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Jun 27

The X-Axis – w/c 24 June 2024

Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2024 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN: FROM THE ASHES INFINITY COMIC #3. By Alex Paknadel, Diógenes Neves, Arthur Hesli & Clayton Cowles. The first arc turns out to be just three parts, which is fine – that feels like the natural length of a fairly straightforward ghost story. The ghost turns out to be mostly preoccupied with his wife, a mountaineer whom he assumes must have died on the mountain for no particular reason beyond sexism. That comes somewhat out of the blue as a plot point in this story, which hadn’t really hinted very much about what the ghost was up to, but it does dovetail nicely with Scott’s discomfort about how his relationship with Jean can survive their power disparity in the long run, which is the idea that Paknadel really seems interested in. It’s a solid idea for an Infinity Comic short, nicely illustrated for the most part (though some of the vertical scrolling feels a bit clunky in this one). A pretty good little story.

DEADPOOL VS. WOLVERINE: SLASH ‘EM UP INFINITY COMIC #2. By Christos Gage, Alan Robinson, Carlos Lopez & Joe Sabino. Well, yup, that’s an extended fight scene. There’s not much to this in the way of plot. Wolverine has a vaguely interesting motivation: he’s helping a old man who, as a kid, used to help him out in Madripoor, until he forgot about the boy due to memory wipes and abandoned him. But it really is just an extended fight scene, even if it’s done with a bit of wit.

X-MEN: HEIR OF APOCALYPSE #2. (Annotations here.) This is a weird book. Tom Brevoort mentioned in his weekly newsletter that it had originally been planned as a tail-end book from Jordan White’s office, and it does feel a little bit caught between two worlds. The basic idea of Apocalypse deciding to devote himself to Arakko and pick someone to carry on his self-appointed role as a shepherd of mutantson Earth makes reasonable sense. The selection of candidates remains so random that I’m genuinely curious about why some of them are there. And it does seem more in touch with the Krakoan era interpretation of Apocalypse than I’d feared – the appearance of a dodgy character like Genocide rings alarm bells at first, but he seems to be here precisely to represent a sort of throwback, pre-Hickman Apocalypse. Besides, Exodus kills him before the issue is out.

Or does he? A bunch of characters die in rather unconvincing, no-body-visible manner here. And while I could easily believe some minor character getting killed off in order to remind us that death matters again, there’s no way the likes of Penance and Exodus are dying here. (To be fair, killing Armageddon Girl first is a nice feint, since she really is expendable.) And the art doesn’t quite figure out how to sell those moments without a body, either. It’s a pretty decent extended fight scene on the whole, though, and while it’s very nineties, some of the character work is solid. The book’s major problem may actually be the weird sense of weightlessness that comes with appearing during this odd transition months.

X-MEN: BLOOD HUNT – MAGIK #1. By Ashley Allen, Jesús Hervás, Yen Nitro & Travis Lanham. More Blood Hunt, and this time it’s a Magik solo story, as she pops back to visit her home town in Siberia, and winds up dealing with the local vampires. The hook this time is that the local vampire leader turns out to be a figure from local myth more usually presented as a hero. That’s quite a nice idea, although I’m not sure the story really does all that much with it – it’s more of a rare opportunity for Magik to just get out there and do some unequivocally heroic stuff as she tears through the vampires. She’s quite well equipped for dealing with this problem, after all, and the local vampires aren’t exactly the elite. The art on this issue is lovely, though, with some really nice atmosphere to it. Hopefully we’ll see more of Hervás in future.

WOLVERINE: MADRIPOOR KNIGHTS #5. By Chris Claremont, Edgar Salazar, Carlos Lopez & Cory Petit. Well, if you’re going to buy a Chris Claremont nostalgia mini, you can’t exactly complain when he plays the hits. It’s a demonic possession story with the Hand, and you know general idea of how this goes in Claremont stories. Part of the angle here is to have Captain America more shaken by his dark side than Wolverine and Black Widow, who are used to this sort of thing, and I guess if you’re going to do this trio then you want to push the idea that Steve doesn’t really fit in a Madripoor story; he’s a conventional hero and this is a noir-ish setting, in Claremont’s day. Still, it does feel a bit by the numbers in this final issue, but like I say, you can’t complain too much that a book like this sticks to what it promises.

