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Mar 24

Cable #9 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #9
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable and Esme share a drink in the Green Lagoon, while a woman with a logo for a head stands over them. Okay, it’s Emma and her head is actually off the top of the page… but it does look a little odd.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from an anonymous customer at the Green Lagoon, basically making the point that nobody really treats Kid Cable seriously. Partly that’s because he doesn’t have the gravitas and experience of the familiar version, but we’ve also seen before that Cable himself has serious doubts about whether he’s really up to the role that he’s taken on.

PAGES 3-5. Cable and Esme deal with an A.I.M. submarine.

As any longtime Marvel reader will know, these guys are from A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), which is basically a group of scientists who want the world to be ruled by a scientific meritocracy (i.e., them). They’re serving here as generic walk-on villains.

Cable started this series dating all five of the Stepford Cuckoos – or perhaps just four of them, given that Phoebe is dating Quentin Quire – but we seem to have quietly settled down to just him and Esme. Back in issue #2, Esme is the one that Emma Frost singled out in her conversation with Cyclops. (“Do not let him [Cable] break their hearts, except Esme. She needs it, Scott.”) Emma’s reaction to Esme’s behaviour here should be seen in that light.


Mar 19

Charts – 19 March 2021

Posted on Friday, March 19, 2021 by Paul in Music

Ah, so it’s that week. “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo has now been out for 11 weeks and so – since it passed its peak several weeks ago – it shifts to the lower streaming points for older records. This rule, designed to stop the top end of the chart being logjammed with older singles, goes unnoticed most of the time, because it normally affects records that were on their way down anyway. With number 1s, its more of a problem, since it has the absurd consequence of a song dropping direct from 1 to (in this week’s example) 18. Which is to say, you can see the strings a bit too obviously.

Anyway, that leaves the door open for…

1. Nathan Evans, 220 Kid & Billen Ted – “Wellerman”


Mar 18

X-Force #18 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

X-FORCE vol 6 #18
“Shadows of the Mind”
by Benjamin Percy, Garry Brown & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1.  Kid Omega… um, crying psychic energy, I suppose. Explosively.

PAGES 2-4. Black Tom is attacked.

Obviously, this is the psychic creature that XENO created using Kid Omega’s body. It’s not really clear to me how we’re meant to read this scene – whether Black Tom is cut off from part of Krakoa, or whether he’s connected to Krakoa but Krakoa can’t sense the psychic entity, or whether being unable to sense something on Krakoa has become something nightmarishly wrong for him.

The opening line, with Tom talking in his sleep, refers to his long-running partnership with Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. There are some stories that portray them as extremely close friends.

We’re told later on that the psychic entity’s attacks are tied to “the unguarded mind”, which usually means a strong emotional state. In Tom’s case, however, it seems to be just sleep.


Mar 17

S.W.O.R.D. #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

S.W.O.R.D. #4
“The Krakoan Sun”
by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti & Marte Gracia

COVER / PAGE 1: Knull corrupting Cable. Yes, it’s still a King in Black tie-in.

PAGE 2. Cargill’s monologue.

Cargill is stuck inside Knull’s black symbiote goop stuff, following the previous issue. She experiences this as a sensory-deprivation void, which she’s trying to find a hook for. We can see on the next page that she’s not actually surrounded, so this must be some sort of mental effect that the symbiotes have.

When she says that “something stole Cable’s face”, she basically means that one of Knull’s symbiotes has taken him over.

PAGES 3-4. Symbiote Cable rants at Manifold.

Manifold addresses this character as Knull later in the issue, so we should presumably take it that Knull is speaking through the symbiote.


Mar 15

Wolverine: Black, White & Blood

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2021 by Paul in reviews, x-axis

November 2020 to March 2021

An anthology title! We haven’t had one of those in a while.

Marvel’s track record with anthology titles is patchy to say the least. X-Men Unlimited used to serve as the X-books’ anthology, and to put it politely, it was a mixed bag. But, different times. And in an age when the ongoing titles are tied into a big picture, perhaps there’s a gap for stories that are more freestanding.

Even so, Black, White & Blood seems uncertain about what it’s aiming for. The gimmick here is to tell Wolverine stories, drawn from any point in his history, but with the art in black and white with only red as colouring. So black, white and blood, you see.

And… is that a good idea? For a series?


Mar 14

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1984

Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine, x-axis

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983

Welcome to the era of event comics.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #178
“Hell Hath No Fury…”
by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr, Bob Wiacek, Brett Breeding & Glynis Wein
February 1984

Wolverine doesn’t appear in the January issue, in which Lilandra and Binary leave with the Starjammers, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack Kitty and Colossus.

