Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

122 – Boom Boom Von Doom and the Ontology of Monsters

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available at the shop, or contact David to purchase the original.

In which the back-up stories of Atlantis Attacks are way better than the main event; the Serpent Society is hilarious; Longshot finds a rock; the S.U.R.F.E.R.S. are no Neutrinos; our volume of digressions is inversely proportional to our investment in this crossover; Jay overthinks sunglasses; and somehow we still aren’t entirely done with Inferno.


  • Leonard McKenzie
  • Princess Fen
  • Tiger Shark
  • A dubious crossover event and three splendid backup stories
  • The best thing in Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Skateman
  • Atlantis Attacks
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #13
  • New Mutants Annual #5
  • X-Factor Annual #4
  • Ghaur
  • Llyra
  • Homo mermanus
  • The Serpent Society
  • Boomslang
  • Why snakes don’t wear vests
  • The Maple Hill Farm books
  • The Horn of Doom (again)
  • Namorita
  • Impractical swimwear
  • Surf, or S.U.R.F.E.R.S., or whoever the hell they are
  • Zak and the Neutrinos
  • The trouble with mobile landmarks
  • A case of mistaken identity
  • The true meaning of something, probably
  • Ralph Macchio, but not that Ralph Macchio
  • Circumstances in which it is acceptable to throw a small child down an elevator shaft
  • The definitive Boom Boom
  • Eligible gentlemen of the Marvel Universe
  • Boom Boom Von Doom
  • A false dichotomy
  • Sally Pashkow
  • A really great outfit
  • Presidencies rated by X-Books
  • Best and worst moral inversions

NEXT WEEK: Mojo Mayhem!

ART CHALLENGE: Send your best Boom Boom romance stories, covers, and pin-ups to xplainthexmen(at)gmail.com by SEPTEMBER 15, with the subject line BOOM BOOM RULES.

NOTE: In this episode, Jay briefly confused two Marvel villain teams: the Serpent Society (snake-themed villains); and the Sons of the Serpent, also known as the Serpent Men (hate group). We would like to offer our apologies to the Serpent Society, who are ridiculous but not, as far as we know, racist.

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Buy prints of this week’s illustration at our shop, or contact David Wynne for the original!

Rachel’s Guide to Ruby Quartz, Part 1 – Red Shades, Silver Screen

Psst! Hey, kid! Yeah, you. Wanna buy some fancy sunglasses?
They’ll block your optic blasts AND give you +4 to Inscrutable Coolness!

A question we get pretty frequently is “Where did Rachel get those red sunglasses?” The answer–almost universally–is “Which ones?”

I own a lot of red sunglasses–in fact, for a long time, all the sunglasses I owned were red. It’s part homage, part aesthetic preference (red sunglasses are cool, okay?), and part security blanket: Cyclops is a character I identify pretty closely with for a lot of reasons, and the sunglasses have become a pretty central touchstone for that metaphor. (Plus, everyone needs at least one ridiculous visual affectation, right?)

Suffice to say: I’ve gotten really good at hunting down red sunglasses. And this week, I’m going to teach you my secrets.

No, seriously. I own a lot of red sunglasses.

Fair warning: This is gonna get involved. In fact, it’s gonna get involved enough that I decided pretty early on to break it into three parts. Part one will cover the movie versions of Cyclops’s shades. Part two will be a general hunting guide–where and how to search for what you’re after, brands, options, and some personal favorites. And in part three, I’ll point you to real-world matches for specific pairs from the comics. (If you’ve got any requests on that front, drop ’em in the comments here, and I’ll see what I can do!)

I’m starting with the movies because they’re the most precise of the bunch in terms of brands and details (to a point, anyway, but we’ll get into that shortly). With one exception, they’re also the highest-ticket items by a wide margin. Most of the sunglasses you’ll see in the later installments of this guide will hover around or under $20; but these can pretty easily run you upwards of $500, depending on the level of precision and customization you’re after.

Click through for the red lenses of the silver screen! (Includes a very minor spoilers for X-Men: Days of Future Past.)

Continue reading

Rachel and Miles Review the X-Men – Episode 4

Week of 8/27/2014

In which we engage in reckless substitution, and apparently the blinds make more difference to the lighting than we expected.


  • All-New X-Men #31
  • Uncanny Avengers #23
  • Cyclops #4
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #8*
  • Wolverine #12 Ms. Marvel #7

*Pick of the week

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