Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

332 – Gideon Falls

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

In which Swimsuit Catalog is not an actual style of martial arts; Onslaught dabbles in vandalism; Crule is a special guy; we identify briefly with X-Force; and Charles Xavier is the Keyser Soze of Onslaught.


  • Externals on Krakoa
  • Relative levels of violence in X-books
  • X-Force #52-54
  • Camp Hayden, KY
  • Onslaught-facilitated power-ups
  • Gideon (again)
  • At least one apparent death
  • How it feels to be us
  • Businesswear
  • Whether Cannonball is an external
  • Nazis in the Captain Britain Corps
  • Doop

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  1. I really used to love the fanservice art, way back when. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to feel that there’s a time and place for it. The time is not all the time. The place isn’t everywhere.

    Last year, I tried to reread a Catwoman arc I hadn’t looked at in many years. The art was by Jim Balent. While it wasn’t on the level of his later work, it was just too distracting to continue. I swear, he should change his last name to Blatant.

  2. In terms of Selene having issues leeching life energy out of Cable, I think that was a problem that Fitzroy had with Cable when HE tried to leech life energy out of him to create one of his time portal thingies, but it didn’t work because he hadn’t spotted Cable was wearing some sort of flesh-like arm-covering and Fitzroy either couldn’t pull energy out of the arm, or couldn’t process the Technorganic energy that DID come out of the arm.

    But since I’m not a huge Cable fan, and would happily push Fitzroy off a cliff for killing the Hellions, I might be mis-remembering.

  3. I’m currently searching this “Real Gentlemen of Leisure” site, trying to find the fan theory that you guys mentioned, and so far I’m having no luck! Do you know anything at all about the RGoL page/blog entry that would have had that comment?

      1. I know of Jane Foster: Valkyrie, Return of the Valkyries and The Mighty Valkyries just started. Fearless Defenders was also a great, albeit brief, series. I’m sure there are others but those are the only ones I’ve read and recommend all of them.

      1. I think my issue with it would be the notion that Dani CAN interfere with a death. She’s never (that I can recall) been able to change Death’s mind about a decision because Death is… “Death”, and she is only a valykrie, someone who chooses the valiant dead, but who has no jurisdiction about whether they should die or not.

        She seemed to make her peace with that in #41, where she finally has to accept that death isn’t cruel, or malevolent, death just… “is”.

        It was also mean she managed to HEAL Sam after he was disembowelled, which is definitely not something a Valkyrie would do.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a great story would be possible out of it (Though Doug and Warlock, both dead at the time, might have felt a little aggrieved that she didn’t do the same for them) it would just throw up a metric ton of questions about “How”

        1. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that Dani could possibly stave off death. It was just that in #41 her frenemy was brain dead so she ultimately wasn’t doing him any favors.

          I’m trying to recall if there has been any textual evidence one way or the other. So far I’m coming up blank.

  4. I quite like the idea of Onslaught rewriting past continuity using Xavier’s mental abilities. Compared with the ‘retcon punch’ ability of Superboy Prime, it’s positively logical. [Onslaught Voice] “No, Sam Guthrie was never an External. You remember it wrong.” [/Onslaught Voice].

    That Marvel didn’t actually think to do more of this at the time demonstrates what a missed opportunity this was. The buildup to Onslaught could have been marked by all sorts of weirdness — people forgetting major plot points in their own history and so on — rather than a bunch of poorly connected physical fight scenes.

    1. Somehow, I just don’t think that was a story that these creative teams would have been interested in telling.

      On the Sam Guthrie thing: it still seems to me that “Selene would never lie To us!” is a remarkably weak basis for supposing that Sam is not immortal, and this could be easily re-retconned back any time that someone liked. Hell, Selene could have said it just to be a #$%#, because she didn’t like the idea of Sam not being afraid of dying.

  5. Scattered thoughts:-

    -I will try to be a good person and say something nice about Loeb’s writing before I say less nice things.

    First, his attempt to get at the media depicting mutants in sensationalized ways as a matter of *routine* and how that would dominate ordinary people’s attitudes — that did feel reasonably fresh compared to the standard X-take on this.

    Second, ”Nice speech.” after Roberto’s overwrought verbiage is a good little self-aware bit. It’d be nice if the X-books sent up their own logorrheic tendencies more often.

    – Which, alas, brings me to the first thing that I didn’t like. Both writing and art in these issues read as if somone noticed that X-Force has become just another unnecessary X-book and said to Loeb and Pollina, Make it more Liefeldy!.

    Our hosts were thorough on the art, but I might add that there’s something peculiarly absurd about Pollina coming back twice to that terrible Domino pose, once combined awkwardly with an absurd Really Big Gun and another time seen rather awfully from the rear.

    As for the language, in the early days, X-Force seemed to come by its macho posturing honestly and was at least reasonably concise about it. Here, Loeb combines the OTT nonsense with his faux-Claremont excessive wordiness, and the result is two terrible tastes that do not go any better together than they would separately.

    – And my God, does the fact that Loeb writes in clichés stand out. “Wrote the book.” “The silence within the aircraft … is almost deafening.”

    And then at one point, disastrously, Loeb tries to Claremont-up a normal expression: “The struggle for peace often comes at the expense of war.” This is one of those points at which I have to wonder about Harras’s editing — how did he miss that “at the cost of” means something different from “at the expense of”?

    Then there is, “Sunspot has given his all, and it hasn’t been enough. For the Externals fight for something which is almost indefensible. The honor of having died in battle.” I am not at all sure what Loeb in context is trying to communicate by saying that “the honor of having died in battle” is “almost indefensible.” But I do think we may be, to revisit a recent Hawk Talk, in the territory of “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Finally, Mr. Loeb, “warrior skills” and “fortitude” != “rage,.”

    But, to be charitable, perhaps we have Jeph Loeb opening up a bold new front in his ongoing struggle to defeat Scott Lobdell for the title of All-Time Laziest X-Writer. Because Lobdell’s use of “parameter” for “perimeter” had nothing on this. This is early Jurgens Thor territory. (But without the excuse of attempted archaism. Or the charm.)

    But seriously, it is really surprising to me that this stuff was not flagged and fixed by an editor. Marvel was in crisis, obviously, but this was still part of their flagship line — you would think that Harras could bring himself to care just a little. People make fun of Stan Lee’s grandiloquence, and, God knows, there’s a lot to make fun of in Claremont’s recurrent verbal tics. But the sentences do in both cases make *sense.*

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