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Nov 16

House to Astonish Episode 187

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2020 by Al in Uncategorized

A compact and bijou hour-and-change of comics chat for you this time round, with discussion of Marie Javins’ promotion to DC EIC, John Nee being let go as Marvel Publisher, and the announcements of Truth & Justice, X-Men Legends, Hollow Heart and Geiger. We’ve also got reviews of Punchline and Hellboy and the BPRD: The Seven Wives Club, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe mentioned it once but it thinks it got away with it. All this plus Adam Smith’s Golden Age comics career, 1990s house anthems and Johnny Fishnchips, the scrappy British superhero.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. And remember, if you ever feel like your torso could be warmer, you can always buy one of our neato t-shirts over at our Redbubble page.

Nov 15

Review: Cable vol 4 #1-4

Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2020 by Paul in x-axis

CABLE vol 4 #1-4
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto
March to September 2020

It’s past time that I started clearing my review backlog. So let’s go through the ongoing titles and talk about what they were doing before “X of Swords” started.

Cable had the misfortune to launch just before the delays caused by the pandemic, leading to a delay of over four months between issues #1 and #2. That’s beyond the control of anyone involved, but it means stories played out much more slowly than originally intended. Still, the impact on Cable is rather less than on other titles, because it had barely got going in the first place – its first issue is mostly about establishing its take on the title character, and setting up the story to follow.

Nov 14

Charts – 13 November 2020

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2020 by Paul in Music

Ah, are we into the pre-Christmas lull already?

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”
22. Ariana Grande – “POV”

For the second week running, Ariana Grande charts with the maximum three tracks from her new album. “Positions” spends its third week at number one – admittedly without much in the way of competition. “34+35” drops from 9 to 18. And we get one of those awkward quirks of the chart rules, as “POV” overtakes “Motive” as the third-placed track from the album, and elbows it off the chart entirely thanks to the quota rule. Since “POV” was disqualified under the same rule last week, technically it becomes this week’s highest new entry, but it’s all a little artificial.

Nov 13

Wolverine #7 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #7
“X of Swords, Chapter 16”
by Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1. Symbolic image of Wolverine impales by loads of swords, with images of the Arakki champions arranged in an X behind him.

PAGE 2. An epigraph from Saturnyne, alluding to all the tarot cards we keep seeing.

PAGES 3-6. Magik battles Pogg Ur-Pogg

This involves going through Merlin’s Holy Republic of Fae to Roma’s “Floating Kingdom” – initially shown upside down, as it was in X of Swords: Stasis. As far as I’m aware, the pseudo tarot card has no significance.

Nov 12

Excalibur #14 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #14
“X of Swords, chapter 15”
by Tini Howard & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse, Captain Britain and Magik offer moral support to a terrified Cypher. This bears no resemblance to anything in the story, but Cypher does at least appear prominently.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Apocalypse. Obviously he’s referring to his relationship with Genesis, but the parallel here is the unlikely pairing of Cypher and Bei from later in the issue.

PAGE 3. Betsy psychically checks in with Jubilee.

We last saw Jubilee and Shogo in issue #11; they’re staying with the Priestesses of the Green while Shogo recovers from the injury he suffered in issue #9.

Nov 11

Marauders #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

“X of Swords, chapter 14”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. A smug-looking Saturnyne stands over her unconscious, and presumably poisoned, guests. None of the Marauders appear here, and this is another of those “X of Swords” chapters which is an issue of the title in question in name only.

PAGE 2. Two epigraphs. The first is indeed a quotation from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Given the way this week’s issues play out, the point is presumably that the whole contest is essentially rigged by Saturnyne, or at least open to rigging. The second is from one of the Arakkii champions, who we know has a hundred followers that he raises from the dead with his healing powers every day.

Nov 8

The Incomplete Wolverine: 1974-1975

Posted on Sunday, November 8, 2020 by Paul in Wolverine

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

After ten chapters of prehistory, last time we reached an Erik Larsen flashback story that ended with Wolverine arriving back at Department H, and being told that he was needed to fight the Hulk. Yes, we’re here at last.

Just 46 years to go!

And in this extra length episode, we’re going to cover Wolverine’s stories from 1974 and 1975. There aren’t many of them… or rather, there weren’t many of them. But a vast amount has been added around the edges over the years.

INCREDIBLE HULK vol 2 #180-182
“And the Wind Howls … Wendigo!” / “And Now … the Wolverine!” / “Between Hammer and Anvil!”
by Len Wein, Herb Trimpe & Jack Abel
October to December 1974

Wolverine is sent to face the Hulk (Bruce Banner), who is already locked in battle with the cursed Wendigo (at this point, a guy called Paul Cartier). Wolverine is given six hours to beat the Hulk, and is very keen to try and pull it off. Wolverine doesn’t know or care why the Hulk and the Wendigo are fighting – but basically, Cartier’s sister Marie is planning to cure him by magically transferring his curse to the Hulk, so she’s lured the two monsters together.

Nov 6

Charts – 6 November 2020

Posted on Friday, November 6, 2020 by Paul in Music

Not many people want to take their chances against Ariana Grande on the singles chart.

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”
9. Ariana Grande – “34+35”
16. Ariana Grande featuring Doja Cat – “Motive”

Ariana Grande’s new album “Positions” enters at number 1, which is entirely unsurprising – it’s her fourth straight number 1 album, in a run extending back to 2016’s “Dangerous Woman”. She duly gets the maximum three album tracks in the singles chart. The current single “Positions” gets a second week at the top, and the other cherrypicked tracks are “34+35” (which does have a lyric video, and is exactly what you’d expect if you do the maths) and “Motive” (which is, um, the track immediately following “34+35”.

Nov 5

Marauders #14 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

“X of Swords, Chapter 13”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Storm dances with Death. This issue is pretty straightforward, by the way.

PAGE 2: Data page. It’s the menu for Saturnyne’s pre-contest dinner, and pretty self-explanatory. The “raw delicacies originating from the Dryador Sea” are the last of their kind because the seas were destroyed by the Horde of Amenth when they invaded Dryador in X of Swords: Creation.

Saturnyne’s quote has fairly obvious religious overtones with the bread and wine. It’s vaguely possible that it’s meant to echo Proverbs 9:5 (“Come, eat of my bread / And drink of the wine I have mixed / Forsake foolishness and live / And go in the way of understanding”), which would cast Saturnyne as Wisdom, but more likely it’s just general Christian imagery.

PAGE 3. Credits.

PAGE 4. Recap page.

Nov 4

X-Men #14 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #14
“X of Swords, Chapter 12”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse with his sword and a bunch of skulls.

PAGES 2-3: Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-7: Apocalypse and Genesis meet in the Starlight Citadel garden.

Genesis. This is the first time we’ve seen her speak at any length, and she seems to be if anything more “survival of the fittest” than Apocalypse himself. Presumably she was a big influence on him. She does seem to still have some genuine affection for him, but we’ll see later that she’s now at least merged with Annihilation, and driven by Annihilation’s goals.