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Aug 18

Marauders #23 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #23
“Time for Tempo”
by Gerry Duggan, Ivan Fiorelli & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Kate, Bishop, Banshee and Tempo in action.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Cyclops.

Tempo was shown using her time-manipulation powers to make rapidly-maturing whisky for Sebastian Shaw in issue #10, and Port Genosha whisky has shown up a few times since then. In the real world, Tempo was one of the characters who was put up in a public vote to determine the final member of the new X-Men team, which is (in practice) what Cyclops is referring to when he says “She wasn’t elected to the X-Men this year” – presumably, in-universe, she did actually put herself forward for it in some way.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Emma recaps the plot.

“The biggest party this world’s ever seen…” Last month’s “Hellfire Gala” crossover.

“We terraformed the first mutant world.” Mars was terraformed in Planet-Size X-Men #1.

“But then somehow had to go and murder the Scarlet Witch at my party.” Her body was discovered in X-Factor #10.

“The Marauder is a total loss after it was attacked.” In Wolverine #13-14. It was carrying a consignment of logic crystals and was destroyed as part of a scheme by Solum, the full details of which are still working themselves out over in Wolverine.

“Aliens were the last ones aboard.” Well, Arakkii pirates (see Wolverine #14). I suppose they count as alien if they were born while Arakko was in Amenth, or simply on the basis that Arakko is now on Mars.

“Our medicines are temporarily in short supply.” The recap page ascribes this entirely to the destruction of the Marauder, which doesn’t really make sense – that one boat can’t be responsible for the whole global distribution network. On page 6, Sean refers to “production problems”, presumably the destruction of the Savage Land flower farm in X-Corp #1. Emma’s comments on page 18 about farms on Arakko reinforce that.

PAGES 5-6. Banshee calls for help.

Banshee. We haven’t seen much of Sean Cassidy during the Krakoan era. He has a long history with Emma Frost from the 1990s series Generation X, where they were joint headmasters of the Massachusetts Academy.

Banshee is fighting one of the new Reavers created by Homines Verendi, as seen in issues #18-19. At least in those issues, we were told that the Reavers were humans who had been injured fighting mutants and who had been reconstructed as cyborgs. Banshee apparently blasts one to pieces in this scene, which looks an awful lot like a violation of the no-killing-humans rule. Possibly the Reavers aren’t regarded as human for this purpose (which would fit with Krakoa’s paranoia about post-humanity), or maybe Banshee is figuring that as long as the core of this guy is intact, the rest can be rebuilt.

“The Irish Constabulary”. Ah, Americans writing about Ireland. The Irish police force is generally known as the Gardaí (literally, the Guardians). It hasn’t been called the “Irish Constabulary” since independence in 1922.

PAGES 7-10. Banshee recaps the plot.

Fair enough, I’ll buy this as a drawing of an industrial estate on the outskirts of an Irish town. Although page 17 has it inexplicably as a single warehouse in the middle of an otherwise residential area…

“With the UK suddenly changing its tune on mutants…” In Excalibur #21. Let’s assume this warehouse literally is supplying all of Ireland, i.e. including the North.

“You know seventeen people named…” Um, Cassidy isn’t a particularly common name for Irish people. It doesn’t rate in the top 20 surnames in Ireland (in fact, one page I found didn’t even include it in the top 100). Sean is a consistently popular name in Ireland, though. So the joke would have worked if Banshee’s name was Sean Murphy, is what I’m saying.

PAGES 11-12. Emma and co arrive, and Jumbo Carnation is in action.

I think this is the first time we’ve seen Jumbo Carnation in any sort of fight (unless you count the time he was mind-controlled and made to attack Kid Omega). He’s a non-combatant and it’s not really obvious why you’d bring him along to this, unless you were pretty desperate. That said, he does have a reasonably useful defensive power which makes him very hard to injured, so he’s unlikely to get hurt. And yes, his Teflon skin was established way back in the Grant Morrison storyline that created him.

PAGES 13-18. Tempo saves the day.

