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Feb 22

Return of Wolverine

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

Return of Wolverine is a comic that exists to get a thing from A to B.  We all know that.  And everyone involved knows we all know that.  So what to do on the pages?

Charles Soule is a writer unusually willing to take on this sort of horrendous assignment – he was the one who killed off Wolverine in the first place, after all, not to mention the writer who tried his best to deliver on Marvel’s Inhumans fetish.  He can be very good when he’s writing something like Daredevil that doesn’t come with a ton of baggage attached.  On something like this, well, at least he tends to bring something wilfully eccentric to the exercise.


Feb 19


Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

Shatterstar, written by Tim Seeley and pencilled by Carlos Villa (with Gerardo Sandoval on the flashbacks), reads like a pilot for an ongoing series – it’s got a new status quo, and what sure looks like the core of a regular supporting cast.  It’s an endearingly eccentric take on the character, but also one that seems to have been instantly jettisoned, given the way he’s being used in X-Force.  So… welcome to the apocrypha.

This is Shatterstar, intergalactic landlord.  He’s seemingly retired from superhero-ing, he’s broken up with Rictor, and he’s the landlord of a building called Manor Crossing where all of his tenants are refugees from assorted obscure universes.  And they’re a weird bunch.


Feb 17

Charts – 15 February 2019

Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2019 by Paul in Music

Ariana Grande has an album out, and we all know what that means.

1.  Ariana Grande – “Break Up With Your Girlfriend I’m Bored”
2.  Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”
8.  Ariana Grande – “Needy”

It’s only been about six months since Ariana Grande’s last album “Sweetener”, but already we have a complete new album, giving her a third number one album.  The single “Break Up…” pushes her own “7 Rings” down to number 2, making her fifth number one single – three of which have come within the last 100 days (the other one being the title track).  This is pretty exceptional even in the streaming era, where we’ve had individual songs stick around at the top for ages, but it’s still rare for somebody to have a string of number one hits in a short period.  The only other modern artist to do it is Justin Bieber; going further back, Elvis Presley did it in 1961, and John Lennon did it when he died.


Feb 15

House to Astonish Episode 171

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019 by Al in Podcast

It’s a scattershot selection of news this time around, as we talk about DC’s layoffs, Image’s new retailer programmes and their announcements of Excellence and FairLady, Marvel’s upcoming Agents of Atlas and Savage Avengers series, the third Batman/TMNT mini, an interesting fill-in on Catwoman, Jughead’s Time Police, David F Walker’s Solid Comix and a quick round-up of comics festival news. We’ve also got reviews of Wonder Twins and Savage Sword of Conan, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is up to its old tricks. All this plus Sword Trainee, the Miscellaneanaissance and the left hand not knowing what the Hand is doing.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, via email, on Twitter or via our Facebook fan page. And hey, you’re never fully dressed without a smile, and you’re never fully FULLY dressed without a House to Astonish T-shirt!

Feb 9

Charts – 8 February 2019

Posted on Saturday, February 9, 2019 by Paul in Music

Well, it’s a busy week for albums, at least.

1.  Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”

Three weeks.  It seems to have peaked – streams are down to a mere nine million or so – but it’s still comfortably heading up a static top four.  “Don’t Call Me Up” by Mabel climbs 7-5.  Just four new entries this week…

7.  Billie Eilish – “Bury A Friend”


Feb 3

Age of X-Man: Alpha

Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

So here we are again, at the start of another event.  This is the set-up one-shot which leads in to no fewer than six minis – Marvelous X-MenNextGenAmazing NightcrawlerX-TremistsPrisoner X, and Apocalypse & The X-Tracts.  You know how these things work: a basic story that serves as an introduction to the world, and scenes which lead in to all of the individual minis, complete (for once) with footnotes telling you precisely where to go for the follow-up.  Which is appreciated, by the way.

The build to this story, over ten issue of Uncanny X-Men, was decidedly underwhelming, and left me approaching this issue with a sense of grinding duty.  But this is night and day.  “Disassembled” felt like a protracted exercise in getting the right characters into the right place (and not very organically at that), but Age of X-Man turns out to be going somewhere less obvious.


Feb 2

Charts – 1 February 2019

Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2019 by Paul in Music

We’re settling back into the normal routine here.

1.  Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”

That’s two weeks, and it’s still doing over ten million streams.  I still don’t think much of it.  So let’s move on.  The rest of the top three is static – below that, “Giant” by Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man climbs 5-4, and “Don’t Call Me Up” by Mabel moves 11-7.  That overtakes “Finders Keepers” to be her biggest hit.

9.  J Cole – “Middle Child”


Jan 27

Uncanny X-Men Annual #1: “The Return of Cyclops”

Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

Well, no messing around with that story title, is there?  Still, coming after the decidedly underwhelming “Disassembled” arc, this is more like it.  It’s no classic – there’s an unavoidable sense of a writer and his editors grabbing the story by the neck and yanking it into the desired position.  But on the flip side, it also brings a clear sense of what it’s trying to accomplish, and it gets there in a fairly satisfying and efficient way.  It does a rather better job than “Disassembled” of conveying a sense of purpose.

“The Return of Cyclops” is written by Ed Brisson, one of the X-books’ regular stable of writers, with strong art by Carlos Gomez.  It’s solid storytelling that adds to the scenes with some decent acting, and hopefully Marvel US will do more with him.  He does a particularly solid job with the young Cable, who comes across as annoyingly relaxed for much of the issue, something that plays nicely into the way he acts.  But the scene of the villain returning to his neglected lab after years in jail is also beautifully done.


Jan 25

Charts – 25 January 2019

Posted on Friday, January 25, 2019 by Paul in Music

There’s a ton of new entries on the album chart this week, so settle in.  And hey, here’s our first new number one of 2019!

1.  Ariana Grande – “7 Rings”

Mmm.  This is Ariana Grande’s fourth UK number one and… it’s a bit rubbish, this, isn’t it?  Hugely popular – nearly 17 million streams in a week, and you don’t get that just from dutiful fans listening.  But still a bit rubbish.  It’s the old “allow me to inform you of my significant wealth” song, which I’m never interested in, even if it is tongue in cheek (“Whoever said money can’t solve your problems / Must not have had enough money to solve ’em”).  It’s… vaguely unlikeable, you know, which is not usually an issue with Ariana Grande.


Jan 24

Uncanny X-Men #1-10: “X-Men Disassembled”

Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2019 by Paul in x-axis


On paper, this looked okay.  New direction, weekly storyline.  Written by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg and Kelly Thompson – they’re usually interesting writers.  Named after “Avengers Disassembled”, which was awful… but actually closer to the format of last year’s “Avengers: No Surrender”, which was pretty good.  Art by… well, the first issue is drawn by Mahmud Asrar, but mostly it’s the likes of Pere Perez, RB Silva and Yildiray Cinar, because it’s a weekly and it needs a team.  Still, it sounded quite promising on paper.

And here it is, and it’s kind of meh.