RSS Feed
Sep 8

The X-Axis – w/c 4 September 2023

Posted on Friday, September 8, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #103. By Steve Foxe, Stephanie Williams, Noemi Vettori, Pete Pantazis & Travis Lanham. Continuing the string of standalone stories with the members of the abortive X-Men team, this is Frenzy’s spotlight issue. I still don’t really understand the point which these stories are supposed to making collectively – if there even is one – but this is certainly the best of the bunch so far. It’s workaholic Frenzy focussing on the important task of teaching visiting diplomats how to handle themselves on Arakko, and Paibok persuading her to take a break. That’s pretty much the whole thing, but it’s a well delivered vignette and a nice little read.

X-MEN #26. (Annotations here.) I have very mixed feelings about “Fall of X”. I’m on board with the bit where Orchis outwit Krakoa and the mutants are forced into exile; I can accept the idea of Orchis getting into a position of influence and rolling out essentially fascist anti-mutant policies, even if it seems a bit weird to be doing it during the Biden administration. What I can’t buy for a second is the idea that this is a state where the “tiniest slipups could send someone to ‘education camp'” without that being, at the very least, massively controversial on a level far beyond anything we’re seeing here. X-Men in particular seems to be treating this as equivalent to the HYDRA takeover of the USA from Secret Empire, which was also silly and didn’t work. The fundamental problem here is that the story is both comically over the top and oppressively miserable – basically, exactly what I dreaded “Fall of X” would be when I read the Hellfire Gala one-shot. The other “Fall of X” books haven’t fallen into this trap, perhaps because they can skirt more effectively around the edges. But X-Men has, and the result is just a bit tiresome.

As for the marriage of Tony and Emma, the basic idea of the two being stuck in a marriage of convenience is actually quite good, and I can see it working in a less irksome context. Here, the sitcom aspects of it just sit really weirdly with everything around them – tonally, this arc is all over the place.

IMMORTAL X-MEN #15. (Annotations here.) On the other hand, this is working better, especially when the focus is on the exiles. It doesn’t really fit as a spotlight issue for Selene, who doesn’t exactly have many depths to explore. But  Shaw’s attempt to manoeuvre his way to success through the wreckage works, and Xavier’s virtually symbolic vigil seems like a good touch. Mainly, though, I’m very much up for the idea of Exodus getting the chance to live out his Moses fantasy for real. With her focus on magic and story, Mother Righteous is an intriguing opponent for him here, and Exodus feels like he’s more on her wavelength than she thinks. Admittedly, as a lifelong atheist I’m not exactly up on the details of the original Bible story we’re referencing here, and I should probably make an effort to read up on it before the next issue…

GHOST RIDER & WOLVERINE: WEAPONS OF VENGEANCE OMEGA. By Benjamin Percy, Geoff Shaw, Rain Beredo & Travis Lanham. The conclusion of the Ghost Rider / Wolverine crossover, which is really a Ghost Rider arc with added Wolverine. I quite liked the more low key bits of this storyline, but the finale is basically just  a big fight scene with the demon. I wanted to see more of Bram realising that he wanted his demon back after all – that’s the hook here. Instead we get more of the satanic priest guy, who isn’t nearly as interesting. Nice art, though, and it’s a perfectly fine little Ghost Rider story.

MAGNETO #2. By J M DeMatteis, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg & Travis Lanham. Issue #1 seemed to be going for an audacious retcon in which Magneto’s Silver Age villain persona was always an act, but this issue suggests that DeMatteis is going for something more complicated, with Magneto himself trying to rationalise his inconsistent personalities down the years. As a Magneto character piece, this is turning out to be quite promising, though I still suspect it’s going to be an idiosyncratic reading. It’s quite a nice New Mutants story, too (and Nauck does good teen New Mutants). I’m not so sure about the villain, who seems to be a Magneto obsessive trying to get him back to his traditional persona – she’s a bit too close to early Exodus at this point. But definitely an interesting book.

