Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

ANNOUNCING: The Noodle Incident Contest Winners!


In Episode 104, we challenged you to submit your versions of the Noodle Incident: whatever Big, Terrible Thing Cyclops did to earn the enmity of most of the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe.

We got a lot of awesome entries, but in the end, the standouts were clear. It is therefore out great pleasure to announce the official winner of the 2016 Noodle Incident Contest:

We also decided to go ahead and expand the winners’ circle to include a runner-up, because any shaggy-dog joke that makes us laugh as hard as Zachary SP’s deserves a prize of its own:

Following SECRET WARS, Cyclops ended up more-or-less where he was before, leading the outlaw X-Men. But incubating in his head was a surviving ember of the Phoenix Force from when he merged with it during the incursion from Earth-1616. As a primal force of rebirth, the power of the Phoenix didn’t stay dormant for long. When it flared back to life, it brought with it memories of Battleworld up until Cyclops’ death at the hands of Doom. 

Realizing the artificial nature of this new reality, Cyclops became resentful. Someone rebuilt the entire world and didn’t bother to try and make things any better for mutants? And – even worse – they rebuilt Cyclops-the-terrorist without necessarily replicating the decisions he made that got him to that point. Someone else was responsible for him being where he was.

Cyclops being Cyclops, he could not accept this as easy absolution for his mistakes. He wouldn’t even undo those mistakes, given the opportunity. He wanted to take full responsibility for his actions. He wanted to be sure that he was in control of – if nothing else – himself. To that end, he started building a device.

The press was calling him “terrorist” and “supervillain” anyway. Why not live up to it?

Time travel wasn’t the answer. Hank tried to give Scott the kind of perspective he needed when he brought forward the original five X-Men, but, for once, Hank didn’t go far enough. Cyclops felt the need to extend his perception to all points on his personal timeline at once. If he succeeded at his goal, maybe he could make different decisions along that timeline. Maybe not. It didn’t matter. Scott had seen enough time travel to know that “going back and fixing things” never makes anything better. He just had to know that all the Cyclopses that make up the Cyclops of today were Cyclops. He had to relive all those moments, all at the same time, to be sure.

He had the means to do this at his disposal all along. After all, what he was searching for was unimpeded vision. He needed to take off the visor for the last time.

One set of scavenged Hank McCoy marginalia, one jury-rigged Cerebro, one hijacked particle accelerator, and four truckloads of ruby quartz later, the Psioptic Gene-Force Accumulator was ready. Having learned supervillainy from the best, he took the time to broadcast his manifesto to the world before he activated his machine. After finishing his speech, he took off his visor and stared down eternity.

The tidal effects of Cyclops’ amplified, contained, and compounded optic blasts registered on seismographs worldwide. No one noticed, though, because the psychic effects hit first. Cyclops’ machine didn’t only affect him; its ripples spread to everyone on Earth. In an instant, everyone’s perceptions stretched forward and backward to encompass every conscious moment of their lives. The effect of suddenly being aware of every decision one has ever made was too much to bear for the vast majority of the world’s population. The world’s population was paralyzed with existential fear and guilt. And yet, Cyclops poured more and more power into the machine.

The superheroes stopped him, of course. It turns out the superhero community has a disproportionate number of people who are accustomed to agonizing over past tragedies 24/7. Spider-Man rallied the troops. Kitty Pryde got them inside. Magneto put Cyclops down. Squirrel Girl was also there, and also she was totally fine because Squirrel Girl has no regrets.

Once the world’s perceptions de-stretched back to their usual 4-D capabilities, they associated Cyclops with the near-lethal dose of guilt they all just suffered. Everyone had unpleasant memories they’d rather have forgotten dredged up by Cyclops’s machine. Mentioning the event tended to dredge those memories back up, so no one discussed any specifics about the incident ever again.

How did Cyclops know his machine would work? There is a principle in physics where objects falling into massive gravity wells stretch out, becoming longer and thinner as they are pulled in. He simply replicated this principle with the combination of force and vision inherent to his optic blasts instead of mass.

This principle is called Spaghettification.


Well done, Evan and Zachary. Please drop us a line and let us know where to send your Official Noodle Incident Medals:

At this point, we are pretty comfortable owning the fact that our awards aesthetic is basically “kindergarten craft hour.”

The 2014 Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau Awards for Excellence in X-Cellence (and Coloring Contest)


While the Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau Awards for Excellence in X-Cellence* officially made their debut in last week’s Giant-Size Special, we wanted to take a moment to revisit them: the X-books, creators, and concepts that rocked our year.

