Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

342 – Angry Birds

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

In which Miles does his best, birds are weird, some of the most dangerous villains are pink, and we are in the Onslaught Zone.


      • Malibu Comics and Marvel Comics, sitting in a (multiversal) tree, KILLING
      • Archangel: Phantom Wings
      • Unorthodox artistic decisions
      • Archangel (Warren Kenneth Worthington III)
      • Angst, renewed
      • Bird ichor
      • Tuesday Bird and her Mad Max outfit
      • How (not?) to flirt
      • Uncanny X-Men #333
      • Various Roberts Kelly
      • Graydon Creed, doin’ Mom proud
      • Bastion, Nimrod, & Master Mold
      • Operation Zero Tolerance
      • X-Teams and their lanes
      • A naked murder-uncle
      • Pink villains
      • Obscure callbacks
      • Event synergy
      • X-Men #53
      • Day to-day challenges of telepathy
      • Super-Saiyan Magneto
      • Phoenix (Jean Grey), actual adult
      • Onslaught
      • That scene from 1964’s X-Men #3
      • A surprisingly insightful look at Professor X’s dark side
      • Logan’s assorted friendships with teen girls
      • XMEN Disease

NEXT EPISODE: X-Force gets, predictably, x-treme.

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

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is 100% ad-free and listener supported. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Buy rad swag at our TeePublic shop!


  1. Thanks for another great episode! Question about the Phoenix – Jean Grey connections in these issues: Onslaught implies that Jean Grey should give in to the power he offers like she did to the Phoenix force. But Jean Grey never was the Phoenix, right? Or are we to assume that this works because of the memories she now has from the post-Inferno memory absorption with Madeline Pryor and the Phoenix?

    1. I suppose you could justify it by the agreement Jean had with the Phoenix to save her life, plus the memories she inherited from the Phoenix.

      I honestly hadn’t even questioned it until you mentioned it.

    2. Jean very definitely has all the memories of her Phoenix self integrated at this point, and Jeanix always acted as Jean would, so it’s a fair comparison for Onslaught to make.

  2. It might be the recording equipment, but I initially thought Jay said Tuesday had “Red dong looking eye makeup,” and was really confused for a few seconds.

  3. I confess I have no context for what the Archangel one shot could possibly look like (I could not even have told you it was a thing that existed), so I await the visual companion with more than usual levels of interest.

    And thank you for mentioning the fact that NO ONE saw Onslaught and thought “It’s Magneto with shoulder pads” which drove me nuts for ages because it was so obviously the vibe they were going for.

    I could see Xavier’s darker aspects coming together and choosing to look like that since, being his darker aspects, they’d want to look like the person who had done most to stymie him over the years, but this wasn’t subtle (and made even less so by the eventual reveal that there was more than a smidge of Magneto’s personality was there too, though I think that was a fairly late addition to the plot, to exonerate Xavier to some extent)

  4. I didn’t even know that Archangel one-shot existed until a couple of months ago when I came across it in the dollar bin at my LCS. Since I’ve been on an X-Men buying spree for the last year I went ahead and picked it up though, I confess, I have yet to read it.

    Ah, that Xavier reveal from X-Men #3. While it was best forgotten or, better yet, not done at all, I do think there were better ways of handling it. My biggest issue wasn’t that Xavier had feelings for Jean. It was that his being in a wheelchair was the deal breaker, not that she was, you know, his student and a minor. But again, that would have been best left in the past.

    I really can’t wait to see how you guys tackle Onslaught. That really is X-Plaining “Hard” Mode.

  5. one can only hope that the flock of wrathful physic bird-ghosts can make an appearance on an upcoming Hawk Talk….

  6. It’s so easy to forget how good Remy is with young girls, since he’s so flirtatious with anyone in his age range. But he had his wonderful friendship with kid!Storm, spent most of Jubilee’s time in space being a great friend and companion, and mentored Laura. (He was also WONDERFUL with that girl in his first Ultimate X-men appearance, before they went an extremely different direction with that universes character.) He’s pretty good with kids.

  7. Agree with SinisterPryde that the ableism of the original line (along with not acknowledging the unethical nature of student/teacher stuff) is what REALLY makes the original material worse.

    To be fair, once Onslaught appears in front of all the X-Men, they all will be following the Magneto thread. So at least someone in writing/editorial noticed that.

