing.

    Is she technically an AI? Is she intuitive programming based on her memories? Or is she alive in the true sense of the world

    Which, of course, then becomes an existential discussion about what does “truly alive” mean in a sci-fi context like this?

    Can other people be stored and holographically displayed like that or is it solely based on her light-ish based powers? Could Forge manufacture more of her devices?

    I remember Wild Child from his Gamma Flight/Omga Flight appearances and the vaguely rat-like appearance he had with very pinched cheeks and pointy teeth were very disturbing.

    The Adversary (It’s even such a generic name) being a replacement for Jasper’s also would explain why Roma was so involved in the whole thing. She has dealt with Jaspers before, suddenly tying her into Native American storylines rather than the usual Arthurian stuff always did seem a little random.

    I’m sort of glad the Fury didn’t show up, since as Claremont later provrd when he used him in one of his X-Men returns, it only works if you are prepa

    1. Oops!

      I’m sort of glad the Fury didn’t show up, since as Claremont later proved when he used him in one of his returns to the X-Men, it only works as a threat if you are prepared to actually have it KILL people, otherwise it’s just another ineffective wannabe Sentinel. Claremont had the Fury NOT kill superbeings when they were within reach because it got distracted, which seems to be missing the point of the Fury rather.

  3. Regarding the cold open, if you want to go even further back with Skrulls on Earth; there’s a Fantastic Four issue that shows Benjamin Franklin was replaced by one.

  4. I imagine that with Mystique’s power set and skill set she must have a pretty solid trained instinct for keeping track of things like who is and isn’t currently present in a situation, where people are and where they can be expected to be, what people’s relationships and levels of trust are.
    Because her MO is to exploit occasions when someone is not where they’re expected to be, so she can take the forms of absent people.

    I entirely buy that Mystique would be bothered, possibly anxious, about Havok’s absence. Maybe not because she actively Cares but because her psychology is very primed to be super aware of it.

  5. Is there an group in comics where mystics/magic-users are more overrepresented than indigenous Americans? I did a quick count of Marvel’s Native American characters and nearly half seem to have powers connected to some magical source. (Even if that source is occasionally cross-cultural, like Mirage).

    It’s a trait that seems to manifest regardless of the character’s actual interest in spiritualism — thinking here not only of Forge but Alpha Flight character Elizabeth Twoyoungmen.

    Given the prevalence of the ability, has Marvel ever explained how European colonists managed to conquer a continent full of indigenous magic-users, especially when the white settlers in 616 canonically tried to burn all their own witches?

    1. “Is there an group in comics where mystics/magic-users are more overrepresented than indigenous Americans?”

      Indigenous Australians?

      Possibly a proportionately higher number because there are significantly fewer of them in comics, but I’m hard pressed to think of one who isn’t inextricably tied up in some vague (and likely inaccurate) way with the concept of “Dreamtime”.

  6. Magneto definitely ranks his children a la Lucille Bluth.

    1. Anya
    2. Lorna
    3. Wanda
    4. Pietro

    If he ever found about Charles of Earth 295, he mainly uses him to hold over hte latter three’s heads.

    Lorna: I just think we should maim those FoH members, not kill them.
    Magneto: You’re my third least favorite child.

    1. Also, re: offbrand S&HAF X-Men designs, I do find it funny how Sprite A) has a star necklace and I can’t figure out if it’s because they didn’t want to make her Jewish or simply thought the other would be easier to crappily animate and B) talks like she has cotton balls in her mouth and nose

  7. I disagree with the assertion that there are almost too many X-Men titles. There’s very little character overlap and each title, for the most part, has its own distinct voice. Of course, I’m an X-Men fanatic so I can’t be objective. As long as Marvel keeps up the quality I’ll keep buying them.

    Bringing the Adversary back should have been a much larger event than it’s treated here. After all, it took quite a bit to defeat him the first time. Of course, with Onslaught just down the road, the Adversary can’t be too big of a threat or he’d overshadow the oncoming menace.

