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Feb 9

Charts – 7 February 2020

Posted on Sunday, February 9, 2020 by Paul in Music

Right, let’s see what we have this week…

1 The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

This first charted before Christmas, when it entered at 12. It reaches number 1 by the remarkably circuitous route of 12-17-20-41-11-10-8-4-2-1. That’s partly because it started as a promotional single, and it’s now been promoted to a proper single with a video, and a discounted download, and so forth. For a Weeknd single, it’s a very upbeat retro 80s track. He had his first hit single back in 2012 and this is his first number one – his previous best was “Starboy”, which reached number 2 in 2016.

Feb 8

The Complete Moira, Part 6

Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2020 by Paul in Moira, Uncategorized

For previous chapters, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

This time round, we’ll cover Moira’s early 90s, where she… well, gets passed around various books for a while, then lands in a title that barely has a regular writer. Despite that, these issues set the course for Moira’s remaining stories.

X-Men vol 2 #1-3 by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee & Scott Williams (“Rubicon”, “Firestorm” and “Fallout”, October to December 1991). The last Chris Claremont story (for now, at least). Magneto’s manipulative new aide Fabian Cortez provokes him into taking up villainy again, and tells him that he has been subjected to genetic engineering. Magneto works out that it must be something Moira did to him during the period when he had been turned into an infant, and he was under her care. So he abducts Moira (and Professor X) to Asteroid M in order to yell at her. Moira confirms that her tests suggested that his body couldn’t handle the energy being processed by his powers, and so she modified his DNA to remove the instability, hoping that the same process could be used to cure Proteus. Magneto is outraged by what he sees as an interference in his free will. The rest of the story sees Magneto force Moira to use the same process to alter the personalities of half the X-Men so that the team can kick off their new series by fighting one another – but it turns out that the process quickly wears off when mutants use their powers. Magneto ends up sending the X-Men and Moira home, and seemingly dies aboard his exploding satellite.

Feb 7

Marauders #7 annotations

Posted on Friday, February 7, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition. And yes, I will be reviewing the first six issues (which make up the first trade) when time allows.

COVER / PAGE 1. Callisto, in her White Bishop outfit, faces off against Bishop and Pyro.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. The story is “From Emma, With Love” by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli and Edgar Delgado. Does it need saying that the reference is to the James Bond story “From Russia, With Love”? Probably not.

PAGE 4. Data page. An unknown person in Washington DC tries to text Kate a warning about Homines Verendi’s plan to sell poisoned Krakoan drugs.

Feb 4

New Mutants #6 annotations

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by Paul in HoXPoX

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

COVER / PAGE 1: Armor, Maxime, Manon, Glob Herman and Boom-Boom sit awkwardly on the steps of Beak’s burning farmhouse.

PAGES 2-3: Recap and credits. This is “Not as Hoped” by Ed Brisson, Flaviano and Carlos Lopez.

PAGES 4-17. Everyone fights the drug dealers. The kids nearly escape, but Túmulo kills Beak’s parents, then kills himself, claiming that his government will blame the mutants.

Yes, 13 pages, but it’s basically an extended action sequence, which mostly speaks for itself. Of note along the way…

Feb 4

X-Force #6 annotations

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. The Beast beats up some G-men while reading a book.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. The story is “Intelligence”, by Benjamin Percy, Stephen Segovia and Guru-eFX.

PAGES 4-6. X-Force are on a mission in Terra Verde, guided by Beast and Sage back on Krakoa.

Parts of this issue are narrated by Beast in a monologue about his role in X-Force – basically, he’s very proud of his achievements as a co-ordinator of intelligence and coverer-up of inconvenient news.

Feb 4

Fallen Angels #6 annotations

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

PAGE 1 / COVER. The cast pose dramatically.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. This is just titled “Conclusion”, and it’s by Bryan Hill, Szymon Kudranski and Frank D’Armata. It’s the final issue of the series.

PAGE 4. Psylocke has a moment of self-doubt before fighting Apoth.

Psylocke thinks that she’s some sort of avatar of death and that she’s playing the role of hero that was left behind for her by Betsy. The first panel seems to be purely symbolic. The second is probably meant to be Kwannon with the father of her child, given the similar panel on page 9 – though it’s hard to tell and the blank facial expressions don’t help much. The third is her abusive teacher. The remaining panels focus on her internal division, which is probably meant to be paralleled in Apoth.

