Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

416 – The Screaming Room

In which we are incapable of X-Plaining the Great Lakes Avengers; Pete Wisdom evolves; Douglock hacks the island; Nightcrawler cosplays Nightcrawler; and we find ourselves bafflingly defensive of the Bamfs.


  • How to recruit Unus the Untouchable to your super-team
  • What Excalibur has been up to
  • Excalibur #118-120
  • An excellent use of danger room technology
  • Some fairly deft metacommentary
  • Colossus vs. another tree
  • Bamfs and the character assassination thereof
  • Nightmare
  • Characterization via lettering
  • Several nightmare scenarios
  • Pete Wisdom vs. Nightmare
  • Meggan’s true form (again)
  • A poorly conceived romantic gesture
  • Foreshadowing
  • Relative Bamf quality
  • Other Marvel villains we’d like to see menace the X-Men
  • Our thoughts on Legion and The Gifted

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  1. So, re: the Great Lakes Avengers and mutants, it was revealed at one point that every member of the team was a mutant. This led to them briefly renaming themselves the Great Lakes X-Men.

  2. I believe that “Preludes and Nocturnes” must be a Chopin reference. He wrote both style of music, and I’m sure that there are multiple albums that collect them, and it’s just the kind of reference that Gaiman would go for. I’d bet that “preludes and nightmares” is in turn a Sandman homage for both Morbius and Excalibur.

  3. Excalibur 120 was the issue that caused me to stop reading the series and basically led to me giving up on superhero comics entirely for several years. I don’t know what it was exactly with that issue, but after reading the series since the issue before the Age of Apocalypse (which got me to start going to a comic shop instead of buying random stuff at newsstands) and tracking down every single back issue (well, except #115, which someone else bought from the shop because they liked Banshee I guess?), I apparently just didn’t care about the title or the characters any more.

    Uncanny and Adjectiveless didn’t interest me much, Generation X (the first two years of which were probably my second favourite title of the era) had lost me due to the direction Hama took the title, X-Force (which, looking back on it is probably the best title from this era) wasn’t on my radar for whatever reason, and I’d read a lot of miniseries from around this time that I didn’t enjoy at all (Kitty Pryde, Agent of SHIELD, the New Mutants one, probably some others).

    I tried out a few other X-titles over the rest of 1998 (Claremont’s Wolverine, an X-Babies one-shot, etc.) and tracked down the final 5 issues of Excalibur when I heard it was cancelled, but was ready to give up on comics entirely until I got Sandman, vol. 1 for xmas at the end of the year and then spent all of 1999 saving up my money to buy more of Sandman. I think this was pretty much the end of me being a major “superhero/X-Men fan” in a concrete way. I’ve returned to read superhero comics many times for shorter or longer periods (I read a lot of Batman comics during the beginning of the COVID lockdown…), but the only thing I’ve read in the last couple of years are a couple of Suicide Squad collections and Superman Smashes the Klan (it’s great!). Oh, and some of the X-Men comics you cover on this podcast. : D

    I’m curious if anyone else was reading the X-titles at this time and what they’re thoughts on the line as whole were.

    1. I was still reading everything except Excalibur and X-Factor. I quit Excalibur a few issues after Ellis left and X-Factor around #135. I was just finding them ‘meh’. Hama’s run on Gen X almost drove me away but I loved the characters too much.

      In general, the whole line felt rudderless and lacking any kind of focus. I think Harras was too afraid of doing anything that might, potentially, hurt sales and it kept him and, by extension, his writers from making any big swings.

  4. I’m confused about your comments about Lockheed? As far as I know, Lockheed the dragon in #153 is based on the X-men’s Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The tiny dragon Kitty meets when Paul Smith took over the art on the Brood saga in the #160s is then dubbed Lockheed because he looks a lot like Lockheed from #153. So while small Lockheed seems likely to have been alive already at the time of #153, that was well before Kitty met him. Right? Or has there been a retcon somewhere? (Actually, should I just always assume there has been an X-retcon since things that I read 40 years ago?)

  5. As mentioned elsewhere by others, Raab’s Excalibur has no sense of anything like a unique identity or storytelling style, he just seemed to be twiddling his thumbs until he can send the core X-Men back to the main book in America and send everyone off into oblivion (Literally, in his apparent original plan for Douglock)

    Bringing Nightmare in seems like a perfect case in point. He’s the definition of “filler villain” at least 95% of the time he shows up. He never really seems to have a major plan or goal to his schemes. Sometimes he does, but this story is his more typical “shows up, gives the heroes some angst to overcome, and seems shocked/surprised when the heroes, usually defined by ‘overcoming horrible trauma’… overcome their horrible trauma” plots.,, with added evil Bamf’s I grant you.

    Douglock hacking the island seems apt, given what Doug and Warlock have been up to with Krakoa. Shame he didn’t think to ask his team-mate who could, y’know, walk him through the walls of the lab if she’d like to help, and who might have suggested he talk to Rahne first.

    Muir Island suddenly having an X-Men level Danger Room seems a little convenient, as Moira’s lab complex would still be a place for research, rather than super-hero training. Possibly bit of the old pre-Shi’ar upgade Danger Room tech that could have been shipped over at some point might have felt less “tacked on”.

    Oh well, one way or the other this title will soon be over, I just wish I felt it was going out on a high.

  6. Re: the final question, I definitely have to second Taskmaster as a Laura Kinney villain, both for the points you make, but also, she’s friends with his daughter!

    During her time in Avengers Academy, she became best friends with Finesse, who had Taskmaster’s powerset and believes she was his daughter (he thought so too, but it was never confirmed). They broke up in the final issue (because Finesse murdered a guy using Laura’s unconscious body) and I don’t think the two of them have interacted since, because no one has really used the Avengers Academy kids since the book ended (Finesse not getting killed puts her ahead of the curve). And I think it would be very fun to see how they might interact, either as allies hunting Taskmaster or enemies where she takes that role instead, especially given how much Laura’s changed and evolved in the past decade.

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