Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

As Mentioned in Episode 251 – Triple Word Score

Listen to the podcast here.

Here’s Ben Martin on the Legacy Virus as an AIDS allegory:

I wanted to get a deeper take on the Legacy Virus as an analogy for AIDS. As you’ve mentioned more than once on the pod, it’s clear that’s what the writers had in mind, but I feel it misses the mark in a couple of important ways over the life of the story element.

My first issue with the analogy is that the big stigma about AIDS in the early days was that it only affected gay men, when in fact that was not the case. I was born with a genetic blood disorder called hemophilia, and many of the kids and staff from the hemophilia summer camp I attended as a teenager in the 1990s contracted HIV from contaminated blood products used for treatment. While I was fortunate to avoid the contaminated products, many I grew up with did not, as half of all people with hemophilia in the U.S., including 90% of those with severe hemophilia, contracted HIV. You may remember Ryan White, who did a lot of public outreach about HIV and AIDS after contracting it through treatment for his hemophilia. With the exception of Moira MacTaggart, the Legacy Virus only targeted mutants, meaning it missed the mark on the way AIDS was incorrectly and maliciously used as a propaganda weapon against homosexuals, when in fact it was something that could affect anyone who contracted it. Leaving out that aspect is a disservice to the wide range of people affected by HIV and AIDS in my view. I would have loved to see a human villain use the Legacy Virus to stir up hatred, only to find out they contracted it themselves. Maybe that’s what they tried to do with Moira, but I recall either Beast or Xavier saying it’s likely she only contracted it through prolonged exposure to it while studying it.

My second issue is that, through the magic of comic book science, the Legacy Virus was altogether wiped out (with the exception of a few samples in test tubes that popped up in an X-Force run as far as I know). My friends who are still living with HIV and AIDS today do so with a decreased quality of life and tons of medication. They are, fortunately, alive, but their lives are not what they were before. That’s a smaller nitpick, but I personally think it would have been really interesting to see characters contract the virus, receive the cure, but still be living with some consequences of the disease in some way, whether it be a change to their mutant powers or just poor health in general or something like that.

On a side note, if you can find it, there’s a fantastic 2010 documentary called “Bad Blood: A Cautionary Tale” currently available on Amazon Prime that explores the impact of HIV on the hemophilia community. It’s very powerful and is an important story.


As Mentioned in Episode 218 – Careful What You Lick

Listen to the episode here.



218 – Careful What You Lick

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

In which X-Cutioner’s Song may be over, but its repercussions continue; Uncanny X-Men hits a major milestone; superhero comics are and always have been political; Bishop learns to banter; the X-Men gain an unlikely ally; and Magneto remains exceptionally difficult to kill.


  • Jay & Miles at VVCBF
  • Uncanny X-Men #298-300
  • The Acolytes (more) (again)
  • The Upstarts (more) (again)
  • Several important lessons
  • A very fancy room
  • A very fancy brain
  • The unpleasant fate of Sharon Friedlander
  • The all-new, all-different Acolytes
  • Carmella Unuscione
  • The return of one of our favorite antagonists
  • A sick burn
  • The fate of Asteroid M
  • Molting
  • A debate
  • Graydon Creed (more) (again)
  • The tentative redemption of Robert Kelly
  • How to lose a debate with Joe Biden
  • A large number of prescient political references
  • Friends of Humanity
  • How to engage with a fascist in a televised debate
  • Noah DuBois
  • Fatale
  • A generic rural mob
  • Milan
  • A narratively convenient superpower
  • Amelia Voght
  • Seamus Mellencamp
  • Neophyte
  • The gospel of Magneto
  • A joyous reunion
  • The helmet that wouldn’t die
  • Ponytail ethics
  • Timelust
  • Several accents
  • The current state of Rogue’s powers

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