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Mar 16

IvX

Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

You’ve got to admire Marvel’s perverse determination to confuse people.  The solicitation says IvX.  The Comixology listing says IvX.  The cover says Inhumans vs X-Men.

Let’s go with IvX.  It’s shorter to type.

IvX is an example of a beleaguered genre – the necessary resolution to a high profile storyline that bombed.  Regular readers know the back story.  Marvel wanted to plug the Inhumans into the role that mutants had occupied in the Marvel Universe, because that fitted more neatly with the rights that were available for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the X-Men being licensed elsewhere).  As a piece of corporate synergy, this made reasonable sense; as a story direction, not so much, for either group.

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Mar 10

Extraordinary X-Men #17-19: IVX

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So that’s that, then.  The Terrigen cloud is done with, and the attempt with shoehorning the Inhumans into the mutants’ role seems to have run its course.  There are still Inhumans titles to come in 2017, but they won’t be squatting in the X-Men’s spot.  This is all for the best.  It was driven by considerations of corporate synergy more than anything else, and placed the Inhumans and the X-Men alike in roles that did no favours to either, not least because it sent the X-Men back to the “no more mutants” set-up which had only just been resolved.

Now, as for how we get to this eminently desirable outcome, well, that’s the IVX crossover, and in particular the IVX miniseries.  And we’ll get to that.  Oh, we’ll get to that.

But first, I’ll finish up the tie-in issues from the core titles.  Just like All-New and UncannyExtraordinary X-Men finds itself working in the margins of a story being told elsewhere, and offers three essentially unrelated spotlight issues.  Yes, sure, they’re related by using the IVX crossover as backdrop, but that’s window dressing – it’s other stories that are really being advanced here.  It’s a choppy way of doing things and a messy compromise, but while none of these stories could be called a home run, they do have things going for them.

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Feb 26

Uncanny X-Men #16-18: Inhumans vs X-Men

Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So, more tie-in issues, then.  I’ve done All-New, I’ve still got Extraordinary to go after this.  That’s a lot of Inhumans vs X-Men.  And what could be more exciting than a lot of Inhumans vs X-Men?

But of course, this is a Marvel crossover in 2016/7, which means it’s not as if these stories actually serve to answer the wider plot.  The now-standard crossover format is to have the entire story confined in a miniseries, and for the tie-ins to be stories written in the margins of that plot.  That’s what we have here.

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Feb 9

All-New X-Men #1.MU

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Completism ahoy!

All-New X-Men #1.MU is a one-shot tying in to the Monsters Unleashed crossover, because where would we be if All-New X-Men didn’t tie in to two crossovers in one week?  I haven’t been reading Monsters Unleashed, you’ll be astonished to learn, but according to the recap page the high concept is that giant monsters are falling from the sky and people have to fight them.

Really.  That’s the hook.  There are giant monsters.  People have to fight them.

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Feb 7

All-New X-Men #17-18: Inhumans vs X-Men

Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

The crossover is upon us.  All-New X-Men has two issues tying in to Inhumans vs X-Men, a crossover which is welcome only in the sense that it might finally draw a line under a direction that didn’t work at all.  It’s not the sort of thing that All-New X-Men, a book about teenagers on an endless road trip in a magic bus, particularly lends itself to.

But the biggest problems here stem, not surprisingly, from the fact that Inhumans vs X-Men itself is just a dud premise.  I’ve been through this before, but let’s recap briefly.  The story is driven by the Terrigen clouds which are floating around the world empowering latent Inhumans and killing mutants.  The X-Men, having bent over backwards to try to find some other way of solving the problem, have now exhausted their options and are getting rid of the cloud.  This, apparently, is supposed to be some sort of moral dilemma.

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Jan 20

All-New X-Men #14-16

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Mmm.  I had it in mind that All-New X-Men #14-16 were a three parter.  And re-reading them, they kind of are, but they’re kind of not.  This is the tail end of a string of solo stories, which seemed to be on the one hand spotlight time for individual characters, and on the other a gentle subtext of the team falling apart the longer they spend in their new setting.

Issue #14 is basically Scott’s issue, even if Hank is lurking ominously in the background throughout.  Scott is still stuck at home with his leg in a cast, going stir crazy.  Probably this book’s best feature is Dennis Hopeless’s ability to find a different angle on the characters’ established traits by sticking them in a different context.  In Scott’s case, the workaholic obsessiveness that would have made him the X-Men’s ideal leader (or field leader, anyway) needs somewhere else to go, now that the antics of his older self seem to have debarred him from a leadership role.

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Jan 3

Old Man Logan #14-15: “Monster War”

Posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So it turns out Old Man Logan isn’t cancelled after all, despite Marvel soliciting issue #18 as “The Epic Conclusion!”, which normally at least means a season break.  At least that explains why two issues were given over to this – it might come from the pen of regular writer Jeff Lemire, but it’s got filler written all over it.

A standard set-up for this book is to bring the future Logan into contact with the original supporting cast.  And that’s sort of how this one starts off, as Logan investigates the disappearance of Jubilee.  Somehow or other the X-Men already know she was last seen in Romania, so Logan goes there and promptly crosses paths with…

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Jan 1

All-New X-Men Annual 2016

Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

You’re probably expecting me to tell you that the All-New X-Men Annual is eminently skippable.  And I am, but not without some regret.

“Idie Goes On A Date” is a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin story by Sina Grace and Cory Smith.  Grace has done things like the slice-of-life memoir Self-Obsessed, which came out through Image in 2015, so he’s an interesting choice for an X-Men annual.  What we actually get, as it turns out, is a story where Idie is hanging around at a mall reflecting on how hard it is to escape being an X-Man and just be normal, when she stumbles upon a nice boy and they wind up going on a date.  (more…)

Dec 27

Uncanny X-Men Annual 2016

Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Technically that’s not the title.  Technically this thing is Uncanny X-Men Annual #1.  But Marvel’s annuals have come to embody Milk & Cheese‘s 1990s dream of a series composed entirely of issue #1s, so let’s call it something that’s actually vaguely informative instead.

The main story, “Balancing The Scales” by Cullen Bunn and Ken Lashley,  is pretty much just an extra issue of the regular series – and it does at least matter to the plot.

Josh Foley, who was bumped off in an earlier issue to build up the Dark Riders, is back from the dead, because of his healing powers.  He promptly heads off to Genosha to torture the Dark Riders (who were themselves killed by Magneto a few issues later) by raising them up and dropping them dead repeatedly.  Precisely how he knows that any of this happened or where to find the Dark Riders is, shall we say, less than clear.  Never mind.  Magneto’s X-Men duly show up to try and bring the erratic omega mutant under control.

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Dec 11

Old Man Logan vol 3: “The Last Ronin”

Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

I’ve complained before that Old Man Logan didn’t seem to be heading anywhere – it was going round in circles with Logan learning in one arc that he needed to stop trying to change his past, and in the next arc learning the exact opposite.  And with the series scheduled to end with issue #18, if it’s going to get to the point, it needs to get moving.

So it was somewhat encouraging that this arc showed signs of a much-needed direction.  The preceding arc was a story about Logan visiting Maureen – the girl who would grow up to be his future wife – intercut with flashbacks about how they had met in his own timeline.  And “The Last Ronin” continues that parallel structure, with flashbacks to what Logan and Maureen did next, intercut with a story about Logan meeting the same villains in the present day.

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