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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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Mar 28

Extraordinary X-Men #20

Posted on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Where Uncanny X-Men struggled for a sense of resolution in its final issue, Extraordinary X-Men has no such problems.

Of course, it has several advantages over Uncanny.  Of the three X-Men titles from the outgoing era, this was the lead title, the one about the actual X-Men in the actual school.  All-New was a time-travelling second team of X-Men and Uncanny was X-Force hoping to sell a few more copies.  But Extraordinary was the X-Men taking refuge in Limbo while they hunted for a cure for the Terrigen Mists.  Ill-advised as that direction may have been, it was embedded in this series.  And so the end of IvX genuinely closes the door on this chapter of the X-Men.

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Mar 27

Uncanny X-Men #19

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Another year, another relaunch.  Coming off three issues of Inhumans vs X-Men tie-ins, the X-Men titles now find themselves with one issue to call it a day before returning as something else in April.

This is, shall we say, less than wholly satisfactory.  For Uncanny X-Men, the crossover issues had no shared through-line.  They were separate one-shot stories which advanced other storylines from the book but brought them nowhere especially close to resolution.  And indeed, this issue makes no real attempt to resolve them.  It’s a further one-shot in which Psylocke tries to make good on her pledge from a few issues back to hunt down Magneto if he turned on the X-Men.

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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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