RSS Feed
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.


Jun 14

Wolverines vol 4: “Destiny”

Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The fourth and final collection of Wolverines is a very, very strange comic.  Granted, “final” in that sentence should come with an asterisk, for reasons I’ll get to, but Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes’ story winds up building to a bizarre anticlimax that makes the book read like an exercise in trolling the readers.

Not that trolling the readers is necessarily a bad thing, mind you.  X-Statix did it all the time.  But in this case, it winds up with a comic which leaves us with the intriguing puzzle of trying to distil it down to the key elements that presumably looked promising at the pitch stage.  After all, Soule clearly knows how to put a story together; if he produces something as odd as this, it’s presumably by design.  A misconceived design, possibly, but still a design.


Jun 6

All-New X-Men vol 7 – “The Utopians”

Posted on Saturday, June 6, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The final volume of Brian Bendis’ All-New X-Men is a bizarre affair.  If you were expecting Bendis’ final volume to build to anything in particular, you’re going to be disappointed.  This grab-bag of stories feels more like somebody who’s running down the clock.  If anything, these stories – and their counterparts over in Uncanny – seem to be mainly concerned with setting things up for whatever comes after Secret Wars.

What you actually get in this volume is five rather random issues – a single issue story from issue #37, the Utopians two-parter from issues #40-41 (if that can really be called a story), and sandwiched between them, parts 4 and 5 of the thirteen-part “Black Vortex” crossover.  It’s hard to imagine that people reading the series in the trades will be thrilled about this, nor should they be.


May 24

Storm vol 2 – “Bring the Thunder”

Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Storm‘s second volume, covering issues #6-11, looks to be the end of the series – it could technically be a Secret Wars hiatus, but given the sales, I wouldn’t hold your breath.  This, of course, makes it only the latest in a long line of X-Men solo titles to go from launch to scrapheap within a year, an outcome which one can only assume Marvel regards as satisfactory, as otherwise they’d have stopped doing it.  The thinking, I suppose, must be that at least they know they’ll get a few months of acceptable sales out of a book like this.

Like many of the characters who wind up in these solo series, Storm was never designed to fill this role; she was conceived as a member of an ensemble cast.  More to the point, her roles in that cast have largely been “heart of the team”, “bonding mainstay”, and “emerging (later veteran) leader”.  None of this particularly suits her to be a solo lead, since all three roles define her largely in relation to her position in the team.


May 17

Spider-Man & The X-Men

Posted on Sunday, May 17, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Once Marvel decided to kill off Wolverine, there were obvious knock-on effects for the other titles that he appeared in.  Of course, in most of those books, he basically stood in the background padding out the roster, so his disappearance wasn’t such a big deal.  For Wolverine and the X-Men, not so much.   That book was really about the X-Men’s students, not Wolverine – its name seems to reflect a conviction on Marvels part that the problem with books like Young X-Men was positioning them too explicitly as not proper X-Men titles – but still, he’s there in the title.

Throw in the fact that they only had six issues to pad out before Secret Wars – meaning that any sort of wider relaunch was going to be held off for a while to come – and you have a recipe for glaring filler.  And indeed, when solicitations appeared billing Spider-Man & The X-Men #1, you could pretty much hear the collective groan across the internet.