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Aug 14

X-Force #11 annotations

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

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #11
“Red Dawn”
by Benjamin Percy & Bazaldua

COVER / PAGE 1. Colossus fights Omega Red. Omega Red does not appear in the issue, which always makes me wonder if plans changed after the cover was commissioned.

This is a “Path to X of Swords” issue. In this case, it’s fairly easy to see which element ties in to the crossover, but it still emerges from things that have happened in this book.

PAGES 2-5. The latest batch of lab-grown soldiers turn out to contain “Russian doll” assassins.

The soldiers. These are the bad guys that Wolverine and the Marauders defeated in Wolverine #3. They don’t look all that similar in the two issues, since Adam Kubert depicts them with some sort of swirly energy effect on their costumes, while Bazaldua just presents it as red armour-type stuff.

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Aug 13

Marauders #11 annotations

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

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

MARAUDERS #11
“To Live and Die on Krakoa”
by Gerry Duggan & Stefano Caselli

PAGE 1 / COVER. Kate’s funeral. Storm and Emma (with Lockheed) send her body out to sea. This doesn’t exactly reflect the scene in the issue, since Lockheed isn’t at the funeral (he doesn’t show up until later) and Emma doesn’t wear white in the story (but she’s more recognisable this way).

The issue has a “Path to X of Swords” logo in the top right, though nothing about the story is obviously linked to the crossover, as opposed to storylines that were already in progress.

PAGE 2. Nightcrawler writes another letter to Kate.

We saw another one of these letters in issue #10. In that issue, it was an email. This one seems to be hand-written.

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Aug 6

Empyre: X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EMPYRE: X-MEN #2
“Growing Strong”
by Gerry Duggan, Ben Percy, Leah Williams & Lucas Werneck

So far as the writing is concerned, Empyre: X-Men is basically a jam session for the writers of the regular X-books. So this isn’t a particularly serious book – as if that wasn’t obvious from the mutants vs zombies vs plants vs old women set-up – and we can take this one pretty quickly.

PAGE 1 / COVER. Angel and Magik face off against a Cotati.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits.

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Aug 5

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: FANTOMEX #1
“The World”
by Jonathan Hickman and Rob Reis

FANTOMEX. This is the first time we’ve seen Fantomex in the Hickman era, with a caveat that I’ll come to. Fantomex is a flamboyant super-soldier, artificially developed by the Weapon Plus project within The World, a sealed environment in which time moves faster or slower, depending on the operators’ preferences. He debuted in New X-Men #128 (2002) and became a regular in various second-tier X-books.

Fantomex was last seen in Charles Soule’s Astonishing X-Men run, where he allowed Professor X to take over his body in order to be reborn; his mind shown as being on the astral plane. This plotline, in which Professor X was acting distinctly out of character and looked very different, was completely dropped at the start of Jonathan Hickman’s run. In interviews, Hickman has indicated that Professor X was still technically in Fantomex’s body at the start of his run, but that this was all sorted out when he was resurrected into a cloned body following his assassination in X-Force #1. That begs the question of why Fantomex is back again – perhaps the X-Men restored him too, despite his professed wish to remain on the astral plane. (Fantomex was billed as a mutant in X-Force vol 4, the Si Spurrier run, so he should qualify for resurrection.)

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Jul 31

X-Men #10 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #10
“Fire”
by Jonathan Hickman & Leinil Francis Yu

COVER / PAGE 1. Vulcan, Petra, Sway, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Wolverine in the new Cotati garden on the moon. This is an Empyre tie-in, so it also gets the Empyre trade dress on top of the regular X-Men design.

PAGES 2-5. Flashback to how Vulcan survived.

This is another plot thread where the Covid-19 hiatus has played havoc with pacing. We saw Vulcan having this dream before in X-Men #8, which should have been fairly fresh in the memory. Vulcan is remembering falling into the Fault at the end of the 2009 crossover War of Kings. As I pointed out before, Vulcan wasn’t wearing his superhero costume when that happened. I assumed before that it was a symbolic page, but evidently that’s not it.

