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Apr 29

Charts – 28 April 2017

Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2017 by Paul in Music

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is no longer number one… for the second time.  Maybe this time it’ll stick?

1.  Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson – “Symphony”

“Symphony” has been on the chart for six weeks now, moving 6-4-3-4-2-1.  It’s Clean Bandit’s third number one, after “Rather Be” and “Rockabye”.  “Rockabye”, of course, was the number one before “Shape of You”, and it spent nine weeks at the top.  So, aside from that single week of Harry Styles, it’s been nothing but Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit at number one since mid-November.  That’s coming up for six months.


Apr 23

Charts – 21 April 2017

Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2017 by Paul in Music

Two weeks after Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was finally deposed from number 1 after its thirteen week reign, how are things shaping up in the bold, post-Ed world?

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”


Okay then.

So that’s fourteen weeks, non-consecutive, which matches the total of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  One more week to match “One Dance” and “Love is All Around”, each of which made 15 weeks without interruption.  Bryan Adams is 16, and beyond that lies the seemingly unattainable 18 weeks of Frankie Laine’s “I Believe” from 1953.  Who knows?


Apr 19

All-New Wolverine #13-18: “Enemy of the State II”

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Despite the title, this really has very little to do with the original “Enemy of the State” storyline by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.  There’s the very loose general idea of Wolverine being used as a weapon… but in this six-issue storyline, that phase lasts for less than an issue.  After all, the schtick of Laura as a brainwashed human weapon has been done.  It’s her origin story.

Laura’s back story is not what you’d call subtle.  It is relentlessly grim.  You may have seen it recently being used in the Logan film, which is, shall we say, on the melancholy side as superhero movies go.


Apr 17

Charts – 14 April 2017

Posted on Monday, April 17, 2017 by Paul in Music

So I will, I assure you, get to the last outstanding X-Axis review – which is the “Enemy of the State II” arc from All-New Wolverine – pretty soon.  But let’s do the topical post first.  It’s taken fourteen weeks, but Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” finally throws in the towel.  It goes down in the record books  as the fourth longest-running number one in chart history, behind the 15 weeks of Drake’s “One Dance” and Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around” and the 16 weeks of Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”.  There are still seven Sheeran songs on the chart this week, but they’re all going down, and “Dive” and “Supermarket Flowers” bid the top 40 farewell.

1.  Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”


Apr 11

Charts – 7 April 2017

Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by Paul in Music

We did a podcast this weekend!  It’s one post down!  Meanwhile, over in the UK singles chart, the era of Ed Sheeran glides serenely on…

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

That’s 13 weeks at the top.  And for the fifth straight week, the biggest challenge comes from Sheeran’s own “Galway Girl” at number 2.  The rest of his chart domination is finally waning – other Sheeran tracks can be found at 6, 16, 22, 26, 29, 38 and 40.  Drake settles for a mere three, all going down, so things really are returning to normal.  It’s taken a while, though.


Apr 9

House to Astonish Episode 154

Posted on Sunday, April 9, 2017 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so we’ve got nearly an hour of chat about the comics news, including the sad death of Bernie Wrightson, the closing of ComicsAlliance, Marvel’s four-fold woes with digital code backtracking, artists vs writers, diversity and sales, and Ardian Syaf’s hidden messages, and the announcement of the New Warriors TV show. We’ve also got reviews of Royals and Eleanor and the Egret and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is a bit pony. All this plus the Wintercontinental Title, mufti X-Men and Fantastic Four: Gymkhana Girls.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And don’t forget, it’s getting warm outside, and nothing says “I’m warm, but want to cover key areas of my torso” like a swanky House to Astonish t-shirt!

Apr 6

Old Man Logan #16-20 – “Return to the Wastelands”/”Gone Real Bad”

Posted on Thursday, April 6, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

I’ve been taking stuff out of order so as to get the X-Men titles up to date for the relaunch.  So it’s time to go back and pick up on the Wolverine books.  “Return to the Wastelands” is a curious three-parter.  At root, it has one very simple job to do, but it takes a strange route to get there.

The story opens with Logan waking up back in the Wastelands, the post-apocalyptic future he left behind.  For the first two issues, it cuts back and forth between two plot.  In the Wastelands, Logan returns to check up on the Hulk baby – Bruce Banner’s grandson – whom he left behind with Danielle Cage.  Of course, somebody has wandered off with the baby, and it turns out to be Kang.  Ostensibly thanks to Kang’s time distortion, the baby has now grown up to become an evil adult Hulk called the Warlord.


Apr 3

X-Men Prime

Posted on Monday, April 3, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

It’s the dawn of a new era again! No, not the last new era.  The next new era.  The colour coded one.  You know, like in 1991.

Not that a relaunch is a bad idea.  The last couple of years have once again sent us down the rabbit hole of mutants facing the threat of extinction, which has been done to death.  Whether you look at it commercially or creatively, that direction was well worth abandoning.  X-Men Prime is essentially a lead-in issue for the relaunch titles X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue and Weapon X.  But first and foremost, it exists to send a clear message that this is going to be a back-to-basics affair.  For readers exasperated by weird and unpromising deviations like relocating the school to Limbo, this issue aims to reassure with a selection of familiar tropes.


Apr 1

Charts – 31 March 2017

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017 by Paul in Music

This is a nice easy one!  One new entry.  And lots of climbers – because that’s what happens when a logjam of album tracks starts to clear.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”

Twelve weeks now.  That passes the eleven weeks of Slim Whitman’s “Rose Marie”, so it’s now the fourth longest single reign at the top, behind “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”, “Love is All Around” and “One Dance”.  (In terms of total weeks at number one, it’s also behind “I Believe” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, both of which had multiple runs.)


Mar 30

All-New X-Men #19

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

What to do, when you have an issue in which to wrap up your run and no real way of tying everything up?  Uncanny X-Men tried shoving everything aside and focussing solely on Psylocke and Magneto.  It didn’t really work.  All-New has a different approach.

This series has largely ignored the Terrigen stuff, but it’s more than happy to leverage the line-wide change of direction into its own sense of resolution.  The opening lines of dialogue will echo the sentiments of many readers: