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Aug 19

Charts – 18 August 2017

Posted on Saturday, August 19, 2017 by Paul in Music

Well, I didn’t see this coming.

1.  Dua Lipa – “New Rules”

So this is not a track you would have predicted as a number one.  It’s the seventh single from her self-titled debut album, which was already out by the time “New Rules” started to be promoted as a single.  Normally that would mean a promotional vehicle to remind people that the album is still out.  And until now, Dua Lipa’s biggest hit was “Be The One”, which peaked at number 9.  But here we are, with a climb of 36-19-9-5-1.


Aug 18

Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Or Generations: The Best, if you prefer.  Which is a better title, and kind of sort of what it says on the cover, but I’ll go with the solicitations and the digital listings.

So, just like last week’s Phoenix one-shot, this is a story in which a legacy character from the present goes back in time for no adequately (or even inadequately) explained reason, and meets the original.  Sort of.  I guess Phoenix wasn’t really the original Jean Grey.  An earlier version, anyway.  If there’s an explanation for any of this time travel stuff, it’s presumably going to show up somewhere else, and (plot mechanics aside) it’s of no relevance to this story, so let’s set it to one side.

This is effectively an extra issue of All-New Wolverine, by regular writer Tom Taylor.  So that’s a good start.  At first glance, though, All-New Wolverine doesn’t lend itself to this format, because Laura has met the original Wolverine plenty of times.  They starred in X-Force together, for one thing.  What can you do with them?


Aug 13

Charts – 11 August 2017

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2017 by Paul in Music


1.  Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – “Feels”

We’re a good way into August, and here’s the eighth number one of 2017.  And for the second time in a month, it’s number one with an asterisk, because “Despacito” remains number 1 on both the sales and the streaming charts.  It’s purely the downweighting of “Despacito” streams (under the rule that applies to long-running hits which have passed their peak) that allows “Feels” to be number one.  But since “Despacito” drops to 4 this week on the main chart, it does looks like we’re finally rid of it.  “Feels” probably isn’t going to be here long either – it’s been out for two months, and it climbed 21-21-6-4-4-4-3-1 to get here, so it seems unlikely that a long run lies ahead of it.  But who knows, these days?


Aug 11

Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey

Posted on Friday, August 11, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

What is Generations?   I partly know the answer, I guess.  It’s a series of one-shots in which “legacy” versions of characters meet earlier versions of themselves, and it’s meant to set up new directions, or something along those lines.  But as a story, what is it?  Does it even have a plot?

If you’re not following the wider series (I’m not), and you’re buying this simply because it’s effectively a Jean Grey special (I am), then the set-up here is curious to say the least.  The recap page has some cryptic stuff about “the Vanishing Point”, but what actually happens is that the present-day Jean Grey (the time travelling teenager) randomly finds herself in Claremont/Byrne X-Men during the period when Jean Grey was holidaying in Europe while she thought the X-Men were dead.  And then at the end of the issue she goes home.


Aug 8

Watch With Father: PJ Masks

Posted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by Paul in Watch With Father

Not all of Disney’s superheroes are in the Marvel Universe.  Meet the PJ Masks, six-year-old protectors of the Disney Junior channel.  When night falls, Connor, Amaya and Greg become Catboy, Owlette and Gecko, and they fight villains.  Specifically, night-time villains.


Aug 7

Charts – 4 August 2017

Posted on Monday, August 7, 2017 by Paul in Music

So, how’s that effort to speed up the charts coming along?  Well, not brilliantly.  True, there’s often a lull at this time of year – there seems to be a theory that promoting new music should go on hold over the holiday season – but strap in for the skull-shuddering excitement of an eleven-week number one and a chart with one new entry!

1.  Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber – “Despacito”

Even after three weeks of downweighting, “Despacito” is still – just – clinging on at number one.  So I suppose it’s time to start flagging up the records.  With two interruptions to its run, we’re only concerned here with total weeks at number one, and right now, “Despacito” is joint seventh on that list, level with Slim Whitman’s “Rose Marie” from 1955.  The next target is 14 weeks, shared by Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but that’s a lot to ask of a record which is only marginally still at the top.


