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Oct 19

Charts – 18 October 2019

Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2019 by Paul in Music

In which a whole bunch of records hit ten weeks on chart and get whacked by the chart rules on older hits, thus allowing… well, some climbers, because there’s still not a huge amount going on in terms of new releases.

1. Tones & I – “Dance Monkey”

Three weeks and counting. This is over ten weeks old as well, by the way, but it’s still growing, so it’s not in danger of being hit by the chart rules just yet. “Ride It” by Regard climbs 3-2, and…

3. Harry Styles – “Lights Up”

Oct 17

X-Men #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

X-MEN: This is the fifth volume of just-plain-X-Men, although confusingly the legacy numbering continues from the last run of Uncanny X-Men.

COVER (PAGE 1): The residents of the Summers House (plus the visiting Corsair) in the Blue Area of the Moon. More of that inside.

PAGES 2-3: A flashback to Charles Xavier giving Scott Summers a pair of ruby quartz glasses to control his optic beams. It’s a metaphor for Xavier giving Scott the confidence to embrace what makes him superhuman, of course – plus, there’s a parallel being drawn with the leader of Orchis, Killian Devo, but we’ll come to that. Scott’s visor can be seen sitting on a stand in the corner of the room.

Oct 14

House of X / Powers of X

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

But is it any good?

Pretty much everyone would agree that the X-books needed a shot in the arm. House of X and Powers of X are certainly that. People are talking again, in a way that they haven’t been talking in years. Not only that, they’re talking about the plot. Jonathan Hickman has begun his X-Men run by bringing out the high concept ideas from the off – Moira’s multiple lives, the mutant island of Krakoa, the apparent immortality through back-up copies – and for the most part, people have bought it. In both senses of the word. So, as an opening arc, job done. Nothing in the X-Men has produced this sort of reaction since the start of the Grant Morrison run, back in 2001.

A book like this is inevitably going to divide the audience to some degree. For one thing, it’s very different in tone and focus, which means it’s not necessarily what attracted some readers to the X-books in the first place. And more fundamentally, this is the sort of story where you either trust that it’s heading somewhere, or you don’t – and if you don’t, you won’t be having much fun with this. But so far, for the most part, Hickman seems to have kept people on board.

Oct 12

Charts – 11 October 2019

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

Another fairly quiet week on the singles chart coupled with a barrage of new material on the albums.

1. Tones & I – “Dance Monkey”

Second week, and it’s still growing – streams were up to 7.34m last week. Could be around for a while.

2. Travis Scott – “Highest in the Room”

Oct 10

Powers of X #6 annotations

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

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. This is the final issue of Powers of X, and an actual review of both series will follow later.

COVER (PAGE 1): Moira standing over a pile of dead mutants on Krakoa. This includes characters from the “Year 100” timeline, so it’s evidently symbolic. The flowers resemble cherry blossom, traditionally a symbol of life’s ephemeral nature.

PAGE 2: The epigraph quotes Professor X: “And now we build.”

PAGE 3: The credits. The title is “House of X”; the small print reads “When they learn the truth.”

Oct 9

House to Astonish Episode 178

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, with chat on Tom Lyle, Mariko Tamaki’s new graphic novel imprint, a bunch of news out of NYCC including new series for Wolverine, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 2020, Star Wars, the upcoming The End one-shots, Marvel teaming with Games Workshop, Plunge, G Willow Wilson on The Dreaming, Amethyst, The Last God, The Killing Horizon, Black Crown folding, Quantum & Woody, Tomorrow, Enigma, Kill a Man and Alienated. We’ve also got reviews of Ghost Rider and Strange Skies Over East Berlin, and the audio from the SILENCE! to Astonish panel from Glasgow Comic-Con 2019. All this plus Vantablack covers, poonicorns and Goth Crossgen.

The podcast is available here, or here on Mixcloud, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And don’t forget that you can get our well tidy t-shirts at our Redbubble store – I’m looking at you, Australia and New Zealand.

Oct 6

Marvel Comics Presents #1-9: “The Vigil”

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

Well, this went wrong. Marvel Comics Presents was a format that worked in the eighties and nineties – the original run made it to issue #175 – but the market is no longer so friendly to anthologies. Marvel put some well known creators on this book, and put a Wolverine story in the lead slot – at a time when the character had only just returned from a lengthy (if largely notional) absence. But here we are, cancelled after issue #9.

That’s particularly awkward since Soule’s original announcement of this storyline described it as a twelve-parter. The final issue is extended, but it still seems to have lost some pages along the way.

Oct 5

New Mutants: War Children

Posted on Saturday, October 5, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

Marvel’s 80th anniversary celebrations have spawned quite a few retro one-shots, ranging from the straightforwardly nostalgic to the barely fathomable. You certainly can’t dismiss it as a pure cash grab – nobody publishes a Ziggy Pig & Silly Seal one-shot because they expect it to rake in the profits.

One of the more welcome one-shots – for readers of a certain age, at any rate – is New Mutants: War Children, which reunited Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz for what amounts to a missing New Mutants Annual. Claremont and Sienkiewicz never did an annual during their run – New Mutants Annual #1 has a Sienkiewicz cover, but he didn’t do the interior art. So if you’re going to revisit a very specific run, this is certainly the way to do it.

Oct 4

Charts – 4 October 2019

Posted on Friday, October 4, 2019 by Paul in Music

Movement! Or rather, artificial movement! Because, in another of those weeks when the downweighting rule for older singles makes its presence a bit too glaringly obvious, Ed Sheeran’s “Take Me Back to London” reaches its tenth week on chart, and (having peaked a few weeks ago) promptly drops straight from 1 to 13. This rule needs some refining. Meanwhile…

1. Tones & I – “Dance Monkey”

Oct 3

House of X #6 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 3, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

As always, this post is full of spoilers, and page numbers are according to the digital edition. This is the final issue of House of X, but I’ll be reviewing it and Powers of X together once both are complete, since they’re functionally a single book.

COVER (PAGE 1): Storm, Emma Frost and Exodus, on Krakoa, with Storm apparently addressing an audience. There are more people watching from the balconies in the background.

PAGE 2: The epigraph simply has Professor X proclaiming an imperfect but good start. That applies not just to his plan with Krakoa, but to the Hickman run in general – House of X is more of an extended prologue to establish the Krakoan status quo than it is a story in itself. The line comes from the Council meeting scene later in the issue.

PAGES 3-7: One month ago, Professor X dons the Cerebro helmet and makes his speech to humankind – the one that he gave shortly before issue #1.