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Oct 7

The X-Axis – w/c 2 October 2023

Posted on Saturday, October 7, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #107. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Lynne Yoshii, Fer Sifuentes-Sujo & Travis Lanham. This is the sort of thing you get in middle chapters of Infinity Comics. Sunfire goes to a place, gets into a bit of trouble, and then someone we recognise shows up at the end. Nothing wrong with that – it’s getting the story from A to B, and it’s re-establishing the idea that Otherworld is a place where random monsters can show up for no good reason. With fairly short chapters on a weekly schedule, you’re going to get issues like this, but there’s not much I can say about them individually. It’s fine.

X-MEN #27. (Annotations here.) Hideous cover aside – and I genuinely do loathe it – this is a definite step up from the last couple of issues, because it isn’t so relentlessly bleak. Instead, it’s an issue of the X-Men going to have a nice chat with the Fantastic Four on a farm, drawn by Phil Noto. And Orchis are barely in it. Of course, this still amounts to saying that this is one of the better issues of the storyline because it’s a detour from the storyline, and in plot terms it’s maybe a bit thin, but it still feels like a welcome tone correction from the last couple of issues. Part of that is probably because it’s Phil Noto on art, which is going to lighten most things up, but it’s not the art that made the last two issues so oppressive. Hopefully we’re sticking with something closer to this – I wouldn’t say it really engages me, but at least it doesn’t feel like a chore.

IMMORTAL X-MEN #16. (Annotations here.) The desert exile side of “Fall of X”, on the other hand, works a lot better for me. Not that I’m particularly up on my Biblical references, I’ll grant you, but it feels like a good use of Exodus and Hope. We’re not just doing a symbolic re-enactment of the Book of Exodus, there’s also a thread about why that’s the experience that everyone’s being put through. And by everyone, I mean a massive number of background characters and a handful of names, which seems terribly suspicious in itself, but helps to keep this all focussed. I’m not quite sure what I make of the other half of the plot, with Xavier making deals with Sebastian Shaw to keep him off Krakoa, but I’m at least intrigued to see where that’s all going.

X-FORCE #45. (Annotations here.) In which Chronicler finally manages to get one of his puppets into a position to get rid of Mikhail. It’s been obvious for ages that this was going to happen at some point, and it was obvious last month that it was coming very soon, but the book still makes it work. After all, sometimes the most satisfying thing to do is to make it abundantly obvious that something is coming, and then do it. And it is well paced, because after long months of Chronicler insisting to Mikhail (perhaps as misdirection?) that he can only steer things very, very gently, the moment he gets his opening, he takes his shot out of the blue. The Chronicler / Colossus arc is one of the strongest elements of X-Force, and this issue really pulls off the turning point.

Bring on the comments

  1. Thom H. says:

    The cover of X-Men really is terrible. Between getting his eyes sewn shut (ugh) and burnt out (yuck) in the DoFP miniseries, Cyclops is having a rough time. Halloween is almost here, I suppose, but the ick factor is a little much for me.

  2. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> And it is well paced, because after long months of Chronicler insisting to Mikhail (perhaps as misdirection?) that he can only steer things very, very gently, the moment he gets his opening, he takes his shot out of the blue.

    I mean, he doesn’t really have to do much steering at all to get the mutantphobe who’s in the presence of two hostile “muties” to shoot one, no? (As emphasised by the fact that the moment he stops writing, she tries to execute him). If anything, at the moment of decision, that’s just him taking his hands off the wheel and letting her do what she wants to – the only things he really needs to do to “gently” steer it are (1) ensure the gun isn’t taken from her in the first place and (2) prioritise the guy clearly in charge.

  3. Mark Coale says:

    That Cyclops cover reminds me of that cover of Animal Man with Buddy holding the lab monkey with its eyes sewn shut. That was actually in the issue, as Buddy and some animal activities liberate some monkeys/chimps from a testing lab.

  4. Jeff says:

    Regarding the Cyclops stuff, there’s also a little bit of the “how much torture can you put a character through before it would fundamentally change the character” and I think this goes waaaay across the line. That’s a big reason I don’t like Percy’s stuff either.

  5. Michael says:

    @Jeff- yeah, but we’ve also had Scott almost kill Jean with his eye beams in front of a child and Scott be brainwashed into turning over baby Nathan to a supervillain who’s enslaving mutants. Both of those were never mentioned again and this will probably also never be mentioned again. Maybe Scott will be killed and resurrected before the resurrection process is done away with and they’ll say resurrection erased his trauma.

  6. Luis Dantas says:

    Scott is more resilient than that.

    He has shared his brain with Apocalypse, dealt with betrayal by Cameron Hodge, lived decades away from his native timeline in a dystopian world, dealt with the guilt of killing Charles while under the influence of the Phoenix Force and of seeing Warren lose his wings and apparently his will to live while under his leadership.

    If all of that did not break him, Orchis is not very likely to have the means to.

  7. Mike Loughlin says:

    It’s too bad X-Force wasted so much page space on Beast constantly getting away, Cerebrax, alternate futures, and Quentin Quote’s love life, because I’m actually enjoying this story.

  8. Jeff says:

    I do feel like Scott turning over baby Nathan got properly addressed between X-Cutioners Song and The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. But I guess this is a little bit of the Morrison Batman “It All Counts” in which you wind up with a homeless Batman with a back up psycho personality that dresses in rainbow rags.

    Completely off topic, but the new episode of Loki rocks. I didn’t know how much I needed Tom Huddleston, Owen Wilson and Key He Quan in a Dr. Who episode.

  9. Michael says:

    @Jeff- I meant Scott turning Nathan over to Ahab while mind-controlled in Days of Future Present. You’d THINK that would be as disturbing to a parent as having your eyes sewn shut but that was just hand waved away as “Scott’s resilient”.

