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Aug 7

The Incomplete Wolverine – 2003

Posted on Sunday, August 7, 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
1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002

When we left off, we were in the middle of a mob storyline, though we’d taken a diversion to deal with some guest appearances. And now, back to the main story.

WOLVERINE vol 2 #183-185
“…And Got Yourself a Gun” / “When in Rome…” / “Sleeping with the Fishes”
by Frank Tieri, Sean Chen, Tom Palmer & Edgar Tadeo
December 2002 to February 2003

As per his deal with Freddo, Logan starts going after the operations of rival crimelord the Roman. The Roman turns out to be a gang leader who publicly feigns insanity, dressing as an ancient Roman. He does things like feed annoying henchmen to his pet lions. It works better than you’d think; he feels like a Silver Age Batman character who’s wandered into an otherwise straight crime story. Anyway, being a moron, Freddo is so delighted with Logan’s work that he tries to offer him a permanent job, despite sensible underboss Delcavvo trying to warn him off it. When Logan turns him down, Freddo starts scheming to force Logan into working for him. Meanwhile, the Roman and Delcavvo both try to have Logan killed, and get absolutely nowhere with it. In the end, Logan kills the Roman, but winds up striking a deal to hand over Freddo to Delcavvo, who has him killed.

Issues #181-185 are the peak of the Tieri run; they have dry humour that actually lands, and they don’t have the repetitive sadism that plagues a lot of his run. This is a largely forgotten arc because it has no wider impact, but it’s really pretty good.

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Aug 6

Legion of X #4 annotations

Posted on Saturday, August 6, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

Cover of Legion of X #4LEGION OF X #4
“Pillow Talk”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer & production: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Hmm. Well, that’s Nightcrawler and Zsen in the foreground. Standing over them are Mother Righteous in the middle (who doesn’t appear in this issue), Loki to the right, and… presumably another trickster god component on the left, though I don’t recognise him. And in the background is the silhouette of Galactus, which has nothing to do with the content of this issue at all. It’s quite an odd cover. The actual solicitation text seems perfectly consistent with the published issue, though.

PAGE 2. George Pérez obituary.

PAGE 3. Switch is rescued.

We’re not told who his rescuer is, though since he has purple skin and custom speech balloons, he should be pretty hard to miss.

Switch’s psyche was trapped in this jar last issue. Considering how important he is, it seems odd that Switch has been entrusted to Paulie diCosta, who has no experience in this field at all and doesn’t particularly want to be there himself.

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Aug 5

X-Men Red #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, August 5, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN RED vol 2 #5
“The Hour of Uranos”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Cable, still with a twinkle in his eye even in adverse circumstances.

PAGES 2-3. Destiny’s warning is relayed to the Great Ring.

The lead-in for this scene is on page 9 of A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1, where Magneto, Cable and Nightcrawler decided that they would relay Destiny’s warning about an imminent Eternal attack to the Great Ring, while Storm joined the Quiet Council meeting on Krakoa. Abigail Brand wasn’t seen in that issue, so presumably Magneto and co went out of their way to alert her – partly because of the seriousness of the problem, and partly because this whole affair is completely unrelated to any of her schemes.

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Aug 4

Immortal X-Men #5 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

IMMORTAL X-MEN #5
“Meditations on the X”
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Michele Bandini
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Exodus in action above Krakoa (with what looks to be one of the Hex visible on the ground below). Obviously, it’s Exodus’s turn for his spotlight issue.

PAGES 2-3. Flashback: Exodus has a vision of the Phoenix in the desert.

Black Knight: Exodus. The flashbacks in this issue heavily reference the 1996 one-shot Black Knight: Exodus by Ben Raab and Jimmy Cheung, because it’s Exodus’s origin story. In the original story, the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) and Sersi attempt to return to the mainstream Marvel Universe from the Malibu Ultraverse. They wind up stuck in the time of the Crusades, with Dane possessing the body of the period Black Knight, Eobar Garrington. (I’ll come back to that.)

