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May 23

Old Man Logan #1-4 – “Berserker”

Posted on Monday, May 23, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

I could have sworn the first trade paperback for this series was announced as covering the first six issues.  But issue #6 turns out to end halfway through the second storyline, so evidently not.  Never mind.  Let’s do issue #1-4, which covered the first arc, even if they did end months ago.

Wolverine is dead.  Fortunately, we have a spare.  This is the version of Logan from the 2008-9 arc by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, who resurfaced during Secret Wars and wound up stuck on the Marvel Universe after the climax.  In fact, since this is a direct continuation of the Secret Wars miniseries, it’s really issues #5-8, but so it goes.


May 20

Watch With Father #11: Chuggington

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016 by Paul in Watch With Father

So two months ago I said I would write something about Chuggington.  The thing is, Chuggington is an above average pre-school CGI cartoon about talking trains.  But it’s neither especially innovative nor is it astonishingly good.  What it is, really, is the polished modern incarnation of one of the classic tropes.  It’s most interesting as a point of comparison.

Chuggington is about the adventures of a group of talking trains in a city conveniently built entirely around trains.  The show follows a group of young trains – “trainees”, naturally – as they learn to, well, be trains.  And work together and be good friends and, you know, all that sort of thing.

Now, trains are very popular with the very young.  But they’re also a cornered market.  If you’re doing a pre-school series about trains then you are going head to head with one of the big guns – Thomas the Tank Engine.


May 15

House to Astonish Episode 145

Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2016 by Al in Podcast

After our diversion into the world of professional wrestling, we’re back to our regular comics chat this time out, with news of the sad and untimely death of Darwyn Cooke; the cancellation of Agent Carter; the renewal of Supergirl; the woes of Marvel’s Most Wanted; a bit of movie chat around Black Panther, Civil War, Suicide Squad and BvS; the end of Darth Vader; the upcoming Section 8 mini; and DC’s anti-sexual harassment measures. We’ve also got reviews of Punisher and Satellite Falling, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is showing real growth potential. All this plus artisanal badger-baiting, the Muppet Babies of Star Trek and a man tap-dancing next to a kitten.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And remember (even though we forgot on the actual podcast itself), we’ve got fab t-shirts available through our Redbubble store, which is perfect because it’s nearly summer and you have such nice arms.

May 5

Charts – April 2016

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2016 by Paul in Music

The charts of 2016 are a still pond into which a stone occasionally falls.  This makes them fairly tedious to follow week to week, but at least the big stuff stands out.  The Official Charts Company are well aware of this, and of the need to remind the public of the chart’s ostensible function as a barometer of public mood.  So it didn’t take long after Prince died before the OCC put out an excitable announcement, which several papers dutifully parrotted, that he was on course to have a number 1 hit.  Which he wasn’t, but we’ll come back to that.

First, this month’s actual number ones.  “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner hung on for another couple of weeks, managing a total of four.  And then we had “One Dance” by Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, which doesn’t have a video, so you’ll have to make do with Spotify.


May 3

All-New Wolverine #7 – “Father Lost”

Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

All-New Wolverine‘s next storyline leads into Civil War II.  But first, it has an issue to spare.  So, in this issue, Wolverine finds a lost squirrel.

More precisely, Wolverine teams up with Squirrel Girl to find a lost squirrel.  It surely goes without saying that this is an excellent idea.  Squirrel Girl is great – not just because her own series is one of the best things in the line right now, but because of the character herself.  After years languishing in obscurity as a footnote for Ditko enthusiasts, she’s turned into a surprisingly workable character who balances her relentless optimism, goofball enthusiasm and baffling naivety with a legitimate superhero core that makes her perfectly workable across the wider Marvel Universe.  She is a ray of sunshine wherever she goes.


Apr 26

All-New X-Men #8

Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

We’re in another of those odd lulls between storylines concluding, it seems, which I guess is to be expected when there’s a crossover on the go.  So let’s do All-New X-Men #8, which is a Beast solo issue guest starring Doctor Strange.

It gets off to a deeply aggravating start.  Remember how issue #7 ends with Cyclops apparently dead, crushed when the catacombs cave in on top of him?  Well, issue #8 just picks up with him in hospital.  I mean, yes, he’s unconscious and he’s badly injured and everything, but seriously.


Apr 25

Holds to Astonish – Episode 2

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016 by Al in Podcast, Wrestling

It’s been long-promised (warned of?), but now it’s here – Paul and I are taking a short detour into the world of comic book-influenced wrestling promotion Chikara Pro, catching up with commentator (and fellow comics podcaster) Leonard F Chikarason about Chikara’s upcoming UK tour, its new base of operations at the Wrestle Factory, its current Grand Champion Princess KimberLee and lots more besides. If you’re just here for comics and not up for wrestling chat, feel free to skip and come back in a few weeks, when we will be back to our regularly (un)scheduled broadcast.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter, over email or via our Facebook fan page, and remember, we’ve got super-fabulous shirts on our Redbubble store.


Apr 10

House to Astonish Episode 144

Posted on Sunday, April 10, 2016 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a big few weeks for comics news, and we’re running through the DC Rebirth announcements, the Image Expo presentation, Gerard Way’s new DC imprint, the sale of CBR to Valnet, the (very) minor trinkets of Marvel news from the past couple of weeks and a little bit of chat about Batman v Superman. We’ve also got reviews of The Fix and Black Panther, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is seeing stars. All this plus a series of adaptations of BBC science documentaries, a joke about pirates and non-relevant facts about the Circuit Bancaixa.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available through the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. As always, don’t forget that you can get hold of some swanky t-shirts and suchlike at our Redbubble store – it’s full of perfect summer weather gear.


Apr 3

All-New X-Men #4-7 – “Flesh Wounds”

Posted on Sunday, April 3, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Well, I say “#4-7”.  That’s kind of a guess, really.  The cover of issue #4 says it’s the start of a new arc, and it sure reads like it runs smoothly through to issue #7.  But apparently the trade paperbacks are taking the break at the end of issue #6.  And there’s certainly a gear shift there.  So maybe it’s meant to be issues #4-6 and I’m just chucking an extra issue on the end.  It’s hard to tell.  At any rate, issue #7 is the natural break point, whatever the trades may think, so we’ll run with that.

Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley are doing something of an old-school team book here, with multiple plot threads fading in and out of prominence.  In these four issues, two themes dominate: Laura’s self-destructive tendencies, and some of the X-Men’s villains from the early sixties.


Mar 30

Chikara 15.13: “Shock and Aww”

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

Yes, I know I said I was going to start skipping the lesser shows, and I know I haven’t skipped one yet.  But Shock and Aww is an important show in Chikara’s 2015 season, for reasons which will shortly become clear.  It also has a ludicrously catchy theme tune.  (“Wrestling is so much fun!  Shock and aww!  Shock and aww!”)  Anyway, we can at least start skipping past some of the less important matches.

It’s 14 June 2015, the day after the previous show.  We’re in the Bethel Park Family Center in Indianapolis.  It’s basically a basketball court.  There’s a decent size crowd, though you wouldn’t know it from the hard cam, which somehow contrives to keep most of them out of shot.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: The Arcane Horde v. Crown & Court.