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Mar 28

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 annotations

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Nightcrawler sees Phoenix and Thunderbird in the X-Men’s overgrown mansion.

PAGE 2. Establishing shots of the Mansion.

This is the X-Men’s traditional base, now abandoned and overgrown with Krakoan plant life, which we last saw in House of X #1. Panel 1 is the front of the Mansion; panel 2 is Xavier’s study; panel 3 is the Danger Room; panel 4 is Cerebro; panel 5 is the main hall, with the Krakoan gate in the middle. Normally in the Hickman era the Krakoan foliage is portrayed as lush and positive, but here (when it comes directly up against a symbol of traditional X-Men-ness) it’s a sign of dilapidation. An unanswered question is precisely why the X-Men have abandoned the Mansion entirely. You’d think they’d have more attachment to it than this.

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Mar 28

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 annotations

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s some of the X-Men and some of the Fantastic Four, isn’t it?

PAGES 2-6. The X-Men shoot down the Fantastic Four and capture them.

Hey, it’s a team-up series, they’ve got to fight. This is going to be a pretty short post, if you hadn’t figured.

We’ll see in the next scene that the FF get shot down over Doom’s island, which is where they were heading at the end of issue #2, but still feels a bit convenient.

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Mar 28

Charts – 27 March 2020

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by Paul in Music

Welcome to the first of the lockdown charts, featuring people at home streaming records that nobody was able to properly promote. For the moment, it doesn’t look that different from normal… but this could go on for a while. Interestingly, the preliminary data shows more of an increase in radio audiences. In America, streaming actually seems to be down significantly.

1. Saint JHN – “Roses”

Two weeks at number 1. The rest of the top 10 is becalmed. “Lonely” by Joel Corry climbs one place to 4; “Physical” by Dua Lipa climbs 7-5; “Say So” by Doja Cat climbs 8-7. A little further down, “Boyfriend” by Mabel climbs 17-11.

17. The Weeknd – “In Your Eyes”
23. The Weeknd – “After Hours”

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Mar 27

Wolverine #2 annotations

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

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. And this one, we can take fairly quickly.

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine imagines himself being attacked by villains (under the Pale Girl’s influence).

PAGES 2-4. The Pale Girl makes the Marauders turn over a crop of petals.

Pretty self-explanatory. The clear implication is that the Pale Girl controls people using music, and that Bishop is initially unaffected because he has headphones on. Presumably he’s starting to succumb by the end, when he sees Kitty as a zombie.

PAGES 5-6. Recap and credits. The story is “Your Own Worst Enemy” by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin.

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Mar 26

Hellions #1 annotations

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

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

HELLIONS. The original Hellions were Emma Frost’s trainees when she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club – the New Mutants’ opposite numbers, basically. Most of them were killed in 1991, though they’ve presumably been revived now. The name has been reused several times before. Emplate had a team in Generation X who were called Hellions in solicitations; a version led by King Bedlam showed up in late 90s X-Force; a squad at the X-Men’s school took the name in New X-Men in 2004; and Kade Kilgore’s version of the Hellfire Club had its own Hellions in Wolverine and the X-Men. This team… has no particular connection with any of the above.

This is the first Hellions series, though the New X-Men version had their own miniseries in 2005 (called New X-Men: Hellions).

COVER / PAGE 1. The team.

PAGE 2. Epigraph, attributed to Nightcrawler. Essentially he’s saying that an attempted utopia (like Krakoa) has to find something to do with the bad guys.

PAGES 3-7. The X-Men take down the Hellfire Cult, and Havok maims some of them.

Havok seems to be briefly possessed when he attacks the Cult members, and has no memory of it afterwards.

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Mar 26

X-Men #9 annotations

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

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

Five books this week, so I’m going to try and take some of these fairly quickly… but, well, I’ve said that before. Whether there are actually going to be any comics next week is an open question at this stage, but I’m working on the assumption that digital distribution is likely to continue. If not… well, even more time to catch up on reviews….

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s lots of characters from the issue posing more-or-less dramatically.

PAGES 2-6. Thousands of years ago, the Kree Supremor gives the go-ahead to the King Egg.

This is largely exposition about the Brood and the King Egg. Broadly, the idea is that Kree scientists have stumbled upon the Brood and have come up with the idea of trying to weaponise them by displacing the Queen with their own King, and seizing control of the Hive. Planning for the long term, the Kree figure this will be useful in several thousand years time, when the Brood hive is larger. Rather implausibly, the Kree scientists don’t explain what a King Egg actually is and how it works (because that would spoil the ending), and nobody asks them.

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Mar 21

Charts – 20 March 2020

Posted on Saturday, March 21, 2020 by Paul in Music

Welcome, then, to what looks set to be a bizarre (and perhaps simply bestilled) era for the charts. As the UK edges closer to lockdown, streaming of music can continue, and the data to compile the charts will still be available. There’s no particular reason not to compile them, in the circumstances. But what they’ll actually contain is another matter – will people keep releasing new material? How do they promote it? Does the chart keep looking broadly normal, or does it fill up with weird viral inspirational tracks?

1. Saint JHN – “Roses”

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Mar 20

Excalibur #9 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Excalibur on one side, the Starlight Citadel in the middle, and Saturnyne on the right. Captain Britain has her Concerned Face on.

PAGES 2-3. Apocalypse tells Gambit about his plans.

Basically, Apocalypse is going to use the Warwolf skulls from the previous issue to cast a spell that will let Excalibur reach the Starlight Citadel.

“Morgan Le Fay is defeated. King Jamie Braddock sits on the throne of Avalon.” In issues #1-6.

“We have no war with Opal Luna Saturnyne, and yet the Starlight Citadel remains hidden to us…” Opal Luna Saturnyne is a Captain Britain character dating back to the Dave Thorpe/Alan Davis run in the early 80s Marvel UK weekly Marvel Super-Heroes. She was introduced as the Omniversal Majestrix, a resident of Otherworld who was answerable only to Merlyn, and oversaw the Captain Britain Corps. Broadly, she’s a “guardian of the multiverse” kind of character. The original Excalibur run establishes that she’s a counterpart of Courtney Ross, Brian Braddock’s girlfriend from early Captain Britain stories. The Starlight Citadel, Saturnyne’s floating castle, was added in Alan Moore’s Captain Britain run (in the Marvel UK weekly The Daredevils).

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Mar 19

X-Force #9 annotations

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

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

I was going to start doing reviews of the first volumes of the individual titles last weekend but, well, the pace of events has proved something of a distraction. No doubt there will be plenty of time for it in the time ahead. In the meantime, let’s continue with what can’t help feeling a little bit like telegrams from a bygone era…

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino, Wolverine and Kid Omega in the Terra Verde jungle. Domino is looking especially 90s here, and you’d think she’d be more bothered about that snake climbing up her leg. It isn’t what she wears in the actual story either… Admittedly, Wolverine is similarly underdressed

PAGES 1-3. Wolverine and Daken play Spin the Bottle Russian Roulette in the Green Lagoon Tiki Bar.

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Mar 14

Charts – 13 March 2020

Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2020 by Paul in Music

1 The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

This is a business as usual chart, at a time when everyone expects that business is about to be very much not as usual, and for a prolonged period. It feels like the calm before the storm. Meanwhile, the Weeknd gets a fifth week at number one.

3. Aitch & AJ Tracey featuring Tay Keith – “Rain”

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