Basically, Tempo slows down the bomb long enough for everyone to get to safety, and then Kate phases herself and Tempo so that the explosion does no harm.

“My days in the Mutant Liberation Front…” Tempo was a member of Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front when she debuted, and for some years afterwards. Some efforts were made to rehab her during the 90s.

PAGES 19-22. The Stepford Cuckoos and Wilhelmina Kensington.

This follows up on the Wilhelmina subplot from the last two issues, which hasn’t got any more subtle. The basic problem remains that Wilhelmina has always been a joke character; now she’s being written “seriously”, but only in the sense of giving her a traumatic history in lieu of a personality.

Wilhelmina kills her father in the same way that she apparently killed her mother.

“Stay out of the hole.” This would be the penalty for killing a normal human. The Cuckoos don’t do this, but they certainly enable Wilhelmina to do it herself.

The Cuckoos’ response to a single comment from a passerby is wildly disproportionate to anything he’s said or done, and plainly an abuse of their power. Possibly the idea here is to undercut the previous scene.

Emma’s dialogue refers to the Cuckoos being “all together” in London, but the art only shows three of them with Wilhelmina. A fourth appears right at the end to lead them to a gate.

PAGE 23. Wilhelmina quits Homines Verendi.

Doesn’t she own actual cases?

Wilhelmina interprets Kade’s motivation – at least currently – as jealousy at Krakoa’s success. That sounds reasonable.

PAGE 24. Data page – an extract from Pyro’s romance novel. He was established as an author back in his earliest appearances, though he’s been written inconsistently since then. Of course, he’s written himself as the lead in this story. His publisher, “Timely Publishing”, was one of the forerunners of Marvel.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: SPACE PIRATES.

Aug 12

X-Force #22 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #22
“Cemetery Flowers”
by Benjamin Percy, Robert Gill & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Force and Man-Slaughter fight the telefloronic attackers.

PAGES 2-3. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo approaches Dr Bloodroot.

Dr Bloodroot is, shall we say, not a common name, if it exists in the wild at all. But it’s not a completely inconceivable one; a bloodroot is a kind of flower, so called because of a red fluid that comes out when you cut it. We saw Bloodroot briefly last issue, talking to the Man with the Peacock Tattoo, though he only got one line of dialogue. In Weapon Plus: World War IV #1, the one-shot that introduced Man-Slaughter, the lead scientist was identified as one Andrew Plimpton, but Man-Slaughter killed him rather emphatically at the end of the story, so this can’t be the same guy.

Bloodroot’s belief that a growing plant is a more fitting tribute than a dying flower isn’t that weird. 

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Aug 11

Children of the Atom #6 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #6
“Party of One”
by Vita Ayala, Paco Medina, Walden Wong & David Curiel

This is the final issue of the series.

COVER / PAGE 1: Gimmick walks away from the rest of the team, towards a Krakoan gate that only she can use.

PAGES 2-3. Carmen argues with her teammates.

This scene picks up from the end of issue #5, where Ororo shows up to give Carmen her invitation to the Hellfire Gala. Apparently Ororo left straight away, rather than stick around for this awkward conversation.

“You lied to us about who you are.” Hypocrisy klaxon. The whole point of Children of the Atom is that the team have been pretending to be mutants when they weren’t. But this is also a callback to issue #1, where Buddy was self-righteously denouncing the school bigots, not simply for their opinions, but because “Spreading lies can get people hurt or killed.” Even without her tantrum about being left behind by Carmen, Buddy has always been seemingly oblivious to her own hypocrisy on this issue.

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Aug 5

X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 5, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #2
“Fearless, Chapter Two: ‘Catching the Wave'”
by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia

COVER / PAGE 1. Group shot of the team. Of course, actually having a team is a significant thing we’re trying to stress in these issues.

PAGE 2. A quote from Nova about the Annihilation Wave. This really isn’t my area of continuity, but I don’t think Nova did die fighting the Annihilation Wave, did he? Maybe he means it destroyed his home and lifestyle.

PAGE 3. Rogue breaks up Gambit’s card game.

