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Jun 1

Knights of X #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

“Never Split the Party”
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colourist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. The Knights of X fight Merlyn’s forces in the Crooked Market. It’s got some lovely covers, this series.

PAGES 2-3. Merlyn yells at the province leaders.

This time, the provinces not associated with Merlyn are represented – Roma, Jim Jaspers, and two of the hooded things that represent Mercator. Merlyn kicks us off by recapping the plot of issue #1 in the first couple of panels.

Mister M. It’s been implied before that Mr M is the mysterious ruler of Mercator, but this is the first time it’s been directly confirmed on panel. Absalom Mercator is a fairly obscure character whose most significant appearances were in the mid-2000s Bishop series District X and the later miniseries X-Men: The 198. However, he’s been consistently listed throughout the Krakoan era as a missing omega mutant, and Planet-Size X-Men #1 strongly implied that he was the one now running the renamed province of Mercator. Mercator is a massively powerful matter transmutator. He was seemingly murdered in The 198 #5, but apparently rose from the dead transformed in some way, and was never seen again.


May 26

Legion of X #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Do What Thou Wilt”
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Jan Bazaldua
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

LEGION OF X is the relaunch of Way of X (or, if you prefer, Way of X was the prequel which did the set-up for this book).

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s Legion and Juggernaut in the background, Nightcrawler at the front, and Pixie with the wings (who isn’t really in this issue, but was a recurring character in Way of X). The woman with the techno-stuff on her head is Weaponless Zsen, who’s introduced in this issue.

PAGE 2. Legion’s opening monologue.

Legion is addressing Blindfold, but we’ll come back to that. He’s also helpfully recapping Way of X for anyone new (like Blindfold). The opening panel seems like a meta nod to the season break since the last arc, too.

The Altar was introduced in Way of X and Legion’s explanation of it here is about as clear as anything else we’ve had in the past. Legion talks it up as a mutant dimension and then kind of backs off from that – we don’t entirely have a sense yet of how many mutants are using the Altar, or what kind of people they are. Broadly speaking, it seems to function as a hub of mutant culture with therapeutic overtones. Using it as the base for the Legion of X is slightly at odds with that – or maybe not, given that Kurt sees it as an essential part of a nation-building project, and as rehabilitative to boot.


May 22

Wolverine #21 annotations

Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #21
“Glory Daze”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine and Deadpool getting shot at.

PAGES 2-4. Wolverine chases Deadpool to get the briefcase back.

The opening pages have a similar layout to the opening pages of the previous issue. Wolverine and Deadpool’s eyes now appear in the spaces around the big circular panel.

I have to say that I simply can’t follow the action in this sequence. On page 2, Deadpool has the briefcase, and it’s still attached by a pair of handcuffs to the severed hand of its previous owner (which was cut off in the previous issue). Wolverine tackles Deadpool, and on page 3 panel 2 Wolverine clearly doesn’t have any handcuffs. Then, two panels later, Wolverine and Deadpool are handcuffed together. What?

PAGE 5. Recap and credits, with annotations from Deadpool. He bills himself as “Head of X”, which used to be Jonathan Hickman’s billing.

PAGES 6-8. Deadpool visits Weasel.

Weasel was Deadpool’s tech support guy throughout the Joe Kelly run. As this scene would indicate, they fell out rather badly. The footnote to Spider-Man / Deadpool – the ongoing series from 2016 to 2019 – is basically accurate. In that series, Weasel got himself resurrected as “Patient Zero” by making a deal with Mephisto to participate in a scheme to capture Spider-Man’s soul. He’s been resurrected twice more since then, and Deadpool’s basically correct to say that the details of their continuity aren’t worth keeping track of any more, and that it really all just goes round in circles. Mainly, Weasel wants revenge on Deadpool for the way Deadpool treated him when they were supposedly allies, but sometimes he grits his teeth and gets on with it for the money.


May 21

X-Force #28 annotations

Posted on Saturday, May 21, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #28
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Force, with Kid Omega in his Juggernaut form (which we’ll come to in the story). It’s marked “after Rob”; I assume the intended homage is to Rob Liefeld’s cover for X-Force vol 1 #3.

