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Nov 23

Axis

Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Once again, everything is in mid-storyline this week.  So instead let’s quickly check in on how the sprawling Axis crossover is doing, six issues in.

Despite being billed as Avengers vs X-Men: Axis, the core series is really just a re-labelling of twelve issues of Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers, which had been building to a big confrontation with the Red Skull from an early stage.  Uncanny Avengers has always been somewhat semi-detached – and indeed, while there are tons of tie-ins being published here, they don’t actually impinge on the main Avengers and X-Men titles, which are getting serenely on with business as usual.

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Nov 10

Death of Wolverine one-shots

Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

There’s a concept in literary theory called paratext, which (as I understand it) is basically everything that isn’t strictly part of the text proper, but still frames the text, and affects the way you read it.  The packaging, the promotion, the design, that sort of thing.  All things that can prime you to respond to the story in a certain way.

Event stories like “Death of Wolverine” are all about the paratext.  If Charles Soule’s four-part story had simply appeared, without prior publicity, in issue #whatever of an ongoing Wolverine series, and if the continuation of that story had just appeared in issue #whatever+1 of that same series, all without any pretext of cancellation, the audience reaction to the final page would be very different – it would, pretty much, be that the story’s clearly not over, so I wonder how Wolverine is going to get out of this one.

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Nov 3

X-Force vol 2 – “Hide/Fear”

Posted on Monday, November 3, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The current incarnation of X-Force is evidently not a book written with the collections foremost in mind.  Presumably it’s a need for convenient break points that brings us a volume comprising four issues, rounded out by a reprint of X-Men Legacy #300 – which, yes, is by the same writer, and does introduce a character who appears here, and hasn’t been reprinted before, but still…

If the opening six issues of the series were about introducing Si Spurrier’s take on the individual team members, these three stories (#8-9 is a two-parter) move the focus onto the group.

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Oct 24

Amazing X-Men vol 2 – “World War Wendigo”

Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

When last I reviewed Amazing X-Men, in May, it was to cover the first issue collected in this volume – a fill-in story in which the cast of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends hunt a goat – and I wondered what on earth a book which had only just been launched with great fanfare was doing running such a throwaway thing.

But that story at least had a sense of gleeful nonsense going for it.  The five-part “World War Wendigo”, by contrast, is about as mediocre as multi-part X-Men stories get.

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Oct 19

Death of Wolverine

Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Death of Wolverine is an interesting comic, for a variety of reasons wholly external to the comic itself.  It’s also, to be fair, quite an interesting comic for a variety of reasons that are on the page too.  If nothing else, it’s a book that’s clearly taking its best shot at what many would surely consider a nightmare brief.

This is the first work that Charles Soule has done for the X-books.  He’ll be sticking around for a while, since he’s also writing the upcoming Wolverines weekly, in which a bunch of characters who are very like Wolverine but aren’t Wolverine must fill the void left by his absence.  So in reality, this marks the start of his run on Wolverine.

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Oct 11

Nightcrawler #7

Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Going by the usual format, our main concern this week ought to be X-Force vol 2, which runs up to this week’s issue #10 (yes, four issues – they’re padding it out with a reprint of X-Men Legacy #300).  But let’s do this first, since not only is it self-contained, but it’s a tie-in to another story.

That story is Death of Wolverine, to which this is an epilogue.  Death of Wolverine is running late, and isn’t finished yet, but that’s no problem, because the only thing you need to know about it is in the title, and so can scarcely be called a spoiler.  While that series (wisely) is all about the “how”, Nightcrawler #7 is only bothered by the “what”.

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Oct 4

Uncanny Avengers vol 5 – “Axis Prelude”

Posted on Saturday, October 4, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Uncanny Avengers officially ends with issue #25, though what this actually means is that it gets replaced first by Axis, and then by whatever relaunched version comes after Axis.

Since volume 4 of Uncanny Avengers ran through to issue #22, this presents the collections department with something of a problem.  Hence the unlikely-looking volume 5, “Axis Prelude”, which collects the final three issues of Uncanny Avengers, the two tie-in issues of Magneto (which will also be included in Magneto vol 2), and the entirely unrelated comedy issue Uncanny Avengers Annual #1.

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Sep 28

Cyclops vol 1 – “Starstruck”

Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

This volume collects the first five issues of the Cyclops ongoing series, written by Greg Rucka, and with three issues of art by Russell Dautermann before Carmen Carnero takes over with issue #4.  The whole creative team changes again with issue #6, which will be by John Layman and Javier Garron.  Hence, one assumes, the unusual decision to have the first collection cover five issues rather than the more normal six.

A Cyclops ongoing series, then.  Let’s be honest, it’s not something many people were crying out for.

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Sep 14

All-New Doop: “The Real Battle of the Atom”

Posted on Sunday, September 14, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been over a week since All-New Doop finished up, so we’d better get it done before it slips out of memory.  Another sequel of sorts to Peter Milligan’s X-Force/X-Statix run, this picks up on Doop in his current status as a minor supporting character for the X-Men.

For those who might not remember, X-Statix was a series, way off on the fringes of the X-books franchise, about a bunch of mutants who had signed on to become “heroes” in a team that existed largely to promote its own celebrity status.  While they did fight the odd villain, they did so more because their public imagine demanded it than anything else.  And floating around in the background was Doop, their cameraman who spoke in gibberish.

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Sep 7

Deadpool vs X-Force – “Time To Die”

Posted on Sunday, September 7, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Over the last few years, Marvel have dialled back enormously on miniseries.  The solicitations used to be packed with more or less random minis that, given the creators, characters and level of publicity involved, never realistically had much chance to do more than pad out the collections of devoted completists.  This has largely stopped, which makes it a little jarring to come across a miniseries quite as cheerfully throwaway as Deadpool vs X-Force.

A four-issue miniseries by Duane Swieczynski and Pepe Larraz, this takes place shortly before Deadpool’s debut in New Mutants #98 (and thus before the heroes strictly became X-Force, but what the heck – the book happily acknowledges the point and hand waves it away).

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