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Mar 7

X-Force vol 3 – “Ends/Means”

Posted on Saturday, March 7, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The third volume of Si Spurrier’s X-Force run is also the last.  Given the sales on the one hand, and the imminence of Secret Wars on the other, you have to wonder whether Spurrier would have let this run for longer given the choice.  But it doesn’t feel rushed; Spurrier makes his point in this fifteen issue run and draws a line under it.  Yes, there are unusual narrative jumps in the closing issues which could be a sign of cancellation-driven compression, but they’re played (successfully) as deliberate creative choices.

Put shortly, Spurrier has devoted his run on X-Force to critiquing and rejecting the entire concept of the team – that is, the darker, paramilitary version of the X-Men that Rob Liefeld brought about in 1991, and which formed the template for the recent versions.

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Mar 2

All-New X-Men vol 6 – “The Ultimate Adventure”

Posted on Monday, March 2, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

It’s been a while – a long while – since I’ve been able to say this, but there’s a podcast this week!  Check one post down for the new House to Astonish episode.

Meanwhile… All-New X-Men visits the Ultimate Universe in a story that ran long.  This was originally solicited as a five parter, it winds up at six, and it’s gone off schedule enough that issue #38 ended up shipping ahead of issue #37 (to avoid screwing up the Black Vortex crossover).

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Feb 22

Wolverines vol 1 – “Dancing With The Devil”

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

We’ve accumulated quite the backlog while I’ve been otherwise occupied.  So let’s start with Wolverines vol. 1, which covers the first five issues of the series.  For one thing, it’s the longest-outstanding review.  And for another, it’s a weekly series, so the book is already halfway through volume 2.

Marvel aren’t generally that keen on the weekly format.  They tried it with Amazing Spider-Man for a while, but for the most part they’ve been content to leave it to DC.  DC, in turn, has had mixed results with it both commercially and (even more) creatively.

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Feb 2

All-New X-Factor vol 3 – “Axis”

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Don’t panic.  Take deep breaths.  This is the last Axis story we have to cover.

Actually, only three of these issues – #15-17 – are Axis tie-ins.  Before that, we have a couple of issues in which Quicksilver rebuilds his relationship with Luna (which is basically Pietro taking a bit of responsibility and winning back some trust), and Lorna builds some bridges with Wanda (just in time for Axis to retcon away the relationship that makes that story worthwhile, so that’s odd).  And after the tie-in, well, it’s cancellation time.

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Jan 25

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program

Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

We’re running a few weeks behind here – the first Wolverines arc will be finished imminently, come to think of it – but let’s not allow Weapon X Program to completely pass us by.  That said. we probably need to say a few worlds about Secret Wars first, don’t we?

The official line from Marvel is that Secret Wars represents the end of the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe, after which we’re going to get “Battleworld”, which seems to be some sort of mash-up of alternate worlds and such forth.  This is, pretty obviously, what Jonathan Hickman has been building to in Avengers for a while, and also what Brian Bendis has been moving towards with all the stuff about time breaking down, as which of course forms the central premise of All-New X-Men.

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Jan 18

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The exigencies of event storytelling (and shared-universe storytelling more generally) can lead to some weird ways of constructing stories; a format that sees the same overall story pursued through multiple parallel narratives that aren’t even appearing in chronological sequence would normally be regarded as at least an interesting creative choice.

In this case, we have a rather odd transition going on between what are in effect two versions of the ongoing Wolverine series – the Death of Wolverine mini, and the Wolverines weekly.  Bridging the gap between those titles are two separate minis, each serving to introduce (or at least set up) half of the cast of the weekly, and to collectively establish the premise: a bunch of characters, some established and some new, have all been the victim of potentially fatal experimentation by Dr Cornelius, and must join forces to find a cure.

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Jan 9

Uncanny & All New X-Men Annuals – “The Secret Life of Eva Bell”

Posted on Friday, January 9, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Filling in what happened to her when she got separated from the trainee X-Men during their visit to Tabula Rasa, “The Secret Life of Eva Bell” is billed as comprising this year’s Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men annuals.  Which is interesting in itself, because while Eva is certainly part of the Uncanny cast, she emphatically isn’t part of the All-New X-Men cast – at least, not as anything more than a background character.  Nor do any of the All-New regulars crop up here.

This could of course be a symptom of Marvel’s somewhat random approach to annuals.  But in this case I’m inclined to think it’s intended to draw our attention to the bigger picture that the story implies.

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Jan 1

Magneto vol 2 – “Reversals”

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

One more volume, and then we can lay Axis to rest for now.  (There’s still the All-New X-Factor tie-ins to come, as part of that book’s final collection.)

The first volume of Magneto was a strong start, setting a clear and distinctive tone.  It backed off from the familiar locations of the Marvel Universe, it steered clear of familiar superhero tropes, and it generally set about being a bleak character study of a man who had taken on many of the techniques of those he claimed to hate, and who seemed completely isolated from those he claimed to represent.

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Dec 29

Avengers vs X-Men: Axis

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

I already wrote about this series halfway through its run, and not much has changed since then (and, as previously noted, we’re behind in the reviews department) – so this is one I can probably keep short.

For the assistance of anyone stumbling upon this post years after the plot has faded from memory, Axis is the lynchpin series of a three-month crossover in which the Avengers, the X-Men and a bunch of random villains team up to fight the Red Skull, and can only defeat him by using magic to invert the morality of everyone in the area.  So the Avengers and the X-Men are both evil now and they have a big fight and the villains stop them because they’re heroes now and basically everything is back to normal at the end except for a few characters who aren’t.

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Dec 28

Storm vol 1 – “Make It Rain”

Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Well, we’re miles behind with reviews, aren’t we?  Axis finished up this week, as did the Annuals story “The Secret Life of Eva Bell”, and Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy.  Volume 2 of Magneto actually wrapped up last month, it’s been over a week since Storm #6 came out – which wouldn’t be so bad, except the first volume collects issues #1-5.  We’ll catch up with these over the coming weeks.

Let’s start with Storm.  Unlike some of the X-books I’ve written about lately, Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez’s series has some vocal support.  That takes the form of a pre-emptive campaign to save it from cancellation, which, given that the November issue was at 122 on the Diamond charts, is hardly an unreasonable concern.

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