The other players are the Black Cat, the Thing and the Rhino – hardly the worst people around, but Rogue clearly doesn’t want any bad publicity attending this new X-Men team. This feels like an unspoken change of attitude for the Krakoan era, where mutants have been prone to loudly proclaiming how little they care about what humans think. But the X-Men are based in New York, not Krakoa.

The Bar with No Name is a supervillain underground bar, which has been around in the Marvel Universe since the 80s.

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Aug 4

Hellions #14 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

HELLIONS #14
“Don’t Look Back Part II: The Judgment of Angels”
by Zeb Wells, Rogê Antônio & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1. Tarn holds the Hellions in his hand.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Tarn, the mad sadist. Tarn is obviously a counterpart of Mr Sinister as Arakko’s mad scientist. That said, Tarn seems to be a scientist for the purposes of sadism, while Sinister seems more of an amoral scientist.

PAGES 3-4. The Great Ring of Arakko.

The Great Ring are Arakko’s equivalent of the Quiet Council, first described in a data page in X-Men vol 5 #16. They’re meant to sit in groups representing Dawn, Dusk and Day. There’s also a hidden “Night” grouping who don’t appear here, but the room layout shown in X-Men #16 suggested that they might not sit at the table, in which case they could be behind the camera in page 3 panel 2. From left to right, these characters are:

  • Sobunar, standing beside his chair for some reason. Identified as a member of the Day group in X-Men #16, he appeared in Planet-Size X-Men #1.
  • Storm, apparently appointed to the Ring after becoming regent of Arakko/Mars in S.W.O.R.D. vol 2 #6. Since there are Day members either side of her, she’s apparently taken one of the Day seats. (The name of the third Day member was blanked out in X-Men #16.)
  • Lactuca the Knower, another Day member, and also seen in Planet-Size X-Men.
  • Isca the Unbeaten, from the Dawn group, who appeared extensively in “X of Swords”.
  • Idyll, the prophet who was mentioned occasionally in “X of Swords” and its lead-in. Another Dawn member.
  • Tarn the Uncaring, also in the Dawn group.
  • What seems to be an empty chair.
  • Xilo the First Defender, the caterpillar. Xilo appeared in Planet-Size X-Men #1, and is apparently sitting as a Dusk member. However, the Dusk members listed in X-Men #16 were Ora Serrata, Stulgid and Lodus Logos, so apparently something has happened to one of them.
  • Someone with blue skin in a white robe, who isn’t named, and is presumably one of the aforementioned Dusk members, making their debut.

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Jul 30

Wolverine #14 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 30, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #14
“The Unusual Suspects”
by Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert & Frank Martin

COVER / PAGE 1. Um. Well, it’s a landscape of two tiny figures looking at a giant Wolverine head which is being shattered from the inside by Solem, and which seems to have some sort of circuitry on it. The connection between this image and anything in the actual issue is obscure, beyond the general fact that Solem is manipulating everyone. Maybe it’ll make more sense as a cover for the trade paperback.

PAGES 2-4. How the Marauder ended up in Madripoor.

The footnote to X-Force #20 is an oversimplification. The Shi’ar showed up at the Hellfire Gala with their logic diamonds in Marauders #21. They were loaded onto the Marauder in X-Force #20. Christian was attacked and left floating in the North Atlantic in Wolverine #13, and the Marauder showed up on fire in Madripoor in the same issue. Apparently, the Marauder sailed through a “sea gate” to get it to Madripoor. This is the first mention we’ve had of sea gates, but sure, why not? It helps explain how the Marauder gets everywhere so quickly.

The significance of logic diamonds, as I’ve mentioned before, is that they’re used to provide the memory for Cerebro and its backups of memories and personalities. (It’s maybe time to spell that out explicitly for those readers who don’t remember them getting a passing mention back in Powers of X, though Wolverine does at least mention here that they’re something to do with Cerebro.)

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Jul 29

S.W.O.R.D. #7 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 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 #7
“Full Spectrum Diplomacy”
by Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli & Fer Sifuentes-Sujo

COVER / PAGE 1. Frenzy, Abigail Brand, Hulkling and Manifold ready themselves for action, while an image of Dr Doom at his diplomatic dinner with Storm looms over them.

