The State of Things – Update

X-Men: Season One; W: Dennis Hopeless, A: Jamie McKelvie

X-Men: Season One; W: Dennis Hopeless, A: Jamie McKelvie

Rachel here.

I’m still out of town, still dealing with the stuff that took me away a week ago. (I’m not going to go into details—as Miles wrote over on tumblr, I’m a fairly private person, and I don’t really want to discuss my personal life and family on public media.)

However, since this has now come up repeatedly, I want to explain a little about what my absence means for Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men in the very short-term, and to address a few specific questions and comments we’ve received.

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March 2015 T-Shirt of the Month: What’s New Shadowcat?

Saving the world is all well and good, but Kitty Pryde knows what superheroism is REALLY about: the costumes!

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.41.38 AM

What's New Shadowcat

This month, we’re celebrating Kitty’s myriad and multiversal superthreads with David Wynne’s fantastic homage to the classic Frazetta What’s New Pussycat? poster, featuring a whopping seven of Kitty’s signature looks over the years. For bonus mileage, go meta and incorporate it into your own superhero costume—or use the matching mugs to get you through the Kitty’s Costumes drinking game next time you marathon the Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men archives!

What’s New Shadowcat? shirts will be available until April 1, then disappear forever (mugs, tote bags, and/or throw pillows may persevere longer). David also has the original art for sale over here!

46 – Shadows Over Cairo

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 3/8/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 3/8/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which we bid a fond farewell to Bill Sienkiewicz; Secret Wars II continues to ruin everything; the New Mutants end up in an improbable number of gladiatorial arenas; Shadowcat’s secondary mutation is queer subtext; Magik gives no fucks about your crossover event; Warlock transcends storytelling conventions; and Karma rejoins the team.

X-PLAINED:

  • The chronologically inconsistent mobility of Professor Xavier
  • The Shadow King
  • New Mutants #29-34
  • Steve Leialoha
  • The Arena (more) (again)
  • Evil group projects
  • Easter eggs
  • Rachel Summers: butch fashion icon
  • Some major failures of positive size diversity in comics
  • Madripoor
  • Ashake
  • The incredible changing Guthries
  • The wickedest club in Cairo
  • Default X-teams
  • Cypher’s powers

NEXT WEEK: Miles and Elisabeth Allie X-Plain X-Men / Alpha Flight


No visual companion this week, because, reasons.

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!

Miles Reviews the X-Men, Episode 27

Week of February 25, 2015.

In which Miles once again holds down the fort, and Rachel is too tired to come up with more engaging copy than this.

Reviewed:

  • All-New X-Men #38 (00:19)
  • Spider-Man and the X-Men #3 (1:46)
  • Amazing X-Men #17 (3:08)
  • Wolverines #8 (4:29)
  • Uncanny Avengers #2 (6:15)

Pick of the Week: Avengers World #17; which is neither technically an X-book nor of this week, but is good enough that we don’t care. (8:19)


RACHEL ADDS:

I kind of love Miles’s vague implication that I’m cooling my heels in Mexico until things blow over.

Here are my very short and sleep-deprived addenda to the reviews:

All-New X-Men #38
Often, “very Bendis” is a compliment. This is not one of those times: the cleverness comes at the expense of characters’ voices. Not exactly bad, but frustrating. I’m pretty damn excited about Teen Space Pirate Cyclops to the rescue, though; and the fact that that probably means a more organic end to the Cyclops ongoing than the abrupt cancellation I was sort of expecting.

Spider-Man and the X-Men #3
This is the ideal use of this team, and I feel really good about it and also about Ernst busting down walls. The first few issues were fun but kind of flailing; here, it feels like the book is really finding its voice and catching its stride.

Amazing X-Men #17
Too busy cracking up at the return of one of my favorite dumb Silver-Age villains to objectively review this.

Wolverines #8
Um, actually, Miles, both Fang’s debut and the incident in which Wolverine stole his costume took place during the M’Kraan Crystal storyline, not the Dark Phoenix Saga.

That said, there is literally nothing about this issue that I did not enjoy immensely. Also, I really hope that Fang and Volstagg turn out to be buddies, because they obviously should be.

Uncanny Avengers #2
Meh. I’m having trouble caring about this storyline. I recognize that Acuña is objectively good at what he does, but at the same time, his art completely fails to hold my attention, which sort of sums up my feelings on this series in general.

-Rachel, who is not actually on the lam in Mexico; although she has learned a lot over the last few days about the laws and logistics concerning international transport of human remains.


These 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!

Rachel Recaps X-Men: Evolution
S1E2: The X Impulse

You know how I said that X-Men: Evolution is really entertaining even when it’s really, really bad? This week, we’re gonna put that to the test. Prepare for more rock puns than you have ever heard in a single 22-minute stretch. Also, Transformers. Kinda.

In other news, I still have no idea what the titles refer to.

BUT FIRST, A PRETEND HORROR MOVIE!

