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Feb 22

The Complete Moira, Part 8

Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2020 by Paul in Moira

Welcome to the final part of our Moira MacTaggert read-through. For the previous chapters see here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

When we left off, Excalibur had just been cancelled, leaving Moira without a regular title to appear in. But she’s still around, still hunting for the Legacy Virus, and still supposedly in declining health. The final years of Moira’s (original) published life turn out to be big on pointless cameos and appearances where she does little more than explain the plot.

X-Men Unlimited vol 1 #21 by Todd DeZago, Andy Smith & Andrew Hennessy (“Devil’s Haircut”, December 1998). Strong Guy phones Muir Isle to ask Wolfsbane and Madrox for help with a possible alien invasion. Moira is there, and she’s back to working on the Legacy Virus.

Gambit vol 3 #2 by Fabian Nicieza, Steve Skroce & Rob Hunter (“Stormbringers”, March 1999). Gambit visits Muir Isle so that Moira can run some tests on him. Excalibur have now left, and Moira is working full time on the cure (pretty much alone). Naturally, Gambit tries to steal some files, and sets off a ridiculously elaborate failsafe mechanism that he manages to stop before it wipes all her data.

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Feb 20

Wolverine #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE. This is volume 7 of Wolverine, and that’s just counting the titles that were simply called Wolverine. Volume 1 is the 1982 miniseries, volume 2 is the long-running ongoing title that started in 1988. The others are periodic reboots.

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine with his claws out, standing over some dead people, and with a butterfly on his hand. His X-Men belt buckle is lit up, for some reason. Like X-Force, this book carries the world’s smallest “parental advisory” warning.

PAGES 2-4. Alaska. A badly injured Wolverine wakes up surrounded by the corpses of X-Force. He sets off following a set of footprints.

Most of the issue is flashbacks leading up to this point. The implication is that the Pale Girl, leader of the Flower Cartel, makes Wolverine kill the rest of X-Force. (It really is fortunate that the X-Men came up with this resurrection thing in time for the Krakoa era, because ever since, they’ve become remarkably prone to getting killed…)

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Feb 19

New Mutants #7 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1: The New Mutants on a parade float in the Shi’ar capital. Look, there’s Murd Blurdock and someone who might be Yondu on the left.

PAGES 2-5. Roberto recaps the plot – or rather, explains how the New Mutants defeated the Shi’ar Death Commandos.

Issue #5 ended with a cliffhanger, in which the Shi’ar Death Commandos blew up the New Mutants’ ship, in an attempt to assassinate Deathbird. The meta joke is that Roberto is so self absorbed that he’s oblivious to the fact that issue #6 featured the earthbound cast, and cheerfully regales us with a “recap” of how the cliffhanger was resolved, a story we’ve never actually seen.

“The do-nothing Gen X-ers.” Chamber and Mondo. It’s always been a little unclear what these two are doing in the series, given that they aren’t part of the original New Mutants team and barely know any of the other characters. From what little we’ve seen of them, they seem to have been wondering the same thing. As for Sunspot, whose whole agenda here is to get the band back together, he seems somewhat baffled by their presence too – and he looks down on them as minor characters. (Probably fair in relation to Mondo, but Chamber’s a more prominent character than, say, Karma.) It doesn’t play out in the course of this issue, but presumably it’s heading somewhere.

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Feb 15

The Complete Moira, Part 7

Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2020 by Paul in Moira

For previous chapters, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

In our penultimate post, we’ll cover Moira’s time in Excalibur under Warren Ellis and Ben Raab.

Excalibur vol 1 #86 by Warren Ellis, Ken Lashley & Tom Wegrzyn (“Back to Life”, February 1995). This is the first issue of the Ellis run proper, although it’s almost immediately interrupted for four months by the Age of Apocalypse crossover. Moira fits quite nicely into Ellis’s style, and instantly starts to become stroppier and grumpier. Ellis also introduces a running joke about her awful coffee. Be advised, though, that Moira doesn’t actually do all that much in the Ellis run, aside from providing colour while the team are at home on Muir Isle. In this issue, Pete Wisdom joins the cast. Nightcrawler works out that Moira has the Legacy Virus, but she insists that they go on their important mission anyway.

X-Men Prime by various creators (“Racing the Night”, July 1995). This is the one-shot that sets up the resuming X-Men titles after the “Age of Apocalypse”. In the bit that’s relevant to Moira, Trish Tilby reveals to the public that the Legacy Virus has spread to the human race, with Moira as the first human victim; Moira and Rory watch on TV. This is meant to lead in to a storyline about who leaked the data, but as we’ll see it all peters out quite quickly. I’m not sure it was ever resolved, but it certainly doesn’t happen in any of Moira’s stories.