In this issue, the X-Men come to the rescue. It turns out to be a diversion to draw the X-Men away from the Mansion, so that Mystique can kill Professor X as revenge for taking Rogue away from her. Rogue talks Mystique down, and Mystique spares Professor X in exchange for safe passage for the Brotherhood.

So not a Wolverine story, then. He does note that Storm is taking on some of Yukio’s traits, and suggests that he doesn’t think this is a great idea – understandably, since Yukio’s role in the Wolverine miniseries was to offer the temptation of succumbing to his instincts.


Mar 13

Charts – 12 March 2021

Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2021 by Paul in Music

She’s not going without a fight.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers Licence”

The midweeks had Olivia Rodrigo being dethroned by “Wellerman”, but in the end she hangs on for a ninth week – by a margin equivalent to 742 sales. This surely has to be the end, right?

“Wellerman” has spent seven weeks now hovering between 2 and 3. It finally gets a proper video this week, which is, um… well, it’s so obviously thrown together that you have to wonder why it took seven weeks to appear. Covid issues, maybe. “The Business” by Tiesto climbs 4-3, which is his highest position since 2014. And the big release of this week…

4. Drake – “What’s Next”
6. Drake featuring Rick Ross – “Lemon Pepper Freestyle”
10. Drake featuring Lil Baby – “Wants and Needs”

That’s all three of the tracks from his EP “Scary Hours 2”. I struggle to get worked up about Drake, to be honest, but there’s no doubt that he’s still in the peak phase of his career. The two B-sides are somewhat more interesting than some of his singles have been, but this is very much a relative thing.


Mar 11

X-Factor #8 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FACTOR vol 4 #8
“Suite No. 8: Scio Me Nihil Scire (Tritone Substitution – Jazz Arrangement)”
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Factor overshadowed by the Morrigan.

PAGE 2. Aurora and Northstar watch TV.

This scene takes place just before the final page of the previous issue. That final page showed Daken, Prodigy and Eye-Boy hiding from the Morrigan in the living room, with Rachel, Polaris, Aurora and Northstar already dead.

Aurora is wet because she was in a hot tub with Daken, in the immediately preceding scene of the previous issue.

PAGES 3-4. Rachel finds Eye-Boy.

It’s the old trope that animals can sense things that humans can’t, although in this case it’s Amazing Baby detecting something that the normal-by-Krakoan-standards Rachel can’t pick up.


Mar 10

Children of the Atom #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

by Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang & Marcelo Maiolo

Children of the Atom. This is the first series of that name (though there was a miniseries called X-Men: Children of the Atom in 1999). “Children of the Atom” used to be part of the X-Men’s intro text back in the 70s, the original idea being that the upsurge in mutants was connected with the development of nuclear weapons.

The central characters never actually call themselves by this name in the story, but I’ll use the name anyway for ease of reading.

COVER / PAGE 1. A straightforward pin-up of the cast, giving nothing away beyond the very obvious parallels to existing X-Men characters.

PAGES 2-3. The Children of the Atom interrupt an armed robbery.

Hell’s Belles. As explained later int he issue, the three villains seen here are Flambé (with the flamethrowers), Vague (in the white hood) and Tremolo (the, er, other one). Their only significant previous appearance was in X-Factor #80-81, back in 1992. Despite that, the information we’re given later on about their depowering is established canon – all three appear on the long list of depowered mutants in New Avengers #18, and their teammate Briquette doesn’t. Briquette showed up, with powers intact, attending a mutant support group in Domino Annual #1.


Mar 5

Charts – 5 March 2021

Posted on Friday, March 5, 2021 by Paul in Music

Well, this is quiet.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers Licence”

Eight weeks. As mentioned last week, it’s the longest run at number 1 since the tail end of 2019, when “Dance Monkey” managed 11 weeks. And once again, it’s a long way down to the highest new entry. In the meantime, there’s just a bit of position-switching among the established hits. “Friday” by Riton x Nightcrawlers climbs 7-5, and “Goosebumps” by Travis Scott & HVME climbs 9-8. “Your Love (9pm)” by ATB, Topic & A7S climbs 15-12. “Up” by Cardi B is up one place to 16, “Commitment Issues” by Central Cee up 1 place to 17. We hit a peak of excitement at number 19, which “My Head & My Heart” by Ava Max climbing a whole six places – which is still only the peak that her spring 2020 single “Kings & Queens” reached.

20. Joel Corry x RAYE x David Guetta – “Bed”