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Dec 26

Wastelanders: Wolverine #1

Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

WASTELANDS: WOLVERINE #1
by Steven S DeKnight, Ibrahim Moustafa & Neeraj Menson

This came out on December 15, but I forgot about it.

I forgot about it because, well, it’s one of a series of Wastelanders one-shots that shipped in December. And the others star Hawkeye, Dr Doom, Black Widow and Star-Lord, so even though Wastelanders is set in the world of “Old Man Logan”, I don’t regard them as X-books.

Although, it’s the Wastelands, and with the best will in the world, I really couldn’t care less. I’ve never found the Wastelands interesting, and I have no interest in reading sequels there. The whole post-apocalyptic vibe does nothing for me and feels like it’s been run into the ground. And “…but with the Marvel Universe” isn’t the twist needed to bring it to life. Plus, Mark Millar’s original story was a one-last-mission number, which doesn’t lend itself to endless sequels anyway. Taking the character out of context for the Old Man Logan series kind of worked, but just doing more Wastelands stuff… I don’t get it.

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Dec 24

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #5 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 24, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #5
“To Catch a Toad”
by Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Magneto and the Scarlet Witch dancing.

PAGE 2. The Scarlet Witch names her murderer.

This picks up directly from the end of the previous issue.

“No matter how your magic may or may not have affected Krakoa today…” Northstar is referring to the kaiju attack over the last couple of issues, triggered by Wanda’s traumatic identity crisis.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-8. The Toad is summarily tried and exiled.

The Quiet Council here consists of Professor X, Magneto, Mr Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Kate Pryde, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Nightcrawler and Storm. This is before Destiny and Colossus join the Quiet Council in Inferno (which is obvious from the timeline, as this story takes place in the days immediately following the Hellfire Gala).

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Dec 23

Mighty Marvel Holiday Special – Happy Holidays, Mr Howlett Infinity Comic #1

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

MIGHTY MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL – HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MR HOWLETT INFINITY COMIC #1
by Ryan North, Nathan Stockman & Chris O’Halloran

Yes, that’s the title. Don’t look at me.

Hey, it’s an X-book. And it’s probably meant to be canon, too. Not that anything’s ever likely to turn on whether this is canon or not, admittedly, but if it matters, it probably is.

So it’s a few years back – the costumes say early to mid 90s – and the X-Men are holding a party for the general public as some sort of public relations event. Which isn’t really the sort of thing they did back then, but sure, they probably should have. Professor X is there in his hover wheelchair, and he’s not openly associated with the X-Men at this point, but he is publicly known as a mutant rights activist so… again, sure. Okay. And Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are there too, but fine, they’re visiting. I mean, it doesn’t quite fit, but it’s not a big problem.

And the schtick is that everyone is having fun at this thing except for Wolverine, who doesn’t like joining in with fun things. Since this is a Ryan North comic, it’s not quite as basic as saying that Wolverine is a grinch. He just doesn’t particularly want to be part of this, he doesn’t really see what his unique skillset of razor sharp blades can contribute to the world of children’s entertainment, and he’d prefer not to be there. (“I’m not grumpy. I’m… I’m brusque. And content in solitude. There’s a difference.”)

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Dec 23

Wolverine #19 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #19
“The Old Mutant and the Sea”
by Benjamin Percy, Javi Fernandez & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s Wolverine on the surface with a monstrous sea creature below the surface.When I started doing these posts, I figured there would be plenty of X-books that weren’t that heavy on continuity and where the annotations would be pretty short. As it turns out, there weren’t. This one is getting there, though, so we might not be terribly long here.

PAGES 2-3. Wolverine hunts Krakoan wildlife while a corpse washes up on the beach.

Percy seems to be the only writer interested (however tenuously) in the idea that Krakoa has distinctive animals on it. Anyway, Wolverine is hunting this thing so that he can use it as bait in his hunt for the Leviathan later in the issue. This is the final issue of this volume of Wolverine and, perhaps rather tellingly, it opens with a callback to Wolverine’s first scene in X-Force #1. In that scene, he was also hunting Krakoan wildlife and arguing that the paradise of Krakoa would lead to people dropping their guard and becoming soft. (Intriguingly, with hindsight, the character he lectures about this theme is the Beast, who starts off X-Force much less paranoid than he eventually becomes.)

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Dec 22

S.W.O.R.D. #11 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 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 #11
“Final Frontier”
by Al Ewing, Jacopo Camagni & Dernando Sifuentes

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm, Cable and Brand fight the Lethal Legion. Not quite what happens in the issue itself.

PAGES 2-3. Manifold prepares to deal with S.W.O.R.D. Station One falling out of the sky.

Apparently we’re not calling it the Peak any more (and it’s about to become academic anyway). Anyway, after being blown up last issue as part of Abigail Brand’s convoluted plan, the station is falling to Earth over Australia, and Manifold and Cable are going to their powers to stop is causing a disaster.

We saw Baz before in issue #3, Manifold’s solo story.

The Winter Soldier was “Captain America for a while” during Ed Brubaker’s run, circa 2008.

Abigail Brand has drawn our attention before to the fact that Cable’s powers and his techno-organic virus are kept in balance, so that stretching him to his limits like this causes problems for him. As we’ll see, this seems to be part of her plan to depower him and get him out of her way.