  10. Miyamoris says:

    Off topic but is GODS as weak as critics are saying? I was slightly interested but reception was much more negative than I expected.

  11. Miyamoris says:

    And tbh I’m not as icked by the X-Men cover as I was with Havok cutting his mouth open in Hellions.

  12. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Miyamoris: yes, GODS was pretty meh. After reading the triple-sized first issue, I knew little about the main characters beyond “fights magic/tech bad guys, part of opposing secret orders, have a past.” The way the main character solves a problem was lifted from an old Donald Duck comic. One of the supporting characters is annoying.

    Nice art, at least.

  13. Thom H. says:

    I totally forgot about Havok and his missing mouth. That plot point also seemed unnecessarily yucky.

    As far as I can tell, the reception to GODS has been “fine, but too expensive.” I get the feeling that readers expected more from a book that costs $10 and has been super hyped up.

  14. Chris V says:

    I felt GODS was a decent comic that was nowhere near worth the price. It reminded me of a Warren Ellis comic, and slightly of Clive Barker’s fiction. There’s nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned, but it certainly wasn’t worth paying $10.
    The main character seemed to be another attempt at the John Constantine archetype. I expected something much more cosmic in tone considering there is already an ongoing Dr. Strange comic at Marvel.
    So, I definitely would not pay $10 (again, I guess) for this comic, but if you like the sort of comics I described, it might be worth waiting for the collected edition. Then again, that would depend on how things shape up in subsequent issues.

  15. Luis Dantas says:

    GODS #1 was probably overhyped and overpriced, but it is a fine story.

    It is also surprising, given that Hickman wrote it. I like that the plot is actually less megalomaniac than what I understand to be usual for him. Feels like he is making a conscious effort to be more character-oriented, and succesfully too.

    The plot felt maybe a bit too underveloped, but I expect and hope that future issues will change that.

  16. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Chris V: “It reminded me of a Warren Ellis comic”

    That might be the best description of GODS 1 I’ve read. It wasn’t bad, but there should be more.

  17. Mike Loughlin says:

    There was another big number 1 this week, the first issue of Transformers by Daniel Warren Johnson. The art was kinetic, and told the story expertly. Johnson introduced the human characters first, usually the weakest part of a Transformers story, and they were actually interesting. Optimus Prime, Starscream, and Jetfire were given instant, recognizable character traits and motivations. Needs and conflicts were established. Best of all, it was a fun read. GODS was okay, but Transformers ran rings around it.

  18. Miyamoris says:

    Thanks everyone for the input, it was helpful.

    I definitely feel the expectations on it were too high – not only with Marvel making so much hype around but with fans being tired of the current stagnation and desperately wanting to see something fresher. And trying to sell a whole new set of characters and lore for $10 is just absurd.

  19. Mark Coale says:

    Given those number #1s, thought there might be a pod, especially given the pods long history of praise for those Transformers comics from years ago.

  20. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    Also read GODS #1.

    1. Wyn is boring.
    2. Aiko is boring.
    3. The snarky nerd with Siri is boring.
    4. Don’t remember what a Babylon Event is.
    5. Don’t remember who the bad guy is.
    6. Don’t love how Doom, Strange, Panther, and others appeared ineffective for the sake of getting Wyn over as a comparable peer.
    7. Don’t know how we got 3 issues’ worth of this with no explanation as to who the completing factions are or why they matter.
    8. Don’t care about anyone in this book.
    9. Data pages would have been more exciting here.

    @Mike Loughlin: Gonna check out Transformers #1 based on your mini-review about it.

  21. Si says:

    I’d say Gods was being written as a pitch for a MCU TV series, but not with that name.

  22. Miyamoris says:

    @Si: I noticed one critic at Bluesky mention it does feel like something ready for a MCU adaptation, one that makes the most off-kilter cosmic Marvel stuff palatable to MCU audiences.

  23. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Moonstar Dynasty: hope you like it! Even if it doesn’t do much for you story wise, Johnson’s cartooning is always worth checking out.

    @Miyamosis: that’s what I wanted from GODS, Marvel cosmic stuff with a twist. I don’t think the first issue featured enough of that Starlin/Englehart/Brinner/Kirby/
    Ditko/DnA/Ewing epic/trippy goodness that I associate with Marvel’s space and magic comics. We got an apocalyptic event that felt weightless, another Council of Important People, and I’ll-defined secret groups instead.

  24. K says:

    You know what I’m looking for these days? GODS was a story with no compromise in artwork “budget” that let every scene play out for the length you expect. I felt like every page was worth turning.

    Transformers is telling me to come back in 12 months when there are more than 1-2 bots fighting, because that’s been the case every single time you watch those first 1-2 episodes of Transformers.

  25. K says:

    And yes, GODS has the mysterious protagonist where you suspect there’s just nothing there, the unearned romance, the big concepts that get wiped out before you get to see them, and the annoying kid sidekick. But the kid sidekick is just the real kids nowadays who read everything off Google, and it’s so satisfying.

  26. Jeff says:

    I’m onboard with the Transformers love. There’s something I really like about the combo of DWJ’s kind of gritty art with the straight lines of the Transformers’ designs. I like the WWE-style robot fights, too. It reminds me a lot of Transformers vs GI Joe, which really hit the nostalgia button for me.

  27. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Jeff: Transformers was my favorite property when I was a kid, but the quality of the comics have been inconsistent over the years. Transformers vs. GI Joe (Tom Scioli) and the James Roberts titles (More Than Meets the Eye & Lost Light) are the best I’be ever read, and among my favorite comics ever. It’s too early to tell if the Johnson series will reach those heights, but I also see the similarities between his art & Scioli’s, which is encouraging.

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