Also, there is a coloring contest.

If your name–or a project to which you contributed–appears on the list below,** and you would like an actual, physical Corbeau Award to hang on your wall, please drop us a line, and we will make and mail you one. It will be beautiful and classy as hell, it will definitely involve some glitter glue.

And so, without further ado, it is out great pleasure to present:


  • Best X-Writer – Brian Michael Bendis, for Uncanny X-MenAll-New X-Men, and general line architecture
  • Best X-Artist – Kris Anka, for Uncanny X-Men and general visual and costuming impact
  • Best X-Colorist – Chris Sotomayor, for Cyclops
  • Best X-Letterer (Now and Forever) – Tom Orzechowski, for everything ever forever
  • Jean Grey Award for Creative Resurrection – Nightcrawler (Amazing X-Men)
  • Best New Character – Forget-Me-Not (X-Men Legacy #300)
  • Best Complete ArcCyclops #1-5, by Greg Rucka, Russell Dauterman, Chris Sotomayor, Carmen Carnero, et. al.
  • Best Soap OperaAll-New X-Men, by Brian Michael Bendis et. al.
  • Silver Lining Award – Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4, by Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe, et. al.
  • Golden Retcon – X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Irene Adler Award for Most Anticipated Future Run – G. Willow Wilson onX-Men
  • About Damn Time – Storm, by Greg Pak et. al.
  • Cyclops Has a Good Day AwardWolverine and the X-Men #40, by Jason Aaron, Pepe Larraz, et. al.
  • Best Listeners of Any Podcast Ever – YOU**

CLASSIC CORBEAUS (for older X-material covered in the podcast during 2014)

  • Harvey and Janet Award for Best Walk-On – The staff and guests of the Heartbreak Hotel
  • Lost Treasure – Beauty and the Beast, by Ann Nocenti, Don Perlin, et. al.
  • Sure, Why Not? – The Leprechauns of Cassidy Keep
  • Still the Best Issue After All These YearsUncanny X-Men vol. 1 #137

*Did you know you can just straight-up make up your own awards and give them to whomever you want? The Internet is awesome, y’all.


Listeners, while we love you dearly, we do not love you quite enough to make and mail all roughly ten-thousand of you your own Corbeaus. If you want a Corbeau of your very own, you’ve got two options:

1) Make your own, using the art below. We officially certify that it will be official and the Real Deal, and if anyone challenges you on that, we will glare meaningfully in their direction.

2) Show us your coloring skills. That’s right. It’s a CORBEAU COLORING CONTEST. Color the following image using in any medium you want: digital art, crayons, spray-painted macaroni–the sky is the limit. E-mail us a picture of your work at xplainthexmen(at)gmail(dot)com, with the subject line CORBEAU COLORING CONTEST, by January 14 January 21. The listener whose Corbeau comes closest to the transcendent perfection of its namesake will receive a physical Corbeau–glitter glue and all–to hoard privately or share with their remaining nine-thousand-odd peers at their discretion.



Alternately, Rachel made this in Blingee. Use it as you see fit:


As Mentioned in Episode 29 – Mutant in a Box

Listen to the podcast here!

29 – Mutant in a Box

In which Cyclops is the worst at vacations, Mystique is your favorite MurderMom™, Havok is eternally ABD, Kitty Pryde does science, Callisto doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation, Xavier has a Troy Barnes moment, Miles may be the only person with fond memories of Secret Wars, and Rachel finally gets to make Spalding Gray references.


  • Fantomex
  • Uncanny X-Men #176-181
  • Reset issues
  • Scott Summers’s second-worst honeymoon
  • Cephalopod disambiguation
  • Project Wideawake (more) (again)
  • Valerie Cooper
  • Foreshadowing
  • Public displays of affection
  • Leech
  • How X-Men age
  • A sewer wizard
  • Doug Ramsey
  • Secret Wars
  • Japan
  • Mystique’s kids
  • Douglock
  • Mystique’s powers
  • The other X-Men Forever

Next Week: The New Mutants gets weird!

You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Support us on Patreon!

Send us your submissions to the Stealth / Plainclothes Cosplay Contest until the end of the day on Friday, November 7!

Stealth / Plainclothes Cosplay Contest!

X-MEN! WELCOME TO FASHION! (Photo courtesy of TV Store Online.)
X-MEN! WELCOME TO FASHION! (Photo courtesy of TV Store Online.)

