Rachel and Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 18

Week of December 17, 2014

In which it’s a good week for Iceman and Rachel is pretty much done with Sixis.

Reviewed:
Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #4 (0:28)
Storm #6 (2:04)
Axis #8 (4:15)
Axis: Revolutions #4 (5:55)
*All-New X-Men #34 (8:50)

*Pick of the week (11:31)

Video reviews are made possible by the support of our Patreon subscribers. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Talking About Video Reviews

Last week, we had a little time after finishing the video reviews, so we decided to pull back the curtain for a conversation about process, sticking points, and the origin of the ubiquitous sunglasses.

As Mentioned in Episode 35 – Post-Disco Panic

Listen to the episode here!


 


Links and Further Reading

35 – Post-Disco Panic

Art by David Wynne

Art by David Wynne

In which literally every character in Dazzler: The Movie is the absolute worst; Beauty and the Beast is secretly kind of awesome; Ann Nocenti is an editorial war-bard; Rachel issues a hat-related retraction; and we would read the hell out of Tales from the Heartbreak Hotel.

X-Plained:

  • The many mutations of Hank McCoy
  • Alison Blaire
  • Dazzler: The Movie
  • Dazzler’s corporate origins
  • The original plans for the actual unmade Dazzler movie
  • Severely off-model Storm
  • Ziggy the Butler
  • Several frankly horrifying courtships
  • Roman Nekoboh
  • Eric Beale
  • Beauty and the Beast (but not that one)
  • The correct way to open a miniseries
  • Ann Nocenti
  • Alexander Flynn
  • The importance of voice in writing Beast
  • Max Rocker
  • The Heartbreak Hotel (but not that one) and its residents
  • Nocenti narration
  • Some really dubious underground theater
  • The worst hat
  • What Dazzler’s been up to lately

NEXT WEEK: Rock’n’Roll Annuals… IN SPACE!

ART CHALLENGE: Join us in a world where Beauty and the Beast spinoff Tales from the Heartbreak Hotel is a real, published comic–and send us your fan-art from that series!


You can find a visual companion to this episode on our blog!

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Support us on Patreon!

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

Rachel and Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 17

Week of December 10, 2014

In which we face another eight-book week, Miles makes Nauck faces, and Leverage-but-in-the-1940s-and-starring-Mystique-and-Destiny is Rachel’s favorite imaginary TV show.

Reviewed:

  • X-Men #22 (00:48)
  • Axis #7 (1:29)
  • Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 (2:43)
  • X-Force #13 (4:19)
  • Nightcrawler #9 (5:33)
  • *Amazing X-Men #14 (6:19)
  • Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #6 (8:33)
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 (10:44)

*Pick of the Week (12:46)

Video reviews are made possible by the support of our Patreon subscribers. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

NIGH INVULNERABLE WHEN BLASTIN’ t-shirts and stickers are available in our shop until the end of December.

A Coda to Episode 34

In Episode 34, we answered a question from a listener looking for textual evidence that Nightcrawler isn’t homophobic (we pointed them to Amazing X-Men #13, in which Nightcrawler and Northstar explicitly address that question). But Rachel also responded to the question from a somewhat different angle–and at considerably more length–on Tumblr; and we want to reproduce that answer here, as well, because it covers some ground we feel pretty strongly about:

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Dear Anonymous,

Miles and I addressed the textual evidence—which lands firmly on your side, by the way—in Episode 34, but I’d also like to take a moment to talk to your friend directly:

Dear Anonymous’s Friend,

You seem like someone who works hard to consider the cultural context and ethical implications of the media you consume. That’s really cool, and it’s something I try very hard to both practice—as a podcaster, as a critic, and as a consumer—and to encourage in our audience.

Here’s the thing, though, AF—this is not black-and-white, it never has been, and it never will be. It’s not a rigid objective rubric. It’s a deeply personaljudgment call. And when you attack your friend because they like a fictional character you find personally problematic, you are being an asshole.

AF, it is absolutely okay for your friend to find enjoyment, value, and points of personal identification in things that don’t perfectly mesh with their identity or personal beliefs. To tell anyone that they’re not allowed to have those things because fictional entities in which they find meaning don’t measure up on a rigid real-world rubric is—as far as I’m concerned—incredibly uncool.

I also want to address another point that your concerns about Nightcrawler bring up—about members of marginalized groups searching for points of identification in mass media. I don’t know anything about you, but your friend mentioned that they’re queer, and I know from experience that when you’re reading from a position anywhere on the margins—say, as a sexual minority—one of the first skills you learn is to identify with fictional characters who aren’t like you and sometimes even profoundly conflict with your personal identity and values. You learn to do this because when you are coming from that position, if you strike from the list every character who doesn’t precisely reflect your values and identity, you are denying yourself the overwhelming majority of the options available.

And having those footholds, those points of affection and identification and fandom—that matters. It matters so much. Cyclops and I don’t have a ton in common superficially—in canon, he’s portrayed as a straight male-presenting person who grew up in an orphanage and shoots force beams out of his eyes; and I’m a queer female-presenting person who grew up with two (very cool) parents and no superpowers whatsoever. Cyclops is also often a total jerk a lot of the time; and especially in the Silver Age, he says and does somecompletely fucked up shit, including some things that are unambiguously sexist or racist.

