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Jan 14


Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2023 by Paul in Uncategorized

Just for anyone wondering, the rest of this week’s posts are probably going to wind up slipping a week or so. I’ll catch up in due course.

Dec 24

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 12

Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2022 by Al in Uncategorized

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… twelve lightnings striking!

It’s time for the latest episode of our reread podcast covering Marvel’s most wanted, the Thunderbolts, and we’re looking at issues 31-33 of the original run of the book. This is the end of series cocreator Kurt Busiek’s run as writer, so we’ve got a little tear in our eye as we revisit Arnim Zola From Work, the Marvel Universe’s most deadly drug and Citizen V’s emoji mask.

The podcast is here, 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. And don’t forget to go one post down to cast your votes for the 2022 Homies!

Dec 18

Meanwhile, some housekeeping…

Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2022 by Paul in Uncategorized

It’s obvious to anyone that Twitter is at the very least becoming unstable and unreliable, and quite possibly on its way to uselessness and/or implosion. I can see that a fair amount of traffic comes to this site directly from Twitter, so it’s clearly time to make contingency plans. I’d like to imagine that most of you who come here via Twitter would probably just check in regularly anyway, but let’s assume that’s not the case or that there’s a convenience issue for you.

That’s why this post exists: to invite comments from you, YES YOU, on the alternatives.

You can find the same links on Hive, where I’m @ifdestroyed, and on my Mastodon account

But… I don’t honestly think either of those platforms is going to replace Twitter (or that they could cope with the infrastructure and moderation demands if they did), and I don’t know how much use any of you are likely to make of them. And if you’re going to check in on them once a week to see what I’ve posted there… well, you might as well just come here in the first place.

I have also have accounts as @ifdestroyed on Post.News and Cohost which are currently dormant. If there’s a lot of you out there who’d actually find it helpful for me to post links on those platforms then let me know.

The other option is Substack. Using that just to send out alerts of a new post seems a bit clunky, but I could do a weekly round-up, maybe with a bit of extra material thrown in. Or I could go the whole hog and have every post on Substack as well as on here.


Oct 6

X-Men Red #7 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2022 by Paul in Annotations, Uncategorized

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

X-MEN RED vol 2 #7
“The Winning Side”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colour artists: Federico Blee & Fer Sifuentes-Sujo
Letterer & production: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm fights Isca in the Great Ring chamber. This is another Judgment Day tie-in.

PAGE 2. Obituary for Mike Pasciullo.

PAGES 3-7. The aftermath of Magneto’s battle with Uranos.

Issue #6 ended with Storm, Magneto & co setting off to confront Uranos. Magneto defeated Uranos in A.X.E.: Judgment Day #4, and this picks up directly from the end of that scene. (Despite what it says on the recap page, at least the vast majority of this story takes place during Judgment Day #4, not after Judgment Day #5.)

“You have new gods now.” This comes from the end of Magneto’s speech to the human ambassadors in House of X #1.

Resurrection. In issue #4, Magneto and Storm both destroyed their backups in order to disavow the possibility of resurrection, and prove themselves to their Arakkii colleagues. Magneto’s refusal to waver on this in his last moments was something that impressed the Progenitor in Judgment Day #4. Storm is clearly less wedded to the idea – at least when it becomes a reality – and immediately proposes resurrecting Magneto even without the benefit of a backup. She seems clear that this would work, despite having presented the backup deletion as a crucial factor in issue #4. Presumably she’s anticipating the return of a blank-slate Magneto in that situation.


Aug 3

House to Astonish Presents The Lightning Round Episode 10

Posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 by Al in Uncategorized

It’s the big 25th issue spectacular, and there are 25 supervillains just waiting to make the Tbolts’ lives harder (because they’ve been having such an easy time of it up until now), so we’ve got an extra-big bumper special episode for you, as we take on issues 24-26. Waffle Christ cereal! Mark McGwire vs peeing the bed! Me not connecting the mic properly so I sound like I’m talking through a megaphone from across the room!

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 on our Facebook fan page. And hey! Has there ever been a better time to buy a House to Astonish t-shirt at our Redbubble store? I don’t think there has, and I’m the guy who asked the question, so you know I’m not biased!

Jun 28

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #41

Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 by Paul in Uncategorized

“Birthday Side Quest”
Writer & artist: Jason Loo
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

It feels like only yesterday that I reviewed Jason Loo’s last single-issue Unlimited story, the one where Lila Cheney went speed dating. Actually, that was issue #28, and it came out in March…but it took me a while to get around to reviewing it.

This is very much in the same vein. It’s Jubilee’s birthday; she invites her former teammates from Generation X to join her in a fantasy-themed escape room. You might wonder whether Jubilee doesn’t have any other friends than the people she hung out with in a series from more than twenty years ago, who she might want to spend her birthday with… but then again, most of the candidates are currently in Knights of X, so maybe she doesn’t. Anyway, Jubilee wants to do it in full cosplay, and nobody else is really on board with that. And only about half the team show up, though that’s probably a good move given how many characters that would be.

