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May 27

“No Goats, No Glory” – Amazing X-Men #7

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

I’m running late this week, but hey, this one shouldn’t take long.  Amazing X-Men #7 is notable more for what it isn’t than for what it contains.  What it isn’t, is a comic that particularly matters – however you choose to define “matters” – because it’s a throwaway fill-in issue.

Firestar and Iceman are out shopping when they bump into an alien baby who’s being chased down by Spider-Man, who needs to retrieve him in order to get back a goat mascot who’s been abducted by aliens.  (For reasons not shared with posterity, Spider-Man was looking after the goat.)

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May 19

X-Men: No More Humans

Posted on Monday, May 19, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Marvel’s new line of graphic novels is an odd beast.  After all, everything gets collected in trade paperback format anyway.  So what makes a graphic novel different from a trade paperback collection of a four or five issue arc?

At one time, the answer would have been that a graphic novel was liberated from the requirements of monthly serialisation.  Collections of single issues from the 1980s or even 1990s read like collections of single issues, dutifully pausing near around page 3 or 4 of every story to recap the plot for new readers.  But writing for the trade has become so commonplace, and the traditional aspects of serial storytelling have become so unfashionable, that the differences have largely been eroded.

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May 10

“That One Fella, He’s Trouble” – Savage Wolverine #18

Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

With this issue, Savage Wolverine drops its format of rotating creative teams with each arc, and brings us a standalone story by Jen Van Meter and Rich Ellis.  Van Meter’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time – she’s best known for the Oni series Hopeless Savages, but that was a good while back.

Savage stories don’t have to take place in present day continuity, which gives the freedom to do stories set throughout the twentieth century.  That’s clearly something that attracts a lot of writers, and here we have another historical story.  It’s 1963, and there’s tension in a small town because the local bigots want to stop some people who aren’t white from going to a rally.  Logan is passing through and sorts it out.  Boil it down and that’s basically the plot.

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May 7

Origin II

Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The first Wolverine Origin miniseries came out some twelve years ago, and time has not greatly altered my feelings about it.  In a nutshell, the nicest thing to be said about Origin is that it can be easily ignored, because although it ads some pointless complications to the character’s history, none of them seem to matter sufficiently to require mentioning again.  But of course, the very fact that it can be so easily ignored is testament to how ineffective it is as an origin story.

Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert’s Origin II gestures towards keeping the tone of the earlier series, but fortunately doesn’t have to mess about with country house costume drama.  It also comes somewhat closer to functioning as an actual origin story, in as much as it takes Logan from an outcast living with wolves in the wilderness through to a status somewhat closer to the way we know him today.

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Apr 29

“Wrath” – Savage Wolverine #14-17

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Let’s bring us up to date before the next wave of books comes out tomorrow.  (And yes, I’ve given up hope on ever getting round to Wolverine Max any time soon.)

The cover for issue #14 – officially, it’s #14.NOW, but let’s smile and nod and ignore that – is presumably joking with its strap line “From the master of noir, Richard Isanove, comes a thrilling new adventure”.  Isanove is best known as a colourist on books like OriginDark Tower and 1602; so far as I can recall, this is his first high-profile assignment as a writer or artist.

Still, you can see where the noir tag is coming from.

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Apr 27

“Rogue Logan” – Wolverine #1-4

Posted on Sunday, April 27, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

I seem to be slipping behind a bit.  So let’s take a quick look at this story, which finished last week.  (I’m going to skip the epilogue to the first Amazing X-Men arc, since, well, it’s an epilogue to a story I’ve already reviewed.)

Wolverine is one of the more dubious relaunches of the second wave of Marvel Now, featuring as it does exactly the same writer and no genuine fresh start.  Instead, this “new” series actually begins with the second phase of a storyline that started with… well, with the previous relaunch.

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Apr 21

“Not Brand X” – All-New X-Factor #1-6

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The top ten hits for All-New X-Factor on Amazon UK:

  • The first trade paperback of this series, listed top.
  • One Direction: Forever Young – Our X-Factor Story.
  • The X Factor Party Box Karaoke Machine
  • A USB battery charger.
  • Rhydian’s self-titled album from 2008.
  • The official Harry Styles A5 writing pad.
  • A pair of leg warmers.
  • Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction (100% Official).
  • A wallet case for a Samsung Galaxy.
  • An Alexandra Burke car tax disc holder.  (Only £4.98, “top quality PVC”.)

Of these ten options, the trade paperback is your best bet.

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Apr 15

All-New X-Men #25

Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

It’s a jam issue!

Does anyone actually like jam issues?  And by that, I mean “like reading them”, not “like making them”.  Rare indeed is the story that is actually improved by hurling 15 wildly different artists at it, in the same way that few songs have benefitted from the tender mercies of a charity ensemble cover version.  Jam issues tend to end up with weird structures – like this issue, in which the Beast is visited by a mysterious figure who shows him a bunch of possible future timelines.

The result is not a story.  It’s a bunch of pin-ups and a couple of gag strips with a framing sequence.  Spin it how you want, but that’s the bottom line.

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Apr 13

The Trial of Jean Grey

Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Ah, a crossover!  “The Trial of Jean Grey” runs through six issues of two Brian Bendis comics - All-New X-Men #22-24, and Guardians of the Galaxy #11-13.  If you really want to indulge Marvel, the first two chapters officially appeared in issues #22.NOW and #11.NOW.  But let’s not.

This story has basically two points to make, and doesn’t need six issues to make them.  Nor is it even particularly clear about the points it is making.

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Apr 12

“Haunted” – Marvel Knights: X-Men #1-5

Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Is there a place for the Marvel Knights imprint in 2014?  The sales on the three recent Marvel Knights minis certainly aren’t encouraging.

When the original Marvel Knights imprint was launched, back in 1998, Marvel was a very different place; its titles stood out as creator-driven relaunches quite unlike the 90s house style that dominated at the time.  Mid-90s Marvel’s conservatism may have been driven partly by the financial strictures of insolvency, but that still made the new books from Joe Quesada’s office look truly new.

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