HELLVERINE #2. By Benjamin Precy, Julius Ohta, Frank D’Armata & Travis Lanham. So, yup, that’s Daken back already. This is all quite silly – Daken has literally been reassembled by a Ghost Rider demon, and the US military’s black magic project has reanimated some dead soldiers who aren’t very happy about it – but for the most part it’s the good sort of silly which commits to the bit and has fun with it. Ohta’s designs for the resurrected Destroyers are a little odd, but they’re distinctive. I’m enjoying this a lot more than I was expecting to.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    Is Hellverine a duplicate Daken? If not, why wasn’t he in the last batch of resurrectees? Characters who died after him were definitely included, no?

  2. The Other Michael says:

    I’m not sure how clear the timeline on this is, so I’m going to assume that Akihiro was “resurrected” as Hellverine after he was buried but before the Five got to work picking up all the “fighting” mutants in the White Hot Disco Room in time for the Rise/Fall finale. So he registered as “alive” enough to get overlooked when they were scraping up Quentin and Warren and so forth.

    I liked the Illyana one shot even if it’s entirely peripheral to both Blood Hunt and X-Men and mainly just an excuse for a random tie-in from the X-Office during the slow season. It’s nice to see her doing something heroic and not something involving the Darkchylde, or Limbo, or her lack of soul. And as a magical character, fighting vampires is at least tangentially in her wheelhouse.

  3. Michael says:

    Ilya Muromets was a real character in Russian and Ukrainian legend. He wasn’t just invented for the Blood Hunt: Magik issue. Which is odd, because as I understand it, he was usually portrayed as a hero who got his powers through divine means. In this story, he’s a vampire who preys on innocent people and who serves an evil sorcerer who turned himself into a vampire using a book written by a demon! The story tries to justify it by saying that the stories got the details wrong and Ilya never saw a reason to correct them. But still, it’s an odd choice.
    At least the Blood Hunt: Magik issues confirmed that the rank-and-file vampires know they’re serving Varnae and not Blade, since them agreeing to serve Blade would be weird.
    @SanityOrMadness, The Other Michael- it was said in issue 1 that Dane’s been possessed “a month”. I assumed “a month” meant “before the Five resurrected everyone”.

  4. Michael says:

    There’s a 5-issue Sentinels limited series coming in October Witten by Alex Paknadel. The idea is that the government has recruited Larry Trask to create a new Sentinel program, which will involve turning humans into Sentinels via nanotech instead of creating robots. Track will use his precognitive powers to find which evil mutants will do the most damage.
    I can’t believe the Five resurrected Larry Trask! I know that he died trying to stop the Sentinels but still, you’d think he’d go to the back of the queue.
    There’s also another solo series that will be announced tomorrow., and according to Declan Shalvey, they nicknamed it “Project Raven”. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be. 🙂
    It was finally revealed in this week’s Blood Hunt that it’s Varnae who’s possessing Blade. I can’t believe that they actually thought that was supposed to be a secret. And Clea looked like an idiot for not realizing what was going on when Blade talked about Atlantis and being thousands of years old. Then again, MacKay seemed to acknowledge that everyone had guessed it- he has Doom say to Strange and Clea “It’s obvious, if you merely think about it.”

  5. Chris V says:

    So, they really are redoing Operation: Zero Tolerance. Not only that, but we are just months removed from the end of the Krakoa era, with Nimrod defeated, and they are redoing elements from Moira’s Life Nine again. Nimrod was using nanotech to upgrade humans into post-humanity.
    It seems like Hickman’s revamp should have put some sort of line under a few of the tropes used for the X-books in the past, so that House/Powers could be seen as having some lasting change over mutant history. At least wait for a year until bringing those same ideas back into play.

  6. Michael says:

    One other thing- the Sentinels’ first mission will be to capture Omega Red. So it looks like Omega Red will be back to being a villain again. (Unless it’s like a Minority Report thing where Trask sees Omega Red committing crimes he hasn’t done yet.)

  7. Si says:

    Is he actually called Daken again, or is this like how everyone still calls it Twitter?

