Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

373 – Tainted Loins

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

In which the Drake Roberts identity is retired; Gambit bonds with William Drake; Graydon Creed is evil but nondescript; tales of Pyro’s death have been somewhat exaggerated; and some mysteries resolve better than others.

X-PLAINED:

  • Damian Tryp
  • X-Factor (more) (again)
  • Uncanny X-Men #340
  • X-Factor #128-30
  • More Drake family dynamics
  • The Sword of Shannara
  • The general vagueness of Graydon Creed
  • Several ninjas
  • Hound stuff
  • Val Cooper’s pajamas
  • An unexpected return
  • Shapeshifting
  • Overextended plotlines
  • Some unusually threatening dad jokes
  • The anticlimactic death of Graydon Creed
  • Some time travel bullshit
  • Which series are ending and which are relaunching between Reign of X and Destiny of X
  • How and when Colossus stopped being the Juggernaut

NEXT WEEK: Hawk Talk

NEXT EPISODE: The Adventures of Carl & Frank


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7 comments

  1. I feel like there’s a joke that Grayson Creed’s shifting appearance indicates he’s Mystique’s son. I’m also curious what the original plan for his assassin was because there is no way it was that. My guess is it was a false flag by either Bastion or FoH to stir up anti-mutant sentiment as a sort of reverse Days of Future Past.

    As for having the assassination take place in X-Factor, I really like it in theory. I like making every X-Book “count.” I’ve said before that I really wish they solved the Legacy virus in Excalibur. That being said, the fact that they did such a poor job may have been why they didn’t trust the side books after this.

  2. That’s a really good point about Graydon Creed. I never thought about it before, but I actually feel like the most “defined” I’ve ever felt he was was on the X-Men cartoon and even then, he was very much in a Saturday morning cartoon mode. 

    Regarding outing Graydon Creed, I feel like this is – intentionally or not – evoking the debates that went on during the 70s and peaked in the 80s and 90s with the AIDS crisis of whether to out homophobic public figures. And yeah, it definitely went between axes of “is this going too far”, “is this using homophobia”, or “is this necessary” and very good/smart/thoughtful people argued the various ends. Honestly, I feel like in our current moment, too often the takeaway becomes “Look! All homophobes are gay!” in a way that distances cishet people from queer oppression uncomfortably and ultimately makes people “not” want to be homophobic partially over fear of being suspected as queer. However, a friend did recently ask me about the NYT article posthumously outing Koch and the ethics of it. To which I did say, “And I think his hypocrisy – and the vindication of countless AIDS activists who were screaming it and sometimes isolated from more respectable activism for trying to bring it up – demands it be known.” So I think what Jay hinted at (and please correct me if I misinterpreted you, Jay) that it’s a case by case basis of whether outing will do more good than harm for the marginalized community as a whole, is key.

    I’m sure churches do this, but I’m pretty sure the Church hanging up the Graydon Creed poster would lose it its tax exempt status if caught. Mystique should’ve just reported it to Val Cooper.

    The Legacy Virus just becoming background noise to many and some characters living for years with it while others die  COULD have been a really smart part of it being an AIDS allegory (basically a feature vs. a bug in narrative) IF writers had engaged with it very intentionally as such. Even the frustration of the narrative NOT being solved could have been very interesting…but again, it was sadly just not ever thought of as more of an AIDS allegory than “this is a virus that affects X group.”

    1. Yes, I think that’s definitely why Lobdell put “out” in quotation marks, to indicate that he’s not using the word in its literal meaning (at the time). “To out” as a verb has broadened in meaning to the point where nowadays, someone can be “outed” as just about anything. Although people know about its original sense, of course.

      But anyway, Sam is intradiegetically supposed to be consciously thinking in terms of the analogy with outing a closeted gay public figure. Is it a good analogy? I don’t think so (cautiously). You raise the whole issue of hypocrisy, and that’s always been where the arguments in favor of outing had the most force.

      But Graydon Creed isn’t really a hypocrite; he’s not acting in a way that’s different from his private behavior. It’s not even as if he had normal mutant parents whom he conceals because he’s a bigot — you could make a case for something like hypocrisy there. (Hard to see how a US Senator who’s running for President could conceal personal details like that without great difficulty, but that’s a different question that Graydon Creed already raises as is. Our hosts said some very solid things about how undeveloped his family story is.)

