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Jun 21

Magneto vol 3

Posted on Sunday, June 21, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

This one rather slipped by me – we’re actually two issues into volume 4 by now, which is a “Last Days” Secret Wars tie-in.  But let’s go back to volume 3 before it slips from mind entirely.

It is the fate of the lower-selling Marvel comic to spend a lot of its time doing crossovers, which is why Magneto has wound up doing both Axis and Secret Wars.  But that means joining in large-scale high-stakes adventure with big name characters and mainstream Marvel Universe concepts floating around, all of which was quite at odds with the tone established by the early issues of the series.  They went for Magneto as a small-scale, largely de-powered vigilante still hanging in there despite being a shadow of the man he once was.


Jun 20

Chikara 15.2 – “National Pro Wrestling Day 2015″

Posted on Saturday, June 20, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Well, I did say these would be erratic.

National Pro Wrestling Day is Chikara’s annual free charity show, which basically means they run the live show for donations, and there are regular exhortations to donate to the year’s selected charity.  It’s notionally also a celebration of pro wrestling generally.  This is the third one.  The first two were (in storyline) not Chikara shows – this was terribly useful because it meant there was an actual show where they could pay off the shutdown angle in 2014.  This year it’s an official Chikara show, and pretty much a regular one with a couple of outsiders and not much in the way of explicit angles (though some stuff is set up for the future).  Anyone with a complicated story pretty much skips this show entirely.


Jun 17

Charts – 14 June 2015

Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by Paul in Uncategorized

Look, Britain, it was nice when you gave Jason Derulo a second week at number 1, because it kept up this year’s trend for a slow turnover at the top.  But three, Britain?  Really?

34.  Ed Sheeran – “Photograph”


Jun 14

Wolverines vol 4: “Destiny”

Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The fourth and final collection of Wolverines is a very, very strange comic.  Granted, “final” in that sentence should come with an asterisk, for reasons I’ll get to, but Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes’ story winds up building to a bizarre anticlimax that makes the book read like an exercise in trolling the readers.

Not that trolling the readers is necessarily a bad thing, mind you.  X-Statix did it all the time.  But in this case, it winds up with a comic which leaves us with the intriguing puzzle of trying to distil it down to the key elements that presumably looked promising at the pitch stage.  After all, Soule clearly knows how to put a story together; if he produces something as odd as this, it’s presumably by design.  A misconceived design, possibly, but still a design.


Jun 10

Charts – 7 June 2015

Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 by Paul in Music

A busy week on the album chart; another largely dead one for the singles.  The addition of streaming data really seems to be helping to slow down the charts, for better or worse – probably better, actually.  We’ll come to an example of why in a bit.  First…

30.  The Weeknd – “The Hills”


Jun 7

House to Astonish Episode 133

Posted on Sunday, June 7, 2015 by Al in Podcast

A busy little week of news for you, with chat about the Wicked and the Divine heading to TV, Tilda Swinton potentially joining the cast of Doctor Strange, the Lumberjanes movie landing at Fox, Stephen Amell’s dalliance with WWE, Mark Paniccia’s step up to X-Men senior group editor, the post-Secret Wars Marvel teasers, Brian Bendis and David Marquez’s Invincible Iron Man and DC’s half-page ads. We’ve also got reviews of The Covenant, Bizarro and Airboy, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is what it eats. All this plus Gary Oldman Logan, Rage Twix and Fear Twix, and Formula One’s legendary piranha pit crews.

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. Don’t forget that if you want to look amazing and help keep us in Jaffa Cakes, our wonderfully affordable shirts are available at our Redbubble store.


Jun 6

All-New X-Men vol 7 – “The Utopians”

Posted on Saturday, June 6, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The final volume of Brian Bendis’ All-New X-Men is a bizarre affair.  If you were expecting Bendis’ final volume to build to anything in particular, you’re going to be disappointed.  This grab-bag of stories feels more like somebody who’s running down the clock.  If anything, these stories – and their counterparts over in Uncanny – seem to be mainly concerned with setting things up for whatever comes after Secret Wars.

What you actually get in this volume is five rather random issues – a single issue story from issue #37, the Utopians two-parter from issues #40-41 (if that can really be called a story), and sandwiched between them, parts 4 and 5 of the thirteen-part “Black Vortex” crossover.  It’s hard to imagine that people reading the series in the trades will be thrilled about this, nor should they be.


Jun 3

Charts – 31 May 2015

Posted on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 by Paul in Music

This is the post-Eurovision chart, which in recent years has resulted in some oddities making one-week appearances.  This year, not so much.  And since the release schedules were otherwise quiet, it’s a placid week.

30.  Charles Hamilton featuring Rita Ora – “New York Raining”


May 29

Charts – 24 May 2015

Posted on Friday, May 29, 2015 by Paul in Music

A slightly busier chart than we’ve seen in recent weeks, but six new entries is still fairly tame by the standards of recent years.  Perhaps due to the streaming data slowing things down?

39.  Jessie J – “Flashlight”


May 24

Storm vol 2 – “Bring the Thunder”

Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Storm‘s second volume, covering issues #6-11, looks to be the end of the series – it could technically be a Secret Wars hiatus, but given the sales, I wouldn’t hold your breath.  This, of course, makes it only the latest in a long line of X-Men solo titles to go from launch to scrapheap within a year, an outcome which one can only assume Marvel regards as satisfactory, as otherwise they’d have stopped doing it.  The thinking, I suppose, must be that at least they know they’ll get a few months of acceptable sales out of a book like this.

Like many of the characters who wind up in these solo series, Storm was never designed to fill this role; she was conceived as a member of an ensemble cast.  More to the point, her roles in that cast have largely been “heart of the team”, “bonding mainstay”, and “emerging (later veteran) leader”.  None of this particularly suits her to be a solo lead, since all three roles define her largely in relation to her position in the team.