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Dec 14

Fallen Angels #3 annotations

Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2019 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are from the digital edition. This isn’t a continuity-heavy issue, and a lot of it is taken up with a fight scene… so this is probably the shortest annotations post yet.

COVER / PAGE 1. Psylocke/Kwannon, sheathing a bloody sword, surrounded by blossom, and with another woman apparently training behind her.

PAGES 2-3. Apoth’s internal monologue.

Apoth – which gets the computer font lettering – gives us a weird speech where the main points are (a) he is God; (b) God transcends morality, and birth and death are neither good nor bad but just part of the scheme of things; (c) he is lonely; and (d) Psylocke is his “mother” who created him. He apparently wants to draw in Psylocke so they can be together.

The stuff about birth and death lacking moral content echoes Kwannon’s training material from earlier issues. More generally, Apoth seems to be saying that people turned him into a God, in order that he in turn could elevate them. (There’s a man-machine version of the Sistine Chapel fingers to emphasise the point.) Again, this is squarely in the Hickman era’s theme of technological progress versus evolution.

PAGES 4-5. Recap and credits. This is “Seppuku” by Bryan Hill and Szymon Kudranski. “Seppuku” is a form of ritual suicide by disembowelment, probably better known as “harakiri”.

PAGES 6-13. They fight.

Psylocke and X-23. This series continues to push the idea of X-23 being trained as a warrior by Psylocke. The problem is that this seems to ignore the level of experience that X-23’s previously been shown having, and to largely disregard her character development over the last few years. Either that or Psylocke’s advice is pitched wrong – no doubt Psylocke, a trained ninja with unique experiences, does have some things she could usefully share with X-23, but it’s coming across on the page as if she’s meant to be mentoring a rookie. I generally try and save that sort of comment for the reviews but… it’s difficult to read this book’s take on X-23 as a plausible one.

The Portuguese dialogue. It means what you’d expect from the context. X-23’s translations are accurate. The last line, which she doesn’t explicitly translate, is “Don’t be afraid. This won’t hurt.”

PAGES 14-17. Cable gets captured by Apoth.

Cable gets separated during the fight, and runs into… well, it looks like some sort of shadowy portal thing, I guess. This is a servant of Apoth, as clarified later. It says that he and Nate will have a future together, but that’s probably just promising some kind of a permanent bonding rather than having any particular prophecy or future-history in mind. When we see this thing later, it looks like a floating cyborg thingummy, rather than the hazy portal we see here – maybe it changes, maybe this is meant to be Cable’s point of view.

The thing which goes into the back of Nate’s head is presumably an Overclock device, and apparently Nate’s going to be very happy through losing individuality.

PAGES 18-19. Data page with “Excerpts from the scrolls of the exile.” It’s more stuff to the effect that conventional morality is a prison and we must transcend it to achieve self-actualisation. The butterfly image returns as well: once transformed, we will be butterflies and we will forget our past lives. The references to “the palm of the hand” and “weapon of the hand”, despite not being capitalised, obviously refer to the Hand ninja order.

The second page, however, seems to do a U-turn. It says that evil people will try to convince you that there’s no good and evil. Still, the writer remains concerned that comfort is a distraction from self-actualisation, which he compares here to the forging of a sword – making the point that it can only be done once.

“They will use the word ‘peace’ to mean war. They will use the word ‘freedom’ to mean slavery.” “Peace is war” and “Freedom is slavery” were two of the slogans of the Party in George Orwell’s 1984. The third was “Ignorance is strength”, which also seems to fit neatly with the Hand’s “trust what you’re told” training philosophy. This is all fairly familiar brainwashing / “gaslighting” stuff.

“Tamashii o ireru”. As best I can tell, this just means something like “putting in the soul”.

PAGES 20-25. X-23 and Psylocke decide to go after the abducted children before going after Cable.

It’s pointed out, very directly, that Apoth is really interested in Psylocke and has a thing about children. Perhaps less obvious is that in issue #2, it was X-23 who was interested in going after the children, and Psylocke who didn’t care unless Apoth was involved; those roles are reversed here.

Meanwhile, Apoth’s unspecified servant is shown more clearly. It’s a weird looking floating creature that says it wants to bring about a merger of humans, technology and mutants. In theory, this is interesting in terms of the wider Hickmanverse, since Apoth is trying to transcend the main divide that potentially destroys everyone – but being a villain, he’s going to overshoot the mark and make everyone the same.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers. The Krakoan reads “NEXT: NYMPH”.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    The art in this book… I think we can see by this point why so much of #1 took place in extreme closeup. :/

    [D’Armata’s colouring doesn’t help, but then it rarely does..]

