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Aug 7

Charts – 7 August 2020

Posted on Friday, August 7, 2020 by Paul in Music

Well, this is painfully quiet.

1. Joel Corry featuring MNEK – “Head & Heart”

Three weeks at number one, and with a very comfortable lead. Further down the top 10, some modest climbers. “Lighter” by Nathan Dawe featuring KSI climbs 4-3 (and Dawe’s previous single “Flowers” rebounds from 27 to 19, too). “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles climbs 7-4 in a remarkably slow burn, finally reaching the top 5 in its 20th week on the top 40. “West Ten” by AJ Tracey & Mabel climbs 9-5. And “Secrets” by Regard & Raye – which made it to 7 a month ago – finally reaches the dizzy heights of 6.

7. Billie Eilish – “My Future”

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Aug 6

Empyre: X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EMPYRE: X-MEN #2
“Growing Strong”
by Gerry Duggan, Ben Percy, Leah Williams & Lucas Werneck

So far as the writing is concerned, Empyre: X-Men is basically a jam session for the writers of the regular X-books. So this isn’t a particularly serious book – as if that wasn’t obvious from the mutants vs zombies vs plants vs old women set-up – and we can take this one pretty quickly.

PAGE 1 / COVER. Angel and Magik face off against a Cotati.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits.

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Aug 5

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: FANTOMEX #1
“The World”
by Jonathan Hickman and Rob Reis

FANTOMEX. This is the first time we’ve seen Fantomex in the Hickman era, with a caveat that I’ll come to. Fantomex is a flamboyant super-soldier, artificially developed by the Weapon Plus project within The World, a sealed environment in which time moves faster or slower, depending on the operators’ preferences. He debuted in New X-Men #128 (2002) and became a regular in various second-tier X-books.

Fantomex was last seen in Charles Soule’s Astonishing X-Men run, where he allowed Professor X to take over his body in order to be reborn; his mind shown as being on the astral plane. This plotline, in which Professor X was acting distinctly out of character and looked very different, was completely dropped at the start of Jonathan Hickman’s run. In interviews, Hickman has indicated that Professor X was still technically in Fantomex’s body at the start of his run, but that this was all sorted out when he was resurrected into a cloned body following his assassination in X-Force #1. That begs the question of why Fantomex is back again – perhaps the X-Men restored him too, despite his professed wish to remain on the astral plane. (Fantomex was billed as a mutant in X-Force vol 4, the Si Spurrier run, so he should qualify for resurrection.)

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Aug 2

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 4

Posted on Sunday, August 2, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939

We’ve reached the Second World War – and this is a busy period, though still quite a scattershot one.

Flashback in WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #9
“Savior, part 4” by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon
December 2006

It’s somewhere on the eve of World War II. And we have to begin by unscrambling a continuity problem, since Daniel Way’s timeline gets garbled at this point. In narrating this flashback, Wolverine calls it his first mission “after being picked up in Jasmine Falls”. We’ll get to Jasmine Falls in a future instalment, but suffice to say that it’s the town where Logan fathered Daken.

The trouble is, Daniel Way had already showed Logan’s extraction from Jasmine Falls in Wolverine vol 3 #38 and #40, and it clearly happened after World War II, because the Winter Soldier was involved. So whatever this issue may say, it’s not after Jasmine Falls. (It’s an unusual lapse, since whatever else you say about Wolverine: Origins, Daniel Way certainly did his research.)

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Aug 1

Charts – 31 July 2020

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2020 by Paul in Music

Once again, if it wasn’t for a big name releasing an album, everything would be a bit quiet…

1. Joel Corry featuring MNEK – “Head & Heart”

Two weeks. It’s growing, too, with weekly streams now at 9.1 million. The top three is static, and our highest new entry is…

4. Nathan Dawe featuring KSI – “Lighter”

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Jul 31

X-Men #10 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #10
“Fire”
by Jonathan Hickman & Leinil Francis Yu

COVER / PAGE 1. Vulcan, Petra, Sway, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Wolverine in the new Cotati garden on the moon. This is an Empyre tie-in, so it also gets the Empyre trade dress on top of the regular X-Men design.

PAGES 2-5. Flashback to how Vulcan survived.

This is another plot thread where the Covid-19 hiatus has played havoc with pacing. We saw Vulcan having this dream before in X-Men #8, which should have been fairly fresh in the memory. Vulcan is remembering falling into the Fault at the end of the 2009 crossover War of Kings. As I pointed out before, Vulcan wasn’t wearing his superhero costume when that happened. I assumed before that it was a symbolic page, but evidently that’s not it.

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Jul 30

Cable #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #2
“The Five In One”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

BEFORE WE WERE SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED… Cable #1 came out back in March, so over four months have passed between issues, through no real fault of anyone’s. This obviously isn’t ideal for story momentum, though. So… in issue #1, Cable beat Wolverine in a match in the Quarry, so Wolverine owes him a marker (whatever that means). Cable went on a date with Armor and Pixie (at the same time). Cable found a big sword stuck in the foot of a monster from the Arak Coral; the sword belongs to an ancient Spaceknight from planet Galador, and three other Spaceknights are coming for it. And somewhere else, the original Cable is in a demonic wasteland. Alright, let’s go.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable shows off his new sword, while the Stepford Cuckoos fawn over him. (Except for the one in front, who seems unimpressed. There’s no way of telling which one she is, but see page 11.)

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Jul 29

X-Factor #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

X-FACTOR vol 4 #1
“Suite No. 1: Prelude: Aurora Moratorium”
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

X-FACTOR. This is the fifth X-Factor series, and the others have no particular common thread. X-Factor vol 1 ran from 1986 to 1998, and started off as a reunion of the original X-Men, before relaunching as a government-sponsored team with issue #71. X-Factor vol 2 was a four-issue miniseries from 2002 about an FBI mutant civil rights task force. X-Factor vol 3 ran from 2005 to 2013, and featured Jamie Madrox’s X-Factor Investigations detective agency – the obvious forerunner for this book. And All-New X-Factor ran for 20 issues in 2014-15 with a corporate-sponsored team.

COVER / PAGE 1. Symbolic image of the cast in front of a DNA Helix. For recognisability, they’re all in costume, though they don’t actually wear costumes in the story. (Eye-Boy never had a superhero costume, and is shown in his school uniform.)

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Jul 27

Charts – 24 July 2020

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2020 by Paul in Music

This would be a quiet week if it wasn’t for Drake.

1. Joel Corry featuring MNEK – “Head & Heart”

Climbing from number 3, in its third week on chart. Three top five singles in a year, and the third gets to number one. Not bad for someone whose previous claim to fame was being a fringe participant in Geordie Shore. MNEK gets his first number one too. It’s also a dance record at number one, and we haven’t had one of those in ages – maybe “Promises” by Calvin Harris, and that was 2018.

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Jul 26

X-Men / Fantastic Four #4 annotations

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

This is the final issue of the miniseries. I’ll review the whole thing soon, but in the meantime let’s cover the last chapter. Like most final chapters, it doesn’t really call for much annotation…

COVER / PAGE 1. Dr Doom reaches out for Franklin; Kitty reaches through Doom to get to him first. All of the issues of X-Men / Fantastic Four have had similar group shots on the cover, but this is the first one to feature Doom and to have a black background instead of a white one.

PAGES 2-3. Everyone starts fighting Doom’s “Latviathan” Sentinels.

“they ignored my orders and murdered a Latverian mutant”. The X-Men did indeed ignore his orders, but they killed a mutant who had been sealed inside what appeared to be a Doombot. Pretty obviously, Doom was engineering this in order to have a pretext to set his Sentinels on them.

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