Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

437 – Dismember the Titans

“Hot Topic Rennfaire” was a somewhat controversial choice for X-Force’s prom theme. (X-Force #85)

In which the overlap between Rocky Horror and ‘90s X-Force fans is probably pretty significant; Pandemonia has priorities; the warehouse gets an evil, sexy glowup; swears are great; Johnny Blaze’s motorcycle probably shouldn’t still be on fire; and there is no single definitive X-Men experience.


  • Master Pandemonium
  • X-Force #85
  • X-Force/Champions Annual 1998
  • What X-Force has been up to lately
  • The regrettable absence of Doctor Doom
  • Possession
  • Community
  • Cougars (euphemistic)
  • The thrift cycle
  • Rusty Collins on Krakoa
  • Fashion
  • An eons-old accord between the Houses of Chaos and the Lord of Valhalla
  • Jennifer Kale
  • The list
  • Swears
  • A statue of Hades
  • Various appendages sticking out of the earth
  • Hercules
  • The mystic power of sarcasm
  • The greatest fear of a Titan
  • Monet St. Croix vs. the Count of Monte Cristo
  • Good X-books for your fifteen-year-old niece

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  1. I liked the Eternals too! It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst. The bottom of the upper half is still in the upper half.

    My boomer mum still says ‘not’ occasionally. All this time, even though I cringe a little, I still can’t bring myself to tell her that slang has moved on.

  2. God I love Marvel Hercules. He’s the occasionally-wise drunken bisexual himbo we all need in our lives.

  3. My favorite run of the Legion of Superheroes is the Tom and Mary Bierbaum/Keith Giffen/Al Gordon Legion (yes, all of those writers were involved) Vol 4 of the Legion of Superheroes colloquially called “The Five Year Gap” Legion. It took the model of Alan Moore/Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen (text piece, 9-panel grid, deep references to other texts) and turned this very 1980s vision of the far future into a kind of Cyberpunk-style. It’s like the difference between Batman TAS and Batman Beyond, except that instead of following Terry McGinnis, you followed a 30-something Jason Todd as he navigated this new world.

    This series is the secret sauce that have influenced a lot of today’s writers. You can see its influence in Bendis’ back-and-forth dialogue pacing, in Jonathan Hickman’s Krakoa-era X-Men (especially the text pieces), Dan and Abnett’s Annihilation and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer comics. Hickman’s Krakoa era owes a special debt to the Legion of Superheroes and you can tell Krakoa is a revamped proposal for the Legion.

    Between Keith Giffen’s font of ideas and attitude brought from the previous run, Tom and Mary Bierbaum’s sense of history and fandom, and Al Gordon adding in new ideas and a new flavor to the series made this version of the Legion work so well.

    If you were to jump into that series, I would suggest the Legion: 5 Years Later Omnibus 1 or finding the individual issues on DC Infinite Online (they have them listed under Keith Giffen). Along with the series, I would recommend the Okay I’m a Senator website (https://itsokimasenator.livejournal.com/) that goes over parts of the Legion series and gives background to some of the character choices by Tom Bierbaum and the cosmic teams website (https://www.cosmicteams.com/) that also gives more detailed descriptions and who’s who style entries on characters. If you don’t want spoilers, I would recommend the Who’s Who in the Legion (or Mayfair Games’ Legion Sourcebooks) that were written before this series, but are heavily cited by the writers as being their sourcebooks.

    I envy you. That Five Years Later Legion was one of my favorite series that takes you on a ride. I remember, in my teen years, having to travel all around Sarasota, Naples, and Tampa comic shops to get a complete run of that series.

  4. I know this might sound like a crazy recommendation for a “core x-men” book, but what do people think about jumping in with Generation Hope? It starts with the quintessential saving young mutants to build a new team, so there’s no necessary backstory slog, it has some fun team dynamics, some which feel very teenager to me, a self-contained villain, and lead by a young female character. It doesn’t get too dark but also doesn’t shy away with some of the stuff.

    The main reason I suggest it is it’s a fairly short run, but it has some grounding for a lot of different footholds into the x/marvel universe. If you like Hope you can go back and read Cable (2008). If that’s a little too dark or post apocalypse-y jump into Wolverine and the X-Men and follow Idie. If you like the crazy timetravel story; could lead to Adventures or some of the older Cable/Scott/Jean stuff. It also jumps through AvX, which idk if I can recommend, but it has ties to Hope and shows X in the bigger marvel universe and a glimpse into crossover events. This then leads to the Bendis run which also is a fairly good jumping on point, especially with the time displaced teens and Cyclops’ team who are all really just new characters everyone’s meeting for the first time.

