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Aug 14

X-Force #11 annotations

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FORCE vol 6 #11
“Red Dawn”
by Benjamin Percy & Bazaldua

COVER / PAGE 1. Colossus fights Omega Red. Omega Red does not appear in the issue, which always makes me wonder if plans changed after the cover was commissioned.

This is a “Path to X of Swords” issue. In this case, it’s fairly easy to see which element ties in to the crossover, but it still emerges from things that have happened in this book.

PAGES 2-5. The latest batch of lab-grown soldiers turn out to contain “Russian doll” assassins.

The soldiers. These are the bad guys that Wolverine and the Marauders defeated in Wolverine #3. They don’t look all that similar in the two issues, since Adam Kubert depicts them with some sort of swirly energy effect on their costumes, while Bazaldua just presents it as red armour-type stuff.

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Aug 13

Marauders #11 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

MARAUDERS #11
“To Live and Die on Krakoa”
by Gerry Duggan & Stefano Caselli

PAGE 1 / COVER. Kate’s funeral. Storm and Emma (with Lockheed) send her body out to sea. This doesn’t exactly reflect the scene in the issue, since Lockheed isn’t at the funeral (he doesn’t show up until later) and Emma doesn’t wear white in the story (but she’s more recognisable this way).

The issue has a “Path to X of Swords” logo in the top right, though nothing about the story is obviously linked to the crossover, as opposed to storylines that were already in progress.

PAGE 2. Nightcrawler writes another letter to Kate.

We saw another one of these letters in issue #10. In that issue, it was an email. This one seems to be hand-written.

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Aug 11

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 by Paul in x-axis

If you’re looking for a reason to buy Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1, it’d be the art. The Giant-Size issues are much more of an art showcase than the regular issues, and this story gives Rob Reis plenty to play with. It’s got the insanity of the interior of the World, a hidden world developing in a time bubble, getting ever stranger as the series goes on. It’s got Fantomex interacting with characters from a range of different eras. It’s got ridiculous D-list superheroes to be designed and thrown away.

And much of it builds to a reprise of “Assault on Weapon Plus”, by Grant Morrison and Chris Bachalo. If you’re going to revisit a story defined by Chris Bachalo then you need a strong style of your own. Reis pulls all of that off very well. It looks absolutely lovely. The splash page near the end of Ultimaton, in his ridiculously unwieldy armour, hovering gently in the air in front of Fantomex – that’s beautiful.

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Aug 9

X-Men/Fantastic Four: 4X

Posted on Sunday, August 9, 2020 by Paul in x-axis

Very much on the fringes of the X-books, X-Men / Fantastic Four didn’t get a mention in the X-books’ release schedules, and comes from the FF’s editorial office. So you might well wonder how much weight to give it in the context of the X-books as a line. In the short term, that turns out to be largely academic, since the main plot developments are about Franklin Richards, and they matter far more to the Fantastic Four. But it’s also the first time we’ve seen the X-Men interact at length with other major superheroes in their current mutant nationalist mode, and on that level it might be more significant.

It’s certainly pretty – it’s the Dodsons, after all. Their clean lines and curves, and the light colours of Laura Martin, lend themselves to good, traditional superhero team-up fare. They’re perhaps not the artists I’d naturally choose for a Dr Doom story, given that his aesthetic is all about gloomy castles – but here he’s conveniently off on a desert island, so all is well.

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Aug 6

Empyre: X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

EMPYRE: X-MEN #2
“Growing Strong”
by Gerry Duggan, Ben Percy, Leah Williams & Lucas Werneck

So far as the writing is concerned, Empyre: X-Men is basically a jam session for the writers of the regular X-books. So this isn’t a particularly serious book – as if that wasn’t obvious from the mutants vs zombies vs plants vs old women set-up – and we can take this one pretty quickly.

PAGE 1 / COVER. Angel and Magik face off against a Cotati.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits.

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Aug 5

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: FANTOMEX #1
“The World”
by Jonathan Hickman and Rob Reis

FANTOMEX. This is the first time we’ve seen Fantomex in the Hickman era, with a caveat that I’ll come to. Fantomex is a flamboyant super-soldier, artificially developed by the Weapon Plus project within The World, a sealed environment in which time moves faster or slower, depending on the operators’ preferences. He debuted in New X-Men #128 (2002) and became a regular in various second-tier X-books.