Feb 3

X-Men #5 annotations

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Armor in generic action.

PAGE 2. A flash forward to Cyclops realising at the end of the issue that his plan has gone wrong.

PAGES 3-4. Credits. This is “Into the Vault” by Jonathan Hickman and RB Silva. The recap picks up on the Serafina storyline from issue #1.

PAGES 5-9. In Ecuador, Wolverine pursues Serafina, but she mind-controls some locals to delay him, and slips back into the Vault.

The Children of the Vault. We covered this in issue #1, but the Children of the Vault (and Serafina in particular) are a community who were locked into a vault where time ran more quickly, the idea being that they would emerge with vastly advanced technology developed over thousands of years. They were supposed to emerge after an apocalypse and become the new rulers of Earth, but came out early and decided to conquer the world anyway, as its destined inheritors . This makes them “post-human” villains, of the sort that Powers of X presented as very important to Hickman’s mythos.

Feb 2

Charts – 31 January 2020

Posted on Sunday, February 2, 2020 by Paul in Music

Another week when the most notable thing on the singles chart is the release of an album…

1. Lewis Capaldi – “Before You Go”

Technically this has only just been promoted to single status – the video above came out a week ago – but the song has been on the chart as an album track for 11 weeks, and it’s spent a total of five weeks at number 2. It’s Capaldi’s second number one, following “Someone You Loved” last year – and the label was clearly very keen to get it to the top. Its total sales and streams are equivalent to 69,000 sales, but 13,000 of that comes from the release of a fan-targeted CD single, sold in advance on his website. It’s unusual for physical singles to play a part in getting a track to number 1 these days – Capaldi’s 13,000 copies of “Before You Go” was more than three times the sales of everything other physical single combined. Given that aspect, it probably won’t manage a second week.

Feb 1

The Complete Moira, part 5

Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2020 by Paul in Moira

For previous posts, see part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

We left Moira just after the first Legion storyline. This time, we’ll be covering the rest of Chris Claremont’s first run on Uncanny X-Men. Frankly, this is all quite scattershot – Moira gets tied up in various storylines during this period but very few of them are really about her.

New Mutants vol 1 #44 by Chris Claremont, Jackson Guice & Kyle Baker (“Runaway!”, October 1986). Legion’s alternate personalities are causing trouble again. The New Mutants deal with it. Not much to see here, Moira-wise.

New Mutants vol 1 #46-47 and Uncanny X-Men #212-213 by Chris Claremont and various (December 1986 and January 1987). These are issues from the Mutant Massacre crossover, in which the Marauders slaughter the Morlocks. Magik teleports Moira to the X-Men Mansion so that she can co-ordinate the medical treatment of the survivors. This continues a tendency to treat Moira as a doctor even though she’s meant to be a scientist (and even though trained nurse Sharon Friedlander is right there with her). Storm also puts Moira in charge of the New Mutants during the crisis, but being the New Mutants, they promptly wander off to have an unrelated adventure with the Magus. New Mutants vol 1 #47 isn’t technically part of the crossover, but it has a subplot scene of Moira worrying about the missing New Mutants and discussing the situation with Magneto – their first on-panel discussion since he reformed. There’s not much to it, though.

Jan 31

Excalibur #6 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 31, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

Once again, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers are by the digital edition. This completes Excalibur vol 1, so a fuller review will follow.

COVER / PAGE 1. Captain Britain kneels before Apocalypse in the throne of Otherworld. Which doesn’t happen in the book, but makes the point about what’s really going on.

PAGE 2. Apocalypse is raised from the dead.

So, as I suspected last time, Apocalypse was sacrificing himself to complete his mystical ritual, in the confident belief that he would simply be resurrected. And indeed he is – as he confirms later, he was put to the head of the queue because of his position on the Quiet Council. This, of course, is cheating at magic, and in stories about magic, that sort of thing tends not to go well.

Professor X is evidently not impressed with these shenanigans, more because he considers it a misuse of the Resurrection Protocols. This has been presented as a quasi-religious thing, after all – or at least, that’s how the Krakoans are trying to portray it. Professor X does, however, address Apocalypse by his preferred name. Since I can’t type it and he still uses the old name when dealing with outsiders, I’m going to stick with Apocalypse.