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Apr 15

All-New X-Men #25

Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

It’s a jam issue!

Does anyone actually like jam issues?  And by that, I mean “like reading them”, not “like making them”.  Rare indeed is the story that is actually improved by hurling 15 wildly different artists at it, in the same way that few songs have benefitted from the tender mercies of a charity ensemble cover version.  Jam issues tend to end up with weird structures – like this issue, in which the Beast is visited by a mysterious figure who shows him a bunch of possible future timelines.

The result is not a story.  It’s a bunch of pin-ups and a couple of gag strips with a framing sequence.  Spin it how you want, but that’s the bottom line.


Apr 14

Charts – 13 March 2014

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2014 by Paul in Music

Hey, I haven’t reminded you about our live show for a couple of posts!  Buy tickets here!  May 31!  It’s for charity!

Meanwhile, on the charts: re-recorded remixes, film soundtracks, and somebody gets a hit single after The Voice UK final!

40.  Paolo Nutini – “Better Man”


Apr 13

The Trial of Jean Grey

Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Ah, a crossover!  ”The Trial of Jean Grey” runs through six issues of two Brian Bendis comics - All-New X-Men #22-24, and Guardians of the Galaxy #11-13.  If you really want to indulge Marvel, the first two chapters officially appeared in issues #22.NOW and #11.NOW.  But let’s not.

This story has basically two points to make, and doesn’t need six issues to make them.  Nor is it even particularly clear about the points it is making.


Apr 12

“Haunted” – Marvel Knights: X-Men #1-5

Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Is there a place for the Marvel Knights imprint in 2014?  The sales on the three recent Marvel Knights minis certainly aren’t encouraging.

When the original Marvel Knights imprint was launched, back in 1998, Marvel was a very different place; its titles stood out as creator-driven relaunches quite unlike the 90s house style that dominated at the time.  Mid-90s Marvel’s conservatism may have been driven partly by the financial strictures of insolvency, but that still made the new books from Joe Quesada’s office look truly new.


Apr 9

Charts – 6 March 2014

Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 by Paul in Music

I’m late enough that the midweeks for next Sunday’s chart are out – it’s been a while since that’s happened, so let’s get this one done.

And don’t forget to buy tickets for our live show on 31 May – all details are at this post, including the online ordering details.

We kick off with something unexpected…

40.  Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Idina Menzel – “Do You Want To Build A Snowman”

This is not officially on YouTube, though Disney must be turning a blind eye, giving that there are versions with millions of views up there.  It’s presumably in the chart because of the Frozen DVD release.  ”Let It Go”, which is still hanging around the top 40 after all these weeks, climbs up to a new high of 17 this week.  ”Do You Want To Build A Snowman”, while a lovely scene, isn’t exactly the obvious track for people to be cherry picking – but here it is, and it’s actually climbing in the midweeks, which show a third Frozen song – “For The First Time in Forever” – set to join them.  It’s only at 38, though, so it might not be there on Sunday.  Obviously this wasn’t possible until the download era, but the download era has been going long enough that Frozen stands out as doing something truly odd.


Apr 6

Wrestlemania XXX

Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

We have a podcast this weekend – that’s just one post down.  And as Al reminds you there, don’t forget to get tickets for our live recording on May 31!

Onwards…  The WWE’s biggest show of the year is coming from New Orleans this year.  If you only buy one wrestling PPV a year, it’s probably this one – although this year things are complicated by its inclusion in the Netflix-style “WWE Network” service, where the cost of a six month subscription compares quite favourably with the cost of buying just this one show.  So if you’re buying this as a PPV in 2014, either you don’t have good enough broadband to access the Network, or you haven’t heard of the Network, or you live abroad.

Or you don’t trust the Network, because it’s not been without its teething issues, and plainly this is going to be its biggest test to date.  Given that they had some buffering problems on NXT arRival (yes, that’s how it was capitalised), you have to wonder.  With the Network clearly positioned as the replacement for PPV in the company’s business model, it’s entirely possible that the big story everyone will be talking about on Monday won’t be the wrestling at all, but the tech issues.


Apr 5

House to Astonish Episode 123

Posted on Saturday, April 5, 2014 by Al in Podcast

We’re making the most of a quiet but spider-heavy couple of weeks this time round, with discussion of Original Sin 3.1-3.4, Original Sins, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Verse and Amazing Spider-Man‘s huge preorders, along with Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes’ new comic for the BBC and Vertigo’s new detective series Bodies. There are also reviews of Inhuman, Aquaman and the Others and Dead Letters (and as a minor warning, we do talk about one of the two twists in Dead Letters, so if you’d rather not be spoilered on that then skip 48:32 to 57:28), and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe has got the cutest little babyface. All this plus Aquaman Etc, the X-Men’s door-to-door pamphlet campaign and tips for House to Astonish cosplay.

Don’t forget that House to Astonish Live is taking place in Edinburgh on May 31; tickets are available here, with all profits going to Alzheimer Scotland. They’re going faster than we anticipated, so if you’ve been holding off buying yours then maybe don’t do that any more.

I also got interviewed this week by Amiable Alasdair Stuart of Bleeding Cool, about the live show and about the podcast in general, so you can check that out here.

On top of that, there’s our regular Redbubble store – the profits from that go to helping keep this show on the air. Internet. Whatever.

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.

Apr 1

Charts – 30 March 2014

Posted on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Paul in Music

The parade of plugs continues – once again, I direct your attention to the post about the upcoming live show, and where to buy tickets!

Coming up sooner or later, a look at Marvel Knights: X-Men, but first…

33.  Haim – “If I Could Change Your Mind”


Mar 31

A+X #13-18 – “Outstanding”

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Before we go further, I repeat the gratuitous plug.  You can now buy tickets for our live show on 31 May – details in this post.

A+X, then.  The anthology has finally succumbed to the inevitable.  These six issues will make up the anthology’s final collection (which is where the title comes from, in case you were wondering).

It’s a series that has always been more interesting for what it says about Marvel’s publishing philosophy than for the actual stories it contains.  You could be forgiven for thinking that A+X is a series that was only launched to try and capitalise on the surprising success of AvX: Versus, in an attempt to squeeze yet more money out of the company’s two top franchises.  At first glance, that’s very much what it looks like.


Mar 30

Amazing X-Men #1-5 – “The Quest for Nightcrawler”

Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Let’s start with the Obligatory Plug (though Al does this stuff so much better than me) – don’t forget that you can now buy tickets for our live show on 31 May.  The details are all in this post.

Moving on…

When Marvel announced that Nightcrawler was returning from the dead, my reaction was at best ambivalent.  Not that his death in “Messiah Complex” was some sort of inviolable classic, of course.  Far from it; it was a classic example of writers killing off a beloved character because they had no plans for him and his accrued cachet might lend the story an illusion of weight.  It provided no sort of resolution to the character’s life, and frankly, it was a surprisingly cheap move considering the writers involved in that story.