Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

357 – The Semiotics of Regret

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

In which Professor X has no time for your sympathy; there are too many people in the bathroom; everything’s more fun with J. Jonah Jameson; psychologists dress better in the 616; the Rainbow Bears have your back; and Onslaught finally, actually, for-real ends.


  • How Logan got his adamanitum back (again)
  • Onslaught (briefly)
  • Uncanny X-Men #337
  • X-Men #57
  • Onslaught Epilogue #1
  • What we wish Onslaught had been
  • The anti-mutant agenda
  • Alarm clocks
  • Ruby quartz storage and cleaning
  • Optic-blast sound effects
  • Googol vs. google
  • Breakfast
  • A familiar cover homage
  • The semiotics of regret
  • Disappearance-montage photos
  • Accountability
  • Polychromatic world-building
  • Prisoner M-13
  • Prisoner M-9 (Nina)
  • The Manite Project
  • The Rainbow Bears
  • Renee Majcomb
  • Getting through Operation Zero Tolerance
  • Our favorite continuity tangles


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

7Find 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. More important than the green liquid Cyclops keeps his glasses in, how did he find a glass with half a top rim, but definitely a complete base? How does the liquid keep in there? Is non-euclidean geometry necessary for ruby quartz glasses?

    1. Also, are we saying that Onslaught is the X-Men’s 2016? Obviously there is a lot of resonance in terms of bigotry going from cultural to state enforced. Although it’s more certainly referencing 9/11 while only “accidentally” predicting 2016 (the quotes are because it’s only accidental if you’re not keeping track of the falling dominoes). Like all things in comics, the timeline is weird.

  2. To this day, Uncanny X-Men #337 remains one of my favorite single issues of the 90s. Yes, there are more engaging issues and there isn’t anything too exciting in it, the bit at the end with Gambit mocking Magneto’s new name has always stuck with me.

    I’ve said it elsewhere a few times but I’m going to also say it here: The aftermath of Onslaught is a massively missed opportunity for the MU as a whole. You have a year (publishing time) without most of Marvel’s biggest heroes and it doesn’t really amount to much. Aside from The Thubderbolts and some lip service given here and there, it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact. It was the same problem I had with both The Death of Superman and The Death of Wolverine. It’s a great opportunity to show why and how these characters are important and they just don’t. If anything, they just bring in new characters to fill the void. I think Batman: Knightfall is the only one of these kinds of stories that actually makes the point.

    I was also confused as to why there weren’t any new Avengers teams after the main ones got Onslaughtered. There were stilk plenty of Avengers left to fill the void.

    Onslaught was definitely an event where the pieces were greater than the whole. It’s frustrating that it didn’t stick with the plan laid out in Road to Onslaught. If the legend is true that Bob Harras had an outline/road map for Inferno I wonder why he didn’t employ that here?

    Lastly, while I won’t get too much into it right now. I think Operation: Zero Tolerance would be more fondly remembered if it had stuck with Lobdell’s original plans for it. It also would have greatly differentiated it from previous mutant persecution stories and set up an interesting status quo.

  3. Wait, so Zero Tolerance *also* goes off the rails? That’s interesting, hope to hear more about that. After Onslaught, I was firmly off the X-Books for years, not returning until Whedon’s Astonishing. (Though I’ve since caught up some, like on Morrison’s run.)

    I think I liked Onslaught even less upon rereading it, simply realizing how many good ideas fell by the wayside. These issues were a lot more compelling, perhaps because they’re no longer trying to do double duty as both X-drama and Marvel Strategic Vision.

    I do wonder why the team is letting Xavier stew in his self-pity, considering that his negative emotions nearly destroyed the world — what, yesterday? If no meds are available for this, Jean or Psylocke should really be keeping him smoothed-out telepathically.

    On Zero Tolerance: Their color-coded uniforms may suggest a large, highly organized operation, but their mutant-coding system does not. Nina, if she’s really a lab-created mutant (or whatever) should have a different designation than Xavier, a natural-born mutant. (So maybe M/D-9, for designer mutant, or MM-9, for mutant moppet). The idea that such a large organization is still barely into the double digits on prisoners is also odd, assuming that they’re numbering mutants sequentially and Xavier is the most recent.

    I forget, does Forge’s neutralizer gun still exist? Seems like Zero Tolerance could’ve saved a lot of money by bringing that back.


  4. And so Onslaught lurches to it’s end.

    A terrific idea for an X-Men story, which became a finale for a completely non X-Men related story ending several , and went in too many directions to keep it’s momentum up, so perhaps more of an Offslaught by the end of it.

    I think it’s biggest crime was that Onslaught as a character was just so… generic, so lacking in any of the creativity that a psioncally powered rage monster should have had. We never even saw him indulge in any of the sort of behaviour that Xavier (usually) tried to avoid, like reprogramming people’s thought’s to suit his own strategic ends (or, shudder, venal)

    Imagine if no one in New York suddenly saw nothing wrong with Sentinels being around the place because “They always have been, after all, and we deserve the culling they bring”. Now THAT would be creepy as sin.

    Xavier’s telepathically projected rage and self loathing creating it’s own personality and existence was a fascinating idea but, perhaps a little weirdly, I sort of lost the thread of it at the moment it becomes an independent entity. (Okay, the Magneto hate-goblin runs a VERY close second as derailing moments,)

    Xavier’s a telepath, everything about him is to do with his brain’s remarkable abilities, but they are entirely non-physical. I can suspend disbelief for most things, but the idea that his thoughts can wander off out of his head and do their own thing completely unrelated to his brain seems just a step too far. An odd hill to choose to make a stand on I freely admit, but here I am.

    One question I sort of hesitate to ask given it’s a sensitive matter, but did Xavier consider suicide or at least permanently neutralising his own powers at any point? If your brain it the thing which is keeping the rage monster going wouldn’t it occur to him that the best way to get rid of it would be to, well… stop the super-brain being either super, or a brain at all?

    But thank you for the coverage, my knowledge of this was spotty before, and remains somewhat spotty still, but that’s not down to you, that’s down to this being such a wasted opportunity.

  5. “One question I sort of hesitate to ask given it’s a sensitive matter, but did Xavier consider suicide or at least permanently neutralising his own powers at any point? ”

    We do see this very thing addressed a few years later during Morrison’s Cassandra Nova arc — which, incidentally, does a much better job of handling its psychic super-villain than the Onslaught event did; she’s quite scary. (Short answer: Yes, he considers it.)

Leave a Reply

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