Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

353 – Scientists and Superheroes

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

In which Dark Beast is an unlikely father figure; Wild Child remains low-budget Wolverine; X-Factor foreshadows the XSE; no one else thwarts Richardses on Doom’s watch; the cow goes “hate”; and Juggernaut fails to grow as a person.


  • The Red Ghost
  • Onslaught thus far
  • X-Factor #126
  • Fantastic Four #416
  • X-Men Unlimited #12
  • Random’s origins (kind of)
  • Pinochle
  • Kristoff Vernard
  • Several villains
  • Juggernaut’s adventures in the Gem of Cyttorak
  • Gomurr the Ancient (again)
  • Spite
  • Unreliable narrators
  • The evolution of Cyttorak
  • Wolverine’s hair
  • X-arcs we’d like to see as video games

NEXT EPISODE: To nobody’s surprise, Onslaught.

CORRECTION: Kristoff Vernard is not in fact a clone of Doctor Doom.

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  1. Charlie Huston as a secondary colorist is a big surprise. His run as writer on Moon Knight is excellent and should have been definitive if MK weren’t the kind of character who keeps getting redefined every 5 years whether he needs it or not.

  2. Uhhh…shouldn’t forge who is in Indian, sound Indian when he talks??

    HaHAA, I remember that part with Silver age, Jean. She came up to a slight hole in the ground was all like, “OH, M?Y, GOD…a slight depression in the ground! However, shall I get past it?!”. Was super-strange lol. Here it is https://photos.app.goo.gl/iSMDFdCY1G1QuRFk6 .

    “And then he set them on fire.” LOL

    The THING
    Yeauhhh u sayyy that but, when it is like….the 10th time they’ve done a similar story like that, iiit gets-old fast. 😛

    Forge isn’t a sex-creep like that. Why you gon’dun go portray him like that?
    ….What did forge ever do to you?

  3. A couple of scattered thoughts:-

    – The problem with Reed’s “neuromantic disruptor” is that I am a person of a certain age, and once the thought occurs to me that it sounds the same as “New Romantic Disruptor,“ I can’t get that thought out of my head.

    – And in my ongoing quest to understand just why Onslaught is thought to be so bad… Last time, David LaRoss suggested that it was because it turns out to be all about people other than the X-Men, the people who in a usual X-crossover would be relegated to minor intersections with the X-story. And certainly, if you prefer the X-books off in “sort of” their own universe, I can see that would be annoying.

    But personally, I’m fine with something that starts as if it’s peculiarly an X-story developing into a broader MU crossover. That’s the sort of thing you can do in a shared universe that you can’t in another context.

    And I think it’s not done inelegantly. Consider how Onslaught, now that there’s no more story interest in who he is and how he came to be — and also now that Xavier has been rescued from being inside him — is being allowed to fade into something of a background ongoing menace. In his place, we have what is increasingly a Franklin Richards story, and so a story with the FF at its center. Which is very suitable for an MU story, given the position of the Fantastic Four within its history.

    I mean, it’s still a goofy ‘90s crossover — it’s not amazing, and I don’t think anyone’s life will be especially enriched by having read it. And I’m still not at all clear on how “When a man and his archnemesis love each other very much, and one of them mindwipes the other, they have an evil psychic baby,” works, exactly. But I still don’t see what makes it so particularly bad compared to the background level of not-especially-good-ness.

    I do, however, continue to think that it is telling how much better the non-X issues read — I don’t think anyone would doubt that our hosts were right to be more enthusiastic about the Fantastic Four issue this week. And would it be horribly unfair of me to suggest that part of what they might be picking up on is that DeFalco, for all his faults (and his run is not great or even good FF), is writing as if he actually gives a $%^# about the Fantastic Four, and that is a sense that is generally lacking from the X-books in this era?

    – I like Reed saying “In the words of my dearest friend, it’s clobberin’ time,” but “Let’s get ready to rumble” is off. Some characters should be immune to the 1990s.