We open with the Pryde home, in a fictional town in Illinois. The town has a name, but I don’t care what it is, and it’s never going to be relevant again, so I’m just gonna call it Fake Deerfield. Cool? Cool.

OH, MY GOD, IT'S CINEMATOGRAPHY!

OH, MY GOD, IT’S GRATUITOUS LIGHTNING!

Kitty dreams that she’s falling, and–spoiler–she actually falls through her bed and floor and lands in the basement. She wakes up screaming, and her parents rush down to comfort her. They think she was sleepwalking–until they look up and a PORTENTOUS FLASH OF LIGHTNING illuminates her blanket, embedded in the basement ceiling.

OH MY GOD! THAT’S–actually, wait, that’s not scary at all.

Okay, look, I get what they were shooting for here, but you know who has the least horror-movie powers of just about all the X-Men? Hint: It’s definitely Kitty, barring the stories where phased becomes her default state (which this isn’t). Framing this scene and the Prydes’ cheerfully generic suburban house like a horror movie reminds me of one of those recut trailers where you try to make a movie look like a genre it obviously isn’t; or a kid telling a shaggy-dog joke and then waiting for you to be overjoyed at the lack of punchline; or the entire movie White Noise.1 It’s all buildup, with no proportionate payoff.

NOPE!

Ew, Cerebro, no. Don’t do that.

Meanwhile, back at Stately Xavier Manor, Kitty’s late-night spill pings Cerebro. Does anyone else find it unsettling that Professor X has a psychic supercomputer that provides him with turnaround full body scans of teenagers?

Also, Cerebro accurately predicts the outfit that Kitty is going to wear to school the next day.2

“What am I?” wails Kitty. “What’s happening to me?” Just give it five seconds, kid–the credits montage identifies you quite clearly as Shadowcat.

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As Mentioned in Episode 45 – A Woman Who Could Fly

Listen to the episode here!


 


Links and Further Reading:

45 – A Woman Who Could Fly

Art by David Wynne. Prints, cards, and travel mugs available until 3/1/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

Art by David Wynne. Prints, cards, and travel mugs available until 3/1/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which we discard our regularly scheduled programming to focus on Storm and Lifedeath II; no one draws motion like Barry Windsor-Smith; Storm goes up to eleven; and we really wish we had the frame of reference to place this story in the larger context of diaspora literature.

X-Plained:

  • Forge
  • The Adversary
  • Uncanny X-Men #198 (Lifedeath II)
  • Storm
  • The narrative impact of sexualization
  • Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Extreme weather in comics
  • Hallucinatory X-Men
  • Storm in adaptation
  • The Storm elevator pitch
  • Our Storm dream casting
  • Mjnari
  • Artist editions
  • Colonialism
  • Storm as a liminal figure

NEXT WEEK: The New Mutants Go to the Arena!


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 26

Week of February 18, 2015

In which we spoil the hell out of Uncanny X-Men #31, Rachel has Mystique feelings, and Kris Anka draws the best bitchface ever forever.

Reviewed:

  • *Uncanny X-Men #31 (1:00)
  • Legendary Star-Lord #9 (5:08)
  • Storm #8 (6:23)
  • Wolverines #7 (8:45)
  • Magneto #15 (10:56)

*Pick of the week (13:02)


These 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!

Rachel Recaps X-Men: Evolution
S1E1: Strategy X

I was a little too old to catch X-Men: Evolution the first time around. It debuted my freshman year of college, corresponding with the peak of my nerd pretension—that larval-geek phase where you insist on calling all comics graphic novels—and like the arch little fucker I was, I dismissed it sight-unseen as X-Men dumbed down.

A few years ago, I finally sat down and watched my way through X-Men: Evolution and came away with two conclusions: teenage Rachel was kind of a dolt; and X-Men: Evolution is delightful.

Not only is Evolution not X-Men dumbed down, it’s a really clever, appealing reinvention. In fact, Evolution accomplishes what the Ultimate universe never quite could: shaking off years of continuity and attracting an entirely new audience with a distilled version of one of Marvel’s most convoluted lines.

groupshotIf you’re not familiar with X-Men: Evolution, the premise is roughly thus: The Xavier Institute is an extracurricular boarding school of sorts, whose students are mainstreamed into their district school—Bayville High—for academics. Some of the characters—Storm, Wolverine, and Professor Xavier on the side of the angels; Mystique, Magneto, and a few others on the other end of the moral spectrum—stay adults; everyone else is aged down to teenagers. Evolution draws characters and some story hooks from the comics, but for the most part, it occupies its own discrete continuity.

And as continuities go, it’s a good one. It’s clever and fun, it’s got a ton of heart, and it stays true to the core themes and characters of the source material without becoming overly beholden to the letter of the text. By the end, it’ll become a really, really good show; but even when it’s bad, X-Men: Evolution is bad in really entertaining ways.

Which is important, because X-Men: Evolution gets off to a pretty rocky start.

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As Mentioned in Episode 44 – Assembling Legion, with Si Spurrier

Listen to the episode here!



LINKS AND FURTHER READING: