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Mar 23

Storm and the Brotherhood of Mutants #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Sins of Sinister, part 7: No Hope”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colourists: Jim Charalampidis & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. A very elderly Storm, holding a miniature Destiny in an energy ball reminiscent of Orbis Stellaris’ sphere. Make of that what you will.

PAGE 2. Data page. The mock-3D effect was also used on the data pages in the previous issue; this one seems to be echoing Star Wars.

The Interstellar Compact. The Compact was mentioned by Hope in Immoral X-Men #2, where it was described as simply an alliance of alien races which the mutants were cheerfully destroying. Hope’s account suggested it was on its last legs. The information that Orbis Stellaris is behind it is new, I think.

Planet Arakko was destroyed in Sins of Sinister #1.

Varon appears to be new, as far as I can see.

Freedom Force were mentioned in a data page in Immoral X-Men #2: “We still can’t get ahold of Storm, but I hear we cornered Freedom Force. We finally got Mystique, the little traitor.” Originally, Freedom Force was the name used by Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when they worked for the US government in the late 1980s; the name was ironic there, but it’s played (more) straight here.


Mar 22

Marauders #12 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS vol 2 #12
“Pre-Genesis, part 2”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Kate with the Mysterium box.

This is the final issue of Marauders vol 2, and it’s very obviously a “wrap up the storylines” issue, particularly with the B and C plots. The A plot feels more like it was meant to get to this point around now anyway.

PAGE 2. Fang fights Brimstone Love in Madripoor.

This picks up from the cliffhanger of the previous issue, in which Fang tracked down Brimstone Love to take revenge for his torture in Annual #1. He was accompanied by Lockheed and, rather arbitrarily, Johnny Dee – who hasn’t appeared in this book before and seems a weird character to throw in at the last minute, though at least his highly specific powers are important to the plot here. As in earlier appearances, Johnny Dee maintains that the creature in his chest has a mind of its own.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Polaris creates the Seed.

Picking up from the A-plot of the previous issue, this is Polaris using the genetic source material of Genosha to fill the mysterium box that will go back in time to create Threshold, and then (much, much later) make its way into Kate’s hands at the start of the Orlando run. The Seed, and the fact that it was Kate’s box, were both established in issue #9.


Mar 18

Charts – 17 March 2023

Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2023 by Paul in Music

So, this was to be expected.

1. Miley Cyrus – “Flowers”

That’s nine weeks. More to the point, the parent album “Endless Summer Vacation” is out this week, and enters the album chart at number 1. It’s her second number one album, but the other one was 2013’s “Bangerz”; that was followed by a 2017 album that missed the top 5, and a 2019 album that only just made the top 20. 2020’s “Plastic Hearts” was a big improvement, getting to number 4, and Miley seems to have hit on what works for her at this point in her career. The sales on the album itself are nothing out of the ordinary, but that’s hardly a concern.

Nine weeks at number 1 on the singles chart beats LF System’s “Afraid To Feel”, but she still needs one more week in order to match Harry Styles’ “As It Was” from last year. Tracks can become subject to the downweighting rule in their tenth week, but only if they’re several weeks past their peak – since streams went up this week, that won’t happen to “Flowers” for a few weeks yet, and so she has a good chance of lasting to week ten. (Week eleven will be more of a challenge, because Ed Sheeran will have a new track out.)

3. Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – “Miracle”

Very much a 90s trance throwback, this. Ellie Goulding has released two previous top ten singles with Calvin Harris, but that was in 2013 and 2014. Number 3 makes this Calvin Harris’ biggest hit since “Giant” in 2019.


Mar 16

Wolverine #31 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #31
“Weapons of X, part 1”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colourist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine fights a whole team of Beasts. This doesn’t happen in this issue, but it’s clearly coming later in the storyline. (For whatever reason, the surprise ending of this issue is not only given away on the cover, it was in the solicitation copy.)

PAGES 2-5. Beast brings the Pointe to life and heads off into the sea.

Last issue, Wolverine killed the Beast in revenge for Beast turning him into a weapon. Beast was automatically resurrected as a clone in X-Force HQ from an “auto-backup”. The obvious question is how this fits with the idea that the Five are… well, necessary. In fairness, though, the Five aren’t involved in the process of restoring memories, and we saw in X-Force #37 that that bit can be done by a machine if need be. So maybe Beast got the Five to create these bodies for him – in defiance of the normal rules against multiple resurrections – and has them all stored in the Pointe, but he can’t make any more. The other possibility is that this Beast isn’t truly a resurrection, but just a regular old clone.


Mar 15

Immoral X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Sins of Sinister, part 6: Four-Letter Words”
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colourist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Rasputin fights Mystiques.

PAGE 2. Hope and Exodus prepares to attack the Compact.

“+100, the Edge of the Pax.” The structure of the “Sins of Sinister” crossover is that the month 1 chapters all took place around 10 years after the save point, these chapters take place 100 years after, and next month will be 1000 years. Hope and Exodus are still around thanks to resurrection, as clarifies later on.

Presumably the Pax is the ironic name for the Sinisterised Earth empire, since the alliance of alien races is apparently “the Compact”.We saw in Nightcrawlers #2 that the Quiet Council had gone on the offensive against the rest of the galaxy, prompted (at least initially) by Hope’s concerns last issue that otherwise they would be wiped out themselves.

The Supreme Intelligence is the traditional ruler of the Kree.


Mar 12

Charts – 10 March 2023

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2023 by Paul in Music

It’s another week of holding pattern on the singles chart, to be honest. The album chart is busier, but first…

1. Miley Cyrus – “Flowers”

That’s eight weeks – by the skin of its teeth, since its lead over “Boy’s a Liar” at number 2 equates to 1,200 sales. But it’s eight weeks nonetheless, which matches LF System’s “Afraid To Feel”. In theory, the next target is ten weeks, which is what Harry Styles managed with “As It Was” last spring. The album is out this week, which could well push her there.

The top ten isn’t entirely static, but it might as well be – it’s all non-movers or records shuffling up or down a place, aside from Libianca’s “People” at number 8, which climbs a mighty three places. For our highest new entry we head all the way down to…

30. Nicki Minaj – “Red Ruby Da Sleeze”

This is apparently a promotional single from her upcoming fifth album, which has been upcoming for a very long time now – it’s been six years since her last album. The sample is from Lumidee’s “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)”, which reached number 2 in 2003 as her only UK hit. In fact, Lumidee was basically a one-hit wonder everywhere – except in Belgium, where she had a number 1 hit in 2007. The Lumidee record in turn was based on the widely used Diwali Riddim.


Mar 11

New Mutants: Lethal Legion #1 annotations

Posted on Saturday, March 11, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Vampire Heist”
Writer: Charlie Jane Anders
Penciller: Enid Balam
Inker: Elisabetta D’Amico
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

NEW MUTANTS: LETHAL LEGION. This is a five-issue miniseries. I’m not generally doing annotations for minis – which is why I’m not doing Bishop: War College – but this is in substance New Mutants #34-38, billed as a miniseries, presumably because someone thought it would boost sales. It’s a direct continuation from the storyline in New Mutants #31-33.

COVER / PAGE 1: The cast in the foreground – Escapade, Cerebella, Wolfsbane, Karma and Mirage – with the Shadow King, the Demon Bear and a couple of U-Men in the background. Shadow King is looking a bit Mojo-like, too. The Demon Bear and the Shadow King aren’t in this issue at all, but maybe it’s a cover for the whole trade.

Rather boldly, the cover tells us that this features a “new creative team”, despite the fact that (a) it’s officially a miniseries, and (b) Anders, whose name is in the largest text, has been writing the book for three issues now – though the artists are new.


Mar 10

X-Men #20 annotations

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2023 by Paul in Music

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

X-MEN vol 6 #20
“Lord of the Brood, part 2”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. The X-Men fight the Brood. This continues the image from X-Men #19 and Captain Marvel #46, with Jean apparently partially transformed into a Brood. At least, I assume that’s it’s meant to be – honestly, it just looks like she’s wearing a mask. For what it’s worth, the cover of Captain Marvel #47 (which is out next week) continues the image and does something similar with Captain Marvel.

PAGE 2. Data page. Opening quote from Cyclops, claiming that (i) the X-Men aren’t just reactive like traditional superheroes, and (ii) ergo, they ought to have wiped out the Brood long ago. One wonders how he feels about Broo.

PAGES 3-5. Jean and Magik visit Broo.

Broo‘s time at the Jean Grey School is covered in Wolverine and the X-Men, where he was a regular. He’s still wearing his school uniform – to be fair, a few of the student characters from that book who don’t have other costumes to fall back on have also been drawn in their school uniforms on Krakoa, such as Nature Girl.


Mar 9

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 13

Posted on Thursday, March 9, 2023 by Al in Podcast

It’s a whole new era for Marvel’s Most Wanted as our reread of Thunderbolts enters the Fabian Nicieza era, looking at issues 34-37. The team comes face to face with someone who’s either a new enemy or an old friend (or possibly both) as the tale of the new Beetle wraps up and the Scourge saga begins!

The podcast is here, or available via the player below. Let us know what you think in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page, and remember, a t-shirt isn’t just stylish, it’s just plain old common sense.


Mar 9

Nightcrawlers #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 9, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Sins of Sinister, part 5: The Apostate”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colourist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. The Nightkin steal Mjolnir from Thor. It doesn’t happen this way in the story, for the obvious reason that Mjolnir can’t be picked up.

PAGE 2. The Nightkin prepare to head to Asgard.

As we’ll see shortly, we’ve jumped forward 90 years since the previous issue. That issue ended with the first Nightcrawler-based chimeras bringing assorted superhero trinkets to Mother Righteous, who told them that they needed to build “the Reliquary Perilous”, a “holy weapon” which could “purge the Sinister Strain from the heart of every mutant – with the white-hot fire of faith.” She established a quasi-religious cult around the Nightcrawler-chimeras’ sacrifices and the original Nightcrawler’s “Spark” philosophy (with herself in charge) and told them to steal various superhero-associated items to build this Reliquary.