    Daken is not a PC name when you know his story, even if it does suit the guy better than Fang.

  8. Si says:

    (For clarity, I love that everyone still calls it Twitter. It’s humanity at its most admirable.)

  9. Sam says:

    That Sentinels series sounds like it’s trying to run with a story close to X-Men ’97, only using the Trask that could conceivably be alive and who was, in fairness, the Trask better at robotics.

  10. The Other Michael says:

    Resurrecting Larry Trask just because they had an all mutants must come back policy on Krakoa still feels like an odd and problematic choice. They should have put a little “NO SENTINELS” mental conditioning in him at the time, just to be safe. I know, free will and all, but if they’d taken just a couple of precautions along the way while bringing back all the villains and whatnot…

    Well, here we are. Human-Sentinel hybrids again. I’m sure this will go perfectly well. *countdown until the programming overrides common sense and one of the new Sentinels incinerates an innocent mutant bystander…*

  11. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Did they explain why Daken has Wolverine style claws in the art?

  12. Diana says:

    @Chris V: Chris Claremont resurrected Magneto about two months after the end of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. The more things change, etc.

  13. JD says:

    @Si : he’s “Akihiro/Hellverine” in the cast page, and the issue opens with this narration :

    “Some called him Daken. Others called him Fang. But his name was Akihiro, and he was the son of Logan.”

    (Past tense presumably because this is over a flashback of him getting killed by Sabretooth.)

    The one time he’s named again later in the issue (by the narration), it’s “Akihiro” again. (Wolverine just calls him “my son”.)

  14. Omar Karindu says:

    The Ilya Muryomets thing makes me think of the way the historical Vlad III is generally seen in Romania as a national hero who repelled the invading Turks and brought order in a difficult time.

    But all most people think of is the vampire Dracula, or, at most, the impalings and other popularized stories of Vlad III’s more brutal actions that are used to support the vampire character. (I must admit that I don’t know the history well enough to have a view on Vlad III.)

    So perhaps this fictional version of Ilya Muryomets is a reference to that: everyone sees him as a legendary hero who also fought off invaders, but he was actually a monstrous vampire and evil sorcerer.

  15. Michael says:

    In other news, Mystique will be a five issue limited series written by Declan Shalvey It’s basically Mystique vs. Nick Fury.

  16. Karl_H says:

    My problem with Blood Hunt is that it seems like every person on the Earth, even in rural parts of Russia (or Arizona, where the FF are) is being menaced by at least one or two vampires. The math on that is baffling — not just that there are so many vampires, but that they are so perfectly distributed.

    Also, it’s dull and repetitive.

  17. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I still prefer Blood Hunt to King in Black – random vampires can have at least some character, KiB was “everybody gets a goo dragon” in basically every single tie-in – but yeah, it’s not great.

    Jubilee’s oneshot was okay, there was a fun Kate Bishop story in the anthology mini and the Avengers tie-in by MacKay is better than most of the run up to now.And we are mostly through, at least? But it’s not great.

    The Jean and Scott story was actually pretty great. The Unlimited strips were fun at times, but this was maybe the first where I thought the author actually had something to say about the characters involved. If Paknadel can get this much out of Scott and Jean – not exactly revolutionary material – than maybe the Sentinels mini will be interesting as well.

  18. Luis Dantas says:

    I may be mistaken, but I don’t think that we were shown much of the specifics of how or when exactly during the thirty hours or so of the blackened sun the vampires spread.

    We do know that it started with an attack on Darkforce users at roughly the same time, and that at the core of it there is a small coven of superpowered vampires that apparently have exotic powers that include the ability to teleport (perhaps through ancient Atlantean sorcery).

    It is not that much of a jump to assume that some of those vampires were mystically created, or that some of the existing ones decided to travel to less disputed hunting grounds since they now have the time and a chaotic situation to help them.

    But there may be other explanations, and we may have been given hints of those in, for instance, the Spider-Man tie-in.

  19. Michael says:

    @Luis Dantas- the idea seems to be that Varnae’s group is using the Impossible City’s teleportation abilities to get wherever they want. In issue 3, Varnae tells Panther to “have the city spin up its mass-translocation drives”.

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