Stun bombs are to comics as knockout spray is to cartoons. (X-Men #161)
We really only included this to point out the smoke coming from Wolverine’s underwear. (X-Men #162)
And that’s how you do a cold open. (X-Men #162)
Remember this space whale. It’ll be important later. (X-Men #162)
So, that’s a little creepy, and… (X-Men #162)
…AUGH WAIT WHAT THE HELL?! (X-Men #162)
Fang just cannot catch a break. (X-Men #162)
This is one of very, very few times when Wolverine’s healing factor has been written as at all under his control. (X-Men #162)
How cool would it have been if he’d kept this look? Hint: So cool. (X-Men #162)
Fair warning: This visual companion is basically an excuse to post a lot of really awesome Carol Danvers moments. (X-Men #163)
Cyclops successfully completes TWO whole hugs during the Brood Saga! Also: space fashion. (X-Men #163)
So, THAT’S CREEPY. (X-Men #163)
Remember that thing about how this visual companion is mostly an excuse to post pictures of Carol Danvers being awesome? That. (X-Men #164)
ROCKET SHARKS. (X-Men #164)
Including this just for the dozen people who have written us to ask if Storm’s powers work in space (also covered in the Phoenix Saga, incidentally). (X-Men #164)
In which Claremont and/or Cockrum seem to forget that Kitty’s powers fry electrical systems. (X-Men #164)
BINARY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. (X-Men #164)
Imagine how much of Inferno could have been avoided if the Professor had decided to press this point. (X-Men #164)
AUGH GOD BINARY IS SO AWESOME. (X-Men #164)
Not that Cockrum’s not great, but can we have a moment of silence for how amazingly Neal Adams would’ve drawn this specific panel? (X-Men #164)
If you like the Brood Saga, you should be reading the current Captain Marvel series (and vice versa). This is very much the Carol Danvers of both. (X-Men #164)
That moment when the Brood Saga could’ve become a really heavy-handed reproductive-rights allegory, and we’re all really grateful that it didn’t. (X-Men #164)
Well, fuck. (X-Men #164)
Binary: Too awesome for your stupid airlock. (X-Men #164)
That time Moira MacTaggert manipulated Charles Xavier into starting a second ongoing X-book. (X-Men #165)
Welcome to X-Men, Paul Smith! Hope you survive the experience! (X-Men #165)
Faced with certain and inevitable death, the X-Men decide to go kill some Brood. (X-Men #165)
Rad bromance. (X-Men #165)
CORRECT CHOICE, COLOSSUS. (X-Men #165)
Remember that time Storm became a space whale and quoted Phoenix? (X-Men #165)
Seriously, though: Binary. (X-Men #166)
WELL, THEN. (X-Men #166)
Mostly in here to point out that Kitty’s impending death has not cooled her affection for the Shi’ar fashion machines. (X-Men #166)
Storm X-plains the Acanti, part one. (X-Men #166)
Storm X-plains the Acanti, part two. (X-Men #166)
Our episode outline addresses this panel as follows:
KITTY YOU ARE THE BEST NERD
DOES CYCLOPS WATCH STAR TREK? DISCUSS. SHOW YOUR WORK.
(X-Men: Evolution Cyclops definitely watches Star Trek, for the record.)
In addition to the shocking reveal, this moment leads to one of stupidest and most avoidable minor continuity errors of the issue. (X-Men #166)
Best Brood moment? Best Brood moment. (X-Men #166)
LOCKHEED! (X-Men #166)
And they all lived happily ever after. (X-Men #166)
OH, WAIT. (X-Men #166)
Just in case you haven’t caught on to the fact that this is an extended thematic and structural riff on the Dark Phoenix Saga. (X-Men #167)
Can we talk about the New Mutants’ adorable collective crush on Magnum, P.I.? (X-Men #167)
THAT SUBTITLE. (X-Men #167)
Kitty’s got a new outfit. Take a drink. (X-Men #167)
Okay. This looks bad. (X-Men #167)
Speaking of the Dark Phoenix Saga… (X-Men #167)
Cyclops has a good day (and completes an unprecedented SECOND successful hug in the same story!), but this plot thread is going to lead straight to Madelyne Pryor, so, that’s probably a net loss. (X-Men #167)
That time Empress Lilandra projected into Reed and Sue Storm’s bedroom to scold them in the middle of the night. (X-Men #167)
Professor Xavier returns to life, and Kitty gets yet ANOTHER new outfit. Two drinks. (X-Men #167)
In which Kitty learns what the reader has known all along. (X-Men #167)
Next Week: Back to the Silver Age (and a very important retcon) with Kurt Busiek!
