Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

412 – Yappin’ and Scrappin’

In which Kelly and Seagle’s X-runs begin with immense promise; dark psychic residue gets just everywhere; Storm’s past is literally buried; Wolverine is just saying is all; Cecilia Reyes’s job doesn’t deserve her, and Cyclops and Phoenix are the worst at being normal.


  • The Grey family reunion
  • X-Men #71-72
  • What counts as an Uncanny X-Men #138 cover reference
  • Baggage and also suitcases
  • Steve Seagle’s (scuttled) Phoenix plans
  • Bone whiskers
  • Telemarketer power moves
  • Cecilia Reyes
  • Marrow (Sarah)
  • Sam Guthrie’s tiny ponytail
  • The ol’ wall-of-televisions trope
  • The cost of one banana
  • Sebastian Shaw vs the IRS (maybe)
  • A mostly empty attic
  • Wolverine’s etiquette lessons
  • The dessert claw vs the salad claw
  • The physicality of Carlos Pacheco’s art
  • Cannonball, the grown-up in the room
  • Magneto’s increasingly complicated past
  • Magnus, Erik, and Max (again)
  • Uncanny X-Men #351-352
  • Cecilia Reyes’s return-to-office
  • Intersectionality
  • Pyro, forever dying of the Legacy Virus
  • Daredevil vs Cecilia Reyes’s bedside manner
  • Kevin, Lord of the Jungle
  • Ending conversations by turning into a bird
  • A.I.M.* (*Advanced Idea Mechanics)
  • Crows of Ill Portent
  • A Box of Entity
  • Condors and Cockatoos
  • Logan’s denim proclivities
  • Arcade vs. Mojo

Special thanks to Dylan Higgins for edits and production assistance!

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  1. Cockatoos are an Aussie bird! Okay, they pop up in PNG, south-east Asia, and NZ too. But they’re most prominent here in Oz. Odd to hear it from a foreign accent. You said it right, it’s just a little strange anyway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatoo

    Also, I agree that Kevin is a bit of an uninspiring name. However, some Kevins have done well. Kevin Smith, the director. Kevin Smith, the late actor. Kevin Rudd, backstabbing Aussie prime minister. I’m sure there are others.

    1. Alright! So I’ll let IconUK defend the Kenneths of the world from our cruel hosts, and it falls to me to stand up for the Kevins.

      Let’s start with the fact that Kevin is a perfect name for Ka-Zar, because Ka-Zar is a Tarzan knockoff. Kevin is the English version of an originally Irish name that means “nobly-born.” See! Sensitively chosen.

      Kevin as a name goes back to St. Kevin of Glendalough, an early Irish saint who founded the important monastery at Glendalough, which enjoys a beautiful location in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. Critically, the remains of the monastery were a regular school trip when I was a child, and I will thank our hosts not to mar those memories with their vicious and shallow mockery of Kevin.

      Also, Garth Ennis for some reason also thinks the name “Kevin” is funny, so there’s that.

      1. I mean I won’t mock his first name when his last name is so ripe for mockery

        His name is Kevin PLUNDER! Clearly this Tarzan analogue is not at home to Mr Subtlety.

        And yet, Kevin’s name is somewhow STILL less ridiculous than his brother Parnival Plunder, who went on to become a villain called: The Plunderer! (And after having to grow up with a name like Parnival, who can blame the poor sod?)

        As for defending Kenneth’s, well I am not skilled at the etymology of names, but a google tells me it’s actually the anglicised version of two different Scot’s Gaelic names: Cainnech and Cináed, and means “handsome” or “comely”, so is perhaps appropriate for Warren Kenneth Worthington III.

  2. I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with Brian Mackenwells a couple of times and you’d definitely get along, Jay.

  3. I have to agree with our hosts that these issues were good. In fact, for me, reading the Seagle and Kelly mini-era for the first time, along with the podcast – this best the main X-books were in the whole of the ‘90s so far.

    That goes for Seagle as well as Kelly now – last time, I was too put off by the Gambitness to appreciate Seagle, but no longer. The Cecilia Reyes issue is, I think it’s fair to say, one of the best single-issue stories ever in the X-line — this is all the stuff that the X-books have been saying they were about for years, but this is not only a fresh take on it – it’s convincing in a way that makes the previous era’s gestures at the mutant metaphor feel like the narrative equivalent of a badly-painted backdrop.

    What I like overall here is how free Seagle and especially Kelly are from excessive reverence, how they don’t assume that the reader wants to see the classic characters be all awesome. The depiction of Wolverine is great: how he gets Marrow wrong because he thinks she’s falling into the lazy narrative cliché that, frankly, the reader too has every reason to expect — and then goes into a berserker rage that’s not presented as even a little bit cool, but as the cap on a really bad failure based on approaching this situation based on arrogance – which is the thing, all of Logan’s cool posturing taglines going back to Claremont are entirely compatible with a person who believes his own BS a bit too much. And then on the other hand, we do see a Logan without all the annoying crap in his conversation with Scott, and it’s a way more appealing Logan. Storm, too, is not the right person to be dealing with the situation, and seems alarmingly unaware of that.

    Basically, I think that the comics are siding with Sam’s frustrations with the “classic” characters, and they convince me (to be fair, I didn’t take much convincing) that they’re right, that these people and this set-up are in bad need of a shake-up. Which obviously matches the way in which Kelly and Seagle enliven things with interesting new characters: there’s a confidence here that Reyes, Marrow, and Maggott are every bit as worthy of the reader’s attention as the characters who’ve been around for a while.

    Critically, none of the new Big Three particularly need to be X-Men for any reason except practical ones (Maggott’s inner life is unclear, but his confidence makes him feel on the page as if he’d be fine without all this crap if it suited him to be elsewhere), and the stories don’t assume that they’re wrong about that.

    Contrast the last genuinely successful new character, Bishop, who was built around his reverence for the legendary X-Men. I like Bishop, or did until he ran out of steam, but his entire concept encapsulates the era in which he was created, in which X-books could essentially coin money with inflated sales. These feel like X-books written by people who have noticed that the market has changed, and that it might be good to be a bit less complacent – but without taking the option of just collapsing into nostalgia for the longtime reader.

    I’m a bit curious about how positively our hosts are responding, because they’ve spoken a lot in the past about how important the “X-Men as found family” is. So far, this era reads a bit like a critique of the idea that this concept is any kind of healthy found family. Cecilia (is it obvious that I *really* like Cecilia?) seems to be someone who would be better off if she wasn’t forced into this situation.

  4. I am not familiar with this era at all, so this is interesting little trip.

    In terms of bird-morphing, at least Mystique has the excuse that she’s literally named for a bird, so a raven is always on her mind.

    I do like Sam basically being sick of Ororo’s bull because she does seem to be approaching the unhinged here. Her team currently includes Wolverine, Gambit and Rogue, all of whom have what might politely be referred to as “spotty” pasts ethically speaking.

    Marrow has her issues, but she’s amateur night compared to some of the others who Ororo regularly trusts with her life..

    Those are THE most 90’s trousers I have ever seen that Scott is wearing on that cover! They must have more fabric in them than his trenchcoat!

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