If you remember the Lila Cheney story, you probably know where this is heading. There’s a bit of light comedy. Loo’s art is really good at that kind of thing – one thing this story does really well is make these characters look like old friends hanging out. But it’s got the same basic problem as the Lila story – rather than just commit to making “they hang out and that’s entertaining” into a plot, it randomly throws in a bunch of anti-mutant bigots in the second half so that the heroes can beat them up. That’s all a bit generic, and it doesn’t resolve anything that was set up in the first part of the story.  Once again, it feels like Loo didn’t actually have an ending for the gentle character comedy he had set up, and just reached for the stock X-Men ending of the Krakoan era.

Yes, I get it, it’s satisfying when the bad guys get beaten up. But it’d be even more satisfying if it had something to do with the first half of the issue.

Apr 2

Charts – 1 April 2022

Posted on Saturday, April 2, 2022 by Paul in Uncategorized

Are we just not releasing new singles, then?

1. Dave – “Starlight”

Four weeks, heading up a static top five. Apparently it was pretty close over Aitch at number 2, but on paper it’s another dull chart. For our highest new entry, we have to go down to…

23. Potter Payper featuring Tiggs Da Author – “Gangsteritus”

Could somebody not have told him that it’s spelt “-itis”? Oh well. This has been out for months, but it finally charts after showing up in Netflix’s Top Boy. It’s a track from Potter Payper’s 2021 album “Thanks for Waiting”, which reached the top 10. His 2020 album “Training Day 3” made the top 5, too. But this is the first time he’s appeared in the top 40 singles; his previous best was a freestyle that got to number 41 in 2020.


Mar 22

Marauders #22-27

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 by Paul in Uncategorized

Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Matteo Lolli (#22 and #26-27), Klaus Janson (flashback in #22), Ivan Fiorelli (#23), Phil Noto (#24-25 and # 27)
Colourist: Rain Beredo (#22-23 and #26-27)
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Jordan White

I’ve said before that the period between “Hellfire Gala” and Inferno showed some definite signs of drift for the X-books. Nowhere was that more obvious than with Marauders, which had been a very focussed, very successful book for its first 22 issues, but loses its way badly in the last few issues of the Gerry Duggan run.

The first 20 issues have a central spine to them, of Kitty feeling isolated, getting killed, returning to claim her identity and take revenge on Shaw, and so on. But that’s all finished by the time of the Hellfire Gala, and the book doesn’t really find anything to replace it in these closing issues.

By way of reminder, here’s what happens. Issue #22 is the Lourdes Chantel story, with guest art from Klaus Janson, which retcons the death of this minor character from a Classic X-Men back-up strip. It now turns out that Emma Frost created an illusion of her death to enable her to escape her abusive relationship with Sebastian Shaw, who to this day still looks back on that relationship fondly as his true love. This is the closest the book comes to a central theme in the closing issues, and it’s good enough as far as it goes, though Lourdes herself never really seems to develop much beyond a cipher.


Jan 30

Marauders Annual #1 annotations

Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2022 by Paul in Annotations, Uncategorized

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

“Hellfire & Brimstone”
by Steve Orlando, Creees Lee & Rain Beredo

MARAUDERS ANNUAL. This is the first Marauders Annual, and something of an odd release in the Krakoan era, when the X-books haven’t generally been doing annuals at all. It seems to exist as a one-shot serving as the launch for the upcoming Marauders vol 2 – billing it as Marauders Annual #1 rather than as Marauders vol 2 #1 allows it to ship during the season break.

COVER / PAGE 1. Daken, Kate and Psylocke fight Brimstone Love.

PAGES 2-4. Daken is ambushed while investigating a mass grave.

Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s a wealthy, largely white area, something that Daken also notes on page 12.

Daken. Wolverine’s son is joining the cast of Marauders in vol 2, and this is his introduction. He was previously a member of X-Factor, which is why he’s looking for proof of death – his main job is to find evidence that mutants have really died, so that they can be safely resurrected without awkward doppelgangers resulting. Although he repeatedly calls himself “Akihiro” in this scene (his surname), the recap page still calls him Daken. However, he’s dumped his X-Factor outfit in favour of a variant of his costume from his Dark Wolverine days. To be precise, the opening panel seems to be loosely based on the cover of Daken: Dark Wolverine #1.

We see on page 12 that Daken specifically asked the telepaths he mentions to look out for his mental signals.


Nov 3


Posted on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 by Paul in Uncategorized

No annotations this week, because… well, there’s nothing to annotate. The only X-books out this week are X-Men: Legends and X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic (and they’re both in mid-storyline, so they’re not due for a review either).

So… yeah.

On Sunday, though, it’ll be time for Wolverine in 1994.