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Jul 20

Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: X-Men

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: X-Men is a truly misbegotten mess of a comic.  It is tempting to call it “misconceived”, but that would actually be unfair; the central concept of these specials is potentially interesting in various ways, and this story even starts off by attempting to take one of the interesting approaches.  But having done that, it steers vigorously into the first available ditch.

The high concept of these specials is supposedly to imagine what Marvel’s flagship titles might look like in 2061.  Crucially, it is not meant to be projecting fifty years into the future of the characters; the assumption is that the sliding timeline remains in effect, so we’re rather less far advanced into the characters’ future.  And the story here dutifully reflects the wonkiness of Marvel time: most characters are slightly and non-specifically order, while Shogo is now an adult.

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Jul 20

Battleground 2014

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wrestling

For the WWE right now, the unfortunate reality is that perhaps their most compelling storyline is “how is the WWE Network doing”, a question that certainly has shareholders on tenterhooks.  While the next subscriber number will be out shortly, the rather desperate tone of the on-air promotion gives the distinct impression that it’s not going to be spectacular.  It could yet turn out that effectively dumping PPV in favour of a subscription streaming service is a great move that was simply ahead of its time; but right now, it’s looking increasingly as if the WWE is learning the hard way what happens to early adopters who were a little too early.

In the meantime, we have a show this weekend, which will be somewhat of a time filler, because the next two shows are rather higher priorities – August is Summerslam, which is traditionally one of the biggest shows of the year, and September has to hook the people who subscribed for Wrestlemania and will be coming up for their six month renewal.  That said, the card is not without its interest; while there may not be much going on in story terms, it has plenty of potential to be a strong show in the ring.  You’ll note the near-total lack of gimmickry on this show, which tends to suggest that they’re saving all that stuff for Summerslam.

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Jul 14

Charts – 13 July 2014

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

It’s the second week to factor streaming into the chart, and the muted start for the new format continues, with one of the dullest charts of the year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

38.  Matrix & Futurebound featuring Tanya Lacey – “Don’t Look Back”

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Jul 12

All-New X-Men vol 5 – “One Down”

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

Well, more or less.  The fifth All-New X-Men collection actually starts with issue #25, the jam issue, which we’ve covered already.  But after that, it’s the four-part Brotherhood storyline, which finished this week.

Taken at face value, this is a straightforward story where the Brotherhood – the future version introduced in “Battle of the Atom” – attack the X-Men’s headquarters, try to kill them all, and fail.  It’s interwoven with some flashbacks (or should it be flash forwards?) to the Brotherhood’s back story, which principally serves to establish that the Brotherhood is really just Charles Xavier Jr and Raze, with everyone else having been under Xavier’s mental control all along.

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Jul 8

Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus – The Vote Result and Next Step

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by Al in Uncategorized

Evening all, just a quick update – if you’re interested, my kid arrived last Wednesday, she’s called Lana Quinn Kennedy and she’s world champion at peeing when you take her nappy off to change her. All is well. We are very, very tired.

But anyway, that’s not what you’re wondering about. You’re on tenterhooks to find out which issue, out of the six nominees for HtA official choice, is the one that we’re going to be asking you to email Marvel about.

Some of the options (Spectacular Spidey, with two votes, and Gen X and Excalibur, with five votes apiece) fell a bit short. Fantastic Four, with eight votes, did well, and for a while it had some real momentum behind it. In the end, though, it came down to Damage Control and Thunderbolts. The winner, with 15 votes to its opponent’s 12, was…

 

(talent show pause)

 

Thunderbolts v1 #1

The next step is for us to let Marvel know that it’s something that we think deserves inclusion in the book. The way to do that is to email marvel75@marvel.com and nominate that issue. Feel free, of course, to nominate any others you think should be in there, so long as you remember to stick Tbolts 1 on your list.

The issues that were nominated were chosen on the basis that they were ones that spoke to the variety and fun of Marvel’s works over the past 75 years, but were also ones that were perhaps less likely to make it in as “automatic” choices. Hopefully we’ll get to see Thunderbolts make the cut; if not, nobody can say we didn’t try!

Jul 7

Charts – 6 July 2014

Posted on Monday, July 7, 2014 by Paul in Music, Uncategorized

Welcome to the brave new technological frontier – the first chart of the streaming era!  And what changes do we see?  Um, not very much.  Because the chart is still heavily weighted towards sales, you’re not going to see things charting on streaming alone – and besides, the streaming chart lags behind the sales chart anyway.  Frankly, the only noticeable impact this week is that some older tracks still hanging around the streaming chart (like “Rather Be”) rebound.  But hey, let’s see what else we have.

39.  The Vamps – “Somebody to You”

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Jul 6

Magneto vol 1: “Infamous”

Posted on Sunday, July 6, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Magneto has been an antihero, or at times even an outright hero, for the better part of thirty years now.  Which makes it surprising that he’s not had an ongoing series before, particularly given Marvel’s evident keenness to find every exploitable angle on the franchise.

There are two likely major reasons for that.  First, bear in mind Magneto’s role in the X-Men.  When first introduced in the Silver Age he was just a generic would-be world-conqueror.  The early Claremont stories largely stick to that portrayal, though they throw in an element of personal bitterness towards the X-Men.  But it’s only later that Claremont really brings his big theme front and centre, and – almost as a consequence of that – has to retool Magneto.

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Jul 3

Charts – 29 June 2014

Posted on Thursday, July 3, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

Well, back to business as usual – ish.  This is genuinely the end of an era – the very last chart to be based purely on sales, after 62 years.  The impact of streaming data is likely to be fairly limited in the short term given the weighting (as to which, see last week’s post), and the midweeks tend to confirm that.  But the symbolism is important.

34.  Austin Mahone featuring Pitbull – “Mmm Yeah”


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Jul 1

“Dirty Tricks” – X-Force #1-6

Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The first volume of the new X-Force will likely read better as a collection, but for not for the usual reasons.  By no means is it paced for the trade; quite the opposite, it’s carefully structured as a serial, with issues containing their own self-contained side mission or character study, all contributing to a larger story.

But X-Force #1 was a bit underwhelming on release, and it’s only in the light of the later issues that the book starts to pick up.  Luckily for me, completism compels me to stick around long enough to discover that fact.

Coming off a successful run on X-Men Legacy, Si Spurrier always seemed an odd choice to write X-Force.  It’s not merely that Legacy was a quirky, offbeat title; more that the title’s attitude to conventional superheroes (strictly, Legion’s attitude, but the book largely seemed to share it) hardly suggested a writer who was dying to write a book about large men with larger guns.

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Jun 29

Money in the Bank 2014

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

Check out the posts below for our Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus thingy, and for this week’s podcast season finale!  Meantime, though, I’ve got a PPV to cover…

Money in the Bank has wound up an interesting pay-per-view (a term I’ll keep using for want of anything better, even though most US viewers will probably be WWE network subscribers) more by accident than design.  This is the show built around the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match, in which the winner gets the right to challenge for the world title whenever they want in the next year.  Since “whenever they want” is treated as many “on any show, without having to give any notice”, it’s effectively a licence to ambush the champion and practically guarantees winning the title.  A couple of people have failed, but it’s still a pretty reliable indication that somebody is destined for the main event.

But WWE Champion Daniel Bryan is out with neck surgery.  The original idea was that he’d be back in time to wrestle on this show, so the company stalled on last month’s show and ran a bunch of angles with the idea that he’d resist the Authority’s attempts to pressurise him to surrender the title.  Then it turned out he wouldn’t be able to wrestle on this show either, so they did a screeching U-turn and stripped him of the title after all.

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