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Dec 18

X-Force #26 annotations

Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #26
“Wipeout”
by Benjamin Percy, Robert Gill & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1. The rest of the cast look on as Wolverine dives into a live volcano after… well, who knows? Nothing much like it happens in the issue. There’s an eruption, but no diving into the lava with claws drawn. (And this looks to be a man’s hand, not Pike’s.)

This issue’s pretty simple, annotation-wise.

PAGES 2-4. Pike and her team bring the stolen babies to their submarine.

These are the Krakoan babies that they stole from the Bower last issue. The one that screams is Maximillian, who “nearly killed everybody in a hundred-yard radius” with his uncontrolled powers (according to Kid Omega last issue).

Pike’s unnamed employer is identified at the end of the issue.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGES 6-9. X-Force investigate Pike’s attack, and Wolverine talks to Kid Omega about his break-up with Phoebe.

Last issue, Pike and her team entered Krakoa through the supposedly unmanageable Dead Mutant’s Cove, posing as Krakoan surfers, and Wolverine directed them to the Bower (not least because he was attracted to Pike, though he doesn’t say that in terms here).

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Dec 16

Excalibur #26 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #26
“The Fantasy is Over”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1. Saturnyne, with Betsy as her knight, and her sword in a scrying pool that shows the rest of the cast. Unusually for 2021, we get a very old-school piece of lettering trailing the climax. In three mismatched fonts, none of which fit well with the logo, and all of which feel squeezed into a space in the corner. I’m really not sure what it’s doing there, since the cover as a whole doesn’t evoke anything retro, and it drags down a perfectly nice piece of art.

PAGE 2. Merlyn briefs his troops.

Merlyn captured the Starlight Citadel and renamed it the Lunatic Citadel last issue. Those are his siege engines in the background of the first panel.

Aside from Arthur himself, Merlyn is addressing groups from the various factions allied with him in previous issues: the Sevalith (the vampire guys), the Furies (the robot thing) and the Colony (the bees people). There are some more generic soldiers around as well. Saturnyne’s aide Ryl is still there, standing by Merlyn’s throne and apparently being accepted by him. Presumably she’s loyal to the throne rather than its current occupant.

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Dec 12

X-Men Legends #7-9

Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN LEGENDS #7-9
“Kidnapped!”
by Larry Hama, Billy Tan & Chris Sotomayor

From time to time I read the final chapter of a story and realise I have no memory of what happened in the previous chapters, and none of this feels like it has any particular significance to me. Often I go back and re-read the earlier issues, and the pieces fall into place, and I can see what the story was going for. And sometimes… it’s still just stuff happening.

For its fourth arc, X-Men Legends revisits Larry Hama’s run on Wolverine in the 1990s. And undoubtedly, that qualifies as a landmark run. We’re working through it at the moment over in the “Incomplete Wolverine” posts, but suffice to say that the first few years of Larry Hama’s run are not only vastly entertaining, they also introduce a lot of core Wolverine mythology that gets referenced regularly to this day. The later years of Hama’s run are, shall we say, a bit more patchy; some of that feels like it’s to do with editorial stop-starting, but a fair bit feels like it’s to do with having already done the big ideas, and a drift towards the surreal that often doesn’t pay off.

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Dec 10

Inferno #3 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

INFERNO vol 2 #3
by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, Adriano di Benedetto & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Professor X and Magneto fight Nimrods. Or rather, just the one Nimrod, in his multiple bodies.

PAGE 2. Data page. Our opening quote comes from Omega Sentinel, and we’ll get to it on page 28. At this stage, the natural assumption is that she’s referring to one of Moira’s past lives, but that’s not the idea, as we’ll find out.

PAGES 3-5. Flashback: Professor X shows Cypher his plans.

We’ve seen this scene before, in Powers of X #4. Specifically, this is a repeat of page 19, which takes place after Cypher has already been introduced to Krakoa. The difference is that this time we get to see what Professor X showed Cypher. It seems to be the official vision of Krakoan society, rather than any of the secrets that the Professor learned from Moira.

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Dec 9

Hellions #18 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

HELLIONS #18
“The Losing End”
by Zeb Wells, Ze Carlos, Stephen Segovia & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1:: The Quiet Council judge the Hellions. (This doesn’t quite reflect the interior – in the story itself, Psylocke isn’t shackled, and Empath isn’t on trial with the others at all.)

PAGES 2-3. The Quiet Council prepare for the Hellions’ trial.

The Hellions are on trial after Orphan-Maker killed two park rangers after the fight with the Right in the previous issue.

The Council members present are (clockwise from top) Professor X, Mr Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Kate Pryde, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Nightcrawler, Storm and Magneto. Since the other two seats are vacant, this presumably takes place before Destiny and Colossus join the Council in Inferno. On the other hand, Psylocke is acknowledged as a “Great Captain” later in the issue, and she was only formally appointed to that position in Inferno #1. So apparently we’re between pages 44 and 45 of Inferno #1.

Professor X’s opening comment – “We knew this day would come” – suggests they haven’t had to do this in quite some time, but Storm refers later on to “precedents”, plural. One is Sabretooth in House of X #6. The other is presumably the trial of Nature Girl and Curse in X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #12.

Mr Sinister is openly angling for the whole team to be got rid of, presumably because he no longer has any leverage over Psylocke (following the loss of the AI version of her daughter, which he was holding over her for the entire series), and because the team haven’t yet got their revenge on him for tricking them in “X of Swords” and again in the subsequent Murderworld arc. This incarnation of Sinister is not much of a schemer and is so glaringly unsubtle about it that the rest of the Council more or less ignore him.

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