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Jan 1

Magneto vol 2 – “Reversals”

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

One more volume, and then we can lay Axis to rest for now.  (There’s still the All-New X-Factor tie-ins to come, as part of that book’s final collection.)

The first volume of Magneto was a strong start, setting a clear and distinctive tone.  It backed off from the familiar locations of the Marvel Universe, it steered clear of familiar superhero tropes, and it generally set about being a bleak character study of a man who had taken on many of the techniques of those he claimed to hate, and who seemed completely isolated from those he claimed to represent.

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Dec 29

Avengers vs X-Men: Axis

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

I already wrote about this series halfway through its run, and not much has changed since then (and, as previously noted, we’re behind in the reviews department) – so this is one I can probably keep short.

For the assistance of anyone stumbling upon this post years after the plot has faded from memory, Axis is the lynchpin series of a three-month crossover in which the Avengers, the X-Men and a bunch of random villains team up to fight the Red Skull, and can only defeat him by using magic to invert the morality of everyone in the area.  So the Avengers and the X-Men are both evil now and they have a big fight and the villains stop them because they’re heroes now and basically everything is back to normal at the end except for a few characters who aren’t.

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Dec 29

Charts – 28 December 2014

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the annual dead chart for Christmas week.  The British care about the Christmas Number One, but that means the record that’s number one on Christmas Day, i.e. the one that sold best in the week preceding Christmas.  Christmas week itself, nobody cares about in the slightest – and so nobody releases anything, except for oddballs hoping to sneak a number one hit in an easy week.  These days, it also tends to be a chart of rebounding long-running hits, presumably because of people spending their Christmas gift vouchers and buying music for their new gadgets.

For those who really care, the major rebounders this year are: “Waves” by Mr Probz (49-39), “Rude” by Magic! (54-36), “Sing” by Ed Sheeran (37-27), “Blame it on Me” by George Ezra (34-24), “Budapest” by ditto (28-21), “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran (27-18), “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift (32-15), and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj (23-11).

That leaves us with one re-entry, one new entry, and a change of number one, so this is going to be a short one…

38.  Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

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Dec 28

Storm vol 1 – “Make It Rain”

Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Well, we’re miles behind with reviews, aren’t we?  Axis finished up this week, as did the Annuals story “The Secret Life of Eva Bell”, and Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy.  Volume 2 of Magneto actually wrapped up last month, it’s been over a week since Storm #6 came out – which wouldn’t be so bad, except the first volume collects issues #1-5.  We’ll catch up with these over the coming weeks.

Let’s start with Storm.  Unlike some of the X-books I’ve written about lately, Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez’s series has some vocal support.  That takes the form of a pre-emptive campaign to save it from cancellation, which, given that the November issue was at 122 on the Diamond charts, is hardly an unreasonable concern.

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Dec 22

Charts – 21 December 2014

Posted on Monday, December 22, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the Christmas chart – and once again, Britain sticks to the script.  This will be short; it’s a very quiet week for new releases, though a couple of acts have given it a punt.  The back catalogue Christmas songs already entered a few weeks ago – “Fairytale” is the highest, at 11 – and only one of this year’s online campaigns results in a top 40 entry.  (“Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden just missed out, at 44.) So the bottom half of the top 40 is all reshuffling, and we can jump straight to…

14.  Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson – “Go All Night”

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Dec 21

X-Men vol 4 – “Exogenous”

Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

We don’t get many stories that focus on Rachel Grey these days.  I suspect that’s because she looks increasingly like she could have been productively put out to pasture some time ago.  When she was added to the cast back in the 80s, she was a high concept character – a refugee from a nightmare future that the X-Men had already averted, where she had been the daughter of the then-deceased Jean Grey, and thus the presumptive heir to the Phoenix.

That gave her a bunch of potential story directions, but they’ve pretty much been followed through to their logical conclusions.  She came to terms with being the next Phoenix; her home world got a resolution in which the day was saved.  Her mother came back (and then died again).

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Dec 16

Charts – 14 December 2014

Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the week before the Christmas chart, and so effectively the last regular chart of the year – though by this time the regular music industry has already gone into its festive shutdown.  The result is, with one unusual exception, a week of comparatively niche releases that did well at the start of the week and tailed off badly, and the usual upward march of the Christmas classics.

39.  Ed Sheeran – “Sing”
37.  Ella Henderson – “Ghost”

A couple of long running records, both number 1s in June, re-entering at the bottom end due to lack of competition from new releases.  “Sing” joins “Thinking Out Loud” and “Don’t” to give Sheeran three songs in this week’s chart.  Henderson’s current single “Yours” drops to 20 this week.

35.  Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

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Dec 14

WWE TLC

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

If the WWE Network does indeed launch in the UK at the start of January as suggested – and reportedly that’s the date that was already agreed with Sky when the contract was renewed a few months back – then in theory this should mark the end of PPV in the UK.    Well, as long as you have decent broadband and aren’t deterred by the whole idea of internet streaming – which admittedly still leaves a significant chunk of the audience.  And oddly, TLC isn’t a PPV in the UK – it’s airing on Sky Sports.  So really, UK PPV as we know it ended in November.  Still, you get the point.

This seems to make TLC a suitable place to draw a line under these columns, since, point one, we’re now talking about network specials rather than PPVs, and point two, the current quality of WWE television is so mind-numbing that the build to these shows is more of a chore to sit through than a pleasure to write about.  I’m thinking I might do some Chikara coverage in 2015 instead – much less viewed, but vastly more interesting to write about.

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Dec 12

Amazing X-Men #14 – “The Worst Of Us”

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Oh good, another Axis tie-in.  We definitely haven’t flogged the inversion horse to death yet.  I’m so glad we’re getting it again here.

Let’s recap why these tie-ins largely don’t work.  The whole “inversion” angle is fine for a few issues of Uncanny Avengers where you camp it up to the nines and have the heroes go crazy so that other people have to step in and save the day.  But when you try to extend it beyond that, you find that it kind of works with the villains, but it’s a lost cause with the heroes.

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Dec 11

Charts – 7 December 2014

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Paul in Music

Say, you don’t think it’s the first chart of December, do you?

39.  Wham! – “Last Christmas”

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