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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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Sep 2

Savage Wolverine #21-22 – “The Great War”

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

This came out two weeks ago, and was rather overshadowed for our purposes by some of the other stuff that was out.  But let’s deal with it quickly before time moves too far on.

With the centenary of World War I extending for the next four years, perhaps we should expect a number of stories to take a crack at it.  Now nestled safely beyond the sensitivities of living memory, World War I has a well settled place in popular culture: it’s the war that symbolises the slaughterous futility of war.

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Aug 31

Wolverine: Three Months To Die vol 2

Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

In December 2013, when Marvel were soliciting issue #1 of the current Wolverine run, by Paul Cornell and Ryan Stegman, they offered retailers a novel incentive to order high.  Any unsold copies of issue #1, they said, could be exchanged for an exclusive “Mortal Variant” of issue #12 in September 2014.  And, it was made clear, you would want copies of issue #12, because it was a “double-sized landmark issue” which Marvel expected to receive “national attention for its game-changing story”.

In April 2014, Marvel announced the four issue Death of Wolverine miniseries by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven, to ship weekly in September.  Entertainment Weekly, who were given the official announcement story, described Death of Wolverine as the “culminat[ion]” of “Three Months To Die”.

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Aug 26

Wolverine Annual #1 – “Wolf and Cub”

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Yes, “#1″.  I know.

This is going in the second “Three Months to Die” trade paperback.  But that’s largely a case of “got to stick it somewhere” (despite the cover banner billing it as part of the story).  So we might as well give it a post of its own.

Although it has nothing much to do with the “Three Months” storyline, this story does take as its starting point the loss of Wolverine’s healing factor and his sudden feelings of mortality.  Its actual point is to give him a chance to say goodbye to Jubilee.  She hasn’t been a regular in his stories for years, but she was his main sidekick back in the 90s, and Paul Cornell hasn’t used her, so it makes sense for the Annual to give her a visit.

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Aug 24

All-New X-Factor vol 2 – “Change of Decay”

Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Most of the stories we’ve looked at lately have been reasonably self-contained, even if lengthy.  All-New X-Factor operates rather differently.  Peter David works more in the soap opera style of team book that dominated the 80s and 90s, where the focus isn’t on having a single overall plot, so much as on getting a whole bunch of plates spinning, and then checking in on them from time to time.

And thus far, David has been largely devoting his time to getting the plates spinning.  Where volume 1 gathered the team, volume 2 spends most of its six issues on introducing Georgia Dakei and her family, as well as setting up a few plot points to be returned to in future, before finally unveiling the corporate X-Factor to the public in a press conference in issue #12.

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Aug 4

Uncanny Avengers vol 2-4 – “Apocalypse Twins” / “Ragnarok Now” / “Avenge The Earth”

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been some time since we checked in with Uncanny Avengers.  But then, it’s been some time since Uncanny Avengers finished a story.  These three volumes collect a story – not a multi-story arc, but a single story – that began in issue #5 last April (actually an epilogue in vol 1), and ran without interruption until issue #22 last week.

This is a story pitched unequivocally at an epic scale.  Multi-book crossovers aside, I can’t remember the last time we had a single story of this length.  Picking up stray plot threads from his X-Force run, Rick Remender starts relatively small, then dials up the scale to breaking point and beyond.

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Aug 1

X-Men vol 3 – “Bloodline”

Posted on Friday, August 1, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

After the debacle of last week’s festival of obscurity, we have another decidedly underwhelming story destined straight for the “completists only” pile.  Though “Bloodline” scores over the Wolverine and the X-Men arc on the level of straightforward accessibility, it remains a clumsy affair with a lot of downright odd choices.

The plot is straightforward.  Baby Shogo’s father turns out to be a villain called the Future, recently escaped from jail.  The Future wants Shogo back, in order to raise him as an heir.  He tries to kidnap Shogo from the school, but ends up with Jubilee instead.  He tries to trade Jubilee for the kid, but the X-Men won’t deal.  They beat him.  He dies.  This takes five issues.

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Jul 26

Wolverine & The X-Men vol 1 – “Tomorrow Never Leaves”

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

It is difficult to know what to say about the first volume of Jason Latour’s Wolverine and the X-Men run.  Difficult, because it is difficult to know what on earth the story is meant to be in the first place.  I gave up on this arc in confusion halfway through issue #5, resolving to have another go when the final issue came out.  But reading it in one go didn’t make it any clearer.

I did eventually succeed in deciphering the plot.  It took me five read-throughs and 1,300 words of working notes.  Meanwhile, I had asked on Twitter whether anyone else had read the story and understood it.  Nobody replied to say that they had, but there were quite a few “thank god, I thought it was just me” responses.

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