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Feb 10

Excalibur #18 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #18
“Mad Women”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1. Rogue, Jubilee, Gambit and Rictor look mournful, while members of the Quiet Council (plus Cypher and Krakoa) are seen in the background. This doesn’t have much to do with the content of the issue, and feels like it was meant to cover an issue set before Betsy’s apparent return. The solicitation for this issue read “As the Council makes moves to protect mutants in the Otherworld, Excalibur must determine the fate of Betsy Braddock”.

PAGE 2. Saturnyne receives a petition from Krakoa.

Saturnyne has three empty wine glasses at her feet and apparently hasn’t been eating, given Ryl’s comments. She’s clearly still annoyed that her scheme to get Brian back as Captain Britain didn’t work, and that she’s now stuck with an entire corps of Betsies, as seen in “X of Swords”. It’s not immediately clear what’s littering the floor around her – it might be the shards of the mosaic she constructed in “X of Swords”, and which she used to reconstitute the new Captain Britain Corps, if she smashed it again after its work was done.


Feb 4

X-Factor #7 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 4, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

X-FACTOR vol 4 #7
“Suite No. 7: Scientia Vincere Tenebras”
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

COVER / PAGE 1: A rampaging Polaris with Eye-Boy in the background. It doesn’t have that much to do with the story.

PAGES 2-3. Speed visits Prodigy.

This continues the subplot of exactly how Prodigy died and how he came to be resurrected. While it’s been suggested that Sofia might have engineered her own death so that she could be resurrected with her powers restored, this issue suggests that Prodigy genuinely believes that he died in circumstances he doesn’t remember, and was legitimately resurrected.

Prodigy claims that he died “during the same O.N.E. attack on Xavier’s Institute that wiped out a bunch of other kids”. In the previous issue, he was vaguer in talking to Sofia – he told her simply that he had “died around the same time as Loa and Rahne”. Taken together, this account is decidedly confused. Rahne died in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #16; Loa was reported dead in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #11 (both part of the Rosenberg run). There was no O.N.E. attack on the Institute at around that period. The Institute had been destroyed by the Horsemen of Salvation in Uncanny X-Men vol 5 #3. A group of O.N.E. Sentinels commandeered by the Reavers did attack the Institute in Astonishing X-Men vol 4 #16-17, but it didn’t seem to kill any of the kids.


Feb 3

Hellions #9 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

“Funny Games: Level 1”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1: Mastermind holds up a “missing” poster of Mister Sinister, who is holding up a “missing” post of Mastermind, who is holding… you get the picture. This layers-within-layers stuff doesn’t really appear in the issue, but maybe it’ll feature into the bigger picture.

PAGES 2-4. Mastermind drugs Mr Sinister.

Mastermind. Psychic illusionist Jason Wyngarde was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants back in the Silver Age. He also had a major role in the Dark Phoenix Saga, when his manipulations of Jean/Phoenix set her on the path to becoming Dark Phoenix. He drifted off the radar over the course of the 1980s, and he was finally killed off via the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men Annual #17 (1993). We already knew that he had been resurrected on Krakoa, since he showed up as one of the army of mutant psychics in Empyre: X-Men, but this is the first thing he’s done of any significance.


Jan 31

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1981

Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2021 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wolverine, x-axis

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
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980

The focus is very much off Wolverine in this year’s X-Men stories. But 1981 is also where most of Wolverine: First Class fits, so…

X-MEN vol 1 #141 and UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #142
“Days of Future Past”
by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin & Glynis Wein 
January & February 1981

Kate Pryde, the middle-aged Sprite from the distant future of 2013, swaps minds with her past self in order to warn the X-Men that the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – Mystique (Raven Darkhölme), Destiny (Irene Adler), Avalanche (Dominic Petros), Pyro (St John Allerdyce) and the Blob – are going to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly. In Kate’s timeline, this set off a chain of events resulting in an apocalyptic Sentinel-dominated America, and likely nuclear annihilation. The X-Men, now with Storm as field leader, duly defeat the new Brotherhood and save Kelly; Kitty and Kate swap back.

