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Mar 17

Charts – 16 March 2018

Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2018 by Paul in Music

Well.  At least it was close.

1.  Drake – “God’s Plan”

That’s eight weeks, but Drake only beat Rudimental by 937 sales (or sales-equivalents, what with streaming and all), which is nothing, really.  The end is probably nigh.  Though poor Rudimental have been stuck at number 2 for six weeks now, so they’ll be hoping it comes soon.  Further down the top 40, it’s a quiet week – four new entries, and two of them on a technicality.

22.  Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman & Michelle Williams – “A Million Dreams”
24.  Loren Allred – “Never Enough”


Mar 16

Iceman #11

Posted on Friday, March 16, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

It’s cancellation season again, the familiar result of Marvel’s practice of relaunching the whole line at once, and quietly planning to give the lesser titles twelve issues or so to see how they last.  Almost inevitably, the answer is “twelve issues or so, give or take”.  And so this is Sina Grace’s wrap-up issue, joined by Robert Gill on art, though with Grace himself drawing the flashbacks.

This is what you’d call a thematic wrap-up issue.  Bobby is out for lunch with Rictor when Bobby’s parents phone up to say that the old reclusive guy next door seems to be a mutant whose powers are going crazy.  Mr Poklemba seems to have been a harmless if paranoid eccentric, anxiously covering his house in drawings of mutants – “apocalyptic drawings and news clippings about X-Men”, to be precise.


Mar 14

All-New Wolverine #31 – “Honey Badger & Deadpool”

Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

This is timely.  Not because issue #32 came out today, but because Marvel announced today that we’re coming to the end of Tom Taylor’s run as writer.  Mariko Tamaki is next in line, and in July, you guessed it, it’s issue #1… of X-23.

X-23.  I am sighing deeply.  Pause here and imagine the sigh.  Of course, it was entirely obvious that the original Wolverine would show up at some point and reclaim the name, because that’s what always happens.  Fair enough.  In fact, it always struck me that one of the problems with Marvel simultaneously replacing Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, Iron Man and so forth was that, in the way of these things, the reset button was also going to come about pretty much simultaneously for all of them and, well, that was maybe not going to be such a good look.  But so be it.


Mar 11

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan #1-5

Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

So here’s one that could easily slip under the radar – a five-issue Deadpool / Old Man Logan miniseries written by Declan Shalvey, with art by Mike Henderson.  Shalvey is better known as an artist, though he did write a graphic novel last year, Savage Town.  Still, this seems to be the first time he’s written a miniseries.  Henderson’s main claim to fame is the Image series Nailbiter, which wrapped up last year.

The recap page gives us the current status quo for both characters, but in fact this is evergreen.  Deadpool still feels the urge to help people, but is hugely annoying while doing so, while Logan could largely be regular Wolverine, despite all the mentions that he’s getting on in years.  Which is fine – it’s a mini off to the side somewhere and it has no need to yoke itself to continuity.


Mar 9

Charts – 9 March 2018

Posted on Friday, March 9, 2018 by Paul in Music

Oh lord, he’s going to be here forever, isn’t he…?

1.  Drake – “God’s Plan”

Seven weeks, which means it overtakes “Perfect” and “Despocito” to be the longest-running number one since “Shape of You” managed a soul-destroying 14 weeks at the start of last year.  The previous Drake number one, “One Dance”, lasted for 15.  Pray for us.  It heads up a static top three, for the second week in a row – Rudimental’s “These Days” has now been stuck at 2 for five weeks.

26.  XXXTentacion – “Sad!”


Mar 8

Generation X #85-87 – “Survival of the Fittest”

Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Or, if you prefer, issues #10-12.  In typical Marvel fashion, twelve issues is your lot with this series – we discussed this on the last podcast, but broadly speaking, Marvel seem to be minded to announce something as an ongoing series when what they really mean is “it’ll probably last twelve issues but we want to leave our options open for a miracle”.  On the plus side, this means that mayfly titles tend to reach some sort of proper resolution because the writer never seriously expected to get past this point either.  But that would be true if they just marketed them as minis to start with.

Renumbering for three issues only to get cancelled is silly, but that’s Legacy for you.  The Legacy connection in this arc is, um, tenuous.  It has to be, because Generation X has a twelve issue storyline and a bunch of threads to draw together, all with a view to bringing its cast together as some sort of family who can stick together as friends going forward.  And this doesn’t leave a ton of space to start shoehorning in retro elements.  Fortunately, the main villain for this series was always M/Emplate, and some of the original Generation X cast members are already in the book, so you can give them a bit more prominence, get Terry Dodson to do some covers, and call the box ticked.  But to all intents and purposes, this is the story they were going to do anyway, and thank heavens for that.


Mar 6

X-Men Gold #21-22: “Brotherhood”

Posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

We can take this one quickly, because although X-Men Gold #21-22 are billed as a two-part story, they’re really not.  That’s not to say that bracketing them together is completely random – there’s certainly a story unit here, for want of a better word – but X-Men Gold is written more as a throwback to the open-ended storylines of the 80s and 90s, before things came in defined arcs.  So “Brotherhood” is really two issues of set-up – or, if you prefer, it’s not so much a story as a first act.

From the X-Men’s point of view, the story is very simple.  Mesmero’s Brotherhood show up again, attacking a Heritage Initiative fundraising event.  The X-Men dutifully go to save the day.  But Mesmero is an illusionist, so he tricks them into fighting the police and runs away.  Kitty decides they should probably play along with the authorities, since they did beat up some cops and all, so the team are carted off to jail, which is where we can presumably expect to find them in issue #23’s “Cruel & Unusual, Part 1”.


Mar 5

Weapon X #12-14 – “Nuke-Clear War”

Posted on Monday, March 5, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Wordplay isn’t what it used to be.  Still, with this arc, Weapon X finally leaves the Weapon X Project behind and turns its attention to something else: Nuke.

Weapon X doesn’t exist to be a subtle comic, and Nuke is not a subtle character.  He’s a pill-popping patriotic maniac with the US flag tattooed on his face who runs around killing everything in a patriotic frenzy.  His tenuous connection with the X-books comes from the Grant Morrison era, which decided that his version of the Super-Soldier Programme was actually the Weapon VII Program, forerunner of Weapon X.

But when he debuted in Daredevil #232, he was presented as a debased Reaganite version of Captain America, an easily manipulated hyper-patriot, struggling to grasp simple facts like “this isn’t Vietnam”, who would be a total buffoon if he wasn’t also a dangerous lunatic.  He represents a toxic version of patriotism open to taking orders from anyone with the right flag, and he’s a ludicrous parody of Rambo.


Mar 4

Charts – 2 March 2018

Posted on Sunday, March 4, 2018 by Paul in Music


1.  Drake – “God’s Plan”

Six weeks and counting.  It heads up a static top three, with Rudimental’s “These Days” at 2, and Dua Lipa’s “IDGAF” at 3.

4.  Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign – “Psycho”


Mar 2

House to Astonish Episode 162

Posted on Friday, March 2, 2018 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and Paul and I are back to fill you in on everything that’s been going on, from the Image Expo to the Sandman Universe, from Fresh Start to Bendis’s Super-Books, and from IDW’s Transformers reboot to Boom! and Dynamite stepping up to the Eloi section of Previews. We’ve also got reviews of Mera and The Beef, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is total bull. All this plus Michelle Pfeiffer’s Bloodstrike, a napkin by Leonard Nimoy and The Wasp versus A Bee.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available versus the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. You can also get our fab shirts over at Redbubble. It is springtime. Honestly.