      Not wanting people to know that Sabertooth is your father? Understandable no matter how awful you are. Which is a cynical argument why there’s no point in publicizing Graydon Creed’s parentage. Far too easy for him to turn that around by presenting himself as the noble human — no powers — hero who knows just what monsters mutants are, and is brave enough to reject even his own parents in the name of defending humanity.

      I think this analogy would work a lot better if Graydon Creed was a mutant who was wearing one of those medallions that Larry Trask wore to suppress his mutancy from being detected (and, presumably, expressing itself).

      That is, it would work better on the narrow grounds of this particular analogy. Absolutely not saying that would be a good story about prejudice. It falls into the thing you point out, that the homophobe secretly has to be gay. See also some people’s creepy obsession with the idea that Hitler “had” to really be Jewish himself. (I suspect that story, that Hitler had a Jewish grandfather — not completely impossible, but unsupported by any real evidence —, was the inspiration for Graydon Creed.)

      Which is a sign of how Graydon Creed is maybe just a misconceived character — he’s already a bit too deep in that territory.

  3. Art challenge! Either:

    — Dukes of Maddrox featuring two dupes in an orange muscle car jumping a ravine, or

    — Dukes of Maddrox featuring Jamie Maddrox as all of the characters in Game of Thrones.

    To me, my X-Fans!

  4. Scattered thoughts:-

    -OK, so when reading these, I thought I was going to have my one nice thing to say about Scott Lobdell. And then I listened to our hosts, and no, I don’t have that one nice thing at all.

    Because there’s supposed to be some big mystery about who killed Graydon Creed, and it gets forgotten about for years and gets resolved eventually in a naked loose-end-tying-up exercise by Fabian Nicieza?

    Seriously, it seemed obvious to me that the person responsible is supposed to be Bastion and that this is supposed to be the event that he’s been working towards, to stage a martyrdom to inspire a horrific anti-mutant crusade. It didn’t occur to me that it was meant to be particularly mysterious to the reader (just the characters, who don’t have the reader’s information about what Bastion is doing behind the scenes).

    And that seemed like a reasonably elegant use of Graydon Creed, even without the added resonance from Days of Future Past. It did a lot to redeem the rather undeveloped one-note portrayal on which our hosts commented. ”Ah, so Graydon Creed was never been intended to be important. He was created to be killed off,” I thought.

    And then our hosts reveal to me that’s it’s more likely that the writers and editors were just throwing random BS against the wall without any plan at all.

    —Somehow, it seems bizarrely trivializing to say that Graydon Creed has a “a real mad-on” for mutants.

    —You can tell that this comic was written in the ‘90s from its faith that Gallup polling is accurate.

    —Is Graydon Creed’s agenda to become President really all that “secret”? I mean, OK, the second bit about killing mutants is probably not featuring too heavily, but I think the wanting to be President part sort of has to be public knowledge?

    —What X-books in the ‘90s should have done is show one of those vapid horse-race-obsessed Sunday political shows discussing the electoral chances of a genocidal monster:

    TIM RUSSERT: ”Bill, I love those columns you write where you imagine what someone is really thinking. Especially when it’s Hillary Clinton! It’s really great when you confirm that she’s as heartless and conniving as we all know she is. But what about Graydon Creed? He hasn’t announced yet, but what’s he thinking right now?”

    WILLIAM SAFIRE: “Well, Tim, right now I think Creed is thinking to himself, things look pretty good. He has to be happy with those Ohio numbers. He’s strong on defense and that plays well with voters.”

    COKIE ROBERTS: “On the other hand, Bill, will it play well in Oshkosh or Lincoln that he said he thought mutants should be shot like dogs? Americans like dogs. Especially in the suburbs.”

    TIM RUSSERT: ”Yes, but that showed that Creed wasn’t flip-flopping. And that statement was strong on the gun issue. Creed’s also strong on the lagoon issue.”

    COKIE ROBERTS: “Umm, Tim? What’s the lagoon issue?”

    TIM RUSSERT: “I don’t know, but what’s important is that Creed is strong on it.”

    —The big advantage of The Sword of Shannara for Jean’s purposes in this situation is that there’s no chance she’ll be distracted by finding it interesting, the mean person said.

  5. Miles mentioning Pinnochio brought to mind my thoughts having recently watched the Disney version. It’s not only gorgeous, there’s also a pretty direct read that denounces toxic masculinity, shows it leading to the exploitation of those suckered into to it and the path to being a real (man) boy is to follow women’s leadership…there’s stuff I’m tempted to write now, but won’t, as I’m not in the firing line of the culture war in the US.

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