LOVE UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #66. By Preeti Chhibber, Carola Borelli, Carlos Lopez & Ariana Maher. Pretty much what you’d expect as the final part of this Rogue and Gambit arc: they beat the bad guy, they return his stolen treasures to their rightful owners. I see the logic of using an immortal here, since he can be the original collector of the artefacts. And that way they’re indisputably stolen goods in the hands of the original thief and you simplify the arguments enormously. I’m still not entirely convinced that the reveal worked to escalate the story, but this was a fun, well-executed romp – even if running it in Love Unlimited is really stretching the remit.

Bring on the comments

  1. Asteele says:

    I suppose with the exodus story there is the thing where Moses is not allowed to make it to the promised land.

  2. thewreath says:

    The Exodus storyline has to be some form of fantasy/dream sequence right? It’s soooo allegorical and Mother Righteous seems to be able to fool and manipulate everyone without any bother. Mr. Gillen we get it – it’s What If Exodus was really doing an exodus. I am interested to see how Hope factors in though, especially since she’s separated from the rest of The Five.

  3. Michael says:

    The Wolverine-Ghost Rider story seems like it was a preexisting crossover tacked on to the Fall of X era. Father Pike claims to be working with Orchis but there’s no actual evidence of that. In every other Fall of X story Orchis is trying to imprison, depower or exile “ordinary” mutants but in this story they’re trying to kill them. And it’s not clear what Bram could do for them that a Sentinel couldnt. (And yes, Orchis went to great lengths to get Captain Krakoa and the Battleworld Madelyne Pryor but those are specific counterparts of X Men allies- Captain America and Maddie.)

  4. Michael says:

    Again,in Magneto 2,DeMatteis fails to understand how a New Mutant’s power works. Last issue he had Dani projecting the fear of someone who wasn’t present. This issue he had Doug failing to understand what a word means. That’s his POWER- to understand what words mean.

  5. Joseph S. says:

    While it makes sense that Exodus would have parallels to Moses and the book of Exodus, he’s also referred directly, IIRC, to the temptation of Christ, the 40 days fasting in the desert in a spiritual battle with Satan, and described in the three Synoptic Gospels. That story doesn’t have a people searching for a promise land, as the Exodus from Egypt does, but it does resonate with Exodus’s back story as well (as GN pointed out in a comment on the Immortal annotation). And while Apocalypse and Phoenix and the Wolverines might be slotted in in some capacity, Mother Righteous, who is always looking for expressions of gratitude, makes for a fairly direct parallel to bowing to the devil.

  6. Josie says:

    “This issue he had Doug failing to understand what a word means. That’s his POWER- to understand what words mean.”

    I know it is kind of silly to try to delve into magical fictional language powers, but in any case, aren’t Doug’s powers the ability to understand LANGUAGE broadly, not words specifically? I mean, yes, language is made up of words, so on one level there is no real distinction, but on another, babies and infants pick up language broadly, even if they don’t understand specific words, so I imagined Doug sort of had a kind of hyper-infant comprehension power.

  7. Michael says:

    @Josie- the problem is that the New Mutants have used Doug’s powers to shut down planet destroying gizmos and translate grimoires for Illyana. In those contexts, misunderstanding a specific word could be disastrous.

  8. Thom H. says:

    The shape of the New Mutants story in the Magneto mini checks out, and the positions various characters take with regard to Magneto make sense, but the voices aren’t quite right.

    I’m pretty sure they weren’t calling their teachers by their first names. I don’t think anyone ever called Sunspot “Bob,” much less Amara. Warlock is way too eloquent. And was Xuân team leader again when she rejoined? She’s certainly not the only telepath present, as she claims. Dani is standing right there.

    Ultimately, it’s a bunch of tiny details that don’t make a lot of difference, but they’re just jarring enough to make things feel off.

    Oh, and the word misunderstanding would have made more sense coming from Sam maybe. I say this as a native of Kentucky: the schools ain’t great. Also, Doug can converse with an alien in light signals, but can’t understand English? That’s not right.

  9. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    There’s also the funny little continuity snafu where the New Mutants call Karma ‘Xuân’ despite the fact that in the Unlimited story that straightened up the issue of her name she point blank says everybody got it wrong for years and she was too embarassed to correct them.