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Jul 30

Cable #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #2
“The Five In One”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

BEFORE WE WERE SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED… Cable #1 came out back in March, so over four months have passed between issues, through no real fault of anyone’s. This obviously isn’t ideal for story momentum, though. So… in issue #1, Cable beat Wolverine in a match in the Quarry, so Wolverine owes him a marker (whatever that means). Cable went on a date with Armor and Pixie (at the same time). Cable found a big sword stuck in the foot of a monster from the Arak Coral; the sword belongs to an ancient Spaceknight from planet Galador, and three other Spaceknights are coming for it. And somewhere else, the original Cable is in a demonic wasteland. Alright, let’s go.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable shows off his new sword, while the Stepford Cuckoos fawn over him. (Except for the one in front, who seems unimpressed. There’s no way of telling which one she is, but see page 11.)

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Jul 26

X-Men / Fantastic Four #4 annotations

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

This is the final issue of the miniseries. I’ll review the whole thing soon, but in the meantime let’s cover the last chapter. Like most final chapters, it doesn’t really call for much annotation…

COVER / PAGE 1. Dr Doom reaches out for Franklin; Kitty reaches through Doom to get to him first. All of the issues of X-Men / Fantastic Four have had similar group shots on the cover, but this is the first one to feature Doom and to have a black background instead of a white one.

PAGES 2-3. Everyone starts fighting Doom’s “Latviathan” Sentinels.

“they ignored my orders and murdered a Latverian mutant”. The X-Men did indeed ignore his orders, but they killed a mutant who had been sealed inside what appeared to be a Doombot. Pretty obviously, Doom was engineering this in order to have a pretext to set his Sentinels on them.

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Jul 25

Empyre: X-Men #1 annotations

Posted on Saturday, July 25, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EMPYRE is the big crossover event of spring summer 2020. It’s principally an Avengers / Fantastic Four story, so the X-Men are on the margins. This is a four issue tie-in series. X-Men #10 and #11 are also Empyre tie-ins, and X-Men #10 was originally supposed to have come out first, but, well, times change.

For the purposes of this series (at least so far), all you really need to know about Empyre is that a race of alien plants called the Cotati are invading Earth. The Cotati come from the Kree’s back story in 1970s Avengers stories, and traditionally they were cosmic peace types, so something is obviously up – but that’s probably not this book’s concern.

The fact that the Cotati are plant people might potentially play into the X-Men’s current reliance on Krakoan plant-based technology, but you surely didn’t need me to point that out.

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Jul 24

Hellions #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1: Kwannon / Psylocke and Wild Child fighting while Mister Sinister looks smug about it. This doesn’t actually happen until the last panel, so yay spoilers.

PAGE 2: Epigraph. A vaguely compassionate quotation from Nightcrawler (original, as far as I know). Another quotation from Nightcrawler also opened issue #1, which is interesting, since he’s not otherwise a presence in this issue.

PAGE 3: Recap page. Note that Kwannon is definitely now being billed as the new Psylocke. Oddly, Havok is described as “theoretically reformed”, which doesn’t really seem to fit with the back story.

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Jul 23

Wolverine #3 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine charges headlong towards people shooting at him. Generic image, basically.

PAGES 2-3. Wolverine drinks Magneto under the table and steals his helmet.

The Green Lagoon was previously established in X-Force as Krakoa’s main nightspot, as was the Blob‘s role as barman.

Magneto’s helmet has long been established as containing circuitry that shields him from telepathic attack (though this issue never actually spells that out in terms, and it’s not obvious what the point is of taking one helmet when his plan involves a whole team). It’s really not very in character for Magneto to get this drunk, and it’s not as if other books are showing him as particularly complacent on Krakoa – though he’s certainly right that he has plenty in common with Wolverine. Wolverine hasn’t really been a villain since debuting in 1975, aside from brief periods of mind control, but it’s fair to say that he was effectively a villain for stints of his back story when he was under the control of Romulus.

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