In which Claremont levels up; the Brood are legitimately scary; Colossus is an ethical dude; Nightcrawler and Wolverine share beers in the face of certain death; Storm turns into a space whale; we are Carol Corps for life; New Mutants are really into Magnum, P.I.; Kitty meets a dragon; and Xavier dies (again).
The Brood Saga (X-Men #161-167)
A really terrible awards ceremony
Tim O’Brien’s X-Men
How to tell a good Wolverine story
The single most badass magical-girl transformation sequence of all time
The X-Men’s Kobayashi Maru
Friendship (more) (again)
Whether Cyclops watches Star Trek
The New Mutants
Our secret cold-open formula
Next Week: Kurt Busiek! We would have words with thee!
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.
Corsair does a lot of X-Plaining this issue. (Uncanny X-Men #154)
In Cyclops’s defense, he did, in fact, have the worst childhood ever. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
This is basically how the Shi’ar say Hello. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
Never change, Kitty Pryde. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
The lady in the fuchsia coat is hardcore judging you, Corsair. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
The Brood’s arsenal includes a super rad op-art ray. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
‘Kay, then. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
Wolveine is hella into fighting with the Brood, which is good, because he’s gonna be doing a lot of that a couple arcs from now. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
Spoiler: He’s gonna be okay. (Uncanny X-Men #155)
REMEMBER THESE BADASSES? They’re back. And we love them. (Uncanny X-Men #156)
We weren’t kidding when we said Phil and Roy were the new Harvey and Janet. (Uncanny X-Men #156)
THE STARJAMMERS ARE SO RAD THAT WE CAN ONLY TALK ABOUT THEM IN ALL CAPS. (Uncanny X-Men #156)
Hepzibah demonstrates the proper way to interrupt a dramatic moment. P.S. REMEMBER WHEN WE SAID THE STARJAMMERS ARE FUCKING DELIGHTFUL? THE STARJAMMERS ARE FUCKING DELIGHTFUL, YOU GUYS. (Uncanny X-Men #156)
The Brood are dicks, man. (Uncanny X-Men #156)
It’s okay. He’ll be back. (Uncanny X-Men #157)
Yeah, we’re not sure what’s going on in that first outfit, either. (Uncanny X-Men #157)
Uncanny X-Men #157, in which Kitty Pryde saves the world with costumes. Like, seriously.
And then, for no apparent reason, she changes into a Peter Pan outfit. You do you, Kitty. You do you. (Uncanny X-Men #157)
Meanwhile, in Avengers Annual #10, it’s raining Marvels.
Fun fact: Jessica Drew is long-time buds with the X-Men. (Avengers Annual #10)
REMEMBER HOW THAT HAPPENED AND NONE OF THE AVENGERS SAW ANY PROBLEM WITH IT? (Avengers Annual #10)
You know the runs that gymnasts do as the lead-up to really spectacular tumbling passes? This is Chris Claremont’s equivalent, only instead of doing a bunch of flips, he is going to call out some of the most bullshit writing of the previous year. (Avengers Annual #10)
STANDING. FUCKING. OVATION. That said, it’s pretty depressing that this came out in 1981 and still reads as a lot more progressive than the handling of sexual violence in a lot of current comics. (Avengers Annual #10)
The return of Dr. Peter Corbeau. (Uncanny X-Men #158)
I WONDER IF THIS WILL BECOME RELEVANT LATER. (Uncanny X-Men #158)
Senator Kelly: Still a jerk. (Uncanny X-Men #158)
“Hey, Alex, you know how all you wanted was a normal life? Yeah, I just dropped by to tell you our dad’s been alive for the last twenty years. And he’s a space pirate. And your hat looks stupid.” (Uncanny X-Men #158)
Object lesson: Everyone is Mystique. Everyone is always Mystique. (Uncanny X-Men #158)
Can we talk for a sec about Rogue’s superlative villainface game? (Uncanny X-Men #158)
In which we make our Comics Alliance debut, Cyclops makes a startling discovery, Carol Danvers joins the team (sort of), Chris Claremont calls out some bullshit, Havok still has terrible taste in hats, and Peter Corbeau gets his own theme music
Content note: In this episode, we spend a lot of time talking about a rape that occurs in a previous Avengers arc, the community and narrative response thereto, and the larger landscape and ethics of portrayals of sexual violence in superhero comics.