    1. I don’t think Onslaught is bad,exactly. There’s definitely some good moments to be had in many of the books that tie in to it. I do, however, think that it’s bloated and inconsistent. Or at least it seemed to be bloated at the time. Compared to more recent events like Civil War 2 it’s downright economic.

      I think it’s when you factor in the comics leading up to it and the arbitrary tie in comics (Punisher, Green Goblin) that it really explains its reputation. If you just focus primarily on the Phase titles it’s not a terrible crossover, it’s just a little too long.

  4. A New Romantic Disruptor is exactly the sort of invention a early-1960s Science Dad would come up with.

    On the breadth of the crossover: I think an argument can be made that the FF, Avengers and whatnot aren’t in the main story *enough*. Although I think Onslaught should’ve been left as an X-books story, once the decision was made to include the Heroes Reborn crowd, they should have been the stars, not the X-Men.

    Instead, you’ve got them fighting Onslaught’s junior varsity squad. The Fantastic Four don’t even get that, spending #416 going through their back catalog. (As a last FF issue, it’s a lot of fun and has nice art, but it advances the Onslaught story not at all.)

    I wonder if the story would have been more satisfying had Onslaught mind-controlled most of the X-Men right from the get-go. Leave a couple people free to keep their books running, but everybody else joins Onslaught for whatever it is he’s trying to do. Have them guard the Ebon Citadel; the Avengers and FF have to battle through them to get to the final fight.

    This would have accomplished a couple things: It’s a big first-act setback for the good guys. It effectively shows Onslaught’s power as a telepath (really, turning Havok evil takes no skill at all, I could probably do it). It makes for much more challenging fights for the Avengers, et al. (A vs. X, 15 years early!) And, since they win, it lets them go out on a much more heroic note than, “Avengers fly into psychic cloud to give it mass.”

    Finally, it’d provide a better case for X-Men as Public Enemies, post-Onslaught, which is important for what comes next.

  5. So, the game concept that Jay mentioned (the reverse tower defense where you’re laying traps to keep people from escaping), I want to say is part of the plot of one of the games in Tecmo’s Deception series. I might be misremembering though.

  6. I’m a couple weeks behind here but …oh man Kristoff. I was sort of surprised you guys didn’t point out the bizarreness of this character but I went back through my copy of FF 416 and saw he was in costume the whole time and you may not have been aware just how batshit this character actually is.

    So…. Kristoff… in this issue … He’s like 11 years old, basically the same age as Cassie Lang. Kristoff’s deal is, he’s a little kid … his mom got killed in Latveria, Doom took him in as his ward … and uploaded copy of his personality into Kristoff’s brain as sort of Manchurian/Sleeper thing.

    So, when Doom was presumed dead at some point during the Byrne run of FF, this programming kicks in, and this little kid suddenly thinks he IS Victor Von Doom. Doom has left him behind this suit of armor that fits him but disguises his kid form in adult stature (and presumably disguises his voice) … and yeah, this kid rules Latveria for ~60ish issues of FF continuity AS DOOM.

    The flaw is, Doom programmed the sleeper brainwashing too well, and when Doom came back (this was either in the Englehart or Simonson run I forget at the moment) … Kristoff, and all of Kristoff’s lackeys, thought the real Doom was a malfunctioning Doombot and ran him out of Latveria for a while.

    And even when the FF finally got this 11 year old kid out of the armor and restored the real Doom, this kid kept insisting he was Doom. And that’s why he was living with the FF during this period, to deprogram him. So in the 400s of the FF series, he is starting to accept he’s not Doom but still talks like him, and he’s going to public school with Cassie while trying to figure out how to be a kid, because he still has all of Doom’s knowledge.


    1. You forgot the best part, Kristoff has also been implied to be one of Nathaniel Richards many children sired during his time hopping. Making him both Doom’s adopted son and Reed’s half brother

      1. Yeah, Nathaniel gets around. They just hinted in one of the most recent issues that Reed might have a sister in the 616. Nathaniel knows not of celibacy.

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