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Dec 12

Amazing X-Men #14 – “The Worst Of Us”

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Oh good, another Axis tie-in.  We definitely haven’t flogged the inversion horse to death yet.  I’m so glad we’re getting it again here.

Let’s recap why these tie-ins largely don’t work.  The whole “inversion” angle is fine for a few issues of Uncanny Avengers where you camp it up to the nines and have the heroes go crazy so that other people have to step in and save the day.  But when you try to extend it beyond that, you find that it kind of works with the villains, but it’s a lost cause with the heroes.

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Dec 7

Axis: Revolutions

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

Nitpickers may quibble with the idea of doing Axis: Revolutions this week, given that it still has an issue to run.  But nothing else is wrapping up this week, and Revolutions is an anthology title, and it’s clear enough by this point that it can be safely filed as one for completists only.

Also, the solicitations for issue #4 tell us that (a) there will be a She-Hulk story and (b) there will be a story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, and I have a terrible feeling they will be one and the same, and that is something I do not want to see, because the fact that Howard Chaykin made some good comics thirty years ago doesn’t alter the fact that everything he does with female characters is abominable now.  (That said, the “next issue” box at the end of issue #4 promises Iceman and Dr Doom stories, so who the hell knows.)

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Nov 30

Wolverine and the X-Men vol 2 – “Death of Wolverine”

Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The first volume of Jason Latour’s Wolverine and the X-Men run was pretty much an outright catastrophe.  The main problem was an excessively complicated plot, which didn’t entirely make sense to start with, and which was told in a massively confusing way.  So whatever good ideas were in there got lost in a welter of confusion.

Given such a disastrous start, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that Latour’s second volume is his last.  In fact, he doesn’t even make it to the end of the volume, with the final issue – originally solicited with his name – turning out to be written by Frank Tieri instead.

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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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