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Jul 14

Charts – 14 July 2018

Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2018 by Paul in Music

Well, this is unfortunate timing.

1.  David Baddiel, Frank Skinner & The Lightning Seeds – “Three Lions”

England’s favourite football song soars to number one on the strength of the team’s sterling performance in the World Cup!  The semifinal, and peak of English excitement, was almost perfectly timed to coincide with the end of the chart week.  And… they lost.  So “Three Lions” arrives at number one just in time for the mood to be over.  Ah well.


Jul 13

Weapon X #17-19: “Sabretooth’s In Charge”

Posted on Friday, July 13, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Here we have a classic example of that Marvel curio, the three part story which is blatantly just the first half of a six part story, but gets a separate title for no discernible reason beyond the possibility that it might justify the drastic change of art style in what would otherwise have been part four.

So while issue #20 – which is already out, because I’m hopelessly behind – has the cartooning of Ricardo López Ortiz, these three issues have Yildiray Cinar, who is more of a conservative house-style artist, and plays it all pretty straight.  The ideal tone for Weapon X‘s stories would probably be somewhere in between, since they’re gleefully over the top but played fairly deadpan.  But Cinar is solid, and helpfully for this story, he can do some good night time snow.


Jul 8

House to Astonish Episode 165

Posted on Sunday, July 8, 2018 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a sad few weeks for comics, and Paul and I are here to talk about the deaths of Harlan Ellison, Bong Dazo and, of course, Steve Ditko. In less tragic news, we’ve got discussion on the Descender sequel Ascender, the end of I Hate Fairyland and the upcoming launch of Middlewest, Boom! aquiring the Firefly licence, Marvel’s upcoming Deadpool vs Black Panther and Shatterstar minis, Jared Leto being cast as Morbius and the launch details for DC’s new streaming service (including in relation to how comics themselves fit into it all). We’ve also got reviews of Submerged and Catwoman, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is going to come bouncing back to you. All this plus supervillain hen nights, YouTube Blue and YouTube Gold, and the Manimal of the Marvel Universe.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available through the embedded player below, as well as on Stitcher, Spotify and all your favourite podcatchers. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.

If you weren’t able to make it along to Glasgow Comic-Con to witness the Bullseye for the Skull Guy panel, where Kelly Kanayama of the Frank Discussions podcast and I teamed up with Jamie McKelvie, Annie Wu and Kathryn Briggs to give the Punisher a makeover in the style of a certain popular Netflix revival show, then you can catch it over on the Frank Discussions feed here, right now!

Remember you can get our lovely t-shirts over at our Redbubble store, and if it were ever a time when the weather was right for it, now is that time.

Jul 7

Charts – 6 July 2018

Posted on Saturday, July 7, 2018 by Paul in Music

It’s the first chart with the new rules – video streams now count, paid streams are given a bit more weight, free streams are given a bit less.  Let’s see if we can spot the difference!  (Short answer: probably not.)

1.  George Ezra – “Shotgun”

Three weeks.  So no drastic change at the top.  Then again, perhaps we should have expected one, since look who’s got a new album out.

2.  Drake featuring Michael Jackson – “Don’t Matter To Me”
4.  Drake – “Nonstop”
5.  Drake – “Emotionless”

Jul 5

Astonishing X-Men #7-12: “A Man Called X”

Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

The second half of Charles Soule’s run – which, I know, I know, finished a month ago – is one of those arcs that gets a separate title for TPB-bracketing purposes, but really is just the continuation of a single story.  We left off with the X-Men having apparently defeated the Shadow King, and Xavier having returned to Earth in the body of Fantomex… or something like that… and calling himself X.

It’s an odd approach, and quite an intriguing one.  Soule knows perfectly well that bringing a beloved character back from the dead looks like a reset button, and that simply restoring Xavier to his pre-death status quo isn’t all that interesting.  Putting him back as the leader of the X-Men feels like a backward step for everyone; and he’s already done the coming-to-terms-with-his-past bit under Mike Carey.


