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Feb 9

Some #1 thoughts…

Posted on Sunday, February 9, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The X-books are all mid-storyline this week (or just starting), and I haven’t had time yet to read some of the other new launches that we didn’t cover on the podcast.  But with Marvel swinging into another phase of relaunches, it seems an opportune time to make a few comments about their – shall we say – increasingly relaxed approach to whacking #1s on the cover.

Even in the boom period of the early 1990s, an issue #1 normally came attached to at least a revival of something long dormant, or a new spin-off.  Then, from roughly “Heroes Reborn” onwards, it was good enough just to be a major relaunch of a continuing title.  After that, any old relaunch was good enough.  Then a change of creative team.

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Jan 31

X-Force: “Vendetta”

Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

And so we reach the final storyline for both Uncanny X-Force and Cable & X-Force, before the titles face their latest relaunch.

The decision to launch two entirely unrelated X-Force titles in the last wave of Marvel Now is no less baffling now than it was a year ago, particularly since one of those teams never actually called itself “X-Force” in the course of the series.  The ludicrous overuse of the “Avengers” and “X-Men” brand names at least makes some sort of short-term, blinkered sense – those are top franchises, at least.  But “X-Force”?

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Jan 26

All-New X-Men #18-21 – “All-Different”

Posted on Sunday, January 26, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

One thing about the solicitation system is that, by requiring even cryptic plot details to be released months in advance, it can make it abundantly clear when plans have changed.  These four issues will form the majority of All-New X-Men vol 4 (the volume being rounded out, rather oddly, with issue #22, which is the first part of “The Trial of Jean Grey”).  Over on Amazon UK, that volume is still listed alongside copy that first appeared in the solicitation for issue #18:

“The X-Men are shaken to the core by the Battle of the Atom.  Kitty Pryde is particularly shaken by the events of the X-Men crossover.  With her students gone, what is Kitty to do?”

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Jan 12

Wolverine #8-13 – “Killable”

Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Much like the North Korean military, Marvel believes that if you keep relaunching long enough, eventually the damn thing will stay up.  Hence the upcoming yet-another-revamp of the Ultimate books, and the likes of Fantastic FourX-ForceOther X-Force, Hulk and Wolverine all being slated for fresh issue #1s only a year or so after the last one.

In fact, I don’t have a particular problem with starting from #1 when you have a genuinely fresh start on the book.  At least that’s drawing attention to the first issue of a story.  Other books like Daredevil and Hulk are keeping the writer but changing the set-up, which is a bit tenuous, but it’s something.  And then we have Wolverine, which is rebooting its numbering in the middle of a storyline.

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Jan 1

Savage Wolverine #12-13 – “Come Conquer The Beasts”

Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Continuing its format of bringing in a new creator for each story, Savage Wolverine brings us Phil Jimenez as writer and artist.  Or rather, as co-writer and as artist for most of the book.  The second issue features another four people working over his breakdown pencils.  But still, there’s no mistaking his layouts, which are loaded with panels without getting weighed down.

As for the story, it’s a very earnest piece about rhino and elephant poaching.

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Dec 28

Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe

Posted on Saturday, December 28, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

Marvel’s publishing strategy over the last year or two has shifted away from the scattering of under promoted miniseries that used to reliably prop up the bottom end of the chart, and understandably so, since most of them  were basically thrown out there to die unmourned and unnoticed.  A few of these books do still emerge, though, and since they’re no longer a dime a dozen, they get a bit more attention than before.

Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe is one of these oddities.  Whatever may have prompted Marvel to publish a Longshot miniseries written by Christopher Hastings (the creator of Adventures of Dr McNinja) and drawn by Jacopo Camagni (who’s done a scattering of work on the likes of Marvel Adventures: The Avengers), it surely wasn’t visions of dollar signs.

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Dec 23

Uncanny X-Force #10-15

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

Hey, six issues of Revenants!  You know, the story we started back in issue #1!

The pace of Uncanny X-Force might charitably be called stately.  It’s not “decompressed” in the classic sense; plenty happens.  But much of what happens is layers of complication that drag out a fairly basic plot way beyond its natural lifespan.  We’re now a year into the title’s life, and not only are we still on the first storyline, but the titular team hasn’t even formed yet!  And they’re being cancelled in a couple of months!

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Dec 21

Cable & X-Force #15-17

Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

A three-parter of which it can truly be said, “That was three issues of Cable & X-Force.”

This series completed its initial storyline in issue #14, with Hope having joined the team, and the source of Cable’s visions having been explained.  Now, we get something that’s actually quite rare in modern superhero comics – a routine story in which the heroes simply have an adventure within their status quo.  It’s not something that fits very well with the fashion for making every story long enough to justify a collected edition.

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Dec 15

Uncanny X-Men #15.INH

Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

So this is Marvel’s new thing, then – sticking file extensions on the end of issue numbers to signal crossover stories.  Hallelujah. With this out of the box thinking, the industry is saved.

Uncanny X-Men #15.INH doesn’t work.  Or at least, it doesn’t work if you’ve been skipping the build-up to Inhumanity – which I have.  But since this issue’s primary purpose is apparently to advertise Inhumanity to Uncanny X-Men readers, you would certain hope that it would be aiming to capture the interest of people coming to the event fresh.  In this, it fails.

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Dec 1

Wolverine and the X-Men Annual #1

Posted on Sunday, December 1, 2013 by Paul in x-axis

It’s a podcast weekend!  But GarageBand has eaten it, so you’ll have to wait another week.

In the meantime, let’s have a look at the first and, it seems, only Wolverine and the X-Men annual.  This is the X-books’ token contribution to the “Infinity” crossover, which it has otherwise managed to sit out, through the clever expedient of doing a crossover of its own.  It seems we’re now back to the days when the X-books largely get special dispensation from participating in these books.

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