    I have appointed myself as a ResidentOnslaughtApologist and I’m happy to see that you love Issue 53 as much as I do. It also really sets the stage for the fact that so much of the Onslaught arc also feels very much like Waid saying “Hey, I know everyone wants to revisit Claremont, but remember the Silver Age?!!” Like even the Gem of Cytorrak IS a thing in one silver age story. So again, not always the most successful arc in all ways, but I admire the attempt to try to mine less mined materials.

    1. Waid does an interesting job of (a) not changing any of Lee’s original dialogue (or possibly Kirby’s) from UXM #3 — so even the most fanatical continuity-obsessive could not say that there’s a definite retcon here — but (b) omitting part of it so that the impression of what happens is quite different.

      One would naturally assume here that the reason why Xavier “can never” and doesn’t “have the right” to express his feelings is because it would be wrong for him as Jean’s teacher to do that, and has nothing to do with his disability. It’s still not great (Improved-Ethics Xavier would not think of Jean as “the woman I love”), but it’s a significant step up.

      There’s something interesting here about how Onslaught characterizes Xavier no longer feeling that way as a terrible and hypocritical act of repressing a “negative emotion,” when it could be described in less hyperbolic terms as Xavier having inappropriate feelings, but choosing to behave appropriately, and in due course getting over those inappropriate feelings. But I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      There’s clearly meant to be some sort of parallel with the various bits of hypocrisy early on. But Xavier seems different from most of those people. Most of them are clearly being hypocritical in a straightforward sense, having internal thoughts that contradict their public face — in some cases in ways that speak rather nicely (at least to me as someone who grew up outside the US) to the creepiness of American service culture, in which everyone in a store or a restaurant behaves as if they were your solicitous best friend.

      The exception, where there’s no literal contradiction between inner and outer, is, perhaps tellingly, the first hypocrite — the “stiletto heels” man, who is also the closest parallel to Xavier in the specifics of his private feelings. Waid loads the dice here by making it all a bit kink-shamey, of course. But all that person actually does is be helpful to someone (that he finds attractive) in ways that conform to social convention..

      Onslaught does seem to be essentially a *child*, impulsive, easily frustrated. He seems to view any situation in which someone has thoughts or feelings that do not conform to their ideals, as meaning that their belief in their ideals is meaningless and a lie — the childish view that that a good guy always wants to do the right thing and never has any other desires. From this perspective, the appearance of Juggernaut, the figure who defines Xavier’s childhood, seems significant.

      (There might also be something about comics-universe shared-storytelling in itself here, how there are these little bits of discarded continuity that provoke anger in how they frustrate the fannish desire to have it all be a single seamless story without contradictions.)

      At any rate, this seems interesting, and seems to have more to it than just the hackneyed “Onslaught is the personification of all of Xavier’s repressed Daaark side,” that I was expecting to get from this storyline. And still am expecting to get, honestly — Lobdell and Harras are still Lobdell and Harras.

      *On the ableism of this, the obvious comparandum is Donald Blake,** and to be fair to Lee & Kirby — not that this palliates things completely — there it appears that the ableism is Blake’s own internalized ableism, and that Blake’s disability is not something that should be an issue from Jane Foster’s perspective, or the story’s . (Of course, Blake is also Foster’s *employer*, and that’s its own problem.) I haven’t read enough early Daredevil to know how Lee handled the Matt-Karen relationship there.

      **Wow, Lee & Kirby did love their “two people are madly in love, but each thinks that the other has no interest in them” romantic plots. I always feel that Jean Grey-Scott Summers makes the most sense, partly because of how Scott is characterized, but also because they’re both teenagers, and this is 100% credible behavior in teenagers. I suppose that’s part of why early Marvel proved such a success with a slightly older audience.

  8. Manco’s not a big favourite of mine, but I didn’t find it difficult to follow the story. The way he draws this looks very similar to how he was drawing other books for Marvel at the time. I wonder if he knew it was going to be printed in black and white when he drew it. It’s so unusual for Marvel to do a book in this format as b&w is it possible it was a financial decision, filling a printing slot, hitting a deadline? Babcock’s lettering is mostly let down by his balloon work. The actual lettering is not disruptive to my eye, but there are some wonky balloons. Maybe especially jarring alongside the inhuman perfection of 90s Comicraft.
    Have you ever x-plained where Xavier holds a chair? Even for a tenured professor, isn’t this one heck of a sabbatical?

  9. I continually had the song “Curse of Crows” stuck in my head during the Archangel portion of the episode. “There are just so many birds.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *