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Aug 26

Hellions #3 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

“Nothing People”
by Zeb Wells & Stephen Segovia

COVER / PAGE 1. Madelyne Pryor, as the Goblin Queen, stands over a pentagram displaying the Hellions.

PAGE 2. Another epigraph from Nightcrawler, as in the first two issues.

PAGES 3-6. Madelyne talks to Havok.

We’ll skip over the irritatingly stupid grimdark bit. The four panels on the right hand side of page 4 are basically recapping Madelyne Pryor’s history up to Inferno. The first panel shows Madelyne in her pilot outfit from when she had just met Cyclops (though I’m not sure she ever wears precisely this outfit on panel). She talks about how she gave that up to be with Havok’s brother Cyclops.

Aug 12

Empyre: X-Men #3 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

“Staff Infection”
by Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, Ed Brisson & Andrea Broccardo

We’re firmly into “quite silly” territory by this point, plus it’s mainly an extended fight scene, so this ought to be quite short.

COVER / PAGE 1. The Cotati on one side, the zombies on the other, and X-Men stuck in between. Cyclops, Polaris, Colossus and Magneto appear, none of whom are in the issue.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. You’ll note that the writers have changed again, continuing the jam session.

PAGES 4-6. The Cotati who were killed by the zombies return from the dead as zombie Cotati.

They’re called “ghouls” later in the issue, to distinguish them from the regular zombies.

PAGES 7-9. The psychics join the fight.

Okay, now I understand what was meant to be happening in issue #2. Black Tom sent some Krakoan golem things (the “organic defense system”) through the gate to Genosha. They didn’t do all that well because they needed a local source of power. And Krakoa feeds particularly on psychic energy, so Magik has called in a bunch of psychics to help provide that local power source. Alright.

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.)

Jul 21

Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

The Giant-Size X-Men one-shots have a slightly odd place in Hickman’s line. On the one hand, they’re written by Hickman himself, and they feature what seem to be significant plot points for his wider story. On the other, they differ in tone from his X-Men stories, with a more relaxed pace and none of the data pages that normally provide heavy-duty exposition. They feel a little detached from the rest of the line. After all, even when something seemingly important happens – like Storm’s infection by the Children of the Vault – it never gets mentioned anywhere else, and vanishes into the narrative ether.

Granted, the long interruption caused by the pandemic probably makes that look worse than it is. But there’s a definite sense of Giant-Size X-Men being off to the side somewhere, creating Schrodinger’s plot developments that won’t feel like they really matter until another book mentions them.

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Jul 10

Charts – 10 July 2020

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

Another album maxes out its singles chart allowance…

1. Jawsh 685 & Jason Derulo – “Savage Loved (Laxed – Siren Beat)”

Two weeks. That’s as far as Jason Derulo usually gets, but he did manage four weeks with “Want to Want Me” in 2015. Of course, the typical length of a run at number one has been creeping up since Jason was last having regular number ones.

The top 6 is completely static, and our highest new entry is…

7. AJ Tracey & Mabel – “West Ten”

Jul 5

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 1

Posted on Sunday, July 5, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wolverine

Because you can’t spell “quixotic” without an “X”.

So the Moira thing went well, but it goes without saying you’d be completely insane to do the same thing for a character like Wolverine. Still, we had a long gap this year with no new comics coming out, and so I thought I might go back and read Wolverine’s pre-X-Men back story in chronological order to see if it made any kind of sense.

And so in this series of posts, we’re going to go through Wolverine’s history in more-or-less chronological order – some of this stuff just can’t be placed precisely, but there are certainly clear phases of his life where appearances have to go. Obviously there’s got to be a cut-off point somewhere, but we’ll cover at least his history up to joining the X-Men and see where we go from there – I’ve read up as far as Uncanny X-Men #200 at time of writing, which is around the point where he’s fully developed into the familiar character. It’s also “Incomplete” because I can’t be 100% confident I’ve caught anything, but also because it’s clearly going to stop somewhere. Once the ongoing comics are coming out again, these will probably settle into a less frequent schedule than the Moira posts – the current material takes priority.

