In which this episode is way more topical than it was when we recorded it; Apocalypse makes a terrible Statue of Liberty; there are no reliable narrators; Robbie Robertson and Carmen Sandiego are your new OTP; Emplate is creepy in any universe; lawful evil is still evil; and partial universe reboots come with some fairly silly problems.
Awkward intersections of fiction and reality
Pandemic (Dr. Richard Palance)
Tales from the Age of Apocalypse: Sinister Bloodlines
Tales from the Age of Apocalypse: By the Light
Brooding in multiple ways at once.
Corsair (Christopher Summers) (Earth-295)
Reconciling cross-universe timelines
The Shi’ar (Earth-295)
Comparative Summers Backstory
Robbie Robertson (Earth-295)
Northstar and Aurora (Earth-295)
Emplate and the Monets (Earth-295)
The Bedlam Brothers (Earth-295)
The most awkward Summers family reunion to date
The Absorbing Man (Earth-295)
Senator Robert Kelly (Earth-295)
The fall of the Guthrie family
An early era of Magneto’s X-Men
A trip to the moon
Death (Maximus Boltagon)
Whether the Beyonder of Earth-295 knows how to poop
Listening to this podcast with kids
NEXT EPISODE: Astonishing X-Men!
Check out the visual companion to this episode on our blog.
In which Glen Danzig was the most popular Wolverine fancast for a weirdly long time; breasts have physical mass; the Shi’ar empire is not your friend; Deathbird should not be left in charge of anything alive; Jubilee learns about privilege; Sinister is not subtle; plasma is the new magnetism; Scott and Jean return from the future; and Nick Fury probably sews his name into the waistband of all his underpants.
Some guy from Earth-1610
X-Men: Unlimited #5
A rude awakening (literal)
Some uncomfortable fashion choices
Definitely nude Charles Xavier
Shi’ar imperial bullshit
A very impressive headdress
Reality TV… in space!
A rude awakening (metaphorical)
A total dick move
Another total dick move
Beast’s brief tenure as field leader of the X-Men
The return of Threnody
The titles of several sex tapes
Sinister’s secret DNA library
Nick Fury’s stuff
The racism inherent to Evan Sabahnur’s background
A question we’ve answered before and will probably answer again
NEXT EPISODE: Malice!
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In which X-Men Unlimited begins; Cyclops’s powers remain wildly inconsistent; electromagnetic fields are the gamma rays of the early ‘90s; Siena Blaze should probably take some science courses; Magneto is a complex dude; and the Marvel Universe could really use adequate mental healthcare.
In which Jay and Max brave the X-Men anime; the problem isn’t in Wolverine’s pants; Xavier is for once less villainous than he seems; Emma Frost gets ruffly; Cyclops wasn’t even supposed to be here today; and we both really want to hang out with Scott Porter.
Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd
Waiting for the Trade
The X-Men Anime
Jay’s ongoing attempts to assemble a coherent X-Men/Speed Racer conspiracy theory
Floating Hands Theater Wolverine
An unlikely T.A.
Several recurring flashbacks
The other U-Men
Armor (Hisako Ichiki)
Emma Frost, but ruffly
Evil Moira MacTaggert (Yui Sasaki)
The Sasaki Institute
The other Inner Circle
Potluck night at the Hellfire Club
Living vs. dead Jean Grey
NEXT EPISODE: Jubilee!
You can find a visual companion to this episode on our blog!
Kickass scientist Susan Beaver–who’s also the former associate director of the Reed Research Reactor–joined us in Episode 114 – Meltdown to talk about the actual science of nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the downside of talking about complex science on a comics podcast is that there’s never enough time to go into as much depth as we’d like. Luckily for us–and you–Susan was kind enough to write a follow-up, discussing some of the terms and concepts we had to gloss over in the episode proper. -Jay
Let’s talk about nuclear fission.
As I got to say in the episode, the fourteen-page rundown of basic nuclear fission and the Chernobyl disaster that starts of Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown is surprisingly accurate, aside from attributing the human errors to a nefarious conspiracy rather than a combination of bad design and bad judgment. But one thing that the artistic overview doesn’t explain is a term that comes up a couple times in the comic, and that’s the term “prompt critical”.
It surprised me to see that term come up in the comic, since most of the time when people in entertainment industries throw around concepts regarding nuclear reactors they’re getting them wrong. (If you’ve ever had a career that gets depicted in movies and television shows–I’m looking at you, CSI techs and nurses–you know exactly what I mean.) So to see the comic getting a lot right was a welcome surprise. Radiation signs posted the correct way up instead of rotated 30 degrees! Neutron moderation! Control rods! And, of course, the sinister-sounding (not Sinister-sounding, though in this comic you have to be careful) phrase “prompt critical.”
So what happens when a nuclear reactor goes prompt critical?