PAGES 2-4. Cerebrax decides to eat some more mutants.

This is very much X-Force in grindhouse mode, which means it doesn’t call for a huge amount of annotation. Which is very welcome news in a week with five X-books.

What we seem to be establishing here is that Cerebrax (as it calls itself later) is instinctively consuming mutants as a version of its remit to catalogue them, and having absorbed Forge, it picks up his building instincts too. Presumably that means that Cerebrax’s personality will continue to develop as it eats more people.


May 20

New Mutants #25 annotations

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #25
“The Labors of Magik, part 1: Best Laid Plans…”
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artists: Rod Reis (main story) & Jan Duursema (flashbacks)
Colourists: Rod Reis (main story) & Ruth Redmond (flashbacks)
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Magik doing magic.

PAGE 2. Data page. This is indeed a quote from Heracles by the Greek dramatist Euripedes (c.480-c.406 BC), as translated by EP Coleridge. The story takes place after the twelfth labour of Hercules (the capture of Cerberus), and involves Hercules being driven mad by Iris and the personification of Madness, and killing his family in a frenzy. In the passage quoted, he’s lamenting what he has done and observing that he is now a social outcast. The ellipsis makes this rather obscure. The full passage reads:

Last, ah, woe is me! I have dared this labor, to crown the sorrows of my house with my children’s murder. I have come to this point of necessity; no longer may I dwell in Thebes, the city that I love; for suppose I stay, to what temple or gathering of friends shall I go? For mine is no curse that invites greetings.”

A more modern translation has it as:

“And this – ah, this! This here is my last labour! This bloody deed I performed and crowned the miseries of my house with the death of my own sons! And so, here I am! I have now arrived at this sorry state! Piety forbids me from living here, in Thebes, the city I love, because if I do stay here, to which temple or to what friends could I turn? The horror of my curse will not allow for friendly greetings.”

PAGES 3-4. S’ym produces a mace.

S’ym was Belasco’s henchman in Magik’s origin story, and served as Magik’s own highly untrustworthy henchman in New Mutants until he eventually turned on her. He was originally a nod to Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark, hence the waistcoat.


May 19

X-Men Red #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Man on Fire”
Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Jordan White

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm fighting Vulcan. It seems to be going rather better for Vulcan than it does in the issue itself.

PAGES 2-5. Flashback: Professor X and Cyclops confront Vulcan.

This takes place before issue #1 (when Vulcan had already been kicked out of the Summer House), and shortly after X-Men: Trial of Magneto #5 (when the Scarlet Witch created the Waiting Room).

The Summer House is the Summers family’s home on the Moon – though with Cyclops and Jean Grey in New York with the X-Men, Kid Cable no longer in this timeline, and Rachel with X-Factor and now in Knights of X, it may just be Vulcan, Havok and Wolverine actually living there now.

The three aliens on page 2, and their dialogue, come from X-Men #10 of the Hickman run. It’s a straight recap of what was set up in that issue, which didn’t identify them or shed much further light on their plans.

Petra and Sway. Oh god.


May 18

Immortal X-Men #2 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

“All Mankind’s Woes”
Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Lucas Werneck
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan White

COVER / PAGE 1: Storm, Exodus and Magneto fight Selene.

PAGE 2. Hope reacts to Selene’s giant monster.

This is the creature that Selene created by bringing the Arakko gate to life at the end of the previous issue.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. Hope’s image is shown in colour, presumably to indicate that this is her spotlight issue. (The same was done with Mr Sinister last issue, but it wasn’t as obvious because as a Winter member, his group colour is a dark purple.)

PAGE 4. Selene arrives in London.

Coven Akkaba are villains from Excalibur – basically an anti-mutant mystical cult which has somehow or other acquired influence over the UK government. We’re not told quite why they’re dealing with Selene, but evidently the plan is for Selene to get herself onto the Quiet Council by proving her point that the mutants need someone who knows how to deal with mystical threats. Whatever she planned to do after that, the Coven clearly think it’s going to be helpful.


