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Jan 15

Charts – 15 January 2021

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2021 by Paul in Music

It’s still a quiet week for new entries, but we do have the first big hit of 2021 to deal with.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers Licence”

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar. Olivia Rodrigo is a 17-year-old singer and actress who has spent several years as a teen star on the Disney Channel, now breaking with the Disney brand by releasing her first mainstream single. It’s even got swearing! It’s also very good indeed. This is her own song – the only other credited writer is producer Daniel Nigro – and it’s a really strong debut. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that she cites Lorde as an influence.

Jan 14

Marauders #17 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“The Winds of Change”
by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Callisto fighting. We’ll get to that in the story.

PAGES 2-4. Flashback: Emma and Callisto investigate Shinobi Shaw.

This flashback takes place during issue #11, after Emma returns home from Kate’s funeral to find Lockheed waiting, and reads his mind to find out how she died. (Hence the black outfit.) It doesn’t exactly match the original scene, where Emma said “show me” to Lockheed, saw what happened, and then turned to diamond and started punching the walls and vowing revenge.

Jan 13

S.W.O.R.D. #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

S.W.O.R.D. vol 2 #2
“In the Dark”
by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti & Marte Gracia

COVER / PAGE 1: Cable, Frenzy & Abigail Brand, alongside an image of the S.W.O.R.D. space station impaled into a Venomised Earth. This is a King in Black tie-in, though unusually there’s nothing else on the cover to indicate that fact.

PAGE 2. A mystery figure in New York.

As part of King in Black, New York is overrun by Knull’s symbiotes, and there’s a symbiote shield surrounding the planet. The shadow figure is a Venomized Cable, as we’ll see later on.

Jan 12

Hellions #1-6

Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia, Carmen Carnero & David Curiel

Continuing my reviews catch-up, we come to the opening six issues of Hellions. Very loosely, this might be seen as the replacement title for Fallen Angels, the one generally accepted dud from the first wave of Krakoan X-books. It picks up Psylocke and Mr Sinister, and in the last couple of issues, the plot links have become rather more explicit. Clearly this is the new home for the storyline that was set up in Fallen Angels, not just for two of its characters.

But it’s a very different sort of title. Fallen Angels was a ponderous affair with more than a dash of sixth form poetry to it. Hellions is a gleeful antisocial mess, in which Psylocke attempts to corral a team of mostly unmanageable eccentrics and supervillains into some sort of viable team, running missions on behalf of the utterly untrustworthy Mr Sinister. Sinister needs some sort of deniability in order to maintain his position on Krakoa, but that’s about all in terms of how far they can trust him.

Jan 11

House to Astonish Episode 189

Posted on Monday, January 11, 2021 by Al in Uncategorized

It’s the Homies awards! We look back at The Year of Big Pando in comics, and pick out winners in the many and various categories which long-term listeners will have come to know and tolerate. Where did your favourites place? Find out here! Unless you voted for something that didn’t win, in which case, you’ll have to go through the voting thread and tot up the league table yourself, sorry.

Also in this podcast! An important message to you from the editor — about the NEW Astonishing!

You can get the podcast here, or here on Mixcloud, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you thought, in the comments thread, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.

And if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, congratulations! You’ve probably got weather that would justify you buying one of our beautiful t-shirts!

Jan 9

Charts – 8 January 2021

Posted on Saturday, January 9, 2021 by Paul in Music

This is the strange chart, the one where all the Christmas records vanish simultaneously, and a flood of records rush up the chart to fill the gap. The chart this week contains no fallers at all, and 19 re-entries – relatively few of them are reaching new peaks, and I won’t be mentioning those again, but suffice to say that it’s the sort of week when “You Broke Me First” by Tate McRae, which peaked at number 3 in October, rebounds from number 74 to number 9.

There are, however, quite a few genuine new entries on this chart – mostly the tracks that got swamped out of the top 40 by the Christmas releases, finally making it into the chart.

1. Little Mix – “Sweet Melody”

Jan 8

Juggernaut #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

COVER / PAGE 1: Juggernaut and D-Cel fight the Warden’s bees.

PAGE 2: In memoriam page.

PAGE 3: The recap page, ending the series with a white colour scheme.

PAGE 4. Flashback: Juggernaut discusses D-Cel with Professor X.

Throughout this series, D-Cel has insisted that she isn’t a mutant, despite other characters repeatedly claiming that she is. Juggernaut wants to get her to Krakoa, but everyone seems to agree that she has to make the decision to call on Krakoa first. This isn’t exactly the approach that we’ve seen the Krakoans take with more powerful mutants, but… well, it’s D-Cel. The Krakoans probably have better things to do than hunt down minor mutants who don’t want to come anyway.

Jan 7

Hellions #8 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 7, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“The Grinning Neonate”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Wild Child and Nanny fight their way past the Right, to the surprise of Havok and Psylocke. As we established in the previous issue, their resurrection has made both Wild Child and Nanny much more focussed and aggressive.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from (as usual) Nightcrawler. He insists that hate is not part of the soul of man, but something generated by circumstances.

Jan 6

X-Factor #6 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FACTOR vol 4 #6
“Suite No. 6: Scio Me Hili Scire ‘Second Movement'”
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

COVER / PAGE 1: Siryn, with her voice forming the image of a death spirit of some sort.

PAGE 2: An epigraph from Siryn, though with an asterisk to something redacted. Presumably this is supposed to indicate that it’s actually the death spirit that’s possessing her (of whom more later). Though this seems to be an original quote, the basic observation that death is comparable to waking from a dream isn’t new.

PAGES 3-4. X-Factor relax at home.

“May have gotten lonely and left an ill-advised voice mail to Alex last night.” Alex Summers (Havok from Hellions). Lorna and Alex were a couple for decades, but haven’t had many dealings lately. It feels a bit odd for people on Krakoa to talk about using regular mobile phones.

Jan 5

X-Men #10-15

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN vol 5 #10-15
by Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Mahmud Asrar & Sunny Gho

As with Excalibur, I’m including the “X of Swords” issues here, because that crossover was central to X-Men in a way that it wasn’t for most of the titles. And with that arc, we get to the first major turning point in Hickman’s overreaching plot, with Arakko returning to Earth.

This is a crossover-heavy bunch of issues. Not only does it include three chapters of “X of Swords”, but issues #10 and #11 are tie-ins to Empyre. However, those are a very different affair; Empyre is completely peripheral to X-Men. Both of those issues use the tie-in sensibly enough – they just treat it as a readymade alien invasion that doesn’t call for further explanation, and use that as a backdrop for their own stories.