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Aug 4

Uncanny Avengers vol 2-4 – “Apocalypse Twins” / “Ragnarok Now” / “Avenge The Earth”

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been some time since we checked in with Uncanny Avengers.  But then, it’s been some time since Uncanny Avengers finished a story.  These three volumes collect a story - not a multi-story arc, but a single story – that began in issue #5 last April (actually an epilogue in vol 1), and ran without interruption until issue #22 last week.

This is a story pitched unequivocally at an epic scale.  Multi-book crossovers aside, I can’t remember the last time we had a single story of this length.  Picking up stray plot threads from his X-Force run, Rick Remender starts relatively small, then dials up the scale to breaking point and beyond.


Aug 1

X-Men vol 3 – “Bloodline”

Posted on Friday, August 1, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

After the debacle of last week’s festival of obscurity, we have another decidedly underwhelming story destined straight for the “completists only” pile.  Though “Bloodline” scores over the Wolverine and the X-Men arc on the level of straightforward accessibility, it remains a clumsy affair with a lot of downright odd choices.

The plot is straightforward.  Baby Shogo’s father turns out to be a villain called the Future, recently escaped from jail.  The Future wants Shogo back, in order to raise him as an heir.  He tries to kidnap Shogo from the school, but ends up with Jubilee instead.  He tries to trade Jubilee for the kid, but the X-Men won’t deal.  They beat him.  He dies.  This takes five issues.


Jul 30

Charts – 27 July 2014

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Paul in Music

A very top-heavy chart this week, with all the new entries landing in the top 20.  Of mild note, Cher Lloyd’s comeback single “Sirens” – you know, her from X Factor - lands at 41, which I guess is actually marginally better than landing at 39, in as much as fewer people will notice it happened.

19.  Jamie N Commons & X Ambassadors – “Jungle”


Jul 26

Wolverine & The X-Men vol 1 – “Tomorrow Never Leaves”

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

It is difficult to know what to say about the first volume of Jason Latour’s Wolverine and the X-Men run.  Difficult, because it is difficult to know what on earth the story is meant to be in the first place.  I gave up on this arc in confusion halfway through issue #5, resolving to have another go when the final issue came out.  But reading it in one go didn’t make it any clearer.

I did eventually succeed in deciphering the plot.  It took me five read-throughs and 1,300 words of working notes.  Meanwhile, I had asked on Twitter whether anyone else had read the story and understood it.  Nobody replied to say that they had, but there were quite a few “thank god, I thought it was just me” responses.


Jul 23

Charts – 20 July 2014

Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by Paul in Music

We’ve got a pretty dead week here.  Not much in the way of new releases, and what there is, hasn’t exactly sustained its sales.

30.  Kove featuring Melissa Steel – “Way We Are”


Jul 20

Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: X-Men

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Marvel 100th Anniversary Special: X-Men is a truly misbegotten mess of a comic.  It is tempting to call it “misconceived”, but that would actually be unfair; the central concept of these specials is potentially interesting in various ways, and this story even starts off by attempting to take one of the interesting approaches.  But having done that, it steers vigorously into the first available ditch.

The high concept of these specials is supposedly to imagine what Marvel’s flagship titles might look like in 2061.  Crucially, it is not meant to be projecting fifty years into the future of the characters; the assumption is that the sliding timeline remains in effect, so we’re rather less far advanced into the characters’ future.  And the story here dutifully reflects the wonkiness of Marvel time: most characters are slightly and non-specifically order, while Shogo is now an adult.


Jul 20

Battleground 2014

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, Wrestling

For the WWE right now, the unfortunate reality is that perhaps their most compelling storyline is “how is the WWE Network doing”, a question that certainly has shareholders on tenterhooks.  While the next subscriber number will be out shortly, the rather desperate tone of the on-air promotion gives the distinct impression that it’s not going to be spectacular.  It could yet turn out that effectively dumping PPV in favour of a subscription streaming service is a great move that was simply ahead of its time; but right now, it’s looking increasingly as if the WWE is learning the hard way what happens to early adopters who were a little too early.

In the meantime, we have a show this weekend, which will be somewhat of a time filler, because the next two shows are rather higher priorities – August is Summerslam, which is traditionally one of the biggest shows of the year, and September has to hook the people who subscribed for Wrestlemania and will be coming up for their six month renewal.  That said, the card is not without its interest; while there may not be much going on in story terms, it has plenty of potential to be a strong show in the ring.  You’ll note the near-total lack of gimmickry on this show, which tends to suggest that they’re saving all that stuff for Summerslam.


Jul 14

Charts – 13 July 2014

Posted on Monday, July 14, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the second week to factor streaming into the chart, and the muted start for the new format continues, with one of the dullest charts of the year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

38.  Matrix & Futurebound featuring Tanya Lacey – “Don’t Look Back”


Jul 12

All-New X-Men vol 5 – “One Down”

Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Well, more or less.  The fifth All-New X-Men collection actually starts with issue #25, the jam issue, which we’ve covered already.  But after that, it’s the four-part Brotherhood storyline, which finished this week.

Taken at face value, this is a straightforward story where the Brotherhood – the future version introduced in “Battle of the Atom” – attack the X-Men’s headquarters, try to kill them all, and fail.  It’s interwoven with some flashbacks (or should it be flash forwards?) to the Brotherhood’s back story, which principally serves to establish that the Brotherhood is really just Charles Xavier Jr and Raze, with everyone else having been under Xavier’s mental control all along.


Jul 8

Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus – The Vote Result and Next Step

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by Al in Uncategorized

Evening all, just a quick update – if you’re interested, my kid arrived last Wednesday, she’s called Lana Quinn Kennedy and she’s world champion at peeing when you take her nappy off to change her. All is well. We are very, very tired.

But anyway, that’s not what you’re wondering about. You’re on tenterhooks to find out which issue, out of the six nominees for HtA official choice, is the one that we’re going to be asking you to email Marvel about.

Some of the options (Spectacular Spidey, with two votes, and Gen X and Excalibur, with five votes apiece) fell a bit short. Fantastic Four, with eight votes, did well, and for a while it had some real momentum behind it. In the end, though, it came down to Damage Control and Thunderbolts. The winner, with 15 votes to its opponent’s 12, was…


(talent show pause)


Thunderbolts v1 #1

The next step is for us to let Marvel know that it’s something that we think deserves inclusion in the book. The way to do that is to email and nominate that issue. Feel free, of course, to nominate any others you think should be in there, so long as you remember to stick Tbolts 1 on your list.

The issues that were nominated were chosen on the basis that they were ones that spoke to the variety and fun of Marvel’s works over the past 75 years, but were also ones that were perhaps less likely to make it in as “automatic” choices. Hopefully we’ll get to see Thunderbolts make the cut; if not, nobody can say we didn’t try!