But you know what? He’s still my favorite character, because there are things really fundamental to who I am and how I experience the world that I find reflected in Cyclops and almost nowhere else in fiction. Because having him available to me as a metaphor helps me parse shit that I otherwise do not have the tools to handle. Because I am never, ever going to find a paper mirror that reflects all of the complicated, faceted aspects of my identity and experiences—and guess what? no human being is—so I find and cobble together points of identification where I can.

Ultimately, though, that’s secondary to my main point. You do not get to decide what other people are allowed to like. Independent of action, liking things—or disliking them—is not itself an ethically charged act. What you are doing here does not serve a greater good. It does not speak to ethical consumption of fiction, or ethical anything. It’s just petty and cruel.

Look, AF, it’s okay if Nightcrawler’s Catholicism is a deal-breaker for you, personally. That is just fine. You are absolutely not obliged to like everything your friend likes, and you shouldn’t have to answer to their preferences or personal rubrics for the fiction they consume any more than they should have to answer to yours. But part of being a friend is recognizing that you are not the same person. Of the fictional characters and real people in this scenario, there’s only one trying to impose rigid dogma aggressively enough to do harm—and it’s not Nightcrawler.

(Also, your understanding of both Nightcrawler’s historical portrayal in X-Menand the relationship between Catholic dogma and the politics and personal views of individual Catholics is just spectacularly off-base.)

Sincerely,
Rachel

As Mentioned in Episode 34 – Mordenkainen’s Marvelous Mutants

Listen to the episode here!



Links and Further Reading:

  • In Episode 34, we answered a question from a listener looking for textual evidence that Nightcrawler isn’t homophobic (we pointed them to Amazing X-Men #13). Rachel also discussed that question from a different angle–and at considerably more length–on the blog.
  • Diana: Warrior Princess is both an incredibly fun game setting and a brilliant piece of cultural satire.
  • We are big fans of both the Gamers movies and the humans responsible for them.
  • Rachel and Elle talk a lot of shit about Hank Pym in Episode 4 of Into It.

34 – Mordenkainen’s Marvelous Mutants

Warlock The Barbarian

Art by David Wynne. Prints available here through Sunday, December 14!

In which we venture forth into an age undreamed of, there are so many reasons to have Northstar on your team, Selene is the worst guest, Rachel X-Plains Conan, Cyttorak is the Mordenkainen of the Marvel Universe, Miles loves Doctor Strange, we have some fairly serious Captain America feelings, the X-Men completely fail at hide-and-seek, and we make more D&D references in one episode than in the previous 34 combined.

X-Plained

  • Northstar
  • Beard privilege
  • X-Men 189-192
  • Anachronistic timeline markers
  • Hounds
  • The Culture Shock Class
  • An Age Undreamed of
  • Conan disambiguation
  • Red Sonja vs. Red Sonya
  • Kulan Gath
  • Marvel Team-Up #79
  • Barbarian Avengers
  • Why we love Captain America
  • Several haircuts
  • WiFi sorcery
  • A really good inspirational speech
  • The inevitable cephalopod revolution
  • Why Hank Pym is the absolute worst
  • Claudication
  • Hide-and-seek
  • How Rachel Summers actually traveled back in time
  • Magus
  • Warlock, Adam Warlock, and their respective Magi
  • Politics, religion, and Nightcrawler

Edited to Add: In this episode, we answered a question from a listener looking for textual evidence that Nightcrawler isn’t homophobic (we pointed them to Amazing X-Men #13). We also discussed that question from a different angle–and at considerably more length–on the blog.

Next Week: Dazzler: The Movie!


You can find a visual companion to the episode on our blog.

Find us on iTunes or Stitcher!

Support us on Patreon!

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

Rachel and Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 16

Week of December 3, 2014

In which everything is pretty okay, we guess.

Reviewed:

  • Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3 (00:28)
  • *Axis: Revolutions #3 (3:10)
  • All-New X-Factor #17 (5:57)

*Pick of the week (9:32)

Video reviews are made possible by the support of our Patreon subscribers. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Special thanks to the eternally glam-as-hell Miz Moody for the use of her spangly shades.

Shirt of the Month – December 2014

A few days ago, our Patreon supporters unlocked t-shirts of the month, and it is our very great pleasure to introduce the first of those, in which designer Dylan Todd pays homage to one of our very favorite Claremont catchphrases!

As the name implies, this is a LIMITED RUN: T-shirts (including kids’ and infant sizes!) will be up in the shop through January 5, 2014 (after this, switches’ll happen on the first of any given month, but we’re posting this one a little late, so), then DISAPPEAR FROM THE SHOP FOREVER. (Stickers may persist, depending on interest. We’ll see.)

Cannonball_L_cropped

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T-shirts of the month are made possible by the support of our Patreon subscribers. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!