Mystique’s mercurial alliances
Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men
Uncanny X-Men #154-158
Avengers Annual #10
The dread Psi-Scream
Shi’ar Fashion Technology
Dr. Peter Corbeau (more) (again)
The Whole Marcus Thing
Chris Claremont vs. rape culture
Gender politics of the Dark Phoenix Saga
Next week: Dracula!
Clarification, since we neglected to specify in the episode: Avengers #200 was written by James Shooter, George Pérez, Bob Layton, and David Michelinie; Avengers Annual #10 was written by Chris Claremont.
You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.
On Episode 5 – The Retcon that Walks Like a Man, we met Gabriel Summers, and did a very quick drive-by introduction to the Summers family and their really depressing space adventures. Because this shit is complicated, Rachel,* the resident Summers Family Continuity expert, has put together a brief visual guide to Gabriel’s backstory. Click through for the origin of the third and worst Summers Brother:
Meet Scott and Alex Summers! They’re brothers. Their parents have just pushed them out of a burning airplane. Scott and Alex are going to crash in a minute and then have awful childhoods, but all you really need to know for now is that they’re going to become X-Men when they grow up.
Meet Mister Sinister! He’s a creepy, creepy man who knows even more about the Summers family than Rachel does (and that’s a lot). In 1993, Mister Sinister let slip that Scott and Alex might have a third brother, and for over a decade, pretty much every orphan in the Marvel Universe had “probably a Summers brother” stuck on to the end of their official bio.
But in 2005, X-Men: Deadly Genesis came around. Deadly Genesis was a straight-up retcon of 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1. It also—finally—resolved the question of the third Summers brother.
Meet Christopher and Katherine Summers! They’re Scott and Alex’s parents. They’ve just thrown Scott and Alex out of a burning airplane, then gotten abducted by aliens. This part of the story has been X-canon since the ’70s—but what Deadly Genesis reveals is that Katherine is pregnant. Christopher gets sent off to the slave pens, and Katherine ends up a Comics Code-compliant-analogue-to-concubine of the evil space emperor. Christopher breaks out and tries to free her, but he’s caught, and Katherine—and apparently her now-nearly-to-term fetus—are killed. (Christopher later becomes a space pirate named Corsair, which is awesome but irrelevant to this particular story.)
Meet Fetus Summers, who turns out to be viable after all! He gets rapid-aged by means of Fancy Space Science, named Gabriel, and sent to be a slave of the Shi’ar’s representative on Earth. Later, his powers manifest and he kills the only person who was ever nice to him, then escapes into the sewers with nothing but his favorite book of Roman myths and a case of dramatically expedient amnesia.
Gabriel gets picked up by Dr. Moira MacTaggert—Professor X’s ex—and becomes one of her group of teen mutants in training, under the code name Kid Vulcan. X consults—and, in the process, pieces together Gabriel’s history but doesn’t tell anyone, in keeping with a long tradition of lying to Scott about the existence of his living relatives. Professor X is a dick.
To confirm his theory, X brings Scott out to train with Gabriel for a day—but still doesn’t tell either of them that they might be brothers. (Gabriel’s powers, incidentally, have to do with energy manipulation and redirection, which his how he can do that with Scott’s eye beams.)
When the X-Men are all captured on Krakoa (the Island That Walks Like a Man!), X convinces Moira’s kids to go rescue them. Immediately before they leave, he tells Gabriel that Scott and Alex are his brothers. The new kids rescue Scott, and Gabriel tells him that they’re brothers. Scott’s super beat up and his powers are broken, so the new kids leave him and go to rescue the rest of the captive X-Men—but instead, they all get killed.
Scott returns to the X-mansion, understandably distraught. X decides the most expedient course of action is to totally wipe Gabriel out of Scott’s memory. Did I mention that Professor X is a dick? Professor X is a dick. When the new X-Men return to Krakoa to rescue the original team, he continues to mess with their perceptions to support this version of events.
What X doesn’t know is that Gabriel and his teammate Darwin are actually still alive, so when the X-Men launch Krakoa into orbit, Gabriel and Darwin go with it. They get stuck in stasis for years, in space. OOPS.
Later, Gabriel wakes up pissed, comes back to earth, kills Banshee, kidnaps Scott and Scott’s alternate-timeline-future-daughter (I know, I know. Just run with it.), and forces Professor X to show them what actually happened. Darwin—still in stasis inside Gabriel—is extracted and revived, Gabriel flies off to fight an evil space empire, and absolutely no one lives happily ever after. X-Men!