Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

419 – Stuff Happens

Run, Penance! The retcons are coming for you! (Generation X #40)

In which the St. Croix family is constructed largely of retcons; Generation X adjusts surprisingly quickly to a massive status quo shift; Psi-War is coming soon to a podcast near you; Snow White – I mean, Bianca LaNeige – has an intriguing but exceptionally minimal backstory; and if you die in this podcast episode, you die in real life.


  • Hellfire Club history
  • Generation X #40-43
  • MillXnials
  • Mercy General Hospital vs Our Mother of Mercy Hospital
  • Ambiguous psionic overlap
  • Nicole & Claudette & Monet & Marius St. Croix
  • The Downtown Stomp
  • Synch, agreeable and bland (for now)
  • Vincent Adultman
  • The nature of Penance
  • A glacial but effective pace
  • Bianca LaNeige, evil Snow White from space
  • Warpy, Stinky, Spiky, Windy, Greasy, Brainy, and Blurry
  • The Enchanted Forest of Oregon
  • Claremont:Body Swaps::Hama:Getting Stuck In Other Dimensions
  • Jay vs. Accents
  • Terminal Dream Syndrome
  • A surprisingly gruesome fill-in
  • An underrated era for Emma Frost
  • Betty & Veronica, presenting like mandrills
  • Zak the Neutrino
  • Albert & Elsie-Dee (briefly)
  • The Dodsons vs Mike Allred
  • Dr. Bronner’s uncredited Marvel career
  • Our coverage of Ultimate X-Men (or lack thereof)
  • Dr. Phil Zimbardo’s xplainthexmen study

NEXT EPISODE: Queering Wolverine with Dr. Christopher Michael Roman!

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  1. To answer your early generational question, it would go at the end. That team would clearly be The MillenniaX.

    1. How could I resist?

      It’s time for Millenn-i-aX!
      And they’re mutant to the max!
      Just sit back and relax,
      They’ll angst ’til you collapse
      They’re Millenn-i-aX!

      Come join Headmistress Emma, and her co-Headmaster Sean
      Just for fun, they run around their groovy Danger Lawn
      They try to keep the kids in check, from sunset until dawn,
      But they break loose and then vamoose, and now you know the plan!

      They’re Millenn-i-aX!
      Husk sheds skin and Jube’s makes sparks
      M is better than the rest,
      Chamber’s missing half his chest
      They’re Millenn-i-aX!

      There’s Synch, who’s kinda laid back,
      Skins stretchy flesh is kinda gross
      Penance might be Monet?
      We’re at something of a loss!
      Two sisters in a trenchcoat? The retcon’s getting worse!
      The writers flipped,
      They have no script
      Why bother to rehearse?

      We are Millenn-i-aX!
      The TV movie just distracts,
      We don’t talk about Refrax….
      Look! A Pookah wearing slacks!!
      We’re vaguely teen-y, totally insane-y
      (Here’s the team name-y)
      Those are the facts!

  2. I feel like the HFC funding the Sentinels is meant as a commentary on how the most privileged members of a minority will pretty happily sell out those “beneath” them in the social hierarchy for their own profit and protection, and I think it’s a really good one. It’s also why I dislike a lot of retcons trying to frame them as just trying to promote mutants in their own way. We’ve already got lots of “pro mutant but with questionable methods” bad guys, the HFC was a unique angle and something that truly only works in the X-Men “mutants represent minority populations” metaphor. Shaw does make a very Magneto-esque speech after he and Emma kill their mutant-hating human predecessors, and I do think he means it then, but by the time the Inner Circle actually faces the X-Men, he’s ready to continue Buckman’s work and worse, Emma is training the Hellions for her own ends, and a mutant-hating cyborg has joined their ranks, which also later include Selene whose main interest in mutantkind is her next protege or, more often, next meal. Which, thematically I do think fits with the idea they (in particular Shaw) represent of wealth and power being a corruptive influence.

    Also in addition to people forgetting they’re not all mutants and were originally humans, it also cheeses me how everyone, writers included, forget that (1) it’s more than just the Manhattan Inner Circle, it’s literally a worldwide social club for the uber wealthy most of which are normal humans and (2) there are four major branches with their own Inner Circles, the other three being London, Paris, and Hong Kong. What the fuck happened to all that in the Krakoa era??? But I digress…



    You know, you’re right, I really couldn’t tell you much of anything about Synch personality-wise either and I could all the others :/

    What I’ve heard is that the original plan was that there never was a real Monet and she was originally intended as purely an invention of the twins (which tracks with Penance not supposed to be Monet and instead a girl named Yvette from Yugoslavia) but then like….what about in “her” first appearance with her awesome badass nanny where they’re talking, iirc, about her dad and I think about her younger sisters being missing? How does that gel? I mean it gels with what ended up actually happening but that’s what makes it weird if something different was originally intended!

    I kinda adore how you might expect that the way the previous Monet behaved was just a mean exaggeration by little sisters who see her that way but she actually isn’t….but no, no actually she is just That Way.

    I love Emma’s little minigolf outfit. I also love Bianca LaNeige, she’s one of my fave obscure villains and I would love to see her come back. Yeah she’s kinda goofy and honestly not that threatening, but that could work in the right book! Same for Gaia, I really like Gaia. But then, I’m a sucker for “90s characters that canon forgot” XD

    Yeah, horror movies are a really “female” thing to me too, tbh. I’m a huge horror fan and a woman, and so are all the biggest horror fans I know. There’s a lot of interesting literature on that.