“Days of Future Past” is a classic X-Men story, but it’s not particularly central for Wolverine. He does get to use his senses to verify that Kate is the real thing, and to identify Mystique in disguise. And he has a brief argument with Storm, now that she’s the new authority figure in town. She orders him not to use his claws against opponents unless the circumstances are exceptional, and he grudgingly accepts the ruling. Interestingly, her argument is that he doesn’t need his claws because he has “speed [and] strength” as well as his adamantium skeleton, which reads as if they still hadn’t quite figured out exactly what his powers were at this point.


Jan 30

Excalibur #17 annotations

Posted on Saturday, January 30, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #17
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

The title is short for “Queen Elizabeth III”, presumably referencing the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II, often known as the QE2. (The normal abbreviation for the Queen is ER II, standing for Elizabeth Regina.)

COVER / PAGE 1. Betsy – or perhaps her counterpart – as queen of an alternate England, complete with the orb, sceptre and crown from the Crown Jewels.


Jan 29

Wolverine #9 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #9
“Bidding War”
by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert & Frank Martin

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine’s hand is auctioned off. Which rather spoils the reveal in the issue itself, but okay – it’s not the main reveal, after all. Some other superhero memorabilia can be seen on the other tables.

PAGES 2-4. Flashback: a Team X mission.

These flashbacks follow the same visual pattern as other flashback pages in the issue – a 16-panel grid with the key information picked up in a diagonal row of panels shown in different colours. It’s quite effective.

Jan 28

New Mutants #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #15
“The Kids Ain’t Alright”
by Vita Ayala & Rod Reis

COVER / PAGE 1. The New Mutants are pursued by… well, Cosmar from the look of it. Nothing like this happens in the issue. Interesting that Scout is shown alongside the team, though.

PAGES 2-3. Magik asks about the destruction of the Fort.

The Akademos Habitat is the area where the younger mutants are meant to live; this is the first time we’ve heard about the Fort, which has evidently been set on fire by other teenage mutants. This is the kind of vandalism that the New Mutants were referring in their memo to Professor X in the previous issue, the one that landed them with their mentor role.

Jan 27

X-Men #17 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

X-MEN vol 5 #17
“Empty Nest”
by Jonathan Hickman, Brett Booth, Adelso Corona & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Just a generic action shot of Storm (by the regular artist Leinil Francis Yu, who doesn’t draw this issue).

PAGES 2-4: Deathbird calls for help after Xandra is kidnapped.

“[A]nnihilation events and celestial disruptions.” The lettering has both in lower case, but this is at least alluding to the various Annihilation storylines in the cosmic books, and to the periodic appearances of Kirby space gods the Celestials.

Jan 26

Juggernaut #1-5

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 by Paul in reviews, x-axis

by Fabian Niceza, Ron Garney and Matt Milla

Is this an X-book? It’s from the X-office, and the Juggernaut is an X-character. But it doesn’t follow the style and layout of the Krakoa-era line – it has its own colour coded recap pages, I suppose, which are something of a nod to modern X-Men design sensibilities, but that’s about it. Professor X shows up in a couple of issues, but only to tell the Juggernaut that sorry, he’s not welcome on Krakoa, due to being a human.

That’s something of the point. The rest of the X-cast have decamped to Krakoa, and the Juggernaut – who was dutifully trying to reform the last time we saw him, and had briefly joined the Rosenberg-era “last X-Men” squad – is stuck behind in New York. And Fabian Nicieza is an X-Men writer of an earlier era, which in a meta sort of way feels very appropriate for where the Juggernaut is left.

Jan 24

X-Factor #1-5

Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2021 by Paul in reviews, x-axis

X-FACTOR vol 4 #1-5
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

The thing about bringing back X-Factor is that the X-Factor name has been attached to a whole bunch of unrelated concepts over the years. It’s been the original X-Men’s reunion; it’s been the US government mutant team; it’s been a detective agency; it’s been a corporate team. There’s not much common thread beyond some recurring characters.

For the Krakoan era, we’ve only really got Polaris as an established team member. And we’re calling back to the well-received detective run, by making the new X-Factor Investigations into the people who investigate missing persons on Krakoa.