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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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May 7

X-Men: Gold #1-3 – “Back to the Basics”

Posted on Sunday, May 7, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

You can’t accuse “Back to the Basics” of false advertising.  After years of the X-Men hiding out in Limbo, or mutants  facing annihilation (twice), not to mention even more years of the X-Men being more of a community than a team, Marc Guggenheim is indeed writing a book with a format and cast that look like the 1980s.

The school still has a decent number of students, so in that sense there’s still a potentially large cast.  But the X-Men – the actual X-Men – are back to being a small, defined team, made up entirely of characters who are over thirty years old.

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Apr 19

All-New Wolverine #13-18: “Enemy of the State II”

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Despite the title, this really has very little to do with the original “Enemy of the State” storyline by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.  There’s the very loose general idea of Wolverine being used as a weapon… but in this six-issue storyline, that phase lasts for less than an issue.  After all, the schtick of Laura as a brainwashed human weapon has been done.  It’s her origin story.

Laura’s back story is not what you’d call subtle.  It is relentlessly grim.  You may have seen it recently being used in the Logan film, which is, shall we say, on the melancholy side as superhero movies go.

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Apr 6

Old Man Logan #16-20 – “Return to the Wastelands”/”Gone Real Bad”

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

I’ve been taking stuff out of order so as to get the X-Men titles up to date for the relaunch.  So it’s time to go back and pick up on the Wolverine books.  “Return to the Wastelands” is a curious three-parter.  At root, it has one very simple job to do, but it takes a strange route to get there.

The story opens with Logan waking up back in the Wastelands, the post-apocalyptic future he left behind.  For the first two issues, it cuts back and forth between two plot.  In the Wastelands, Logan returns to check up on the Hulk baby – Bruce Banner’s grandson – whom he left behind with Danielle Cage.  Of course, somebody has wandered off with the baby, and it turns out to be Kang.  Ostensibly thanks to Kang’s time distortion, the baby has now grown up to become an evil adult Hulk called the Warlord.

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Apr 3

X-Men Prime

Posted on Monday, April 3, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

It’s the dawn of a new era again! No, not the last new era.  The next new era.  The colour coded one.  You know, like in 1991.

Not that a relaunch is a bad idea.  The last couple of years have once again sent us down the rabbit hole of mutants facing the threat of extinction, which has been done to death.  Whether you look at it commercially or creatively, that direction was well worth abandoning.  X-Men Prime is essentially a lead-in issue for the relaunch titles X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue and Weapon X.  But first and foremost, it exists to send a clear message that this is going to be a back-to-basics affair.  For readers exasperated by weird and unpromising deviations like relocating the school to Limbo, this issue aims to reassure with a selection of familiar tropes.

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Mar 30

All-New X-Men #19

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

What to do, when you have an issue in which to wrap up your run and no real way of tying everything up?  Uncanny X-Men tried shoving everything aside and focussing solely on Psylocke and Magneto.  It didn’t really work.  All-New has a different approach.

This series has largely ignored the Terrigen stuff, but it’s more than happy to leverage the line-wide change of direction into its own sense of resolution.  The opening lines of dialogue will echo the sentiments of many readers:

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