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Mar 28

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 annotations

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Nightcrawler sees Phoenix and Thunderbird in the X-Men’s overgrown mansion.

PAGE 2. Establishing shots of the Mansion.

This is the X-Men’s traditional base, now abandoned and overgrown with Krakoan plant life, which we last saw in House of X #1. Panel 1 is the front of the Mansion; panel 2 is Xavier’s study; panel 3 is the Danger Room; panel 4 is Cerebro; panel 5 is the main hall, with the Krakoan gate in the middle. Normally in the Hickman era the Krakoan foliage is portrayed as lush and positive, but here (when it comes directly up against a symbol of traditional X-Men-ness) it’s a sign of dilapidation. An unanswered question is precisely why the X-Men have abandoned the Mansion entirely. You’d think they’d have more attachment to it than this.

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Mar 28

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 annotations

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s some of the X-Men and some of the Fantastic Four, isn’t it?

PAGES 2-6. The X-Men shoot down the Fantastic Four and capture them.

Hey, it’s a team-up series, they’ve got to fight. This is going to be a pretty short post, if you hadn’t figured.

We’ll see in the next scene that the FF get shot down over Doom’s island, which is where they were heading at the end of issue #2, but still feels a bit convenient.

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Mar 27

Wolverine #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. And this one, we can take fairly quickly.

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine imagines himself being attacked by villains (under the Pale Girl’s influence).

PAGES 2-4. The Pale Girl makes the Marauders turn over a crop of petals.

Pretty self-explanatory. The clear implication is that the Pale Girl controls people using music, and that Bishop is initially unaffected because he has headphones on. Presumably he’s starting to succumb by the end, when he sees Kitty as a zombie.

PAGES 5-6. Recap and credits. The story is “Your Own Worst Enemy” by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin.

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Mar 26

Hellions #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

HELLIONS. The original Hellions were Emma Frost’s trainees when she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club – the New Mutants’ opposite numbers, basically. Most of them were killed in 1991, though they’ve presumably been revived now. The name has been reused several times before. Emplate had a team in Generation X who were called Hellions in solicitations; a version led by King Bedlam showed up in late 90s X-Force; a squad at the X-Men’s school took the name in New X-Men in 2004; and Kade Kilgore’s version of the Hellfire Club had its own Hellions in Wolverine and the X-Men. This team… has no particular connection with any of the above.

This is the first Hellions series, though the New X-Men version had their own miniseries in 2005 (called New X-Men: Hellions).

COVER / PAGE 1. The team.

PAGE 2. Epigraph, attributed to Nightcrawler. Essentially he’s saying that an attempted utopia (like Krakoa) has to find something to do with the bad guys.

PAGES 3-7. The X-Men take down the Hellfire Cult, and Havok maims some of them.

Havok seems to be briefly possessed when he attacks the Cult members, and has no memory of it afterwards.

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Mar 26

X-Men #9 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

Five books this week, so I’m going to try and take some of these fairly quickly… but, well, I’ve said that before. Whether there are actually going to be any comics next week is an open question at this stage, but I’m working on the assumption that digital distribution is likely to continue. If not… well, even more time to catch up on reviews….

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s lots of characters from the issue posing more-or-less dramatically.

PAGES 2-6. Thousands of years ago, the Kree Supremor gives the go-ahead to the King Egg.

This is largely exposition about the Brood and the King Egg. Broadly, the idea is that Kree scientists have stumbled upon the Brood and have come up with the idea of trying to weaponise them by displacing the Queen with their own King, and seizing control of the Hive. Planning for the long term, the Kree figure this will be useful in several thousand years time, when the Brood hive is larger. Rather implausibly, the Kree scientists don’t explain what a King Egg actually is and how it works (because that would spoil the ending), and nobody asks them.

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Mar 20

Excalibur #9 annotations

Posted on Friday, March 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Excalibur on one side, the Starlight Citadel in the middle, and Saturnyne on the right. Captain Britain has her Concerned Face on.

PAGES 2-3. Apocalypse tells Gambit about his plans.

Basically, Apocalypse is going to use the Warwolf skulls from the previous issue to cast a spell that will let Excalibur reach the Starlight Citadel.

“Morgan Le Fay is defeated. King Jamie Braddock sits on the throne of Avalon.” In issues #1-6.

