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Nov 26

X-Men #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 26, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #5
“Fearless, Chapter Five: Don’t Piss Off Polaris”
by Gerry Duggan, Javier Pina, Zé Carlos & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1. A close-up of Dr Stasis (presumably), holding a scalpel, while his faceplate shows a reflection of a monster fighting Cyclops and Wolverine. It doesn’t help that this is the first time we’ve even had a clear view of Dr Stasis’s faceplate, but some of the red trim was visible in issue #3, and we also see it at the end of the issue.

The original solicitation for this issue read “The X-Men’s new nemesis finally makes himself known to them, bringing his creations to bear. Mutants may have conquered death, but their foes are all too living…” This is not really what happens in the issue – which has a scene where the X-Men fight some of Stasis’ creations, but not where he makes his own involvement known – so you have to wonder if the cover is a hangover from an earlier story concept.

PAGES 2-4. The X-Men fight the Reavers in Mexico.

The opening narration is a straight recap of the premise of the new Reavers, as established over in Duggan’s Marauders. Although they’re mostly made up of former mercenaries, their main motivation is supposed to be revenge on mutants for their injuries – from the look of it, they’re also taking on unrelated mercenary work now, but they also suggest that they were deliberately trying to provoke a fight with the X-Men.


Nov 25

Wolverine #18 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #18
“Auction of Secrets”
by Benjamin Percy, Paco Diaz, Java Tartaglia & Dijjo Lima

PAGE 1: Generic shot of Wolverine still standing after gunfire. Nice lighting and integration of the logo, though. (Remember the days when characters still standing after this sort of damage was something that only happened inLobo?)

PAGE 2. Jeff Bannister and Maverick at the hotel.

This continues directly from the end of the previous issue, when Maverick picked up the quarter that Bannister had dropped and returned it to him. Percy writes Maverick throughout this arc as if he’s mainly motivated by money, which isn’t really the traditional take on him – he’s a lifelong mercenary but he was hardly an antihero in his 90s solo title.

The final panel is probably meant to light Maverick so that the shadows on his face reflect the design on his mask, but it winds up looking a bit odd.


Nov 21

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #5-12: “X-Men Green”

Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

“X-Men Green”
by Gerry Duggan, Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg

Readers who don’t subscribe toMarvel Unlimited may well wonder if there’s anything going on in the Infinity Comics that they need to know about. The short answer is, not really. Most of them – and there’s a pretty steady stream of them – are essentially fill-in stories. But there are exceptions, mostly with stories that focus on minor characters whose status quo is of no real interest to any of the ongoing titles. One such book has been dutifully exploring the back story of Kushala, a character fromDoctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme. Another isX-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic, which focusses its second arc on Nature Girl and Curse.

Curse is a background character from the Krakoan era and fair game for this sort of thing. Nature Girl was one of the pupils fromWolverine and the X-Men, and used to be a relatively high profile character – she was used in the last run of Generation X- but she’s fallen badly off the radar. That leaves her free for a story like this, which radically changes her status quo. And to be fair, it’s by the regular writer ofX-Men, which is a sign that Marvel want you to take this book reasonably seriously.


Nov 19

Charts – 19 November 2021

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2021 by Paul in Music

Once again, the singles chart has to thank the album market for providing it with some activity.

1. Adele – “Easy On Me”

That’s five weeks, her joint biggest hit. “Someone Like You” also managed five weeks total, with a week’s interruption. The record that knocked it off for a week was “Don’t Hold Your Breath” by Nicole Scherzinger, which I haven’t thought about for over ten years until I looked it up just now.

Adele’s album is out today, so we can assume she’ll have two more singles on next week’s chart.

3. Taylor Swift – “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”
18. Taylor Swift – “State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)”
22. Taylor Swift – “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Here we are again with Taylor Swift’s project of re-recording her back catalogue. At the start of the year, she released a re-issue of “Fearless”, her 2009 album; “Love Story” got to 12, “Mr Perfectly Fine” to 30. “Wildest Dreams”, released out of sequence as a single, got to 25. But now we’ve reached the second album release, “Red”, which was her first number 1 album in 2012, and the start of an uninterrupted run of number one albums that continues this week with… er,“Red (Taylor’s Version)”.


Nov 18

X-Force #25 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #25
“The Edge”
by Benjamin Percy, Robert Gill & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine faces off against the surfers that he meets later in the issue. The fact that they’re all shooting at him kind of gives the twist away.

The previous issue ended with the under-the-influence Colossus killing Kayla and then being approached by Professor X. That storyline isn’t mentioned at all in this issue, presumably because it does indeed lead into the cliffhanger ofInferno vol 2 #2. Instead, we have something… completely unrelated.