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Jul 31

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #42-43

Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #42-43
“Cypher in the Cryptolect”
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Damian Couceiro
Colourist: Felipe Sobreiro
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic, by far the longest running of the Infinity books, has settled into a role as a quirky diversion for X-completists. Is that the sort of material that draws people in to Marvel Unlimited? Maybe it is. Maybe the audience for an archive subscription service (albeit one that covers pretty much the entire Marvel line on a three-month lag) is the hardcores and what you need to offer them is something, well, if not essential, at least additive.

So here’s a two-part Cypher story. Doug’s prominent in the Krakoan era but it’s not all that often that he actually gets to do anything – which is fine, since it has more impact when he actually does. Still, this is an actual Cypher story, written by Alex Paknadel, who was also responsible for the recent Maggott arc. Either he likes playing with underused characters, or this is just what’s available on X-Men Unlimited.

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Jul 28

X-Men vol 6 #6-12

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN vol 6 #6-12
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz (#6-7  & #11-12), Javier Pina (#8 & #10), C F Villa (#9)
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

There’s something about this book that doesn’t click for me. It’s certainly not the art, which is excellent. Pepe Larraz, the book’s primary artist, is just excellent. He makes Cyclops look like Superman while doing completely banal cat-rescuing; that Captain Krakoa costume is just ludicrous enough for the idea to work. The Martian landscapes are great; the detail in Dr Stasis’s lair is perfect.

True, he only draws four of these seven issues, but the other artists keep the book looking consistent; holding on to the same colourist obviously helps. Javier Pina delivers a joyfully ludicrous MODOK; CF Villa does a solid job on a relatively non-visual issue of meetings. It’s a good-looking book with a classic superhero feel that mirrors what Duggan’s X-Men are apparently trying to do – re-establish the X-Men as proper superheroes, in order to be cultural ambassadors from the isolationist nation of Krakoa to the outside world.

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Jul 27

Housekeeping

Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

No annotations this week, because… um, well, because there isn’t anything to annotate. The only X-books out this week are two flashback minis, Wolverine: Patch #4 and Gambit #1. I’ll probably do some reviews over the next few days.

Jul 22

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 22, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s the X-Men on the left, the Avengers in the middle and the Eternals on the right. In the background, the looming Celestial that forms Avengers Mountain.

PAGE 2. An ordinary day in New York.

This is the voice of the Machine, originally presented as the Eternals’ artificial intelligence, but which presents itself in the current Eternals series as “the Great Machine that is Earth”. It serves as the narrator of Eternals.

The woman with green hair on the bottom left might be Polaris, not that it really matters.

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Jul 21

Knights of X #4 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

KNIGHTS OF X #4
“The Seat of the Self”
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colourist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Betsy walks towards an (empty) Siege Perilous, surrounded by shards with images of the rest of the cast.

PAGE 2. Arthur’s forces continue their attack.

PAGES 3-4. Recap and credits.

PAGES 5-6. Jim Jaspers makes a portal to Mercator for the remaining Knights of X.

The sacrifice. We established last issue that Apocalypse’s grimoire predicted that a sacrifice would be required in order to get into Mercator; Rictor spent most of last issue thinking it could be him, until Gambit got killed in action instead. As Meggan reminds us, we established during “X of Swords” that mutants who die in Otherworld can’t be resurrected, except as rebooted blank slates.

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Jul 17

Wolverine #23 annotations

Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #23
“Old Haunts”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Danger impales Wolverine and Deadpool on swords. It’s a callback to Adam Kubert’s own cover for Wolverine #88 (1994), which has Deadpool impaling Wolverine in the same pose.

PAGES 2-5. Deadpool and Wolverine fight their way into the X-Men Mansion.

The page layouts echo the opening pages of every issue in this arc (though I’d struggle to tell you quite what the point of that is). Apparently Danger has mocked up a Sentinel for our heroes to get past.

This is interspersed with Wolverine reminiscing about the days when the Mansion was home, with images of the X-Men teaching pupils on the lawn, and having one of their signature baseball games. Wolverine, having been around for over a century, tells us that he has an all-things-pass attitude to the Institute, remembering it fondly enough, but recognising that attempts to recapture the past are bound to fail. Wolverine claims later in the issue that Danger and Deadpool are both making this sort of doomed attempt. It’s fairly obvious why that’s the case for Danger, who’s returned home to her place of awakening, and more of a stretch for Deadpool.

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