Aug 5

House to Astonish Episode 157

Posted on Saturday, August 5, 2017 by Al in Podcast

It’s our first podcast following SDCC, and unusually, there’s actually quite a lot of comics news to talk about. We discuss the mooted Doctor Doom movie, the newly-released details about Doomsday Clock, Jeff Smith’s upcoming Bone picture books, Arkham Asylum 2, The Terrifics, Spider-Man vs Deadpool, The Signal, Sonic the Hedgehog‘s move to IDW, the three newly-announced Black Crown series, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee on Captain America, the new Unicron and Visionaries books, Marvel’s digital-first deal with Comixology, Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Designs, the new creative teams on Doctor Strange and Thanos, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca taking over Star Wars, the final volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the sad death of Flo Steinberg. We’ve also got reviews of Mech Cadet Yu and Lark’s Killer, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook just can’t wait to be king. All this plus a horse escalope, the Marvel Legacy Virus and the Batman of Christmas Yet To Come.

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.

We’ve also got really swish T-shirts that you can buy at our Redbubble store. If you don’t have one, we recommend you get one. If you do have one, we recommend you get another.

Jul 31

Charts – 28 July 2017

Posted on Monday, July 31, 2017 by Paul in Music

Ah.  This looks familiar.

1.  Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber – “Despacito”

Returning to number one for a third run, giving it a total of ten weeks.  Last week, “Despacito” was hit by the new chart rule which downweights the streams of records which have been on the chart for at least ten weeks (“Despacito” has now been here for 15) and which peaked at least three weeks previously.  Even with that handicap, it was only marginally beaten by DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts”, and now it regains the top spot.  This is a bit embarrassing all round.  If “Wild Thoughts” didn’t have an asterisk next to it as a legitimate number one before, it certainly does now.  Returning to number one twice is rare, but not totally unheard of in the modern era; Justin Bieber did it in 2015 with “What Do U Mean”, and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams managed it too.

Nothing of note in the rest of the top ten.  “Power” by Little Mix climbs from 8 to 6; “Pretty Girl” by Maggie Lindemann climbs 9 to 8.   “Sun Comes Up” by Rudimental featuring James Arthur climbs 16-10, which makes it Rudimental’s biggest hit since “Bloodstream” in 2015.  And “Crying in the Club” by Camila Cabello is up from 13 to 12.

13.  Louis Tomlinson featuring Bebe Rexha & The Digital Farm Animals – “Back To You”


Jul 23

X-Men Gold #7-8: “Secret Empire”

Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

I am not interested in the Secret Empire crossover.  You might well think that you are not interested in the Secret Empire crossover.  But to judge by this two-parter, our indifference is as nothing compared to Marc Guggenheim’s.  These two issues pretty much consist of him ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

Now, Secret Empire seems like a pretty a bad idea for a crossover.  Leave aside the question of whether it’s a good idea for a Captain America story; that’s a whole other argument for another day, and it certainly has nothing to do with these issues.  Marvel has a template for these line-wide events, which is to confine the core plot to a central miniseries and maybe a couple of tie-ins, and pretty much ask everyone else to do stories written in the margin for a few months.  So what you’re looking for is a set-up that everyone else can drop into.  The likes of Civil War II and Secret Invasion, for all their flaws, at least had a central premise that most books could do something with.


Jul 22

Charts – 21 July 2017

Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2017 by Paul in Music

Well, it didn’t take long for this to cause problems.  This week’s top seller is “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee.  And this week’s most streamed record is “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee.  And yet…

1.  DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts”

This entered at number 3 at the end of June, and spent the last three weeks at number 2.  This week, it is the second-most purchased and the second-most streamed single.  So why is it number one?