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Nov 27

X of Swords: Destruction #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 27, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

“X of Swords, Chapter 22”
by Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz & Matte Garcia

This is the final chapter of the “X of Swords” crossover, and the third one-shot – the others being X of Swords: Creation and X of Swords: Stasis. All three officially have a #1 attached, because that’s how these things work.

COVER / PAGE 1. Fighting.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Apocalypse. Until now he’s been carrying the burden of losing Arakko and Genesis in his youth; he’s evidently willing, in this issue, to take on the burden of Annihilation instead in order to rescue them. Since Apocalypse was immortal even before the Krakoan resurrection protocols took hold, he assumes that he’s likely to literally carry these burdens forever.

Nov 26

Excalibur #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #15
“X of Swords, Chapter 21”
by Tini Howard, Mahmud Asrar, Stefano Caselli, Sunny Gho & Rachelle Rosenberg

COVER / PAGE 1: Shards showing the various contest participants; in the centre of the frame, Apocalypse’s shard is held by Saturnyne. (Honestly, you can tell it’s her from the shape of the sleeve, though it’s largely obscured by the logo.)

PAGE 2. Epigraph by Saturnyne. The claim here is that magic can be directed with willpower; therefore, magic will respond more readily to true desperation, but not so much to things that you merely desire. This ties to the advice to spellcasters on the data page about love spells later on.

Nov 25

X-Men #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #15
“X of Swords, Chapter 20”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse’s bloodstained sword, reflecting the Annihilation mask.

PAGES 2-5. Cyclops and Marvel Girl prepare to address the Quiet Council.

Krakoa is presented at its most utopian here, to hammer home the point that Cyclops sees it as a home worth fighting for. He says that he “dreamed” of a home like this but “never thought” they would have it – implicitly referencing “Xavier’s dream” of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants, which the X-Men used to go on about all the time. Of course, Krakoa is only very debatably an example of that dream, since it’s a separatist project – it’s only coexistence when viewed on the global level. But as Cyclops says, what good did that version of the X-Men’s dream ever do them? They never made any obvious progress towards achieving it.

Nov 23

Charts – 20 November 2020

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2020 by Paul in Music

Another quiet week on the singles chart, beyond a couple of major releases…

1 Ariana Grande – “Positions”

Four weeks, though apparently this one was very close – the equivalent of just a few hundred sales. “34+35” and “POV” are still on the chart, at 17 and 19 respectively.

2. Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”

Nov 22

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1976

Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age

Last time, we entered Wolverine’s early years of publication. Now, let’s travel back to a strange time before Wolverine was a breakout character, and before the creators were all that bothered about him.

And for reasons I’ll explain, we kick off 1976 with an issue from 1977…

X-MEN vol 1 #106
“Dark Shroud of the Past!”
by Bill Mantlo, Bob Brown & Tom Sutton
August 1977

The X-Men fight psychic projections of the original team, subconsciously created by Professor X’s evil side during one of his nightmares. (These nightmares are a major subplot in the first couple of years of X-Men, but they don’t directly affect Wolverine. Basically, they’re the result of a botched psychic message to Professor X, foreshadowing the introduction of the Shi’ar.)

This is a fill-in issue, which explicitly takes place shortly after Moira arrives at the X-Men Mansion – even though it didn’t see print for over a year after that point. Although it appeared with a framing sequence by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, Wolverine doesn’t appear in that bit, so we won’t be coming back to this issue again. There’s a bit of character work at the start: Cyclops accuses Wolverine of putting on a “mad killer” act, while Wolverine complains that Cyclops has been pushing the team too hard ever since Thunderbird died. Banshee chips in to agree, just so we know that the brattish Wolverine actually has a point for a change.

Nov 21

Juggernaut #3 annotations

Posted on Saturday, November 21, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

“Stuck in the Past”
by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

COVER / PAGE 1. The Juggernaut replacing a broken statue of Lady Justice, and weighing sand in her scales.

PAGE 2. This issue’s kind-of-sort-of recap page is referencing Amazing Spider-Man vol 1 #230 (July 1982), in which Juggernaut is trying to abduct Madame Web, and winds up fighting Spider-Man on a construction site. Unable to actually hurt Juggernaut, Spider-Man defeats him by luring him into newly-poured concrete foundations which apparently go down 40 feet or so, leading him to sink to the bottom. He was indeed stuck there for quite some time – his next published appearance was in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #183, two years later – though previous stories have given it as anything from a month to six months.

Nov 20

Cable #6 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #6
“X of Swords, Chapter 19”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Generic pin-up of Cable and other characters from “X of Swords” (including Betsy, who’s been absent from the plot for several chapters now).

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Cyclops. The point here, of course, is that generally Scott is giving teen Cable fairly conventional advice, but in this issue Cable is fretting that the older, more experienced Cable that he forcibly replaced would have been much better suited to the occasion.

Nov 19

Hellions #6 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

“X of Swords, Chapter 18”
by Zeb Wells, Carmen Carnero & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Tarn the Uncaring stands over the defeated Hellions.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Tarn, which pretty much speaks for itself. Tarn is (presumably) a new character – for what it’s worth, the Marvel Universe does have a previous Tarn, who was a minor Spaceknight, but that’s probably just coincidence. Oh, and a tarn is a small mountain lake.

Note that Hellions normally opens with an epigraph from Nightcrawler. I suppose Tarn gets the slot here because they’re such a long way from home.

Nov 18

X-Force #14 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #14
“X of Swords, Chapter 17”
by Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine holding up his new Muramasa blade, with Professor X, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and the Beast shown in reflection – which has nothing much to do with any scene in the issue.

PAGES 2-3. Magik fights Pogg Ur-Pogg.

“Things are about to get busy.” As we’ll see in Cable #6, there are apparently 25 battles in total. We’ve already had six of them, and this issue takes us up all the way through to battle 22. So it’s something of a montage issue.

Nov 17

Review: Wolverine #1-5

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 by Paul in x-axis

WOLVERINE vol 7 #1-5
issues #1-3 by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert & Frank Martin
issues #4-5 & issue #1 backup by Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic & Matthew Wilson
February to September 2020

The revived Wolverine solo title turns out to be a companion book to Benjamin Percy’s X-Force. The team show up in the first arc; the Russian super soldiers for issue #3 turn up again in X-Force; and when we get to “X of Swords”, we’ll see the Wolverine chapter running through both books as if they were indistinguishable.

If nothing else, it helps to keep things straight between Wolverine’s solo and team books. And certainly the tone is very similar, though this book does benefit from being able to keep its focus on a single character.

It also carries over some of X-Force‘s flaws. The first arc immediately rubs me up the wrong way by having Wolverine kill off the rest of X-Force. The Krakoan resurrection set-up can easily tempt writers into killing off characters, because it no longer has consequences. But we’re past the point of establishing the concept now, and instead it just feels like a repeat of What If? syndrome, where characters charge into situations they’d normally take in stride, and die en masse like poisoned lemmings. It’s quite literally overkill.