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Dec 10

X-Men: The Exterminated

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

X-Men: The Exterminated is an epilogue to Extermination, which you may have noticed isn’t finished yet.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a book spiral off the schedules like this.  How I’ve missed it.

So, spoilers – well, kind of.  This issue contains two stories saying farewell to Cable, who died at the beginning of Extermination, in an issue that came out a while back.  The spoiler, then, is that he’s still dead at the end.  But that is a spoiler, though, isn’t it?  Because people who die in the first act of a story tend not to stay dead.  Plus… well, it’s Extermination.  It’s a series that presumably exists to get rid of the time travelling X-Men who are nowhere to be seen in Uncanny X-Men, but the heavy lifting on that score was already done in X-Men Blue.  And so Extermination has a distinct vibe of not mattering in the slightest.  All of which means I was honestly a little surprised to learn that Cable was actually meant to be properly dead.

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Dec 8

Charts – 7 December 2018

Posted on Saturday, December 8, 2018 by Paul in Music

So much for the theory that if we give less weight to the streams of older tracks, the chart won’t be clogged up with old records this Christmas, then!

1.  Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

Five weeks, and the chart compilers are crediting it with a new record for weekly streams – 14.9 million.  This is misleading: the previous record was 14.2 million, held by Ed Sheeran, but that was before video plays counted towards the chart.  And since Ariana Grande’s video streams stand at over 7 million in a week, it’s pretty clear that if we were comparing like with like, Ed Sheeran would still be ahead.  But more of Ariana Grande later.  Meanwhile…

4.  Dalton Harris featuring James Arthur – “The Power of Love”

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Dec 6

Merry X-Men Holiday Special

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

You don’t get much further into completist-only territory than an X-Men Christmas special.  Sometimes that can lead to issues with a distinct “that’ll do” feel to them.  Not so here – whatever else you might say about the Merry X-Men Holiday Special, it’s certainly trying something different, with contributors ranging from the usual suspects to the unexpected.

It’s part jam issue, part advent calendar, with each day featuring a single page by a different creative team.  Jam issues are often a frustrating mess, but this one avoids that problem by not even pretending to have a single story continuing between the pages.  For the most part, it’s just a range of creative teams, asked to pick an X-Man and do a one-page, December-themed vignette.

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Nov 30

Charts – 30 November 2018

Posted on Friday, November 30, 2018 by Paul in Music

No X-books to review this week, and… yeah, not the most active chart either.  Just three new entries on the singles chart.

1.  Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

Four weeks!  And look, it has a video now.  As in, literally within the last couple of hours.  It’s… well, it’s a homage to teen films, which doesn’t really feel like it fits with the song, but whatever.

20.  DigDat – “Air Force”

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Nov 23

Charts – 23 November 2018

Posted on Friday, November 23, 2018 by Paul in Music

People still really like The Greatest Showman.

1.  Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

But first, Ariana Grande gets a third week at number one.  It has a comfortable 24,000 sales-equivalent lead over the number two single.  Not much more to say about that, really, so…

16.  James Arthur & Anne-Marie – “Rewrite The Stars”

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Nov 22

Mr & Mrs X #1-5: “Love & Marriage”

Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

That’s really the title of the book, then?  Because Rogue & Gambit was a perfectly serviceable title, and Mr & Mrs X sounds like a regional quiz show from 1982.  Maybe that’s just a British thing.

Effectively, this is the second arc of a series that began with the Rogue & Gambit mini – which re-established them as a couple – and which now continues following their impromptu wedding in X-Men Gold (which is rightly expanded on in issue #1).  It’s not a bad idea for a series, at least once you’ve got people to care about the couple again.  There haven’t been all that many superhero books based on a married couple with equal billing – on their own, rather than as part of a wider team – so the dynamic is relatively fresh.

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Nov 21

Astonishing X-Men #13-17: “Until Our Hearts Stop”

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

We’ve just had a relaunch of Uncanny X-Men last week, positioned back in its flagship role, and clearly the title that we’re meant to look at and go “ah, there is the direction for the line”.  But there are some signs of incoherence in here as well – not least that Astonishing X-Men and X-Men Red are both running “gathering the team” arcs which wind up being overtaken by the next relaunch before they’ve even finished.

So Matthew Rosenberg’s first arc on Astonishing X-Men – solicited with “A new era begins now!” – is also the last, even though he’s going to be writing Uncanny X-Men going forward.  It has the distinct look of things being made up on the fly.

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Nov 19

Multiple Man

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Matthew Rosenberg and Andy MacDonald’s Multiple Man miniseries sounds like a bit of a sideshow.  It’s Madrox, after all, a character who’s only ever been important in the context of X-Factor, which was cancelled years ago.  But Rosenberg is also writing Astonishing X-Men, and the new Uncanny X-Men, in which Madrox turns out to have a big role.  So maybe this will turn out to be a bigger deal than you’d think.

Plus, Rosenberg’s recent New Mutants series didn’t convince me on the first read through, but turned out to be much more interesting on a re-read.  And – cards on the table – I really didn’t care for this at all on the first read.  It’s a time travel paradox story with a whole bunch of Madroxes going round in circles, some of whom have gone on to become versions of other Marvel characters.  And it seemed to have remarkably little interest in Madrox himself, except inasmuch as his powers lent themselves to making the plot even harder to follow.  It was a grind, frankly.

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Nov 18

X-23 #6: “Operation Kindergarten Clone”

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

After the opening arc, time for a palate cleanser.  “Operation Kindergarten Clone” is a single issue story in which Laura and Gabby go undercover in a high school, and hijinks ensue.  Who doesn’t love a good hijink?

If there’s any connection here to the bigger picture, it seems to lie in the fact that Laura is now specialising in hunting down dodgy scientist who are experimenting with mutant clones.  For some reason, somebody at the school has been ordering in genetic research equipment, and the working assumption is that it’s a science teacher trying to get a foothold in the world of supervillainy.  So Gabby is posing as a student and Laura is a track and field coach, and how they managed to get into those positions, look, don’t ask.

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Nov 17

Old Man Logan #48-50: “King of Nothing”

Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Technically, this is the final arc of Old Man Logan; in practice, that means it’s renaming itself as Dead Man Logan for a lengthy concluding storyline.  Even so, here we are – fifty issues of a stand-in Wolverine title.  Not something you’d have been likely to predict, and probably not something that was a very good idea from the standpoint of the wider Marvel Universe, since viewed from that perspective, the book’s main contribution has been to undermine the idea that Wolverine ever went away.

Still, Ed Brisson and Ibraim Roberson’s story here is pretty successful on its own terms.  It’s a very, very simple plot: the Maestro has taken over a remote town in Canada, and Logan arrives to stop him and rescue the town.  It’s entirely straightforward, but it works on the strength of the setting and the parallels which it sets up with the book’s wider storyline.

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