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Apr 7

Marauders #19 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Fire & Ice”
by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Kate, Callisto and Bishop, posing with the Marauders flag in a pile of junk.

Incidentally, it’s been seven weeks since issue #18 came out, which is an unusually long gap.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Wolverine, in the “Patch” identity he uses in Madripoor. This is pretty standard stuff for Madripoor, though it’s obviously an exaggeration – Madripoor also has a steady supply of victims, and several Wolverine supporting characters wouldn’t really fit into this description. It’s maybe true of the sort of people Patch hangs around with, mind you.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. One point worth clarifying: the Marauders’ instructions to stay out of Madripoor come from the Madripoor government with the backing of the United Nations, not from Krakoa.


Mar 31

X-Men #19 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 5 #19
“Out of the Vault”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1. The Children of the Vault, being dramatic.

PAGE 2. Data page.

It’s been a while since we’ve had an issue which is quite so keen on the graphics. It’s perhaps not immediately obvious on this page, but the timeline runs from the top of the page to the bottom, so Synch is kind-of being presented as the central rock in this group.

PAGES 3-4. Wolverine, Synch and Darwin survive the explosion.

This is the aftermath of the explosion from the previous issue (this being a rare two-parter in Hickman’s X-Men). The narrator is Synch, as clarified later. The reasons for that become apparent at the end of the issue, as he’s presumably the only one of the trio to retain memories of this after the event.


Mar 25

Excalibur #19 annotations

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

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #19
“Wild Violets”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1. A confrontation between Captain Britain and Psylocke.

PAGES 2-3. Captain Britain of Earth-13054 locates our Captain Britain.

Elspeth Braddock was among the horde of Captains Britain we saw in X of Swords: Destruction, but this is her first full appearance. She’s a sorcerer version of the character; we’re told that her “focused totality turned inward”, which refers to the late 80s tagline about Psylocke’s psionic knife being the “focused totality of her psionic powers”. Earth-13054 is home to a fantasy-genre version of the X-Men, and was seen in X-Treme X-Men vol 2 #2.


Mar 24

Cable #9 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CABLE vol 4 #9
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable and Esme share a drink in the Green Lagoon, while a woman with a logo for a head stands over them. Okay, it’s Emma and her head is actually off the top of the page… but it does look a little odd.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from an anonymous customer at the Green Lagoon, basically making the point that nobody really treats Kid Cable seriously. Partly that’s because he doesn’t have the gravitas and experience of the familiar version, but we’ve also seen before that Cable himself has serious doubts about whether he’s really up to the role that he’s taken on.

PAGES 3-5. Cable and Esme deal with an A.I.M. submarine.

As any longtime Marvel reader will know, these guys are from A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), which is basically a group of scientists who want the world to be ruled by a scientific meritocracy (i.e., them). They’re serving here as generic walk-on villains.

Cable started this series dating all five of the Stepford Cuckoos – or perhaps just four of them, given that Phoebe is dating Quentin Quire – but we seem to have quietly settled down to just him and Esme. Back in issue #2, Esme is the one that Emma Frost singled out in her conversation with Cyclops. (“Do not let him [Cable] break their hearts, except Esme. She needs it, Scott.”) Emma’s reaction to Esme’s behaviour here should be seen in that light.


Mar 18

X-Force #18 annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #18
“Shadows of the Mind”
by Benjamin Percy, Garry Brown & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1.  Kid Omega… um, crying psychic energy, I suppose. Explosively.

PAGES 2-4. Black Tom is attacked.

Obviously, this is the psychic creature that XENO created using Kid Omega’s body. It’s not really clear to me how we’re meant to read this scene – whether Black Tom is cut off from part of Krakoa, or whether he’s connected to Krakoa but Krakoa can’t sense the psychic entity, or whether being unable to sense something on Krakoa has become something nightmarishly wrong for him.

The opening line, with Tom talking in his sleep, refers to his long-running partnership with Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. There are some stories that portray them as extremely close friends.

We’re told later on that the psychic entity’s attacks are tied to “the unguarded mind”, which usually means a strong emotional state. In Tom’s case, however, it seems to be just sleep.


Mar 17

S.W.O.R.D. #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 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. #4
“The Krakoan Sun”
by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti & Marte Gracia

COVER / PAGE 1: Knull corrupting Cable. Yes, it’s still a King in Black tie-in.

PAGE 2. Cargill’s monologue.

Cargill is stuck inside Knull’s black symbiote goop stuff, following the previous issue. She experiences this as a sensory-deprivation void, which she’s trying to find a hook for. We can see on the next page that she’s not actually surrounded, so this must be some sort of mental effect that the symbiotes have.

When she says that “something stole Cable’s face”, she basically means that one of Knull’s symbiotes has taken him over.

PAGES 3-4. Symbiote Cable rants at Manifold.

Manifold addresses this character as Knull later in the issue, so we should presumably take it that Knull is speaking through the symbiote.


Mar 11

X-Factor #8 annotations

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

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

X-FACTOR vol 4 #8
“Suite No. 8: Scio Me Nihil Scire (Tritone Substitution – Jazz Arrangement)”
by Leah Williams, David Baldeon & Israel Silva

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Factor overshadowed by the Morrigan.

PAGE 2. Aurora and Northstar watch TV.

This scene takes place just before the final page of the previous issue. That final page showed Daken, Prodigy and Eye-Boy hiding from the Morrigan in the living room, with Rachel, Polaris, Aurora and Northstar already dead.

Aurora is wet because she was in a hot tub with Daken, in the immediately preceding scene of the previous issue.

PAGES 3-4. Rachel finds Eye-Boy.

It’s the old trope that animals can sense things that humans can’t, although in this case it’s Amazing Baby detecting something that the normal-by-Krakoan-standards Rachel can’t pick up.


Mar 10

Children of the Atom #1 annotations

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

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

by Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang & Marcelo Maiolo

Children of the Atom. This is the first series of that name (though there was a miniseries called X-Men: Children of the Atom in 1999). “Children of the Atom” used to be part of the X-Men’s intro text back in the 70s, the original idea being that the upsurge in mutants was connected with the development of nuclear weapons.

The central characters never actually call themselves by this name in the story, but I’ll use the name anyway for ease of reading.

COVER / PAGE 1. A straightforward pin-up of the cast, giving nothing away beyond the very obvious parallels to existing X-Men characters.

PAGES 2-3. The Children of the Atom interrupt an armed robbery.

Hell’s Belles. As explained later int he issue, the three villains seen here are Flambé (with the flamethrowers), Vague (in the white hood) and Tremolo (the, er, other one). Their only significant previous appearance was in X-Factor #80-81, back in 1992. Despite that, the information we’re given later on about their depowering is established canon – all three appear on the long list of depowered mutants in New Avengers #18, and their teammate Briquette doesn’t. Briquette showed up, with powers intact, attending a mutant support group in Domino Annual #1.


Mar 3

Hellions #10 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Funny Games, Part II: Hitbox”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Some of the Hellions in the foreground, with Arcade gloating in the background. For some reason this issue has old-style 1980s cover boxes, which doesn’t really seem to play into anything much (though it does get the characters who aren’t in the main pose onto the cover).

PAGE 2. The now-usual opening quotation from Nightcrawler. This time he’s telling us what a valuable experience it is to face our demons and grow.

PAGES 3-6. Arcade talks to Sinister.

Arcade traditionally wouldn’t be in anything approaching Sinister’s league when it comes to power. But he does tell us that Sinister’s powers are being dampened by the chair. And Sinister seems to be a lot less physically powerful in his current incarnation anyway.


Feb 26

New Mutants #16 annotations

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

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

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #16
“One Step Behind”
by Vita Ayala & Rob Reis

COVER / PAGE 1: The faces of the New Mutants in a shadowy cloud, presumably the Shadow King. Once again, Scout is shown with the team, somewhat jumping the gun in terms of the actual story.

PAGES 2-3. Some kids sneak into Otherworld.

The Braddock Lighthouse is the headquarters of Excalibur, as seen over in their own book. That’s Rictor hanging around near the gate and being sneaked past, though the character model is a little off (the X-logo on his chest is usually drawn bigger than that).

The three kids are Monica, Josh and Liana. Monica’s the one with the red hair. Technically it’s the first appearance for all three of them, but versions of these characters previously appeared as background prisoners in Ayala’s Age of X-Man: Prisoner X miniseries. We established in the previous issue that the prison in that series included a bunch of filler characters who were copies of real-world mutants but apparently were not simply counterparts of them – from the look of it, Ayala is importing a whole bunch of these background characters into mainstream continuity.