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Apr 22

X-Force #19 annotations

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

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #19
“Dead of Nightmare”
by Benjamin Percy, Garry Brown & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1. Marvel Girl is plagued by demonic images of X-Force.

PAGE 2. Phoebe calls Jean for help.

Jean is talking about the nightmare vision she had in the previous issue, one of a number of nightmare hallucinations that were presumably caused by XENO’s evil copy of Quentin Quire.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits.

PAGES 4-7. Quentin is pursued through his mindscape.

Last issue, Quentin went to the astral plane to confront the predatory thingy, and found himself in this laboratory setting – which he correctly infers later on to be the XENO lab where his copy was cloned. As in that issue, astral Quentin doesn’t have his regular glasses, but instead has a pink energy shape, the same effect as is used for any psychic weapons that he conjures up. What use a pair of psychic glasses is, it’s not immediately obvious. At any rate, this is clearly meant to be symbolic, because Quentin starts using a similar effect in the real world later in the issue.

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Apr 21

Way of X #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

WAY OF X #1
“Way of X”
by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn & Java Tartaglia

COVER / PAGE 1: Nightcrawler, in familiar swashbuckling mode, fighting two of the Orchis soldiers. The stained glass window behind him has the faces of his team from the opening mission: Blink, DJ, Loa and Pixie.

PAGE 2. Recap and credits. The recap sets up the general premise of Krakoa, and the vague disquiet which Kurt expressed in X-Men #7.

PAGE 3. Data page. An excerpt from a book (title redacted) evidently written by Nightcrawler in mock biblical style, but trying to set out the development of his philosophy.

A “florilegium” is a compilation of excerpts from other writings (an anthology, more or less). Literally, it means “gathering of flowers”, which seems quite appropriate for Krakoa.

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Apr 15

Children of the Atom #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #2
“Prison Break”
by Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang & Marcelo Maiolo

COVER / PAGE 1: The… let’s call them the Children of the Atom for now, even though they don’t actually use that name in the story. Anyhow, they’re fighting prisoners while the prison seems to be on fire.

PAGE 2 PANELS 1-3. Someone makes a phone call from prison.

She’s unnamed, and not immediately identifiable without her costume, but this is Vague from Hell’s Belles, the minor villain team that our heroes captured last issue. She’s phoning Briquette, the one member of the team who kept her mutant powers, and asking her to come and break them out. Briquette is evidently still loyal to her depowered teammates, which raises the question of why she wasn’t with them in the previous issue. Perhaps we’ll get to that.

PAGE 2 PANEL 4 TO PAGE 4. The Avengers visit the Krakoan Embassy to talk about the kids.

This meeting doesn’t go particularly well. What’s objectionable about the Avengers’ behaviour, really, is that the Avengers seem to have shown up unannounced (or at least uninvited) at the embassy and demanded to see Professor X, who is a foreign head of state and probably has better things to do than worry about a bunch of kids running around in costumes.

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Apr 14

Wolverine #11 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #11
“A Confusion of Monsters”
by Benjamin Percy, Scot Eaton, JP Mayer & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine and Louise fighting vampires in, well, a pool of blood or something. Omega Red and Dracula loom behind. Or Omega Red’s attacking and he’s just very big. One or the other.

PAGES 2-5. Wolverine destroys a nest of vampires.

This issue returns to the Vampire Nation storyline, last seen in issue #5. Logan’s narration here is basically a summary of what the vampires were up to in that issue. We did see a group of vampires in that issue who had resisted the group control and were surviving on animal blood; however, those three didn’t ask Wolverine to kill them, and seemed really quite keen that he shouldn’t. On the whole, though, Marvel have tended to present vampires who reject their transformation as being quite keen to be put out of their misery.

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Apr 8

Excalibur #20 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 8, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #20
“No Pity From Your Friends”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1: Rogue, Captain Britain and Psylocke are menaced by Malice.

PAGES 2-5: Flashback – the origin of Malice.

Teenager Alice McAllister is found by her mother in her bedroom, having apparently committed suicide as threatened. The suggestion here is that Alice doesn’t actually commit suicide, but rather that her astral form spontaneously leaves her body, and that she chooses to stay that way rather than attempt to return. Quite why she leaves her body isn’t clear here, since there’s nothing obvious to trigger it. It might just be her powers emerging, though she’s a bit old for that.

Alice is wearing the familiar Malice choker when she comes in, though the art largely keeps it obscure, presumably to avoid spoiling where the scene is going. It’s visible in page 2 panel 3, though.

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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.

MARAUDERS #19
“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.

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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.

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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.

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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
“Bargaining”
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.

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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.

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