Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

351 – His Mighty Hand

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

In which we enter Phase 2 of Onslaught; Cable is a man of many purposes; Onslaught gets a makeover; Intentions only matter if you’re Longshot; and Sue Richards will pull over this crossover event right now if you don’t behave.


  • Red Onslaught
  • Onslaught Phase 1
  • Uncanny X-Men #336
  • Cable #35
  • X-Man #19
  • X-Force #58
  • A large number of team-ups
  • Onslaught, but make it a seder
  • Watcher undercarriage
  • Onslaught’s second form
  • Cable and Apocalypse vs. Onslaught
  • Nate Grey vs. Sinister
  • A trap
  • Several flashbacks and fantasies
  • Symbolic roles within X-Force
  • What Banshee’s sonic scream sounds like
  • Pecs as envisioned by Franklin Richards

NEXT EPISODE: Onslaught, of course.

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  1. Congratulations, Miles! And Jay, I hope you get some much-needed rest for that cold.

    As for the screaming, I kind of imagine it like an emergency siren. High pitched, rising and falling. Though over a few more seconds than your regular siren.

  2. So, to bring up the thing I do, where I mention where I draw mental connections between a X-Men story and anime, the story with X-Factor reminds me a bit of a beat from Gurren Lagann (which, considering the members of Gainax who worked on that show would go on to form Trigger, and several of the members of that team, like Imaishi, were fans of X-Men, makes sense). Specifically, it’s the beats from the conclusion of the battle with the Anti-Spiral, where each character is getting a glimpse of their idealized or semi-idealized world (well, less so for Simon, but I digress) – and specifically, Caliban’s scenario reminds me of the scenario that Viral gets in TTGL.

    And finally, in response to the bit about Banshee screaming – there’s a joke from Dragonball Z Abridged, during the Namek Arc, with Vegeta flying and screaming, with various characters comedically reacting to hearing the scream at absurd distances, ending with Future Trunks (in the Future), reacting and going “Daddy?” – and now I’m imagining that joke but with Banshee – only it doesn’t quite work because I don’t think we’ve had a time-displaced future Siren.

    (Also, I really wish we’d gotten some sort of reference to Kid Trunks and Future Trunks when we had Kid Cable and Old Cable hanging around – there was some missed potential there, as I suspect that Future Trunks might be at least a little bit inspired by Cable).

  3. When Onslaught said, “Behold my mighty hand!” the second time, I honestly thought the taunt was meant as a setup for a joke by Spider-Man or somebody. “On the bright side, he’s out of hands now.”

    Onslaught’s second form really didn’t stick, did it? I never even realized he was supposed to have *had* a second form, which made that splash image of a horrified Ozymandias at the end of Phase 1 awfully confusing. Though I like the idea that the new shape is Onslaught coming into its own, changing the look mid-event is a weird decision. The character design is the most memorable thing about Onslaught — plus the storyline keeps pointing out that he looks like Magneto — so I’m not surprised artists gravitated toward the original.

    Nor did I realize this was the first Cable vs. Apocalypse showdown. That does feel like a waste, I agree. Marvel would’ve been better to have left Apocalypse shelved altogether here; Dr. Doom could’ve filled the role of devil-you-know or Cable could’ve just gone without a foil. Apocalypse’s largely do-nothing appearance, like Onslaught’s penchant for repeating himself, supports Jay’s comment the other episode: Despite all the noise, Onslaught issues feel like not very much happens. And with so many issues to fill, Marvel has to trot out extra villains to fill the panels, even if they don’t accomplish much narratively.

    Regarding dream-sequence traps, i’m reminded of Order of the Stick webcomic #887-889, where the party is stuck in a similar scenario and the only one to see through the ruse is the low-IQ (but high-EQ) bard.

  4. A couple of scattered thoughts:-

    -The problem with Siryn & Chamber (Sirber? Chambryn?) is that it would have been written by American X-book writers in the ‘90s.

    Which is to say, they would have gone straight for, “All Irish people hate English people, don’t they?” as the motor of interest in that relationship. And they’d have dragged in Northern Ireland in some way, and I do not need to read Scott Lobdell or Jeph Loeb’s idea of how to write about Northern Ireland.

    Claremont was bad enough — one of the most cringeworthy moments in Contest of Champions is that bloody panel where (a) Shamrock apparently has no idea who Captaιn Britain is and (b) immediately hates him for having a lion on his costume —, and Claremont at least seems to have some genuine, if romanticized, interest in the British Isles. The thought of this era of the X-books doing the same sort of thing? Ugh. Especially Jeph Loeb, who has now decided that Irish people say “if’n,” for some unintelligible reason.

    – But our host’s discussion of, “So…what is Siryn actually like?” was revealing, I think, in the extent to which this many years after she joined the cast of X-Force, she still basically can be summed up as “She’s Irish.”

    It’s that essential laziness of the era. Claremont liked him his exotic foreign characters with the accents, so let’s ape the worst features, as that’s what X-book readers must want. But not bother to do what Claremont also did, and redeems his worst tendencies in this area, give all his characters their own personalities.

    – On a happier note, Thor digging a neat cylindrical hole through Onslaught is entirely appropriate. It has been established since very soon after the character was created, since Journey into Mystery…

    [Starts going to check exactly which issue it is on Marvel Unlimited, and then remembers that, in their infinite wisdom, Marvel have decided completely to wreck the interface on Marvel Unlimited and make it take forever to find anything, and decides just to assume that his memory is correct]

    …since what might be only the second appearance of Thor, that among his amazing capabilities is that he’s really good at digging tunnels. Specifically, Thor saves scientists from Evil Commie Bastards by digging a tunnel. Said scientists comment on how his digging is scientifically impossible, it’s so amazing — but the power of Thor is beyond science, being the power of a Norse god!

    So that Thor dug out an elegant cylindrical hole in Onslaught when rescuing Xavier — that’s what it means to be a god.

    1. I should apologize. I don’t know why I thought Claremont wrote CoC, but I decided to go back and check that panel, and it’s not his fault — he was elsewhere at the time, and no doubt even has an alibi.

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