May 27

Marauders #10 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

And we’re back. Now, how did this go again…

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

PAGE 1 / COVER. It’s Emma, Storm, Iceman and Forge fighting the guys in the armour that we’ve seen in previous issues. As in X-Force, Forge is using the “organic tech” that he’s been working on since coming to Krakoa.

PAGES 2-5. Sebastian Shaw enjoys Krakoan whiskey. Storm tells Forge that his old power-dampening technology has resurfaced in Russia. Forge admits that one of his underlings from the time had a photographic memory.

Port Genosha. The first time we’ve seen Genosha’s first distillery. For some reason it’s been named after the previous mutant island nation, which was wiped out by Sentinels in New X-Men vol 1 #115. From the scale of this thing, it looks as if Sebastian Shaw is trying to develop a business that isn’t based on pharmaceuticals… which is probably quite sensible for the Krakoan economy, to be honest . But obviously the trope here is the rich villain who’s killed someone and is mostly interested in his luxury goods.

Feb 19

Marauders #8 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Emma Frost, in a very stylised version of their argument from later in the issue.

PAGES 2-6. Bishop reports Kate’s death to Emma Frost.

Mars. We’ve seen the Mars outpost mentioned a few times before, and I think this is the first clear confirmation that it’s being used as a farm for Krakoan flowers (or at least that’s a big part of it). This makes a degree of sense; Krakoa isn’t big enough for large-scale agriculture, and they need to grow the flowers somewhere that’s entirely inaccessible to hostile forces. (Wolverine this week suggests that they’re still struggling to keep up with demand, though, to the point where the transformative effect of Krakoan drugs remains somewhat theoretical as far as many humans are concerned.)

Forge’s automatons. These are new. Presumably they’re just organic tech robots… but, um, isn’t that essentially a person…?

Feb 8

The Complete Moira, Part 6

Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2020 by Paul in Moira, Uncategorized

For previous chapters, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

This time round, we’ll cover Moira’s early 90s, where she… well, gets passed around various books for a while, then lands in a title that barely has a regular writer. Despite that, these issues set the course for Moira’s remaining stories.

X-Men vol 2 #1-3 by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee & Scott Williams (“Rubicon”, “Firestorm” and “Fallout”, October to December 1991). The last Chris Claremont story (for now, at least). Magneto’s manipulative new aide Fabian Cortez provokes him into taking up villainy again, and tells him that he has been subjected to genetic engineering. Magneto works out that it must be something Moira did to him during the period when he had been turned into an infant, and he was under her care. So he abducts Moira (and Professor X) to Asteroid M in order to yell at her. Moira confirms that her tests suggested that his body couldn’t handle the energy being processed by his powers, and so she modified his DNA to remove the instability, hoping that the same process could be used to cure Proteus. Magneto is outraged by what he sees as an interference in his free will. The rest of the story sees Magneto force Moira to use the same process to alter the personalities of half the X-Men so that the team can kick off their new series by fighting one another – but it turns out that the process quickly wears off when mutants use their powers. Magneto ends up sending the X-Men and Moira home, and seemingly dies aboard his exploding satellite.

Jan 18

The Complete Moira: Part 3

Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2020 by Paul in Moira, Uncategorized

Three posts into the series, we finally reach Moira’s first published appearance! (For part 1, see here; for part 2, see here.)

X-Men vol 1 #96 by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger (“Night of the Demon”, December 1975). And here we are. Moira shows up at the X-Men’s Mansion, responding to the invitation from Professor X (which we saw her receive in Classic X-Men #2). This is the point where she gets introduced to the X-Men, who at this point consist of Cyclops, Banshee, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Later retcons will establish that Moira has met Cyclops and Wolverine already, but neither of them remember it. Sean is immediately taken with Moira, kicking off their romantic subplot which will later settle into a long-term status quo.

Moira and Charles both tell the X-Men that she has been hired as the new housekeeper, to look after the house and the X-Men while he’s away. At that point, the demon Kierrok attacks, and Moira promptly gets a machine gun from the armoury to fight it – though Banshee actually bundles her to safety before she has the chance to use it, and the X-Men defeat Kierrok without her. This story is reprinted in Classic X-Men #4, which adds a page of Moira and Charles having a private conversation where they reminisce about their past relationship.