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Feb 14

Excalibur #7 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Excalibur hunt the Warwolves.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. The story is “Verse VII: The Unspeakable and the Uneatable” by Tini Howard, Wilton Santos and Oren Junior. The title refers to the description of fox hunting in Oscar Wilde’s 1893 play A Woman of No Importance: “The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.”

PAGE 4. Excalibur bury the Sword of Might beneath the lighthouse.

Brian asked for the Sword of Might to be kept well away from him at the end of the last issue. The original Excalibur lighthouse also had a sword outside it for a long, long time – Magik’s Soulsword, which appeared outside the lighthouse when she died in Inferno. But this time the plan seems to be to bury the cursed sword as far underground as possible.

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Feb 14

X-Force #7 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino (without any of her plant grafts) about to be crushed by a toppling domino. It’s symbolic.

PAGES 2-5. Domino and Sage discuss a series of freakishly improbable killings.

This is self-explanatory – someone is killing humans who have been prominent supporters of mutants, and is doing so in ways which rely on such ludicrous coincidences that some sort of super power must be involved. For what it’s worth, we haven’t heard that much in the Hickman era about humans who are pro-mutant, as opposed to humans who are just willing to deal with Krakoa for the drugs. But evidently they’re out there.

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Feb 13

X-Men #6 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Mystique in action.

PAGE 2. Flashback. Destiny starts to tell Mystique about something she’s foreseen.

Mystique and Destiny. Mystique shouldn’t need any introduction. She’s been a major character in the Hickman run, and she’s a member of the Quiet Council.

Destiny was Mystique’s long-time teammate in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, later re-named Freedom Force. She died in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #255 (1989). Chris Claremont very, very strongly implied that Destiny and Mystique were a couple, but this doesn’t seem to have been spelled out on the page until History of the Marvel Universe #2, which is absolutely unambiguous.

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Feb 9

X-Men / Fantastic Four #1 annotations

Posted on Sunday, February 9, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Franklin Richards, with Kate Pryde and Sue Storm behind him (each with a hand on his shoulder), and behind them, Professor X and Storm. The title shown on the cover is X-Men + Fantastic Four, but I’ll go with the solicitations.

PAGE 2. Recap – which in this case means spelling out the status quo of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Reflecting its semi-X-book status, this issue keeps some of the stylistic quirks of the Hickman-era X-books but eschews the monochrome in favour of a yellow and white colour scheme. It’s worth mentioning that this series isn’t edited by the X-office but by Fantastic Four editor Tom Brevoort. It’s the most significant interaction with the rest of the Marvel Universe that the X-Men have had since House of X.

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Feb 8

The Complete Moira, Part 6

Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2020 by Paul in Moira, Uncategorized

For previous chapters, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

This time round, we’ll cover Moira’s early 90s, where she… well, gets passed around various books for a while, then lands in a title that barely has a regular writer. Despite that, these issues set the course for Moira’s remaining stories.

X-Men vol 2 #1-3 by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee & Scott Williams (“Rubicon”, “Firestorm” and “Fallout”, October to December 1991). The last Chris Claremont story (for now, at least). Magneto’s manipulative new aide Fabian Cortez provokes him into taking up villainy again, and tells him that he has been subjected to genetic engineering. Magneto works out that it must be something Moira did to him during the period when he had been turned into an infant, and he was under her care. So he abducts Moira (and Professor X) to Asteroid M in order to yell at her. Moira confirms that her tests suggested that his body couldn’t handle the energy being processed by his powers, and so she modified his DNA to remove the instability, hoping that the same process could be used to cure Proteus. Magneto is outraged by what he sees as an interference in his free will. The rest of the story sees Magneto force Moira to use the same process to alter the personalities of half the X-Men so that the team can kick off their new series by fighting one another – but it turns out that the process quickly wears off when mutants use their powers. Magneto ends up sending the X-Men and Moira home, and seemingly dies aboard his exploding satellite.

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Feb 7

Marauders #7 annotations

Posted on Friday, February 7, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. And yes, I will be reviewing the first six issues (which make up the first trade) when time allows.

COVER / PAGE 1. Callisto, in her White Bishop outfit, faces off against Bishop and Pyro.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. The story is “From Emma, With Love” by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado. Does it need saying that the reference is to the James Bond story “From Russia, With Love”? Probably not.

PAGE 4. Data page. An unknown person in Washington DC tries to text Kate a warning about Homines Verendi’s plan to sell poisoned Krakoan drugs.

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