Last Annihilation. This is a tie-in to “Last Annihilation”, which is basically a Guardians of the Galaxy storyline that has some tie-in one-shots and also crosses over into this issue of S.W.O.R.D. Of this book’s seven issues to date, five have been crossovers, which seems a bit much.

PAGE 2. This is the Utopian Kree’s We-Plex Supreme Intelligence System recapping the plot of Last Annihilation in rather disjointed fashion – we saw one of these pages in issue #5. For present purposes, all you really need to know about Last Annihilation is that Dr Strange villain Dormammu has possessed Ego the Living Planet and he’s invading our dimension again, this time by attacking in outer space, with his usual Mindless Ones army from the Dark Dimension.

PAGE 3. Captain Glory arrives to join the fight.

Captain Glory was called up to help at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy #16. He debuted in Avengers #676 (part of the “No Surrender” storyline), where he was leading the Lethal Legion. He’s basically a Kree super-soldier. He was jailed in Empyre for attempting to sabotage the Kree/Skrull alliance and prolong the war, but it’s perfectly reasonable to trust him in a situation like this.

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Jul 28

Cable #12 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #12
“Shakespeare in the Zark”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. A close up of the older Cable’s face. This is a companion piece to the cover of the previous issue, which features the other half of the young Cable.

PAGE 2. The opening quote – “Cable, you’re relieved of your duty” – is what the younger Cable said when he killed his older self in Extermination #1. This issue completes the exercise of reversing all that, as the young Cable goes back to his own time to pick up his life as it ought to have proceeded, while the older Cable resumes his place as… well, Cable.

This is the final issue of Cable, though there’s a “Last Annihilation” tie-in oneshot to follow.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGE 4. Cable Classic and Stryfe fight.

“Maybe I’ll keep you alive until Krakoa burns.” Stryfe might be anticipating that he’s going to burn down Krakoa, or he might be aware of how Krakoa turns out. Certainly Destiny’s instructions to Mystique in X-Men #6 were to “burn that place to the ground”, hence the title of the upcoming Inferno miniseries.

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Jul 22

New Mutants #20 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

NEW MUTANTS #20
“Secrets & Lies”
by Vita Ayala, Alex Lins & Matt Milla

COVER / PAGE 1: The Shadow King looms over Scout. Seems like a cover that would have fit better an issue or two back.

PAGES 2-4. Anole, Cosmar, Rain Boy and No-Girl decide what to do with Scout.

The previous issue ended with them finding Scout’s body. The strong implication was that Scout had been killed by the Shadow King, after she confronted him in issue #18 about her concerns over his influence over these four.

The group is named later in the issue as “Lost Club”.

“Cosmar asked for their help, and they gave her platitudes.” Issue #15. Cosmar, who believes that her distorted appearance is not a feature of her powers but merely a self-inflicted injury when her powers were out of control, asked Dani to kill her in the Crucible so that she could be resurrected in her original form. Dani refused and gave her a mutant-pride speech, which went down very badly.

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Jul 21

Marauders #22 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS #22
“The Morning After”
by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Klaus Janson & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Lourdes Chantel and Emma Frost stand over a chessboard, with Emma laying a figure of the Black King (Sebastian Shaw) on his side. Normally in chess you’d put your own king on its side as a way of resigning, but okay. The other identifiable chess piece represents former Black Bishop, Harry Leland.

This is a callback to the cover of issue #2, in which Sebastian and Emma are shown in the same poses, with Emma using the same… whatever you call it, the shoving thing… to move a figure of Kitty and Lockheed over a map.

PAGE 2. News coverage of the aftermath of the Hellfire Gala.

“I’m glad I never wanted to visit the fifth planet in our solar system.” Referring to the terraforming of Mars in Planet-Sized X-Men #1. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun (the fifth is Jupiter), so it’s a Fox News joke.

“Feilong Industries.” Referencing a storyline from Duggan’s own X-Men #1.

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