Recently, the good folks at TV Store Online got in touch and asked if we’d be interested in teaming up with them for a contest, with some of their very cool X-Men swag as prizes. (Note: No official endorsements going on here. We haven’t encountered this gear in person, but it looks pretty damn cool.)

We’re big fans of stealth cosplay–costume-evocative or referential outfits that can pass as regular clothes–but, as lovers of incidental details and minutiae, we’re even bigger fans of plainclothes cosplay–cosplaying superheroes or other normally costumed characters out of their iconic costumes. And what better time to indulge in both than the weeks around Halloween?


TV Store Online is providing two of these stylin’ Magneto costume hoodies (pictured above) as prizes, and we’ve procured noted X-Fashion X-Pert (and current Uncanny X-Men artist) Kris Anka as a guest judge! Here’s how to play:

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY BY THE END OF THE DAY ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. We’ll pick our two favorites (overall, not necessarily one from each category), and announce the winners on November 9, here and in the as-mentioned post of Episode 30!



Show us how you’re sneaking mutant superheroics into your office, school, or day-to-day life! If you’re unfamiliar with stealth cosplay–or just need some inspiration–we recommend checking out the Stealth Cosplay and Stealth Cosplay Week tags on Tumblr.

Your submission to xplainthexmen(at)gmail(dot)com should include:

  • The subject line “HALLOWEEN CONTEST – STEALTH”
  • A photo of you in costume.
  • A picture of the specific costume or character you’re referencing.
  • The name or handle you’d like us to post your submission under.
  • Any additional notes about the outfit you’d like us to consider when we make our decision.

Keep it subtle and versatile. Ideally, you’re sending in something that’ll be immediately recognizable to fellow fans, and fly straight over the head of your boss/teacher/mom.


Own a plaid suit? YOUR TIME HAS COME! You can either replicate a non-costume outfit from the comics or other X-media, or theorize what your favorite X-man wears on their day off. We’ll be posting some comics clips and costume photos for inspiration and reference over the next week!

Your submission to xplainthexmen(at)gmail(dot)com should include:

  • A photo of you in costume
  • EITHER a picture of the specific outfit you’re referencing OR a brief description of why you decided that’s what your favorite X-Man wears off-duty.
  • The name or handle you’d like us to post your submission under.
  • Any additional notes about the outfit you’d like us to consider when we make our decision.


  • We frown on use of costume and logo t-shirts and the equivalent, although Xavier School gear is probably negotiable.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on a recognizable accessory–red sunglasses alone do not a Cyclops make, dig?
  • We will be judging based on your costume or outfit, not your personal physical resemblance to the character as drawn or portrayed in other media. We are also 100% down with rule-63/crossplay submissions.
  • Per previous specifications: Deadpool does not count as an X-Man. Namor does.
  • Be creative. Have fun.


  • Submissions are due by 11 PM Pacific (GMT-8) on Friday, November 7. Late submissions won’t be considered, period.
  • FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES ABOVE, or your submission will be fed to the Memory Eels.
  • You need to be 18 to play.
  • EDITED TO ADD: You need to be in the United States to qualify for the prizes.

As Mentioned on Episode 18 – You’ve Got a Dracula Problem

Listen to the episode here!


Last week, we asked you to pitch your best ideas for X-Men games to win a download code for the <em>Days of Future Past</em> mobile game. (Thanks again, Glitchsoft!)

Before we announce the winners, let us take a moment to rave: You are brilliant, and we are legitimately pretty pissed off that we can’t play most of these games, because they look awesome. We wish we could give you all prizes.

Based on a complicated imaginary algorithm involving on originality, narrative/gameplay fit and integration, playability, and personal whim, we are pleased to announce that the grand-prize winners are as follow:


1) The Silver-Age X-Men (taking heavily from Season One and First Class), going right up to the Bronze age with the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix Saga. Why?

2) It’s a Japanese-style “dating sim” game, with a heavy focus on character relations. Any mutant combat will cover RPG elements in an old 8-bit Final Fantasy format, with a 5-man team selectable for the squad.

3) Marvel Girl. However, each of the other original 5 X-Men have their own storyline that unlock after beating Jean’s, with Jean’s storyline being the canon one that follows up through her canonical death as the Dark Phoenix (or does it? Multiple endings with potential happy endings, anyone?). Do you choose to follow the canon and romance Cyclops? What about his brooding brother who just wants a damned normal life? Or the magnificent Angel? The brooding Wolverine? The angry Thunderbird? Do you still love Hank when he’s literally blue? Or are you more into Iceman? The potential is endless! Romance Professor X (ewwwwwww) for the bonus unlockable option to play through a storyline as Professor X, manipulating the hell out of your students to your own ends!

