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Oct 7


Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Back in the day, What If…? used to do nothing but imagine what might have happened if a high-profile story had turned out differently.  The answers tended to be pretty similar: something terrible would have happened – otherwise, what would it say about the stakes in the original story?  Bad things would ensue, alternate versions of major characters would probably die, and some sort of bittersweet redemptive ending would follow.  It’s where the premise tends to lead you.

So with the Secret Wars X-books playing such a straight bat in terms of revisiting old stories, maybe it was inevitable that we would end up with a dystopia glut.  It’s more surprising to see two separate books both built around the set-up of the X-Men quarantining an island.


Sep 29

X-Tinction Agenda

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

If Years of Future Past was a confused book with some good ideas, X-Tinction Agenda is a simpler beast. By all appearances, it’s here to fill the pages.

“X-Tinction Agenda” is not immensely fertile territory for a Battleworld mini.  The original story, way back in 1990, was notable mainly for wrapping up two long-running stories – it finally reunited the X-Men after a lengthy period when the cast were scattered around the globe, and it tied up the original Genosha arc, in which the country was a thinly veiled allegory for apartheid-era South Africa.   Neither of those is a particularly pressing issue today.  Of course, the story also opened the era of Genosha as a basket case state on the verge of collapse, and that’s effectively what Marc Guggenheim and Carmine di Giandomenico are running with here.


Sep 28

Years of Future Past

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The X-Men do so love a nice dystopia.  In fact, vast tracts of X-history are built on either the threat of the world becoming one, or a side trip to some alternate world which already is one.  So with Secret Wars being based largely on What If…? stories spinning off from old event stories (at least in the case of those books which are steering clear of the patchwork mechanics of Battleworld itself), it’s perhaps unsurprising that the X-books find themselves largely contributing an array of parallel-world misery.

On paper, Years of Future Past should be one of the most promising.  For one thing, the reference point here is “Days of Future Past”, which is the story that sent the X-Men down this path in the first place.  And for another, it’s by Marguerite Bennett and Mike Norton, which is a pretty strong creative team.


Sep 18

Giant-Size Little Marvel AvX

Posted on Friday, September 18, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

How long have Skottie Young’s variant covers been going now?  Long enough that you’d have thought the joke would have worn thin, but in fact, they’re holding up pretty well.  The idea, and Young’s art, lends itself rather nicely to the one-panel gag format of the variant cover, and it’s now well enough established that it can start playing off its own trope.

So, sure, let’s do something with them for Secret Wars.  In fact, they’ve had a one-shot before, in orbit somewhere around the Avengers vs X-Men crossover.  And this is effectively the sequel.  While it’s technically set on Battleworld, the Battleworld trappings barely come into play.


Sep 18

Starlord and Kitty Pryde

Posted on Friday, September 18, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

I have a couple of minor titles to cover to stop the X-Axis slipping too far behind again, so let’s deal with them tonight.

First up, Starlord and Kitty Pryde.  This barely counts as an X-book, really.  It’s the stand-in book for Starlord during Secret Wars.  And since Starlord is one of the handful of characters who survived the destruction of the Marvel Universe and wound up as refugees on Battleworld, it even gets to feature the regular Starlord.  And as for Kitty Pryde, she’s a supporting character in his book already.

What I’m saying is, this is basically three issues of Starlord.  Which I don’t read.  But hey.


Sep 14

X-Men ’92

Posted on Monday, September 14, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The X-Men’s contributions to Secret Wars rest heavily on straight sequels to old stories.  And given the nature of those old stories, that means the X-Battleworld is largely a case of “pick your dystopia”.  But there are a couple of exceptions, and X-Men ’92 is one.

The year is telling.  1992 was not especially a banner year for X-Men comics.  That would have been 1991, when X-Men and X-Force launched; by the following year, the big name artists were packing up and heading for Image.  But 1992 was the year when X-Men: The Animated Series began its five year run.


Sep 6

Magneto vol 4 – “Last Days”

Posted on Sunday, September 6, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Regular readers, your long national nightmare is over.  The X-books are starting to emerge from the other side of the Secret Wars crossover.  X-Men ’92 is also finished, if you’re reading it in digital form.  First up, though, Magneto.  This final volume collects its Secret Wars tie-in arc, clocking in at a modest four issues, and apparently leading to the end of the series.

Participation in Secret Wars seems to have been mandatory for virtually all Marvel Universe titles – the exceptions being the quirkfests and, for some reason, Guardians Team-Up.  But there was at least a choice between doing a stand-in series set on Battleworld, or a “Last Days” tie-in in the margins of Secret Wars #1.


Jul 19

Interregnum: There Is Only Secret Wars

Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

It’s been a while since we’ve had any updates with the X-Axis, for fairly obvious reasons.  The entire line is currently doing Secret Wars tie-ins, and so the entire line consists of stand-in miniseries which are presently halfway through (aside from Magneto, which is doing a “Last Days” tie-in).

We’ll deal with the individual Secret Wars X-books in due course, but this seems like a good time to throw out a few thoughts on the line and the crossover as a whole, if only to open a comments thread for it.


Jun 27

Uncanny Avengers vol 1 – “Counter-Evolutionary”

Posted on Saturday, June 27, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

First of all, no, that’s not a typo.  This is volume 1 – the second volume 1, even though it features a creative team that worked on the previous run.  And if everything is getting a fresh #1 after Secret Wars, it will presumably be the only volume 1 of the second run, to be followed promptly by a third volume 1.  This is confusing.  I was tempted to call it volume 6 but (a) that’s not the title, and (b) volume 6 should logically be Axis, which wasn’t billed as an Uncanny Avengers collection at all.

Oh well.  Bitching about the numbering helps me get through a paragraph before turning my attention to the more important point, which is that this book completely lost my attention somewhere along the line.


Jun 21

Magneto vol 3

Posted on Sunday, June 21, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

This one rather slipped by me – we’re actually two issues into volume 4 by now, which is a “Last Days” Secret Wars tie-in.  But let’s go back to volume 3 before it slips from mind entirely.

It is the fate of the lower-selling Marvel comic to spend a lot of its time doing crossovers, which is why Magneto has wound up doing both Axis and Secret Wars.  But that means joining in large-scale high-stakes adventure with big name characters and mainstream Marvel Universe concepts floating around, all of which was quite at odds with the tone established by the early issues of the series.  They went for Magneto as a small-scale, largely de-powered vigilante still hanging in there despite being a shadow of the man he once was.