  3. Generation X #40 is the first time I ever ragequit a comic book. I started reading X-Men with the Phalanx Covenant and that made Gen X particularly special to me – I bought the preview special, I watched the very un-good TV movie, I even made a giant Generation X #1 cover for an art class project (which I apparently still have upon quick inspection). I had really intended for this to be my book, the one that I read from the beginning to the end (minus issue #25, which sold out before I got to the comic shop that week). After reading #40, though, I dropped it and only looked back when the book intersected with something else I was reading, like X-Man.

    Yes, I dropped this book but still found X-Man worth $1.99 a month.

    A lot of this was the Penance retcon. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the concept of retcons, but this was the first time that I had such a big one play out right in front of me. Yes, it could be argued that Penance’s origin wasn’t officially canon since it was only spelled out in promo material, but there were hints in actual comics. Emplate called her Yvette, for fuck’s sake. To her face. When they were alone together (give or take a Bishop). This was too much for me at the time. Not in and of itself, mind you, more the straw that broke the camel’s back. After all the Pooka stuff, the M-Plate stuff, and combined with the way the Bianca LaNeige story started off it was just too much.

    In hindsight, this was probably the start of me checking out of comics entirely for a few years, with the one-two punch of the Alan Davis X-Men run and my town’s comic shops closing and/or being set on fire by the owner as part of an insurance scam being the final knockout.

  4. I’m still not sure that the Hellfire Club actually financed the Sentinels, unless I’m grossly misunderstanding how these things work in the US (Wouldn’t be first time, won’t be the last) As I remember it, Shaw sought out and obtained the Government contract to build Sentinels for Project Wideawake… so they didn’t finance them, they got paid for making them, which is probably even worse, ethically speaking. Their overall plan was that Shaw Industries and Frost International would be in an ideal position to program the Sentinels to be “blind” to any mutant who the Club favoured, and allowing them to remove obstacles indirectly.

    I had no idea who Biana LeNeige was, so that was… an unusual character introduced unusually.

    Actually, I wonder a little about a little bit of weird synchronicity here; So we have a former, and previously unknown, female member of a powerful clandestine organisation who departed for space following a disagreement with the powers that be, and souped themselves up with alien technology before returning to settle old scores… are we talking Biana LaNeige or the soon to be introduced in Alan Davis X-Men’s Astra?

    Looking through the visual companion before listening to the podcast (not my usual way round) I thought that Evan’s “No it was just an accident”, HAD to be leading to some “Cathartic revenge that no one would expect that super-nice Evan guy could possibly be involved in”, rather than “Nope, we’re just forgetting the racist hate crime happened and the characters will continue to appear as comedy relief, like more evil versions of Bulk and Skull from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. La-di-da!”.

    I’m not sure I’d call any of the kids introduced for Gen X to be that well defined personality-wise, but Synch seems to definitely suffer more than most from “wallpaper syndrome” (Where unless you’ve got a reason to pay attention to a character, they just fade into the background, becoming something flat and two dimensional for other characters to stand in front of)

    If Evan synching with the twins was enough to reveal their identity to him, does that suggest he’d never synched with M before? Given her handily useful powerset, that seems a little unlikely, no?

    I dont think I could have told you that Jubilee was the youngest member of Gen-X, especially given how much longer she’s been around as a character than any of the other kids.

  5. Hi guys,

    This is a quick note on something you mentioned in the most recent episode (which was excellent, partly because it was covering some great Gen X issues!) You noted that Emma was now wearing a white version of the team’s training uniform – except that, being Emma, she was wearing it zipped down.

    There was another difference that I think is significant – this one doesn’t have the forearm/elbow armour that the regular versions of that costume do.

    Why do I think that’s signnificant? Well, in issue 45, Emma is handling her tensions through boxing (seriously damaging a punchbag in the process.) And given that she remembers living homeless and struggling to survive after her powers manifested, I think she might have focused on learning at least one martial art/physical fighting technique to defend herself if her powers ever failed – as they have now.

    If boxing was that technique, then you’ve got serious skill in fisticuffs, combined with the anger and force in Issue 45 – and I suspect Emma has cut back on the armour for one or both of these reasons:

    1.) She has a fighting style based more on fast punches than heavy ones, and the armour slows her punches down.

    2.) She is putting a lot of force into her punches, and is omitting the armour as its weight may increase the chance of her injuring a student. (Disclaimer – I am not a boxer and do not know if it would work like that.)

    The second answer seems less likely to me, as she has armour on the backs of her hands during the fights with Sean and Bianca in Issue 43, which could act as a knuckle duster. Still – food for thought?

    Hope I’ve given you something to think about before issue 45 gets covered in a later episode! I also sent this as a message on Patreon, but thought it was worth posting here as well.

  6. Speaking of off-brand theme parks, there’s Story Land in New Hampshire. It was family-owned from 1954-2007, with a bunch of general fairy tale themed attractions and mostly low-to-the-ground low-intensity rides, growing bit by bit over the years. It was eventually sold to a subsidiary of a Spanish theme park company, and is still active today.

    About the Ultimate X-Men, selfishly I would enjoy a 3-ish episode recap of it, similar to the silver-age recap which started J&METXM. Something which gives some quick sketches of the key character differences, hits the plot highlights, and not much more. But 100% respect not getting it here, since “the Ultimate Universe” is a topic which could no doubt fill a 100+ episode podcast if covering all the titles within.

  7. Gen X + Milllenials = X-ennials which is an actual term people use for the people born in the years overlapping the two generations. ❤️❤️❤️

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