As a bonus, any Mutant met can be drawn into the X-Men through specific dialogue choices, though none of the recruited X-Men can be romanced. However, this may alienate other members of the team, and can even cause them to leave the X-Men!

Craig S:

1) X-Treme X-Men

2) Turn-based RPG

3) James Howlett, Kurt Waggoner, Emmeline Frost, Xavier’s Head, Dazzler

Chrono-trigger style game where you travel from timeline to timeline hunting down evil Charles Xaviers, generally in the order you choose. You’d start with a basic team, and collect new members as you go to their individual timelines.

We’ll be e-mailing you those download codes later today!

We also want to take a moment to acknowledge two other really superlative entries. You do not get download codes, so, as a compensation prize, here is another picture of that panel of Cyclops telling Dracula to follow his heart:





1. Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (the ’84-85 miniseries)
2. Ninja Gaiden-esque sidescrolling platformer with melodramatic cutscenes. Ninjas ninjas ninjas.
3. Alternate levels as Kitty getting into trouble in Japan and Wolverine trying to find her. In the last level you can choose which of them to play as you fight the other one, but then the winner has to take on final boss Ogun.



1. Name: Siege Perilous: The Game
2. Platform: pervasive throughout your life. You download an app on your phone and it replaces your twitter, your facebook, your instagram, your contacts, and everything else with the media and social life of a better version of yourself. The game is to learn to live as that person. There is no going back.
3. Playable character: you, but maybe a ninja version of you.

Win a Copy of the Days of Future Past Mobile Game!

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 4.12.32 PM


Hey, listeners, we have a treat for you!

As we mentioned a few episodes back, Glitchsoft was kind enough to send us a download code so we could try out their Days of Future Past mobile game, which we’ve been enjoying immensely. It’s not exactly Days of Future Past, but–as far as we’re concerned–it’s something better: X-Men Easter Eggs the Game. It plays fast and loose with continuity, but with an obvious eye to the source material–and the same things that differentiate it from canon make it a really fun platformer in ways that evoke–albeit single-player–the classic-for-a-reason beat ’em up. Rachel, who didn’t grow up playing platformers and so never developed Ninja Gaiden reflexes, was particularly impressed with the learning curve: it’s genuinely challenging, but never frustrating to the point of impossibility.

There’s also a lot of unlockable content–characters, costumes, abilities, and bonus materials–and the first three add a lot of replay value, because you can do different things in different levels with different characters. Note also that we said unlockable, not purchaseable: there are no in-app purchases in Days of Future Past, which, as far as we’re concerned, is a huge point in its favor. It probably won’t win any awards, but it’s an awfully enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

We’re posting about this here not just to recommend Days of Future Past–which we do–but because, in addition to a copy for us to review, Glitchsoft sent us two additional download codes to give away to listeners.

Here’s the skinny:

If you want to win a copy of Days of Future Past, comment on this post BY 10 PM PST ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, with three things:

  1. An X-Men story you think would make a good video game;
  2. What genre of game it would be (platformer, RPG, puzzle, &c.); and
  3. A list of playable characters.

UPDATE: WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED in the Episode 18 “As Mentioned” post.


  • Prizes are courtesy of Glitchsoft.
  • Rachel and Miles are in no way affiliated with Glitchsoft, Marvel, Disney, the Xavier Institute, the Jean Grey School, the Shi’ar Empire, the Hellfire Club, the Massachusetts Academy, or anyone but our own bad selves (and, limitedly, Comics Alliance, which is in no way involved in this contest).
  • This contest is entirely subjective! Feel free to pander to our tastes, but bear in mind that we’ll probably be more favorably inclined to things we haven’t thought of ourselves.
  • Decisions cannot be appealed. This is a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy.
  • We’ll be evaluating based solely on the three categories we mentioned above; no bonus points for art or additional materials.
  • You can provide context and explanations if you want, but please keep ’em under 50 words; we’re not going to read through ten-page pitch documents. (Also, bear in mind that you’re competing for a $2.99 game–maybe try to keep the amount of work you put in proportional to that.)
  • Winners will be announced on August 10. The codes expire on AUGUST 19. Use ’em or lose ’em.
  • Sorry, Android users: Days of Future Past is currently iOS only. We obviously have no way of regulating this, but gunning for a game just so someone else can’t play it is a total dick move. Please don’t do that.
  • If you want to play along but don’t want a download code, please put **JUST FOR FUN** at the top of your comment.