May 11

X-Men #11 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #11
“A Busted Hand”
Writer: Gerry Duggaan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. The female X-Men standing over defeated thugs from Gameworld. They’re wearing their Hellfire Gala costumes from last year.

PAGE 2. Opening quote. At the end of last issue, Gambit put Rogue in touch with Rocket, to get information about Gameworld (where Rocket happened to be anyway). Rocket clearly doesn’t fancy Gameworld’s chances now that the X-Men are coming.

PAGES 3-4. Flashback: Mojo steers Gameworld towards Earth.

Mojo. The last time we saw Mojo was in X-Factor #9, when a group led by Magik forced him to put a stop to slavery and mutant exploitation. That issue left him still notionally in charge, albeit under a forced pact. (“You’re partners with Krakoa now. Sign the #$%& dotted line.”) However, this flashback could easily take place before that, because X-Factor #9 was shortly before the Hellfire Gala, and Mojo is setting in train a plan which will become apparent shortly afterwards (in issue #1).


May 5

Marauders #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

MARAUDERS vol 2 #2
“Extinction Agenda, part 2”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterers: Ariana Maher & Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Erik the Red and Cassandra Nova… fighting psychically, I guess? Cassandra is drawn with two superimposed faces.

PAGE 2. Lockheed finds a pile of bodies.

Or rather, what looks to be a single body made up of other bodies.

Lockheed is traditionally Kate’s pet/sidekick, but he didn’t appear in the previous issue and I don’t think he was mentioned.

The Order of X are presumably the owners of the church building that he’s exploring, given the illuminated “X” sign outside and the “X” on display in place of an altar. They’re a mutant-worshipping cult who emerged in the aftermath of Professor X announcing the creation of Krakoa in House of X #1; it’s been suggested in some stories that they may have been damaged in some way by the Professor’s worldwide telepathic message, and at the very least it had a big impact on them.

PAGES 3-4. Delphos briefs Xandra.

Delphos identifies her order as the “Nobles of the Kin Crimson”. Their function is apparently to suppress various events from Shi’ar history which, for one reason or another, are deemed too damaging to become public knowledge; we’ll come back to that. Her claim that the Order have been recognised by previous regimes seems to be confirmed by Gladiator, who’s been there all along; Xandra is a relative newcomer to the Shi’ar, raised elsewhere, which presumably explains why she doesn’t share everyone else’s cultural acceptance of the Kin Crimson. (That raises the question of what Vulcan knows about them from his own time as Shi’ar Emperor, but he wasn’t there long, so maybe it never came up. Then again, Vulcan’s back story involves him being assigned as a slave of Eric the Red before he escaped to Moira, so he might know quite a lot.)


May 4

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

“And When There Was One”
Writers: Steve Orlando & Nyla Rose
Penciller: David Cutler
Inker: José Marzan Jr & Roberto Poggi
Colourist: Irma Kniivila
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s Thunderbird – in his recognisable 1970s costume, rather than the one he debuts in this issue.

That caption in the bottom right hand corner must be gunning for some sort of prize for the least prominent promotion of a celebrity co-writer.

PAGE 2. Flashback: John Proudstar is resurrected.

This is a scene from X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #5. John Proudstar is the first person to be resurrected through the Scarlet Witch’s “Waiting Room”, which magically extended resurrection to mutants who had died before Cerebro started keeping back-up copies.

PAGE 3. John Proudstar walks home.

Nice establishing shot with him dwarfed by the landscape.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits. The small print just says “Thunderbird” and “Krakoa.”

PAGES 5-6. John reflects on his situation.

“I was the first mutant to die for Xavier.” In X-Men vol 1 #95, part of his second published adventure. If you’re being technical about it, he’s not actually the first. The Changeling died in X-Men vol 1 #42 while impersonating Professor X (as revealed in issue #65), though he was terminally ill anyway. And per X-Men: Deadly Genesis, Petra and Sway both died on Krakoa.