“We have no war with Opal Luna Saturnyne, and yet the Starlight Citadel remains hidden to us…” Opal Luna Saturnyne is a Captain Britain character dating back to the Dave Thorpe/Alan Davis run in the early 80s Marvel UK weekly Marvel Super-Heroes. She was introduced as the Omniversal Majestrix, a resident of Otherworld who was answerable only to Merlyn, and oversaw the Captain Britain Corps. Broadly, she’s a “guardian of the multiverse” kind of character. The original Excalibur run establishes that she’s a counterpart of Courtney Ross, Brian Braddock’s girlfriend from early Captain Britain stories. The Starlight Citadel, Saturnyne’s floating castle, was added in Alan Moore’s Captain Britain run (in the Marvel UK weekly The Daredevils).

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Mar 19

X-Force #9 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

I was going to start doing reviews of the first volumes of the individual titles last weekend but, well, the pace of events has proved something of a distraction. No doubt there will be plenty of time for it in the time ahead. In the meantime, let’s continue with what can’t help feeling a little bit like telegrams from a bygone era…

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino, Wolverine and Kid Omega in the Terra Verde jungle. Domino is looking especially 90s here, and you’d think she’d be more bothered about that snake climbing up her leg. It isn’t what she wears in the actual story either… Admittedly, Wolverine is similarly underdressed

PAGES 1-3. Wolverine and Daken play Spin the Bottle Russian Roulette in the Green Lagoon Tiki Bar.

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Mar 13

Cable #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE. This is the fourth volume of Cable. The first is the 1990s run which lasted 108 issues. The second is the 2008-9 run where Bishop chases him and Hope through time. The third is a miniseries from 2017. (There’s also an early 90s mini called Cable: Blood & Metal, and a Cable & Deadpool ongoing.)

Cable’s back story is notoriously convoluted, and recent events haven’t helped. In very broad outline, Cable is Nathan Summers, the son of Cyclops and his first wife Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey). For various reasons, assorted A-list villains were very interested in getting their hands on him. In the end, baby Nathan was (a) infected with a techno-organic virus that transformed part of his body and gave him his cyborg appearance, and (b) sent into a far future timeline ruled by Apocalypse, where he was raised by two foster parents (who were themselves actually a time travelling Scott and Jean – I told you this was all insanely complicated).

From there, Cable’s history used to involve him leading rebel forces against Apocalypse, eventually returning the present as a time traveller, and founding X-Force. However, in the recent Extermination miniseries, a second, teenaged Cable shows up from the future, and kills the original. This teenage Cable is the one we’re now following. Flashbacks in the previous run of X-Force attempt to explain this further. The long-term presence of the Silver Age X-Men in the present day (in All-New X-Men and X-Men Blue) was causing damage to the timeline, which Older Cable ought to have done something about, but didn’t. Teen Cable killed him in order to take his place and sort out the timeline problems. Why that meant killing the older Cable, and why everyone else was ultimately okay with it, is still a bit vague (if not downright screwy).

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Mar 12

New Mutants #9 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. A fever-dream version of the New Mutants.

PAGES 2-3. A mutant cowers in a tunnel in a facility in Carnelia.

The mutant is named later in the issue as Tashi Repina, and she’s 13. She seems to have made a hole in the fence somehow, and taken refuge in… some sort of outflow pipe? She’s leaving a trail of something behind her, but it’s hard to tell what it’s meant to be – some sort of goop caused by her transformation of the world around her, I suppose.

Carnelia. Another of Marvel’s many, many fictional microstates from the back catalogue. This one comes from Iron Man stories in the late 1970s, when it was a generic Russian satellite state. It’s popped up a few times since then.

Pershyy Misto is its established capital city – though this doesn’t really look like it’s in the city.

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Mar 11

X-Men #8 annotations

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

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Cyclops and the New Mutants (specifically, Magma, Mirage, Wolfsbane and Magik) versus the Brood.

PAGE 1. Magma asks Mirage about Rahne’s egg.

The Akademos Habitat / The Sextant. The area of Krakoa where the members of the former teen teams live, including the New Mutants, as seen in their book.

Magma was a member of the classic New Mutants, but didn’t go on their recent trip to space, which was depicted in the Hickman-written New Mutants #1-2, #5 and #7. Mirage did.

The King Egg. This is the King Egg that the Starjammers were trying to steal in New Mutants. We’ll find out later that it’s a Brood King Egg. The Brood are insectoid aliens who go around planting eggs in people in order to turn them into more Brood; they’ve been major X-Men villains since the 1980s.

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