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Nov 12

Excalibur #14 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #14
“X of Swords, chapter 15”
by Tini Howard & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse, Captain Britain and Magik offer moral support to a terrified Cypher. This bears no resemblance to anything in the story, but Cypher does at least appear prominently.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Apocalypse. Obviously he’s referring to his relationship with Genesis, but the parallel here is the unlikely pairing of Cypher and Bei from later in the issue.

PAGE 3. Betsy psychically checks in with Jubilee.

We last saw Jubilee and Shogo in issue #11; they’re staying with the Priestesses of the Green while Shogo recovers from the injury he suffered in issue #9.

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Nov 11

Marauders #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #15
“X of Swords, chapter 14”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. A smug-looking Saturnyne stands over her unconscious, and presumably poisoned, guests. None of the Marauders appear here, and this is another of those “X of Swords” chapters which is an issue of the title in question in name only.

PAGE 2. Two epigraphs. The first is indeed a quotation from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Given the way this week’s issues play out, the point is presumably that the whole contest is essentially rigged by Saturnyne, or at least open to rigging. The second is from one of the Arakkii champions, who we know has a hundred followers that he raises from the dead with his healing powers every day.

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Nov 8

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1974-1975

Posted on Sunday, November 8, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age

After ten chapters of prehistory, last time we reached an Erik Larsen flashback story that ended with Wolverine arriving back at Department H, and being told that he was needed to fight the Hulk. Yes, we’re here at last.

Just 46 years to go!

And in this extra length episode, we’re going to cover Wolverine’s stories from 1974 and 1975. There aren’t many of them… or rather, there weren’t many of them. But a vast amount has been added around the edges over the years.

INCREDIBLE HULK vol 2 #180-182
“And the Wind Howls … Wendigo!” / “And Now … the Wolverine!” / “Between Hammer and Anvil!”
by Len Wein, Herb Trimpe & Jack Abel
October to December 1974

Wolverine is sent to face the Hulk (Bruce Banner), who is already locked in battle with the cursed Wendigo (at this point, a guy called Paul Cartier). Wolverine is given six hours to beat the Hulk, and is very keen to try and pull it off. Wolverine doesn’t know or care why the Hulk and the Wendigo are fighting – but basically, Cartier’s sister Marie is planning to cure him by magically transferring his curse to the Hulk, so she’s lured the two monsters together.

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Nov 5

Marauders #14 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #14
“X of Swords, Chapter 13”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Storm dances with Death. This issue is pretty straightforward, by the way.

PAGE 2: Data page. It’s the menu for Saturnyne’s pre-contest dinner, and pretty self-explanatory. The “raw delicacies originating from the Dryador Sea” are the last of their kind because the seas were destroyed by the Horde of Amenth when they invaded Dryador in X of Swords: Creation.

Saturnyne’s quote has fairly obvious religious overtones with the bread and wine. It’s vaguely possible that it’s meant to echo Proverbs 9:5 (“Come, eat of my bread / And drink of the wine I have mixed / Forsake foolishness and live / And go in the way of understanding”), which would cast Saturnyne as Wisdom, but more likely it’s just general Christian imagery.

PAGE 3. Credits.

PAGE 4. Recap page.

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Nov 4

X-Men #14 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #14
“X of Swords, Chapter 12”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse with his sword and a bunch of skulls.

PAGES 2-3: Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-7: Apocalypse and Genesis meet in the Starlight Citadel garden.

Genesis. This is the first time we’ve seen her speak at any length, and she seems to be if anything more “survival of the fittest” than Apocalypse himself. Presumably she was a big influence on him. She does seem to still have some genuine affection for him, but we’ll see later that she’s now at least merged with Annihilation, and driven by Annihilation’s goals.

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Oct 28

X of Swords: Stasis annotations

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X OF SWORDS: STASIS
“X of Swords, Chapter 11”
by Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz, Mahmud Asrar & Marte Gracia

COVER / PAGE 1: The ten champions of Arakko, some of them actually carrying their swords.

PAGE 2: Epigraph from Saturnyne. One of the big unanswered questions in this storyline is what exactly Saturnyne is trying to achieve by all this. In Chapter 1, the implication seemed to be that Saturnyne was faced with the prospect of a full scale war between the forces of Arakko and Krakoa, and offered a more symbolic mystical contest as a less destructive alternative. But it’s become increasingly clear that she has her own agenda.

For some reason, the small print on this page reads “Amenth sings.”

PAGE 3: Credits.

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Oct 25

The Incomplete Wolverine, part 10

Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H

We’ve reached the Silver Age. Not that Wolverine’s going to interact all that closely with the major tropes – he spends this period in Department H, and few writers have felt tempted to send Wolverine to mess around with mainstream Silver Age stories. But there are exceptions.

FURY vol 1 #1
by Barry Dutter & M C Wyman
May 1994

Take this one-shot about the origins of SHIELD. The Silver Age heroes are active by this point. Logan guest stars in one chapter, teaming with CIA Colonel Rick Stoner to recover James Hudson’s stolen prototype armour from HYDRA. The incident prompts the formation of SHIELD, with Stoner as its short-lived initial Director, but Logan’s not involved in any of that.

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Oct 23

Juggernaut #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, October 23, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

JUGGERNAUT #2
“How Green is my Valley”
by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

COVER / PAGE 1. The Juggernaut fighting the Hulk, obviously. This is a pretty straightforward issue, by the way – I don’t expect this to be a very long post.

PAGE 2. Recap page. The equivalent page in issue #1 was tinted red, to match the Juggernaut’s colours. This one is tinted green for the Hulk. If we’re doing a colour theme, then there’s still three issues to go.

We’re told that this issue takes place before Immortal Hulk #30. That’s a slightly odd reference point, because Immortal Hulk #30 was the middle chapter of a storyline. Presumably it’s nothing more than an acknowledgement that this story is lagging a bit behind the Hulk’s status quo in his own book.

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Oct 22

X-Men #13 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #13
“X of Swords, Chapter 10”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar and Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse and the original Horsemen stand over defeated opponents, with Apocalypse carrying his two swords.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Data page on Grasscutter and Godkiller. These two swords have nothing in particular to do with this issue; it’s just part of the series of data pages on the contest swords which have been scattered through the stories to date.

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Oct 21

Excalibur #13 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #13
“X of Swords, Chapter 9”
by Tini Howard, R B Silva & Nolan Woodard

COVER / PAGE 1. The two Captain Britains fight.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits

PAGES 4-6. The Braddock siblings arrive at the Starlight Citadel.

“A mutant who became a hero to a people who were not her own.” Betsy as Captain Britain, of course, although the claim that she’s a hero to the people of Britain has been more often asserted in this series than actually backed up. Many of the claims in this narration would carry a bit more weight if we ever actually saw Betsy doing anything in a national-hero vein. But broadly, it’s making claims about the weight of playing the role of a national symbol, and the downplaying of personal views which is necessary if you’re going to be all things to all people – to the extent that you can.

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