Another excellent episode of this excellent podcast, not least because in this latest one they mention us!
(Because James has decided to start a rivalry that we have no hope of surviving, but that’s another story.)
It’s unlikely if you follow us you aren’t already listening to Rachel and Miles, but if you aren’t, you should, now.
I (Nick) just wrote this in direct response to the episode, but it’s too long to post in someone else’s blog comments - totally unfair, and might stifle all following conversation. I’m putting it here instead, because what, I can’t just DELETE it, are you insane?
You’ll want to listen to that episode before you read this:
Great episode this week - I love hearing about the old X-Men stuff, and more than once it’s prompted me to grab my Essential X-Men off the shelf, but I like hearing you talk about the new stuff going on in the X-Universe for slightly different reasons… I guess because I haven’t had as long to sit with this stuff, it seems more energetic and crazy, because we really don’t know how most of this stuff is going to play out.
Also because, although the execution hasn’t really been great a lot of the time, there’s some fascinating “BIG IDEAS” at Marvel over the last decade, worth being examined by smart people like you guys.
Listening to you both talking about Schism, I realised that the big change that I never quite got the hang of - Logan becoming headmaster of a school, with Scott being the anti-establishment guy - actually makes perfect sense in the context of what we’ve seen of these characters.
Logan has always been the more nurturing character, despite his loner exterior - his instinct is to protect younger team members to the point that he’s so often had teen sidekicks. And his whole relationship with the X-Men has been the conflict between him being a rogue and outsider, and finding a place and a home. He’s nesting!
Whereas Scott’s been defined as the stickler, but he’s ALSO been trained by Xavier to be a fierce idealist, and ultimately a soldier. A “true believer”. Logan’s a force of nature, chaotic, but Scott’s a force of order. He looks conformist and boring for as long as the order he’s serving is in line with the observer’s, but once he and the observer don’t believe the same thing any more, he becomes the dangerous figure he’s now seen as.
If you frame where each character is now as: one believes that you’re supposed to protect kids as much as possible from danger, whereas the other believes the kids are already in existential danger and so anybody is a viable “soldier” and any combat situation can be justified, Logan and Scott make perfect sense.
Logan never had a consistent “father figure” or family, whereas Scott had a surplus of them, all of them letting him down in one way or another.
I don’t know how intentional any of it has been, bearing in mind the development of the two characters has lasted decades, and dozens of creative teams, but this podcast and a bit of bias-confirming rumination means I now understand what’s happened to them, including Schism, as a natural progression - two completely different characters, organically moving to different relationships with the world around them til they eventually intersect perfectly - I’m going to call it and say that was Remender’s X-Force run, where the two colluded to do things that Scott never would have dreamed of doing before, but that Logan has lost the appetite for.
That period throws how they’ve each “changed” into sharp focus for us, and their progressions mean that once they’re through the other side of it they’re as idealistically far apart as they were at the beginning.
It’s a fascinating example of how a person can think one thing about themselves, and their actions seem to be at odds with that, and how superficial readings of characters don’t always hold up.
(Another way of looking at it I guess is that Logan gets to live up to the “spirit” of Xavier’s teachings now, whereas Scott is living the “end justifies the means” “practice” of them instead, as indoctrinated into him at the hands of the great man himself, and bolstered by everything we now know about Xavier.)
Rachel’s response to the question about why Scott is more hated than Jean for lesser actions makes sense, but I think another factor is probably about his particular state of grace at the time, compared to Jean’s. Logically speaking, if both were under Phoenix control when they committed an action, they should both be treated the same by their friends and allies… however, the other X-Men LIKED Jean more before she succumbed to that power, and trusted her, whereas many of them ALREADY disagreed with and mistrust Scott before Phoenix was a factor.
By that point, Scott being a dick confirms their bias, whatever the cause “well, sure, I didn’t see it happen, but that does sound like the sort of thing that asshole would do”.
On crossovers, I TOTALLY agree - I quite enjoyed the recent New Mutants run, but tuned into it at the start of Necrosha. From #6 to #24, TEN issues were part of crossovers, and it was when the X-books were running crossovers as one continuous story across different titles, so it totally hobbled the book for me.
In which we correct a startling omission, explore the current state of the X-Universe, and speculate wildly; Quentin Quire has excellent fashion sense; Rachel gets a new accessory; Miles goes off-brand; the X-Men are somewhat complicated; Iron Man has poor decision-making skills; Charles Xavier dies for real; Beast might be a supervillain; we briefly forget Marc Guggenheim’s first name; and the future remains a relative mystery.
For purposes of continuity, it’s probably worth noting that this episode was recorded before the SDCC Marvel panel.
- Quentin Quire
- A startling omission from the official SDCC lineup
- The current state of the X-Men
- Dark Reign
- Avengers vs. X-Men
- Mutant politics
- Hope Summers
- The Phoenix/P.E.N.I.S. five (again)
- The (real) (this time) (we think) death of Charles Xavier
- Teenager hijinks
- Crossover events
- Battle of the Atom
- Semantics of supervillainy
- How Wolverine is 100% definitely going to die
- Jumping-on points
- Current X-books