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Dec 6

Excalibur #3 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 6, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Apocalypse takes Rictor under his wing.

PAGES 2-3. Recap page and credits. This is “Verse III: Three Covenants”, written by Tini Howard, with art by Marcus To, colours by Erick Arciniega, and letters by Cory Petit.

PAGES 4-6. Rictor is stuck indoors, unable to leave the house without starting earthquakes.

Rictor. Rictor was first introduced as one of X-Factor’s students in X-Factor #17 (1987), and went on to have stints in the New Mutants, X-Force, and X-Factor Investigations. He and Shatterstar were a couple for a long time. When we last saw him, in the recent Shatterstar mini, he was running a bar in New York, and he and Shatterstar were still on decent enough terms. The idea that his powers are out of control is new, and since he evidently has access to the internet, it’s unclear why he doesn’t simply contact the X-Men for help. But it’s evidently a plot point, since somebody keeps making psychic contact with him, asking him to “come home.” There’s a suggestion later that he’s worried about damaging Krakoa itself, which is understandable, but there’s clearly more to his power loss than that.

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Dec 5

Marauders #3 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Professor X, Iceman, Storm and Bishop stand ready to fight an unrecognisable, just-resurrected mutant as he emerges from his egg. But isn’t Professor X dead? Don’t get too excited – it doesn’t happen like this in the issue, plus it’s a flashback.

PAGES 1-3. Sebastian Shaw leaves his home on Krakoa, to attend the resurrection of his son.

This is a flashback to “several weeks ago”, though it’s rather confusingly done, since the captions read at first like Shaw’s internal monologue as he walks through the streets – actually, he’s narrating it from the present day.

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Dec 4

X-Men #3 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, page numbers are from the digital edition, and this post contains spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cyclops and Emma Frost riding what are presumably meant to be dinosaurs. Other than the fact that the story visits the Savage Land, this doesn’t have much to do with the content.

PAGES 2-3. Mysterious bad guys come through the gate to the Savage Land flower farms.

The Savage Land. The Marvel Universe’s hidden jungle where dinosaurs still exist (not that we see any in this story). We established back in House of X #1 that the X-Men had set up a location in the Savage Land, and evidently it’s where they’re growing all the farms for those pharmaceuticals they’re making. From the X-Men’s point of view, it’s presumably place where they can grow the all-important flowers and be relatively confident of being undisturbed. The “harvest centre” has mutants picking the flowers by hand – the first time we’ve seen Krakoans actually working, I think.

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Nov 29

Fallen Angels #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 29, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, page numbers are from the digital edition, and this will contain spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1. Psylocke (Kwannon), X-23 and Cable next to a cage full of children who they’re presumably about to rescue.

PAGES 2-5. Flashback. Pre-Psylocke Kwannon meets Yama, who’s on the run and wants her help, but she kills him and then fights two gunmen.

The other two gunmen are presumably the people Yama was on the run from. The general thrust of the scene, though, is that Kwannon is deeply unimpressed with Yama, who is trying to get out of the game, something that she sees (at this stage in her life) as generally disreputable and disastrous behaviour. As for why she kills the others, that’s presumably covered in the second flashback in the issue, when she explains that she read Yama’s mind and was touched by his desire to protect his wife and unborn son.

“The blade of Nyoirin. Matsu’o’s prize.” This must be fairly shortly before she gets body swapped with Psylocke. Nyoirin is the crimelord she was working for; Matsu’o Tsurayaba was her boyfriend.

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Nov 28

X-Force #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 28, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, page numbers go by the digital edition, and this will be full of spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1. Kid Omega and Wolverine fighting lab-grown thingies.

PAGES 1-2. The mutants of Krakoa gather around the fallen Professor X, and Magneto gives a brief eulogy.

“This was your plan, your island, your future.” Or such is the official line, anyway – this seems to have been at least as much Moira’s plan, but that’s secret. Naturally, Magneto makes the point that if Xavier can be brought back from the dead, nothing will change. The problem is that, as shown in House of X, Professor X himself has been essential to the process of restoring the backed-up minds from Cerebro, and no other telepath has been taught how to do it yet.

Professor X is seen without his Cerebro helmet for the first time in the Hickman run, outside flashbacks. Previous stories even went out of their way to avoid showing his face when he was unmasked, but there seems to be nothing unusual about his appearance here.