  2. Moo says:

    Just curious, why is Kwannon going by “Psylocke”? It didn’t make much sense to me when Betsy went by that name (didn’t Mojo come up with that?) and it makes even less sense to me that Kwannon would take that name. Was “Cliché” already taken or something?

  3. Luis Dantas says:

    IIRC, she presents it (to Sinister?) as comeback of sorts towards Betsy.

    But I think that even she herself will readily admit that it does not make much if any sense.

    My take on it is that she has identity issues, understandably enough, and chooses to use Betsy’s former codename as part of some sort of personal strategy for dealing with them upfront.

  4. Dazzler says:

    It’s for marketing purposes. She can’t exactly say that on panel, but that’s literally the reason. Kind of curious why people keep isolating the myriad things that don’t make sense when so little of this makes sense. Listing plot points and character decisions that DO hold up to scrutiny would be much quicker.

  5. Moo says:


    I’m not actually reading these books. Haven’t been a regular reader in years now so I can only comment on what Paul writes about them. Not that I should have to explain myself to you.

  6. Moo says:

    Also, I already assumed it was a branding thing, but I was curious as to whether an in-story explanation had been given. Luis Dante got where I was coming from.

  7. Col_Fury says:

    Why does kid Cable have two fleshy arms here? His left arm has been robotic (or techno organic, or whatever) since at least his pre-teens.

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Artist’s/colorist’s fault. Kid Cable has previously been shown with a technoorganic arm (although his costume usually covers it, I think).

  9. Dave says:

    “It’s for marketing purposes. She can’t exactly say that on panel, but that’s literally the reason.”

    Well thanks for spelling that one out for us.

  10. Dazzler says:

    Everybody needs to go easy on ol’ Dazzler. There’s no in-story explanation for any of this. There’s no reasonable explanation for why villains need to be invited in the first place, let alone comprise most of the government so obviously there’s not going to be a reasonable explanation for why the husk Psylocke has been wearing for the last 30 years would choose to take on her name, tying her even further to Betsy and creating unnecessary confusion among anyone who knows either of them. Sheesh. This bold new direction is tearing us apart, guys!

  11. Jason says:

    Everyone go easy on me while I speak to you in the most condescending way possible.

  12. Dazzler says:

    I feel like that was directed at me…

  13. Moo says:

    Nah, that’s just the tint from your ruby quartz glasses tricking your brain. Not to sound like a snob, but you should already know this.

  14. CJ says:

    In this new Krakoa with resurrectable people, HoXPoX spelled out the possibility of multiple Betsies walking around, for example. Issues of identity provide an uneasy backdrop to the stories.

    So Betsy / Kwannon could actually be an interesting twist on that story. What does identity mean when you shared a body (or had your mind suppressed) for decades and suddenly you are pulled apart?

    So far I don’t we’re going to get that story, because Psylocke seems like the “purple mutant Elektra” that she’s always been, and the suppressed mind issue is effectively mind control, and I liked that story better with X-23.

    Too bad, because I think there’s an interesting story if you absolutely must bring back Betsy / Kwannon.

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Maybe Zeb Wells will tell that story in whatever Hellions turns out to be.

    Zeb Wells… Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time… A long time.

    Did he go indie after writing for Marvel? I don’t think he did anything with Marvel after his New Mutants, did he?

  16. Chris V says:

    I’m pretty sure that Zeb Wells retired from comics after leaving Marvel.


    There was an explanation given for why most of the ruling council is made up of villains.
    Apocalypse is important for Moira’s plan, along with Xavier and Magneto. Moira and Xavier needed him to be one of the leaders of Krakoa.
    They said that Sinister, Exodus, and Mystique were chosen because Moira and Xavier didn’t trust them. By putting them on the ruling council, they could be closely watched.
    Shaw (and Emma) are wealthy and have business experience, plus they are lacking in morals, so they were needed to run the drug trade.
    This was explained in the story.

    It hasn’t been completely spelled out to the reader, but there’s also a very reasonable justification that can be concluded for why the X-villains need to be part of Krakoa.
    You just need to think about it a little bit. It does make perfect sense.

  17. CJ says:

    Wow, didn’t know this was upcoming. That’s certainly a hodgepodge of characters. I liked his New Mutants, so will give it a shot.

  18. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Oh, and the dismantling of Fallen Angels continues – it’s just been announced that in March we’ll get a (still Kid) Cable series by Duggan and Phil Noto.

    Hopefully something better awaits X-23 as well.

    (It’s been mentioned months ago that Vita Ayala and Leah Williams will write x-books in ‘the second wave of Dawn of X’ – so far we got Wells and another book by Duggan announced).

  19. Dazzler says:

    @Moo: What you just said sounds even more like it’s directed at me because of the thing I had remembered/misremembered about Cyclops from the Lobdell era

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