PAGES 2-4.Wolverine collects his surfboard from Forge.

Apparently, this is what Wolverine asked Forge to make for him (or rather, was about to ask for before he was interrupted) way back in issue #4. It’s… an adamantium covered surfboard. Right. I’ll come back to that.

We’re told that Wolverine is still waiting for something else from Forge, so that’s a dangling plot.


Nov 17

S.W.O.R.D. #10 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

S.W.O.R.D. vol 2 #10
“Triple Threat”
by Al Ewing, Jacopo Camagni & Fernando Sifuentes

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, it’s a S.W.O.R.D. station exploding with Wiz Kid, Cable and Storm in the background.

PAGES 2-4.Wiz Kid starts his day.

Last issue ended with the revelation that Wiz Kid is Henry Gyrich’s man inside S.W.O.R.D.. He was sitting right in front of Abigail Brand when he was talking to Gyrich, though, so there was always a suggestion that it might be a bluff. Much of this issue is devoted to teasing the possibility that Wiz Kid might genuinely have turned on S.W.O.R.D., specifically because he sees no real difference between humans and mutants in terms of the way they treat him, in particular as regards his wheelchair use.


Nov 13

Charts – 12 November 2021

Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2021 by Paul in Music

At last, a busy week.

1. Adele – “Easy on Me”

Not right at the top, admittedly. The top three is all non-movers, with Ed Sheeran at both 2 and 3 (and he’s at 6 too). “Easy on Me” gets a fourth week at number 1; it still needs a fifth to match 2011’s “Someone Like You”.

5. Arrdee – “Flowers (Say My Name)”

This is Arrdee’s third top ten hit and the biggest – marginally, following two number 6s. It is what it is. The chorus draws on both “Flowers” by Sweet Female Attitude (number 2 in 2000) and “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child (number 3 the same year). “Flowers” is a heavily referenced track – Nathan Dawe’s cover reached number 12 in 2019, and Pinkpantheress used it on “Pain” earlier this year, which got to 35.


Nov 11

Excalibur #25 annotation

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #25
“Come Fate Into the List”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1. Captain Britain and Arthur fight while falling from the Starlight Citadel.

PAGES 2-5. Betsy and Tom Lennox in the Green Lagoon.

Page 2 is intercut with flashback to the battle against Merlyn’s forces which was in progress at the end of the previous issue. As we establish in the next scene, Excalibur wound up retreating to the Citadel, and Betsy apparently takes some time here to return to Earth and check in on the newly-resurrected S.T.R.I.K.E.. Which seems a bit lacking in urgency, but I guess it’s a long-term siege, so why not.

S.T.R.I.K.E. were resurrected at the request of Pete Wisdom in a subplot in issue #22, and this is the first time we’ve seen them since. They were a S.H.I.E.L.D. equivalent from the supporting cast of old UK Captain Britain stories. Tom Lennox, in particular, was Betsy’s love interest. Specifically, this group were S.T.R.I.K.E.’s psychics – the organisation itself was bigger.


Nov 10

Hellions #17 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Trauma Response”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Orphan-Maker rescues the Right AI baby.

PAGES 2-3.Psylocke decides to help Orphan-Maker.

Psylocke decided to leave Krakoa last issue, after Havok (under Empath’s influence) destroyed the A.I. copy of her daughter’s mind, which Mr Sinister had been secretly using as leverage over her. She told Cyclops that “I was tasked with keeping the Hellions in check. If only I’d known they also tasked another.” That referred to the clear indication that Havok and Empath had been put on the team by Emma Frost specifically for this purpose. This is the subtext of Psylocke and Emma’s exchange on page 2, which is alluded to in Psylocke’s line “I think you do know.”

Emma refers to Psylocke as a “Great Captain”, so this is after she was appointed in Inferno #1.


Nov 8

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 6

Posted on Monday, November 8, 2021 by Al in Podcast

Lightning strikes six times! This is surely a sign of the Biblical apocalypse!

This time round we’re diving into the second year of Thunderbolts, covering issues 13-16. Bug people! Political intrigue! Hulkbots! Guys called Dirkson! Santa Claus the Luchador! Justice League Norwich! It’s all here, and it’s all go!

You can get the podcast here, or here on Mixcloud, or 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 hey! There are t-shirts! For sale! And they have our logo on them! This is quite a lot of exclamation marks for one post!

(Also – today is our 13th birthday. House to Astonish Episode 1 was launched on November 8th 2008. Thanks so much for sticking with us – we genuinely appreciate every single person who listens to the show. We’re not stopping any time soon, so get ready to wish us a happy 20th anniversary when Paul and I are both orbiting 50.)