  8. The podcast sparked a thought in me. Which, to be clear up front, is a very continuity-geek thought — and when I say what it is, it will be obvious that the answer to the question is “Story, you idiot! Character, atmosphere — do these things mean nothing to you?”

    But what the hell, it’s at least the opportunity for a No-Prize, if this has never been clearly addressed. Has it ever been explained why the DOFP alt-future *has* a Hound program? Because something that’s been part of X-Men comics since the ‘60s is that you can detect mutants by artificial means with today’s technology, let alone with the more advanced technology of the future. The whole in-story point of Cerebro was to allow Scott to detect mutants when Xavier wasn’t there. And Sentinels in particular have been able to detect mutants at short range since the Silver Age.

    So wouldn’t it make sense for Sentinels to keep one or two mutant Hounds at most, for those cases where a mutant has technology-defeating powers, but mostly, pour their resources into better and better mutant-detecting devices?

    1. I think it’s less a “story, character, atmosphere” thing than it is an inconsistency thing. After all, it’s very strange that Cerebro was built so Scott could detect mutants but now only psychics can use it. Or the Guthrie family dynamic. I suppose the MST3K rule applies here.

    2. They’d also serve as a valuable propoganda tool, to demoralise mutants, I suppose.

      If you’re a mutant, you not only have fifty foot tall death-mechs after you, but you also have your own kind being turned against you. And if they can capture member of the Summer’s family, then so much the better.

  9. I’m not sure when the “Cerebro needs a telepath” thing came in. Obviously, it was there in the films, but I don’t know when it was first that way in the comics. At any rate, I don’t think it was established by the ‘80s (although I could certainly be wrong).

    But as regards story, I think it’s central to Rachel Summers as a character that she was a Hound, and (if I recall correctly), that’s when Hounds were invented, when she was brought into the main cast — I don’t think Hounds are there in the original DOFP (although I haven’t checked). Since Rachel is one of my favorite characters, I’m very OK with the inconsistency.

    But it’s an interesting one. I’d argue that DOFP is the main point at which Claremont’s X-Men became the X-Men that we think are the X-Men, with the mutant metaphor and all that. And that was about reviving something that had been there mostly in the Roy Thomas X-Men* — and obviously, that was also the last time that the Sentinels had seen significant use. (We should all agree to forget about the X-Sentinels.**) So it’s striking that here Claremont breaks with what the Silver Age would lead one to expect.

    *Although, Steve Englehart’s Secret Empire is an important X-Men story from this perspective as well.

    **Not really. But the point of the X-Sentinels in context is pretty clearly to say that this is a different book from the original UXM, to draw a line under the past. They’re about saying good-bye to mutants as a marginalized group at a time when it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Claremont had no idea that he would ever revive that as an element in the book.

    1. I don’t recall Cerebro ever being used between the Dark Phoenix Saga and the launch of X-Men (Vol. 2). In both instances Xavier used it but I don’t believe it was stated that only psychics could use it. That may have been stated around X-Cutioner’s Song but I don’t clearly recall.

      1. Psylocke uses it several times (further cementing the “only psychics can use Cerebro” rule) from not long after her introduction, around the time of the Great Mutant Massacre, with Alan Davis drawing a memorable splash page of her wearing the helmet.

        Dani Moonstar (another psychic) has used it too, in the Longshot introduction annual when trying to scan for the de-aged X-Men, but fails because they have regressed past their powers manifesting.

        I wonder if the lack of use of it was supposed to be part of the lead up to Caliban joining the team as their mutant detector, though Byrne’s original designs for him are vastly less human looking (So he would always stay in the Mansion).

        1. I had completely forgotten that Psylocke and Dani had used it as well. Also, now that I’m thinking about it, David Haller used it in Dissolution and Rebirth and that was definitely because he was the only psychic available.

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