Jul 1

Charts – 29 June 2018

Posted on Sunday, July 1, 2018 by Paul in Music

They’re changing the chart rules again!  But first…

1.  George Ezra – “Shotgun”

Our third new number one in a row.  This is more like it!  “Shotgun” entered at number 35 back in April as an album track download, vanished into the lower reaches, and returned four weeks ago when it got promoted to a single.  It’s George Ezra’s first number one, coming a little under three months after “Paradise” reached number two.

But let’s talk about the rule changes.  There are two of them, and the chart company, who’ve been trialling them for a while, say that the differences shouldn’t be drastic.  Time will tell, once people start targetting them.  First, they’re going to give more weight to paid streams than free ones.  Whether this is a good idea depends very much on what you think the chart is meant to be measuring.  From the point of view of record companies, they certainly care more about the preferences of people who pay.  Whether it makes a difference to the public is another matter.


Jun 28

Dazzler: X-Song

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

The review backlog is really building up, so time to start the catch up.

And this is a Dazzler one-shot, which is a bit random.  It’s the sort of thing that once upon a time would have ended up in X-Men Unlimited, since it’s a bit too far off to the side to get away with calling it an X-Men Annual.  And it’s a welcome outing for a creative team we don’t normally see in these parts: Magdalene Visaggio, who got an Eisner nomination for Kim & Kim, and Laura Braga from DC Comics Bombshells.

So Dazzler is now playing club gigs with a band called “Lightbringr”, billed on their posters as “music for the meta/mutant revolution”.  The solicitations describe them as a Brooklyn punk band, which would fit reasonably well with recent takes on Dazzler, though the book actually goes for a more traditional design that muddies the message a bit.  But mainly, Dazzler isn’t that interested in being a superhero right now, and just wants to get back to performing.


Jun 23

Charts – 22 June 2018

Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2018 by Paul in Music

Another new number one!  Two weeks running!

1.  Clean Bandit featuring Demi Lovato – “Solo”

Last week Jess Glynne reached number one, with the awkward footnote that it was thanks to “One Kiss” getting hit by the downweighting rule for older hits.  As it happens, even without that rule coming into play, “One Kiss” would have fallen off the top this week.  But Jess Glynne doesn’t hang on to purge that footnote from their record; instead, Clean Bandit get their fourth number one, following “Rather Be” (2014 – yes, it was that long ago), “Rockabye” (2016) and “Symphony” (2017).  There’s also now an acoustic version of the video available, if you’re looking for confirmation of what the first line of the chorus says underneath the vocal effects.


Jun 21

X-Men Blue #23-28 – “Cry Havok”

Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

When we left off X-Men Blue, the X-Men were tied up in a crossover with Venom, which does not interest me in the slightest.  Since Jean Grey returns to the cast just fine in issue #29, and something happens to Jimmy Hudson in the interim as well, apparently I’m meant to have read that Venom series, but I’m not going to because I have less than zero interest in Venom and it’s Not Technically An X-Book.

So with its core cast otherwise occupied, X-Men Blue gives us that old favourite, the stand-in team arc.  It wouldn’t be fair to call this filler; it’s not.  It pays off the Mothervine subplot which has been building for months.  And it finally does the only thing you can possibly do with Inverted Havok: change him back, and make enough of a fuss about it to pretend it’s a big deal rather than just hitting the reset button on a dodgy idea.


Jun 17

Charts – 15 June 2018

Posted on Sunday, June 17, 2018 by Paul in Music

Well, it’s movement.

1.  Jess Glynne – “I’ll Be There”

Number one with an asterisk.  For the second time this year, a long-running number one single stays at the top long enough to get whacked by the “accelerated chart ratio” rule that downweights the streams of tracks that have been out for ten weeks, and which are three weeks past their peak.  So the hammer falls on Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss”, which swandives from 1 to 7.  It would otherwise have managed another week at number one, and since all this is a lot more visible than it was meant to be – the rule was meant to target older tracks that needed a helping kick on their way out of the top 40 – you suspect they’ll tweak the rule soon, so as to fade it in a little bit more gently.