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Aug 18

Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Or Generations: The Best, if you prefer.  Which is a better title, and kind of sort of what it says on the cover, but I’ll go with the solicitations and the digital listings.

So, just like last week’s Phoenix one-shot, this is a story in which a legacy character from the present goes back in time for no adequately (or even inadequately) explained reason, and meets the original.  Sort of.  I guess Phoenix wasn’t really the original Jean Grey.  An earlier version, anyway.  If there’s an explanation for any of this time travel stuff, it’s presumably going to show up somewhere else, and (plot mechanics aside) it’s of no relevance to this story, so let’s set it to one side.

This is effectively an extra issue of All-New Wolverine, by regular writer Tom Taylor.  So that’s a good start.  At first glance, though, All-New Wolverine doesn’t lend itself to this format, because Laura has met the original Wolverine plenty of times.  They starred in X-Force together, for one thing.  What can you do with them?

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Aug 11

Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey

Posted on Friday, August 11, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

What is Generations?   I partly know the answer, I guess.  It’s a series of one-shots in which “legacy” versions of characters meet earlier versions of themselves, and it’s meant to set up new directions, or something along those lines.  But as a story, what is it?  Does it even have a plot?

If you’re not following the wider series (I’m not), and you’re buying this simply because it’s effectively a Jean Grey special (I am), then the set-up here is curious to say the least.  The recap page has some cryptic stuff about “the Vanishing Point”, but what actually happens is that the present-day Jean Grey (the time travelling teenager) randomly finds herself in Claremont/Byrne X-Men during the period when Jean Grey was holidaying in Europe while she thought the X-Men were dead.  And then at the end of the issue she goes home.

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Jul 23

X-Men Gold #7-8: “Secret Empire”

Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

I am not interested in the Secret Empire crossover.  You might well think that you are not interested in the Secret Empire crossover.  But to judge by this two-parter, our indifference is as nothing compared to Marc Guggenheim’s.  These two issues pretty much consist of him ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

Now, Secret Empire seems like a pretty a bad idea for a crossover.  Leave aside the question of whether it’s a good idea for a Captain America story; that’s a whole other argument for another day, and it certainly has nothing to do with these issues.  Marvel has a template for these line-wide events, which is to confine the core plot to a central miniseries and maybe a couple of tie-ins, and pretty much ask everyone else to do stories written in the margin for a few months.  So what you’re looking for is a set-up that everyone else can drop into.  The likes of Civil War II and Secret Invasion, for all their flaws, at least had a central premise that most books could do something with.

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Jul 16

X-Men Blue #4-6

Posted on Sunday, July 16, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Here we are already, at the end of the first trade paperback.  Doesn’t time fly when you’re bi-weekly?  I didn’t immediately pick up on this being the break point, because it’s not particularly defined as a story arc.  This seems to be coming back into fashion again; issues #4 to 6 seem largely concerned with getting some pieces into play so that they can be used in future issues.

Cullen Bunn’s task in getting his book up and running can’t have been helped by the fact that the next issue starts a Secret Empire tie-in, which feels like it’s doomed to wind up as a pointless and unwelcome diversion.  That might explain why we have two stories here that seem too busy introducing new elements to actually tell much of a story with them.

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Jul 6

X-Men: Gold #4-6 – “Techno Superior”

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

The thing about biweeklies is, you fall a little bit behind on the reviews, and they’ve already started the next arc.  Time to catch up, then.

“Techno Superior” is the second arc of X-Men: Gold, and this time our artist is R B Silva, who is much less problematic than his predecessor.  And in most ways it follows in the direction which the opening arc established: it’s going to play the hits while it re-establishes what the X-Men are all about.  It’s solid, it’s a bit house style, it feels like an X-Men book, everyone feels in character, and it’s very much a return to an 80s/90s team format.

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Jun 24

All-New Wolverine #19-21 – “Immune”

Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Well, they can’t all be winners.  I really like All-New Wolverine.  It’s consistently one of the best X-books.  But “Immune” is a three-parter devoted to setting up a contrived set-piece finale, and it’s a bit of a dud, to be honest with you.

So here’s the idea.  An alien spaceship crashes on Roosevelt Island in New York – population 11,000 or so, according to Wikipedia.  There’s a dying alien child inside who asks for Laura Kinney before dying.  By a happy coincidence (well, presumably the kid was aiming for her), Laura and Gabby happen to be in the area doing something unrelated. Specifically, it’s a child-trafficking subplot that takes up a lot of chapter one but has no real purpose beyond keeping Laura away from the main story until it’s ready for her.

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Jun 6

Generation X #1-2

Posted on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

We reviewed Generation X on the podcast a few weeks ago, but it turns out that the book is opening with a two-parter, so here we are already.  This is a straightforward intro story – very straightforward – so, sure, if you’re going to start with this, best get it over with.

Be warned, this is basically going to be me putting in writing the same things I said on the show.  Which is to say, there are good elements here, and some individually promising ideas, but right now it’s very much less than the sum of its parts.

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Jun 5

Old Man Logan #21-24 – “Past Lives”

Posted on Monday, June 5, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Coming a little late to the relaunch party, this is Jeff Lemire’s final arc on Old Man Logan before handing over to Ed Brisson.  It’s a bid for closure.

Like All-New X-MenOld Man Logan feels like a short-run concept, a second (or third) Wolverine while the real one is out of commission selling his death.  Played that way, the natural ending would be pretty obvious: having found peace in the present, Logan heroically returns home to protect his loved ones anyway.  Or some such thing.  But Old Man Logan is selling pretty well by Marvel’s current standards, and it isn’t going away any time soon.

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Jun 1

Weapon X #1-3

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So it’s this again, is it?  In the X-books’ “back-to-basics” relaunch, I can’t say I was especially enthused to see Weapon X trotted out again, with the teaser story apparently setting up the old routine of baddies forcing people onto a team.

In fact, it’s not quite so clear that the book really is heading in quite that direction.  The core group here is Lady Deathstrike, Logan, Sabretooth, Warpath and Domino.  We already saw Deathstrike getting carted off in X-Men Prime.  But now that the series is underway, what actually seems to be happening is that Weapon X want to capture these guys in order to copy their powers and use them to improve Weapon X’s own home-grown cyborgs.

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May 19

X-Men: Blue #1-3

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

X-Men: Blue seems to be a bit less arc-bound than Gold, but this is where the artists hand over, so let’s run with it as a break point.

This is the successor title to All-New X-Men, focussed on the time-travelling original X-Men.  Or version thereof, at any rate.  And in keeping with the back to basics theme of this relaunch, we’re returning to the original five; Jean returns to the cast, and somebody else gets to pick up Idie and Evan.  But the hook is that this time Jean is in charge and she’s sold them on an alliance with Magneto.

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