Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

363 – Licked by a Shadow

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

In which standing in fields looking confused is a way of life; Psylocke gets a new superpower; when you gotta confess you gotta confess; Iceman’s dad stands up for justice; we mourn a Sentinel; and it’s probably a good thing that most companies don’t do mind melds as a team-building exercise.


  • Levels of mutant power
  • Omicron-level mutations
  • Miles’s brief baseball career
  • Uncanny X-Men #338
  • X-Men #58
  • X-Men Annual 1996
  • Archangel’s wings
  • Joseph vs. Holographic Magneto
  • Shadow teleportation
  • The errand theory of confession
  • Graydon Creed (more) (again)
  • “Drake Roberts” and “Samson Guthry”
  • Several ways to memorialize the Mutant Massacre
  • Onslaught, but an anteater
  • A fight
  • Several JJJ cameos
  • X-baseball games
  • A highly atypical Sentinel
  • Several oblique warnings
  • X-Men ‘97
  • Media inspired by the X-Men

NEXT EPISODE: Pryde & Wisdom

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  1. Looking at the visual companion I can see Warren smiling at the end of his wings’ de-transformation. It might have been hell to go through, but he’s got HIS wings back after all this time so a smile, even a weak, exhausted one makes sense.

    If I was Joseph I’d be wondering exactly what strength of narcotics his other self had been on to make his pupils contract THAT much?

    Speaking of the visual companion, Good lord, does EVERYONE have that 90’s boyband centre parting/curtains hairstyle in these issues? It sure looks that way!

    Ah Sam, sweet kid, but genuinely lousy at undercover work (With Bobby a close second). Though given Golden Age Bucky Barnes used the superhero codename of “Bucky”, I wonder if it’s just something about the Marvel Universe. (I vaguely recall a “What the…?” where they’re trying to give Cap a new Bucky for Marketing purposes and the best candidate is a kid named “Jason Grayson” and Corporate need to go consult with their lawyers for a couple of minutes to make sure that’s okay)

    You can combine your concern for Vader’s… ummm… various protuberances and Onslaught’s possible anteater antecedents by googling “Dearth Nadir” from The Muppet Show’s Mark Hamill episode. (And then watch the episode, it’s GREAT!)

    I know you said that only “States-based and non-Government X-teams” were present for the baseball, but I do wish Excalibur had been there, if only to see Brian valiantly try to explain why cricket would be a MUCH better game to play, and a mass of mutants just looking at him incredulously with crickets chirping in the background (And then Brian looking with especially abject betrayal at his TWIN SISTER Betsy, who apologises and says that the New Mutants showed her how to play baseball when she first met them, and she enjoyed it a lot more)

    The idea of the Sentinel AND Pyro both failing to deliver messages on the same day makes me wonder if the area around the school should have been shown, in a “Police Squad/Naked Gun” style long panning shot, as being littered with the mortal remains of three bicycle couriers, four messengers, two carrier pigeons and a singing telegram all having met ludicrous ends, without any of them ever being referred to again.(Well, that or Pyro getting a Monty Python intro style “It’s…..” before collapsing.

    I’m going to take your “not following the ‘What does cry Havok mean'” bit at face value and mention that’s a quote from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” where Marc Anthony says “Cry ‘Havoc!’! And let slip the dogs of war.” as an indicator that all hell is about to be let loose.

    As a quote, it’s perhaps best remembered in pop culture these days from Christopher Plummer’s General Chang (A Shakespeare loving Klingon) saying it in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”. My apologies if that was explaining the blindingly obvious,

  2. We have to remember that while Warren has feathers again, it’s not exactly his original wings. If I recall, it’s revealed later on that they’re some form of techno organic constructs. But I may be completely misremembering that and maybe they are his feathered wings again.

    I really wish they would have wrapped up the Legacy Virus story sooner or, at the very least, kept it in the back ground of all the other things that were going on. I always found it strange how quickly it was killing mutants until it wasn’t. I get the feeling this was one of those storylines that excited Lobdell to tell and then mostly forgotten about once he left.

    I also wish they had shown more of Bobby’s dad dealing with the idea of Graydon Creed before his stance this issue. I’m vey glad he stood up for mutants and that his character appears to be softening but it also kinds of comes out of nowhere. I know he loves his son and that that probably informed his actions, but it would have been nice to see a little of that between now and his last appearance.

    Otherwise, I found these issues mildly enjoyable if not particularly memorable.

  3. This is not the first time that Havok has made that particular allusion. He first did so (I’m sure it’s come up more than twice) not too long after his first appearance, in UXM #59, when rescuing Scott from a Sentinel: ”No need to [dodge], brother mine! Just cry…Havok!” Frankly, I wouldn’t put it past Roy Thomas to have given him the codename precisely so that he could use the reference.

    Given Peter David’s tendency to use dismal wordplay, we should count ourselves lucky that we never got an encounter between Havok and the Dogs of War.

    1. I wonder if Cyclops ever regrets his name choice when they go up against Mister Sinister?

      [Sinister steps out of the shadows]
      Sinister: “Well, isn’t this a… Sinister turn of events.”

      [Cyclops looks exhausted, Havok fires of plasma]
      Havok: “Don’t mope, Scott, unless you want to… Cry Havok!”

      [Cyclops looks slightly dejected]
      Cyclops: “Let me give him an eye full of…

      “You know what, no, I’m not doing this. You just can’t use ‘Cyclops’ in a word play kind of way. I’m done.”

      [Sinister and Havok exchange a glance.]
      Both: “Lighten up!”

      Havok: “Somebody as an animated stick up their…”

  4. I had a 5th edition D&D monk with shadow teleportation powers. Meander mainly used them to teleport onto very large and/or flying enemies, before making a bunch of attacks and then miraculously passing acrobatics checks to hang on for dear life. In a normal campaign, maybe a niche power. In the underdark, pretty awesome. I never had to consider minimum shadow radius, and the only situation that left me shadowless was pretty magmaful.

    The wing immersion motif apparently hits somewhere deep in my core. I’ve used it in 2 stories, only realizing the similarity after the fact. The closest I’ve ever come to completing a comic features a 30ish page silent scene ending with the lead clawing frantically at this space on her back that she can’t quite reach. *glances guiltily at the stack of binders in the corner.* Maybe this summer. The characters really want me to tell others their story.

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