Fantomex was last seen in Charles Soule’s Astonishing X-Men run, where he allowed Professor X to take over his body in order to be reborn; his mind shown as being on the astral plane. This plotline, in which Professor X was acting distinctly out of character and looked very different, was completely dropped at the start of Jonathan Hickman’s run. In interviews, Hickman has indicated that Professor X was still technically in Fantomex’s body at the start of his run, but that this was all sorted out when he was resurrected into a cloned body following his assassination in X-Force #1. That begs the question of why Fantomex is back again – perhaps the X-Men restored him too, despite his professed wish to remain on the astral plane. (Fantomex was billed as a mutant in X-Force vol 4, the Si Spurrier run, so he should qualify for resurrection.)

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Aug 2

The Incomplete Wolverine, Part 4

Posted on Sunday, August 2, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II
Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939

We’ve reached the Second World War – and this is a busy period, though still quite a scattershot one.

Flashback in WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #9
“Savior, part 4” by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon
December 2006

It’s somewhere on the eve of World War II. And we have to begin by unscrambling a continuity problem, since Daniel Way’s timeline gets garbled at this point. In narrating this flashback, Wolverine calls it his first mission “after being picked up in Jasmine Falls”. We’ll get to Jasmine Falls in a future instalment, but suffice to say that it’s the town where Logan fathered Daken.

The trouble is, Daniel Way had already showed Logan’s extraction from Jasmine Falls in Wolverine vol 3 #38 and #40, and it clearly happened after World War II, because the Winter Soldier was involved. So whatever this issue may say, it’s not after Jasmine Falls. (It’s an unusual lapse, since whatever else you say about Wolverine: Origins, Daniel Way certainly did his research.)

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Jul 31

X-Men #10 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-MEN vol 5 #10
“Fire”
by Jonathan Hickman & Leinil Francis Yu

COVER / PAGE 1. Vulcan, Petra, Sway, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Wolverine in the new Cotati garden on the moon. This is an Empyre tie-in, so it also gets the Empyre trade dress on top of the regular X-Men design.

PAGES 2-5. Flashback to how Vulcan survived.

This is another plot thread where the Covid-19 hiatus has played havoc with pacing. We saw Vulcan having this dream before in X-Men #8, which should have been fairly fresh in the memory. Vulcan is remembering falling into the Fault at the end of the 2009 crossover War of Kings. As I pointed out before, Vulcan wasn’t wearing his superhero costume when that happened. I assumed before that it was a symbolic page, but evidently that’s not it.

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Jul 30

Cable #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

CABLE vol 4 #2
“The Five In One”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

BEFORE WE WERE SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED… Cable #1 came out back in March, so over four months have passed between issues, through no real fault of anyone’s. This obviously isn’t ideal for story momentum, though. So… in issue #1, Cable beat Wolverine in a match in the Quarry, so Wolverine owes him a marker (whatever that means). Cable went on a date with Armor and Pixie (at the same time). Cable found a big sword stuck in the foot of a monster from the Arak Coral; the sword belongs to an ancient Spaceknight from planet Galador, and three other Spaceknights are coming for it. And somewhere else, the original Cable is in a demonic wasteland. Alright, let’s go.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable shows off his new sword, while the Stepford Cuckoos fawn over him. (Except for the one in front, who seems unimpressed. There’s no way of telling which one she is, but see page 11.)

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Jul 26

X-Men / Fantastic Four #4 annotations

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

This is the final issue of the miniseries. I’ll review the whole thing soon, but in the meantime let’s cover the last chapter. Like most final chapters, it doesn’t really call for much annotation…

COVER / PAGE 1. Dr Doom reaches out for Franklin; Kitty reaches through Doom to get to him first. All of the issues of X-Men / Fantastic Four have had similar group shots on the cover, but this is the first one to feature Doom and to have a black background instead of a white one.

PAGES 2-3. Everyone starts fighting Doom’s “Latviathan” Sentinels.

“they ignored my orders and murdered a Latverian mutant”. The X-Men did indeed ignore his orders, but they killed a mutant who had been sealed inside what appeared to be a Doombot. Pretty obviously, Doom was engineering this in order to have a pretext to set his Sentinels on them.

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