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Nov 27

New Mutants #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As we get further into the series, chances are these posts can start to get shorter. But meantime… as always, page numbers are from the digital edition, and this post contains spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1: The New Mutants get caught by Gladiator.

PAGES 2-3. Sunspot recaps the plot, and explains that the New Mutants are in Shi’ar jail, and his lawyer has arranged an early hearing.

“I had to lay it on pretty thick to convince my friends to leave paradise…” Not what we saw in issue #1. In fairness, that issue cut directly from Sunspot suggesting it to the team already being in space. So it could have happened the way Sunspot claims. But given the tone of all this, it’s more likely he’s talking himself up. Hickman’s Sunspot – and note Hickman is credited as sole writer on this issue – is much more of a comedy figure than we’ve seen in recent years in books like USAvengers. Then again, this is also more of a comedy book.

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Nov 22

Excalibur #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 22, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, page numbers are from the digital edition, and this post contains spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1. Captain Britain, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee and the Villain Formerly Known as Apocalypse battling Silkies outside the Excalibur lighthouse. Basically in the issue, except for the bit where Rogue’s awake.

PAGE 2. Flashback to the fourth century BCE. Apocalypse watches as two outcast mutant twins with navigation powers set sail on a makeshift raft.

And they drown, because navigation powers don’t help you build ships. Obviously, these two have some sort of significance, and we’ll come back to them on page 13. Judging from their clothes, they’re presumably druids – in which case they got kicked out of the druid tribe for being mutants.

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Nov 14

X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

I don’t plan to do every issue of the satellite books – certainly not in weeks when more than one book is coming out. But let’s stick with the core title. As always, page numbers are from the digital edition, and this post contains spoilers.

COVER / PAGE 1. Cyclops, Prestige and Cable fighting horrible monsters. A scene which actually takes place in the issue!

PAGE 2. Cyclops enlists Prestige and Cable to investigate a mysterious new island full of monsters which is heading towards Krakoa.

“Kids.” As you almost certainly know, Cable is Cyclops’s actual son, who grew up in the far future and returned as… well, it used to be an adult, but now it’s a teenager. Prestige (Rachel Summers) is the daughter of Cyclops and Phoenix from the Days of Futures Past timeline, so her father is a Cyclops, but not actually this Cyclops. She’s never been all that close to Scott in this timeline, and fell out with him rather badly at one point over his relationship with Emma Frost. But evidently she’s up for being a member of the Summers family these days.

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Nov 13

Fallen Angels #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are for the digital edition.

FALLEN ANGELS. The original Fallen Angels was a much-liked eight-issue miniseries from 1987-88, in which Sunspot and Warlock run away from the New Mutants and wind up on a team of misfits under the charge of the Vanisher, including Siryn, Madrox, and a bunch of characters rarely seen since. This was back in the days when X-minis were still uncommon enough to be a big deal. This series has no obvious connection with the original, beyond reusing a nice name.

COVER / PAGE 1. The cast in Tokyo.

PAGES 2-5. A young Apoth user seizes control of a Tokyo underground train and crashes it.

We’ll learn more about Apoth later in the issue – including its name – but it’s pretty clear that it’s the device which the girl places on her head, and which apparently gives her powers. We’ll also find out at the end of the issue that the girl seen here is Kwannon’s long-lost daughter. Again, more of that later.

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Nov 7

New Mutants #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are for the digital edition.

THE NEW MUTANTS: This is, technically, the fourth volume of New Mutants. The first is the original series which ran from 1983 to 1991 and featured the X-Men’s junior team. The second ran from 2003-4 and featured one of the trainee classes from the Morrison-era school – it’s the one that introduced characters like Elixir and Hellion. Volume 3, a reunion of the original team, ran for 50 issues between 2009 and 2012 (very few of which, to be honest, have stuck in the mind).

There’s also a few minis, all of which also feature versions of the original line-up. The launch of New Mutants in 1983 was effectively the point where the X-Men became a franchise. It’s interesting that this is the X-book that gets its opening arc co-written by Jonathan Hickman, along with regular writer Ed Brisson – though it’s this week’s X-Force that gets the deluxe edition treatment and seems to have the more important plot points. Hickman previously wrote both Cannonball and Sunspot in his Avengers run which, to be honest, I still haven’t read. Hickman’s idiosyncratic style of emphasis is quite noticeable in this issue’s dialogue.

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