  10. Thom H. says:

    Oh, good catch! It’s nice to see the O9 New Mutants together in a new story, but it’s like DeMatteis only did cursory research before he wrote it. I’m sure he’s more interested in Magneto’s internal moral battle than the NM team, but still.

  11. The Other Michael says:

    The issue of Karma’s name bothered me as well. I get wanting to use it out of respect for the more culturally aware pronunciation after all these years…

    But for a story set during the time when her friends were actively using the original mispronunciation, it’s just not continuity correct. Not when Xuân made such a point about the correct term so recently.

    And yeah, Doug not understanding a fancy English word felt ‘off’ as well. I mean, he’s a nerd with a language power, he should be familiar with it. Warlock breaking out the fancy lingo is just weird. Self doesn’t understand.

    But still, an entertaining take on the “classic” New Mutants and it’s nice to see them again like this.

  12. The Other Michael says:

    Oh and you’re right, no one has ever called Roberto “Bob” to my knowledge. He was always “‘Berto” or “Bobby” in the old days, if someone was using a nickname. (Especially in the Claremont era, which this story is set around…)

  13. Si says:

    You know the Unlimited story about Karma was correcting Marvel, not her fictional schoolmates, right? Now that we’re all aware of the more authentic name, there’s no reason not to treat it like any retcon.

  14. Mike Loughlin says:

    Cypher’s power is to translate languages, not to know the definition of every word. It’s ok that he didn’t know an obscure word from his native language (thus already “translated”).

    DeMatteos got the important things right (characterization, mostly) and I like how he writes Magneto.

  15. The Other Michael says:

    I dunno. I figure of any of the then-current New Mutants, Doug would have been the most likely to have read Gulliver’s Travels and thus be familiar with the word. Sure, it’s a small detail, but I could much easier accept the unfamiliarity from just about anyone else, for various and sometimes obvious reasons involving cultural backgrounds, previous education(al opportunities) and general entertainment proclivities. If anything, he should have been the one to introduce the stories to Warlock…

    Warlock: “Selfriend Doug, were Lilliputian a race of mutants who can shrink?”

    Doug: “‘locke, Gulliver’s Travels were fictional, remember?”

    Warlock: “What if they weren’t?”

    Or maybe upon meeting Ant-Man or Goliath…

  16. Mark Coale says:

    Working on a joke involving the Houyhnhnms and the krymelians from Power Pack.

  17. ylU says:

    The thing with Karma’s name doesn’t bother me. Just because its continuity that the characters were saying it wrong doesn’t mean that mispronunciation needs to be phoneticized. It’s only as much of an error as some writers choosing to write Rogue saying “I” instead of “Ah.”

  18. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Ooh, good take. I’m convinced.

  19. Jdsm24 says:

    Dani secretly actually always had/has “Muscle Memory” aspect of he powers like Rogue and Synch and Hope , but almost never uses it because it prematurely ages her like Synch (Rogue and Hope are not affected because WhiteGirlPower LOL)
    Doug was still Young Teen pre-death and hybrid-magickal/T-O resurrection (I.E. Necrosha) so control of power is not yet perfect THEN
    Xuan rebelled and changed her name to Chinese-Style spelling/pronunciation for longest time and only restored it to OG Vietnamese s&p when she realized that it was long past the time for her to already “grow up” , inspired by her Claremont-canon hidden-desire-secret-lovecrush Kitty who changed her name to Kate KEK

  20. Thom H. says:

    — Warlock is speaking that way because he just read the entire English dictionary and encyclopedia.

    — During her time away from the team, Xuân forgot that Dani was psychic since she knows her mostly as a Valkyrie now.

    — Amara actually meant to say “Bobby,” but accidentally choked a little bit in the middle of the word.

    I look forward to receiving my empty envelope in the mail.

  21. Neil Kapit says:

    Does it feel weird for this story to be happening during the Biden administration, though? Not that Fall of X is any good, but look at how many ghoulish laws are imposed in red states, and look at how little the Dems do about it beyond fundraising for the next election. An administration that enables fascists has less and less difference than an administration run by them by the day, so this stupidly over the top story is accurate because these are the times we live in

  22. Jdsm24 says:

    The House of Ideas still remains as The World Just Outside Your Window KEK

Leave a Reply