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Jan 12

Charts – 11 January 2018

Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2019 by Paul in Music

Christmas is over, and the singles chart is back to something approaching normal.  Just four new entries, but they are normal new entries.

1.  Ava Max – “Sweet But Psycho”

Not that anything is yet breaking through to challenge Ava Max, who gets a third week at number 1.  She has a comfortable lead over the number 2 single (“Thank U Next”), equivalent to 27,000 sales, so she could be here a while yet.  Number 3 is “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus, which is now Ronson’s biggest hit since “Uptown Funk”.  “Wow.” by Post Malone climbs to 5, pushing his own “Sunflower” down to 5.

6.  Headie One featuring Dave – “18Hunna”

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Jan 11

Iceman #3-5

Posted on Friday, January 11, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

The idea of Sina Grace and Nathan Stockman’s Iceman tends to be better than the reality, which is a frustrating mix of the subtly executed, and the crashingly heavy handed.  I covered the first two issues of this series a while back, and here we get what amounts to a third issue which broadly stands alone, followed by the big drawing together of threads to… mixed results.

#3 has a lot of what this book does well.  It’s Bobby as the X-Man with a foot in the real world.  He’s dating, he’s at a street food festival in Manhattan.  Spider-Man and Firestar are there too, with their own dates.  And honestly, I’m more interested in seeing these characters do normal things for a bit.  Well, not so much Spider-Man, who actually does normal things quite often – but it’s a nice change of pace for the X-Men.  Stockman’s good on the setting and largely decent on his conversation scenes, though he does lapse into fixed grins from time to time.

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Jan 10

Domino #7-10: “Soldier of Fortune”

Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

On the heels of the strikingly abrupt final issues of Weapon X, “Soldier of Fortune” is something suspiciously similar – a four part story which comes in two barely connected halves, and which seems to go into fast forward in its final issue.  I don’t know what was going on here, but this is another story that certainly reads as if the book was abruptly cancelled and went into aggressive wrap-up mode.

Except… Domino returns as a five-issue miniseries in March, with precisely the same creative team.  So… what the heck?  A last-minute reprieve after they’d already committed to the wrap-up?  An inexplicable attack of madness?

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Jan 7

Charts – 13 December 2018

Posted on Monday, January 7, 2019 by Paul in Music

This is the annual dead chart, the one between Christmas and New Year that makes no sense.  Last week the chart was dominated by Christmas records, which made up more than half the top 40.  This week they’re all gone.  All of them.  . But there’s nothing new out yet to replace them, which means a surge of stuff that’s been hanging around a while, plus a few things that didn’t quite make the top 40 until now.  To keep this somewhat manageable, I’ll mainly stick to pointing out the records that are actually at a new peak.

1.  Ava Max – “Sweet But Psycho”

That’s two weeks, and it managed nearly eight million streams last week.  So even though it’s been out for a couple of month, it could be a while before something musters the energy to shift it.  Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next” rebounds to number 2, while “Sunflower” by Post Malone featuring Swae Lee climbs to number 3 after eleven weeks out (its previous peak was number 7).

5.  Post Malone – “Wow.”

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Jan 6

Mr & Mrs X #6 – “King & Queen”

Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

So this is the previous issue of Mr & Mrs X – issue #7 was out this week – but I was figuring it was an opening chapter of something, and it turns out that it isn’t.

As promised in issue #5, this is Rogue and Gambit’s… well, apparently it’s a “belated engagement party”, though it’s basically a flatwarming.  Either way, this is what you want from a Rogue and Gambit series; I can understand why the first arc packed them off into space, if only to get them away from the rest of the X-Men, but mainly I’m here to see them be domestic.  That’s the interest here, surely?  That’s what we want to know if they can actually do?

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Jan 5

House to Astonish Episode 169

Posted on Saturday, January 5, 2019 by Al in Podcast

2018! What? A year? What a year! It’s a brand new year and time for our traditional look back at the books, creators and moments that made 2018 such a good time for comics, in the form of the Homies awards. Paul and I have both picked our favourites in each of our traditional categories, and are handing out the gongs on this retrospective episode. We’ve also tallied our listener vote – what have the Housemates chosen as the most deserving in each category? Find out here! All this plus the procedure for landing a light aircraft, a very nice back door and the Slovakian manga scene.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us have your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, via email or at our Facebook fan page. And hey, it’s a new year, so why not make a new year resolution to look as amazing as you can in one of our incredible t-shirts?

Dec 30

Weapon X #22-27: “Weapon X-Force”

Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Weapon X was quietly cancelled through the age-old technique of just not soliciting any more issues; the final issue has no farewell message, at least not in the digital version, but simply the word “End” in the corner of the final panel.  And this final arc, which introduces a new team line-up under the “Weapon X-Force” name, then lurches through two largely unrelated chunks of plot, reads very much like an aborted new direction that was intended to run for longer.  Whether that’s the case, I can’t know for sure – but it reads like it, which is ultimately what matters.

The new line-up, clad unflatteringly in Sabretooth’s black and orange colour scheme, are Sabretooth himself, Mystique, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike, and Domino (the only one of these characters who would normally be considered to qualify for any variety of “good guy”, but in this company largely because she’s amoral).  As set up in previous arcs, the idea here is that the ailing Logan has steered Sabretooth in the direction of running this new team, which may or may not keep him out of trouble, depending on what sort of jobs his mercenary crew chooses to take on.

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Dec 28

Charts – 28 December 2018

Posted on Friday, December 28, 2018 by Paul in Music

It’s the post-Christmas chart, covering the week that straddles Christmas itself.  Nothing new is released in Christmas week, and the streaming services are dominated – up until Christmas Day itself – with people hammering the Christmas playlists.  So it’s time for the annual weird chart, where the Christmas songs march to the top, all of them set to vanish this time next week.  There are a bunch of chart entries, though they’re all caused by the festive flood.

But we kick off with the new number one…

1.  Ava Max – “Sweet But Psycho”

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Dec 27

Extermination

Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

The thinking behind Extermination might be called haphazard.  This is the story where the time-travelling original X-Men finally get removed from the board – they’re sent back to the Silver Age and the reset button is duly pressed, save that their adult counterparts now remember everything that happened while they were in the present.  The practical significance of this is surely limited, given that their adult counterparts already know the general thrust of what they’ve been up to – it feels like more of a gesture of goodwill that, honestly, this all amounted to something.

But the obvious question is: why is this appearing as a separate miniseries written by Ed Brisson, rather than the final arc of Cullen Bunn’s X-Men Blue?  Isn’t that the natural place to do this story?

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Dec 21

Charts – 21 December 2018

Posted on Friday, December 21, 2018 by Paul in Music

It’s the Christmas number one!  And… this was not expected.

1.  LadBaby – “We Built This City”

So, after two years of regular singles as the Christmas number one – Ed Sheeran last year, Clean Bandit in 2016 – it’s a novelty record.  We’ve had a lot of charity records and X Factor winners as Christmas number one, but the last time an out-and-out novelty record did it was in 2000 when the theme to Bob the Builder managed it.

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