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May 17

Devil’s Reign: X-Men

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

DEVIL’S REIGN: X-MEN #1-3
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Jordan White

Three issues, huh? There’s a trade paperback of this listed on Amazon for August, with a page count of 112 – I can only assume they’re pairing it with something to be announced. Anyway, I skipped over this when it came out, since it’s not a core X-book. It’s closer than many, though.

Publishing it in X-Men might have been a stretch, since it’s an Emma Frost story, and she’s not in the cast of that book. But it’s by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto, an established Krakoan creative team. And it picks up on a subplot from Duggan’s Marauders run about Emma having some sort of back story with Wilson Fisk, running missions for him in exchange for him helping Lourdes Chantel to start a new life away from Sebastian Shaw.

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May 15

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 9

Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2022 by Al in Podcast

Lightning keeps striking! Good lord! It’s just bizarre by this point! We’re back to look at Thunderbolts issues 22, 0 and 23 (in that order) and Avengers 12 (not in that order). Thrill to Hawkeye losing his AirBnB deposit! Be wowed by Vision’s capacity for complaining! Wonder aloud at whether Hercules and Atlas had a fling! It’s all go here!

The episode 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 through our Facebook fan page. And look, far be it from me to say, but our t-shirts are very reasonably priced and would look amazing on you.

May 13

Charts – 13 May 2022

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2022 by Paul in Music

Well, at least the album chart is busy. Meanwhile, on the singles chart…

1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”

That’s six weeks. It heads up a moribund top ten, with four other non-movers, one climber (Lizzo) and four records going down one place. I mean, I’m all for records having decent runs in the top 10, but a bit of turnover would be nice.

19. Jack Harlow featuring Drake – “Churchill Downs”
33. Jack Harlow – “Dua Lipa”

Two tracks from his album “Come Home the Kids Miss You”, which enters the album chart at number 4. He also has “First Class” as a non-mover at number 2.

It’s his second album, and the first to reach the album top 40. His 2020 debut “That’s What They All Say” made the album top 10 in the USA and Canada, but in the UK it could only limp to number 73. His profile has risen a lot since then.

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May 11

X-Men #11 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #11
“A Busted Hand”
Writer: Gerry Duggaan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. The female X-Men standing over defeated thugs from Gameworld. They’re wearing their Hellfire Gala costumes from last year.

PAGE 2. Opening quote. At the end of last issue, Gambit put Rogue in touch with Rocket, to get information about Gameworld (where Rocket happened to be anyway). Rocket clearly doesn’t fancy Gameworld’s chances now that the X-Men are coming.

PAGES 3-4. Flashback: Mojo steers Gameworld towards Earth.

Mojo. The last time we saw Mojo was in X-Factor #9, when a group led by Magik forced him to put a stop to slavery and mutant exploitation. That issue left him still notionally in charge, albeit under a forced pact. (“You’re partners with Krakoa now. Sign the #$%& dotted line.”) However, this flashback could easily take place before that, because X-Factor #9 was shortly before the Hellfire Gala, and Mojo is setting in train a plan which will become apparent shortly afterwards (in issue #1).

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May 8

Life of Wolverine Infinity Comic

Posted on Sunday, May 8, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

LIFE OF WOLVERINE INFINITY COMIC #1-10
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Ramon Bachs
Colourist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Mark Basso

Life of Wolverine was a companion piece to the ten-week X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine – mainly to Lives, really. Technically it takes place during X Lives of Wolverine, as Jean Grey is sending Wolverine back in time and seeing his whole life. What that means in practice, of course, is openly acknowledged in the listing for issue #1: “For the first time ever, explore the history of Wolverine in chronological order!”

And that’s exactly what it is. It’s a recap book. There are a handful of original panels but no new events, unless you count Logan arriving in Madripoor for the first time. For continuity nerds, the book has some further details about the precise sequence in which assorted flashback stories take place; and yes, I’ll go back and revise some of the earlier Incomplete Wolverine posts to reflect that (and X Lives) at some point.

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May 7

Charts – 6 May 2022

Posted on Saturday, May 7, 2022 by Paul in Music

Well, at least someone released an album.

1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”

Five weeks, still leading by quite some margin, though it is trending downward. It’s not in any danger from the records in the rest of the top 10, though, all of which have been there for a while. Except for…

8. Future featuring Drake & Tems – “Wait for U”

Feels like more of a mood than a song, but oddly pleasant. It’s the current single from Future’s album “I Never Liked You”, which enters the album chart at 2 – his highest place to date, though his previous solo album, “High Off Life”, got to 5.

Future’s track record on the singles chart is decidedly mixed; he’s been around for a decade plus, but this is only his second top ten hit. The other one was “Life is Good”, which reached number 3 in 2020 – and that had Drake on it too. That said, it’s not just a case of getting in a guest star with a bigger fan base; there are plenty of guest verses by Drake that go nowhere. (He’s also on “Bubbly” by Young Thug, for example, and that got to number 60.)

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May 5

Marauders #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS vol 2 #2
“Extinction Agenda, part 2”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterers: Ariana Maher & Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Erik the Red and Cassandra Nova… fighting psychically, I guess? Cassandra is drawn with two superimposed faces.

