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Aug 17

X-Men/Iron Man/Nova: “No End In Sight”

Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

A relatively obscure story this week – this is a three-parter running through Uncanny X-Men Special #1, Iron Man Special #1, and Nova Special #1, a similar format to last year’s “Arms of the Octopus”.  These stories are pretty much incidental so far as the wider continuity is concerned, but rather than treat them as complete filler, Marvel seem to regard them as a good venue to try out new creators.

So we have here a complete story by Sean Ryan, who has a number of scattered writing credits to his name, but is probably best known in these parts as a former X-books assistant editor from a while back.  On art, we have three pencillers and six inkers, but since all involved are going for a relatively straightforward Marvel style (and colourist Ruth Redmond is able to impose a degree of consistency), the result reads quite smoothly.

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Aug 16

Summerslam 2014

Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

The actual content of the last few WWE shows has been overshadowed by the rather more pressing question of how the WWE Network is doing.  For those joining us late, or who are simply blog readers who don’t follow this wrestling stuff between monthly posts, let’s recap.

Since the 1990s the basic model of major wrestling promotions in the US has been monthly PPV promoted by weekly TV shows.  The WWE Network attempts to break that model, offering the same “PPV” shows on a Netflix-style streaming service, along with a substantial on-demand back catalogue and some genuinely desirable new material such as NXT, at a monthly price that vastly undercuts the PPV providers.  This makes the WWE an early adopter, in terms of being a reasonably substantial content provider trying to cut out the distributors entirely and sell directly to audiences.  Hence, the performance of the Network is – or ought to be – of interest beyond the wrestling bubble.

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Aug 12

Moon Knight vol 1 – “From the Dead”

Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Paul in reviews

There weren’t any X-books to review last week, so let’s take a (belated) look at another title that did complete its first trade paperback.

Moon Knight is the sort of bubble character who hasn’t really been able to sustain an ongoing title in years, but who keeps getting relaunched regardless.  This happens partly because of Marvel (and DC)’s conviction that everything in their back catalogue is a masterpiece merely awaiting the right take, but also because people look at Moon Knight and think to themselves, surely this ought to work.  It’s the book Bill Sienkiewicz made his name on.  It’s been interesting in the past.  Surely it can be interesting again.

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Aug 11

Charts – 10 August 2014

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

There weren’t any X-books to review this week, hence no reviews.  I was thinking of doing the first six issues of Moon Knight instead but, well, I haven’t had time to write it.  Maybe later in the week.

Meanwhile, here’s a very dull chart.

40.  Maroon 5 – “It Was Always You”

No video for this, and it’s not officially on YouTube as an audio either (not that you’ll have any trouble finding it there).  This is a trailer single for their upcoming album “V”, and since it’s not a fully promoted single in its own right, they have an excuse for the chart position.  It was at 25 in the midweeks, which presumably means all the fans bought it at the start of the week – who knew there were so many Maroon 5 fans?

34.  Jessie Ware – “Tough Love”

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Aug 5

Charts – 3 August 2014

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by Paul in Music

This chart ends up rather quieter than the midweeks seemed to promise.  Outside the top 40, it’s worth noting “Home” by Leah McFall featuring will.i.am, in which the overpunctuated producer nobly attempts to help launch the career of one of the acts he mentored during the last season of The Voice (and who he plainly thought should have won).  Remarkably, Radio 1 hasn’t supported the record even though the BBC1 show could use all the help it can get.  But to be fair, whatever airplay it got on independent radio hasn’t done it much good either.  Result: number 56.  That’s astonishing for a record which really isn’t bad, which was on a major label, and which was promoted by will.i.am.  It tends to suggest that The Voice UK is now an outright toxic brand in terms of mainstream pop music.

37.  Vic Mensa – “Down on my Luck”

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Aug 4

Uncanny Avengers vol 2-4 – “Apocalypse Twins” / “Ragnarok Now” / “Avenge The Earth”

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized, x-axis

It’s been some time since we checked in with Uncanny Avengers.  But then, it’s been some time since Uncanny Avengers finished a story.  These three volumes collect a story - not a multi-story arc, but a single story – that began in issue #5 last April (actually an epilogue in vol 1), and ran without interruption until issue #22 last week.

This is a story pitched unequivocally at an epic scale.  Multi-book crossovers aside, I can’t remember the last time we had a single story of this length.  Picking up stray plot threads from his X-Force run, Rick Remender starts relatively small, then dials up the scale to breaking point and beyond.

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Aug 1

X-Men vol 3 – “Bloodline”

Posted on Friday, August 1, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

After the debacle of last week’s festival of obscurity, we have another decidedly underwhelming story destined straight for the “completists only” pile.  Though “Bloodline” scores over the Wolverine and the X-Men arc on the level of straightforward accessibility, it remains a clumsy affair with a lot of downright odd choices.

The plot is straightforward.  Baby Shogo’s father turns out to be a villain called the Future, recently escaped from jail.  The Future wants Shogo back, in order to raise him as an heir.  He tries to kidnap Shogo from the school, but ends up with Jubilee instead.  He tries to trade Jubilee for the kid, but the X-Men won’t deal.  They beat him.  He dies.  This takes five issues.

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Jul 30

Charts – 27 July 2014

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Paul in Music

A very top-heavy chart this week, with all the new entries landing in the top 20.  Of mild note, Cher Lloyd’s comeback single “Sirens” – you know, her from X Factor - lands at 41, which I guess is actually marginally better than landing at 39, in as much as fewer people will notice it happened.

19.  Jamie N Commons & X Ambassadors – “Jungle”

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Jul 26

Wolverine & The X-Men vol 1 – “Tomorrow Never Leaves”

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

It is difficult to know what to say about the first volume of Jason Latour’s Wolverine and the X-Men run.  Difficult, because it is difficult to know what on earth the story is meant to be in the first place.  I gave up on this arc in confusion halfway through issue #5, resolving to have another go when the final issue came out.  But reading it in one go didn’t make it any clearer.

I did eventually succeed in deciphering the plot.  It took me five read-throughs and 1,300 words of working notes.  Meanwhile, I had asked on Twitter whether anyone else had read the story and understood it.  Nobody replied to say that they had, but there were quite a few “thank god, I thought it was just me” responses.

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Jul 23

Charts – 20 July 2014

Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by Paul in Music

We’ve got a pretty dead week here.  Not much in the way of new releases, and what there is, hasn’t exactly sustained its sales.

30.  Kove featuring Melissa Steel – “Way We Are”

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