    It’s new enough that it feels more modern without getting into some of the chaos of SW or continuity heavy Krakoa.

        1. Every time I see AI “art”, all I can think is that I would much rather see all the work of the actual creative artists whose work was scraped (without permission or recompense) by some soulless algorithm to produce uncanny valley ridden weirdness like those.

  5. Excuse me Miles, but what do you mean cravats and capes and vest and cleavage are evil. I regularly have three of those four (along with a top hat, monocle and cane) and I’m not… well, not very… well, okay you kind of maybe DO have a point there (Note to self: check for cleavage later, not sure it’d be quite “me”, but never say never)

    I think I have the perfect boyfriend for Pandemonia: The Shadow King! Just think, they can each possess a number of different people and go on multiple dates at the same time, to check for compatibility! And they certainly seem to share a common ethical framework about bodily autonomy (ie non-existant)

    The Monet/Monte Cristo comparison is a fascinating one (though I suspect I lack some specific cultural reference as to what a “Monte Cristo” is in the US (and why it would be called that.

    As for what books to recommend to a 15 year old, as always “What do they like already?” that might have an X-equivalent.

    I’d perhaps suggest something like V1 New Mutants, Generation X , or maye New X-Men since they involve young, entry-level characters coming into the world of the X-Men by one means or another, and it’s a useful starting point since it’s people adjusting to how they feel about being mutants and how the world reacts. From there they are good jumping on points to other X-Men titles.

  6. Oh, and the Bierbaum’s run on the Legion was an interesting one. The fanboy streak in them was VERY strong and it showed in their work.

    It did feature one of the first discussions of transgender characters in DC comics as a storyline. It was controversial, but was made, I am sure, with the absolute best intentions though it’s contemporary reputation is perhaps a little on the rocky side.

    Simply put (Well, sort of simply), long standing female character Shvaughn Erin, the Legion’s liason officer with local law enforcement, and romantic interest for male Legion member Jan Arrah (aka Element Lad), was revealed to be a transwoman. She regularly took a compound called “ProFem” which allowed her to become biologically female. When her supply ran out (due to a longrunning war in the series) she reverted to her original form, a male who had used (and resumed using) the name Sean Erin.

    Then we found out that the only reason Sean had taken ProFem in the first place wasn’t out of any apparent discomfort with his male gender identity or innate desire to be female. He was gay, and had had a longstanding crush on Element Lad and, assuming Jan was hetero and so would only be interested in a woman, Sean had become Shvaughn soley to be able to romance him in a body he thought Jan would respond to.

    When Jan eventually found out (Sean told him) he told Sean he had always been, effectively, pansexual (saying that he loved the soul, regardless of the body) and was supportive of him and loved him no matter what gender form was involved. Sean remained Sean for the rest of that iteration of the Legion timeline and they remained a couple.

    Given the time period it came out in, 1992, it was fairly groundbreaking stuff, to acknowledge the concept of a future DCU where switching gender was as simple as taking a tablet daily, though slightly let down by the notion that attraction was still assumed to be hetero by default (Despite neither character actually being straight).

    So Sean goes to the extent of becoming Shvaughn rather than just asking Jan if he would be interested in a non hetero romance.

    That being said, Sean/Shvaughn’s seemingly not being concerned about what gender they are (So there is no dysmorphia in either gender state) might indicate a fluid gender identity, though it’s never addressed as such in the story.

    My apologies to any Legion fans who are trans if I have misrepresented any part of that story from my cis POV, and I am happy to be corrected if I misconstrued it’s intent.

  7. Sometimes anagrams are just coincidence. I asked Jasper Fforde why he had a scene in ‘Lost in a Good Book’ with a character whose name is anagram for ‘I’m Acheron.’ Acheron was the villain of the first novel in the Thursday Next series. Acheron is not the villain of ‘Lost in a Good Book.’ Mr Fforde was surprised by this and referred to me as Mr Anagram. I have resisted moving to Gotham City and embarking on a career of puzzling crime,

  8. On Monet St Croix’s name origins, let me just add that Scott Lobdell never intended her to be revealed as Penance, so the analogy probably is that while Monte Cristo was hiding his identity posing as different people, in Monet’s case it’s multiple people (the twins) hiding their identity by posing as her. ♥️

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