PAGE 2. Lockheed finds a pile of bodies.

Or rather, what looks to be a single body made up of other bodies.

Lockheed is traditionally Kate’s pet/sidekick, but he didn’t appear in the previous issue and I don’t think he was mentioned.

The Order of X are presumably the owners of the church building that he’s exploring, given the illuminated “X” sign outside and the “X” on display in place of an altar. They’re a mutant-worshipping cult who emerged in the aftermath of Professor X announcing the creation of Krakoa in House of X #1; it’s been suggested in some stories that they may have been damaged in some way by the Professor’s worldwide telepathic message, and at the very least it had a big impact on them.

PAGES 3-4. Delphos briefs Xandra.

Delphos identifies her order as the “Nobles of the Kin Crimson”. Their function is apparently to suppress various events from Shi’ar history which, for one reason or another, are deemed too damaging to become public knowledge; we’ll come back to that. Her claim that the Order have been recognised by previous regimes seems to be confirmed by Gladiator, who’s been there all along; Xandra is a relative newcomer to the Shi’ar, raised elsewhere, which presumably explains why she doesn’t share everyone else’s cultural acceptance of the Kin Crimson. (That raises the question of what Vulcan knows about them from his own time as Shi’ar Emperor, but he wasn’t there long, so maybe it never came up. Then again, Vulcan’s back story involves him being assigned as a slave of Eric the Red before he escaped to Moira, so he might know quite a lot.)

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May 4

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: THUNDERBIRD #1
“And When There Was One”
Writers: Steve Orlando & Nyla Rose
Penciller: David Cutler
Inker: José Marzan Jr & Roberto Poggi
Colourist: Irma Kniivila
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s Thunderbird – in his recognisable 1970s costume, rather than the one he debuts in this issue.

That caption in the bottom right hand corner must be gunning for some sort of prize for the least prominent promotion of a celebrity co-writer.

PAGE 2. Flashback: John Proudstar is resurrected.

This is a scene from X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #5. John Proudstar is the first person to be resurrected through the Scarlet Witch’s “Waiting Room”, which magically extended resurrection to mutants who had died before Cerebro started keeping back-up copies.

PAGE 3. John Proudstar walks home.

Nice establishing shot with him dwarfed by the landscape.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits. The small print just says “Thunderbird” and “Krakoa.”

PAGES 5-6. John reflects on his situation.

“I was the first mutant to die for Xavier.” In X-Men vol 1 #95, part of his second published adventure. If you’re being technical about it, he’s not actually the first. The Changeling died in X-Men vol 1 #42 while impersonating Professor X (as revealed in issue #65), though he was terminally ill anyway. And per X-Men: Deadly Genesis, Petra and Sway both died on Krakoa.

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May 3

Charts – 29 April 2022

Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 by Paul in Music

The singles chart has slowed to a crawl in the last few weeks, but at least we’ve got some mid-table entries this time.

1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”

Five weeks, with Jack Harlow’s first class also stuck at number 2. There’s not much else going on at the top end of the chart, frankly. There’s one track climbing into the top 10 – “BMW” by Bad Boy Chiller Crew, which is a bit of a surprise – but everything else in the top 10 has been there for over five weeks now. “Peru” by Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran has been in the top 10 since January.

13. Ed Sheeran – “2Step”

Another single from his last album. There’s a remix with a verse by Lil Baby, but the chart is listing the album version as the principle version. The most notable thing about it is the video, which was filmed in Kyiv just before the invasion; it’s also a genuinely good video.

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May 1

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2000

Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2022 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
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984 1985
1986 | 1987 | 1988
 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991
1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997
19981999

When we left off, Wolverine was a brainwashed henchman of Apocalypse under the name “Death”, and he had replaced by a Skrull impostor for several months. And now, the thrilling climax… right?

CABLE vol 1 #75
“Who is Worthy to Break the Seals…?
by Joe Pruett, Rob Liefeld, Lary Stucker & Optic Studios
January 2000

We’re now in the Apocalypse: The Twelve crossover. Cable has been captured by Apocalypse. He escapes, fights Death, and then confronts Apocalypse himself – but has to surrender again when Apocalypse threatens to have Death kill Caliban. That’s pretty much the whole anniversary issue, which is built around two big fight scenes. It tries to rekindle the idea of an age-old rivalry between Cable and Wolverine, something that had long since been moved on from.

X-MEN vol 2 #96
“The Gathering”
by Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Marie Javins
January 2000

More of Apocalypse: The Twelve. The Twelve was a long-running subplot about twelve mutants who supposedly going to be of great historic important. It was set up as a really big deal. This crossover is the pay-off, and they turn out to be just a bunch of characters with convenient powers for a particular scheme that Apocalypse had in mind.

As part of his scheme to assemble the Twelve, Apocalypse sends Death to abduct Mikhail Rasputin from the X-Men Mansion. Death duly punts him through a portal to Apocalypse’s base, but makes his own escape the conventional way. He fights past the X-Men (oh, and Skrull informant Fiz) and ignores all their attempts to talk to him. But Kitty argues that Wolverine was actually trying to thwart Apocalypse’s plans, since he was trying to kill the X-Men – including Cyclops, who’s a member of the Twelve. If you say so, Kitty!

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