Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

361 – The World’s Densest Eagle

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

In which the 1990s were full of miniseries; Mystique and Sabretooth take a sabbatical from X-Factor; Mystique’s powers are wildly inconsistent; we meet a second Cypher; most secret agents are Mystique; and you should never tell Sabretooth about your girlfriend.


  • Sabretooth’s ambitions
  • Sabretooth and Mystique #1-4
  • A Helicarrier heist
  • Hydra
  • AIM
  • The sounds of autopsies
  • How Mystique’s powers work, sometimes, kind of
  • Commander Cypher
  • Technosassins vs. Cyburai
  • Catalyst
  • Complimentary types of awful
  • Caption colors
  • Access
  • Gender dimorphism of monsters
  • The Comics Code Collar
  • Dismember and Corrosion
  • The time Cyclops offered to help Cable steal a spaceship
  • The Black Womb Project

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  1. Agents of SHIELD, Season 4, Ep 16, “What If?”– 27 minutes in, Jemma nails the Hydra/nazi thing:

    “And for the record, Hydra? They’re all nazis.”

    “Are Hydra all nazis?”
    “Every last one of them. And don’t you let anyone forget it.”

  2. The 2003 Mystique series, which plays around a lot with her powers, basically confirms the “constant mass” thing.

    In a notable early instance, Mystique transforms into a little girl, both to temporarily confuse her pursuers, and then to hit them that much harder since she’s now a bit denser.

    Really fun little series.

  3. Oh darn, I closed my browser without saving, so I lost the long post I had all ready to go. (So you will just have to imagine the lyrical flow, the power, the sheer poetic majesty and insight of my comments… Ahem)

    As I have no memory of this series, I’m looking forward to the visual companion, as you seem to rate the art highly.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that my favourite version of AIM was in Mark Gruenwald’s Quasar run where the new Chairman basically looked at his beekeeper lookalike troops and said “Look folks, and any AI’s who happen to have developed since coffee break, our mad science is THE best, but our world domination plans are basically… awful. I mean really, REALLY bad. So what we’re going to do is give up those, and instead we’re going to be the Nerd Herd for all the other bad guys. If they want fusion powered pogo sticks, gerbil-tarantula abominations, or rays to turn cheese into glass, then they can come to us. We get paid, spend their money on more mad science and everyone has a better life!” Of course, one of their first creations under this regiem was MODAM (Mental Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers), a lady MODOK, so make of that what you will.

    Those sound like great onomatopoeia for an autopsy. Not that I’ve ever been to an autopsy mind you, but I’ve had to remove the innards of a chicken (after it was dead, just for clarity) and I’m pretty sure there was at least one “glorp” sound in there somewhere.

    I imagine Mystique doesn’t keep the wings handy because she’d have to concentrate to keep them present and it’s too much of a distraction.

    I believe cypher is still considered a valid alternative spelling for cipher, and is more often used for the verb form. But maybe that’s a British thing.

    The power to catalyse chemical reactions would be… devastatingly powerful since, as Jay says, everything is base on chemical reactions and to be able to catalyse them to be faster or slower would allow you pretty much infinite power over events around you.

    Just think about, say, breathing… if you couldn’t metabolise oxygen, you might not even notice yourself suffocating until it was too late, because you’d be breathing normally.

    Or imagine being hit by sudden hypoglycemia out of the blue because you’re bodies ability to deal with glucose is going wild.

    Anything metal could corrode in moments if oxidation was sped up and the powder in bullets wouldn’t ignite and car engines wouldn’t work if combustion was messed with.

    From the sound of it, Catalyst was something of an underachiever.

    Sorry, it’s just that’s the sort of vague throwaway reference to a power which instantly makes me curious about it’s limits.

  4. The discussion of Catalyst reminds of the supervillain I came up with when I was a very nerdy 15, “Redox,” who had the power to induce (obviously) reduction and oxidation.

    1. It’s also very reminiscent of Chemical King from the Legion of Super-Heroes. He was a character that got killed off very quickly once the writers realized that they didn’t know anything about chemistry.

      1. I nearly mentioned good old Condo “Chemical King” Arlik! 🙂

        As a character he was pretty much doomed from the outset, since he’d been introduced via a memorial statue in a flashforward story, along with a Caucasian “Shadow Woman”.

        I think the intent was to introduce him as a younger “Chemical Kid” in the series present (as a lot of the other “…Kid” characters had become “…King” as adults, which says something about their egos if nothing else) who’d then age into the “…King” version. Still not sure why he then debuted as “Chemical King”.

        Then, as you say, they realised that it’s a powerful and complicated power, especially when you also have a chemical transmuter on the team in Element Lad, and he didn’t last long.

        They did sort of revisit the character in a Secret Origins story in the 90’s which is actually rather lovely (if a bit “Bury your gays”), showing how using Condo’s powers was originally very dangerous as using them messed with his own metabolism too (he was prone to seizures and severe diabetes) so lived in near constant isolation, until Invisible Kid from the Legion came to help him learn control and there’s a heavily implied queer romance added to their history. Sadly, since it was a flashback, we already knew Invisible Kid was killed shortly after and then Chemical King not long after that!

        In a sort of missed opportunity, Invisible Kid was brought back in one of DC’s semi-regular universe reboots, and though Condo wasn’t around as a hero, Invisible Kid was seen to get romantic notes from someone whose initials were CA (the same as Chemical Kings real bame), but we never saw who that was. The writers confirm it was intended to be Condo, but they were off the book before they got a chance to show them together on the page (or possibly because editors at the time didn’t let them), and subsequent writers didn’t follow up. Sigh….)

    1. I was going to ask about Go-Gurt as I’d never heard of it, but I checked and apparently we have it in the UK too, but it’s not called “Go-Gurt”, because that would be a silly name.

      No, over here, we call it…. “Frubes”

      Which is apparently because it’s “fruity tubes“, rather than because of anything anything else it might rhyme with which I’m sure never gets mentioned with a giggle in school playgrounds across the country.

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