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Oct 13

The X-Axis – w/c 9 October 2023

Posted on Friday, October 13, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #108. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Lynne Yoshi, Fer Sifuentes-Sujo & Travis Lanham. A lot of this is infodump, but it picks up at the end when we get a bit of action followed by an unexpected swerve into something that has nothing at all to do with Sunfire’s quest for Redroot. (Which is – spoiler – that Moira shows up.) Even so, this arc is Just Kind Of There right now. For all we’ve seen so far, you could plug anyone into the hero role and it wouldn’t make much difference. There must be some reason why this is being done as a solo Sunfire story – he’s not a character who often gets to be a solo lead, maybe because he’s a bit too distant and annoying to work without someone a bit more friendly to bounce off. Which is kind of what Sheriff Whitechapel is asked to do in this issue. But in practice she just doles out exposition. That’s the issue right now, I think – I get why we’re doing “someone finally goes looking for Redroot”, but I don’t have any real sense of why we’re doing it with Sunfire.

X-MEN RED #16. (Annotations here.) We’re still in Genesis’ invasion of Arakko, but this issue brings us back to a couple of angles that interest me more. For one, there’s the plot thread of the Great Ring being offered access to Uranos as a Doomsday Weapon at the end of Judgment Day, and the dilemma of whether the situation is ever dire enough to resort to that – or indeed whether bringing him out is an excuse to avoid taking full responsibility for something that Storm could already do on her own. Then there’s the Horsemen, and specifically Death (since the other three are kind of interchangeable), who gets to play the traditionalist who’s at least sincere. It’s a bit of a stretch that Death is only just figuring out that his siblings see his core values as merely a means to an end – how long has he been fighting alongside them again? – but I like his reaction enough to let that slide. Yildiray Çinar makes him look good, and does a lovely opening scene with Craig Marshall and his adopted kids, too. I’m not that interested in Genesis herself, but I can get behind her as something for other more interesting characters to bounce off, and that’s where the focus is with this issue.

There’s also an 8-page back-up strip with Sunspot and Shark-Girl. We’ve had a few of these lately, and it’s not a format Marvel tend to do very well. It’s got better art than the typical Marvel Comics Presents short from back in the day, but the story is forgettable.

WOLVERINE #38. (Annotations here.) Wolverine teams up with Captain America to retrieve some Krakoan property from Legacy House. Although the Wolverine “Fall of X” issues are billed as an arc called “Last Mutant Standing”, it’s really a series of free standing team-up stories in which Wolverine tours the world working with heroes from outside the X-books. On its own terms, this is good. Benjamin Percy plays Captain America straight, and gets something out of the contrast with Wolverine without going too hard on it. And Juan José Ryp has a great issue drawing detailed crowds of weird Legacy House guests, and cutaways of ocean liners – as well as some decompressed action sequences that Percy gives space to breathe. It’s a really nice issue to look at.

There are some weird co-ordination issues across the line, though – which stand out all the more because it’s the sort of thing that tended not to happen during the Krakoan era. I’ll turn a blind eye to the idea that Wolverine’s in New York and doesn’t seem to have any interest in making contact with the rest of the X-Men. That’s solo books for you. But when Wolverine is doing a story where the premise is that Orchis have raided Krakoa and stolen people’s stuff, and Immortal X-Men is doing a story where the premise is that Professor X is single handedly keeping at bay all the forces that try to land… well, I’m surprised something like that didn’t get caught, or at least explained away somehow.

MAGNETO #3. By J M DeMatteis, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg & Travis Lanham. The basic project of this miniseries is to reconcile Silver Age Magneto with the Claremont version, the basic problem being that Silver Age Magneto does things like conquer small countries and try to nuke them in a fit of pique. I wonder if a single miniseries is too rushed to get through everything that DeMatteis is trying to pull off here. As a starting point, the story insists that Magneto was just playing the villain in the 60s in order to provide a foil for the X-Men, which is an audacious retcon in itself. But then he starts undermining that idea with the suggestion that Magneto got swept up in his role and became a proper villain. And then he has Irae, “Queen of Wrath”, as a villain radicalised by Silver Age Magneto who can challenge him on his change of heart. So we’ve jumped straight to deconstructing a rationalisation that had only just been established in the first place, which feels odd. I like the idea of Irae, though, and I enjoy the book trying to give us a modernised take on Magneto’s conquest of Santo Marco (which, in the original issue, is inexplicably drawn to look like Switzerland). Todd Nauck has some really nice pages, particularly with the intercutting close-ups towards the end. I’m not sure this mini is quite working, but it’s certainly interesting.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    The fact is, I keep musremembering the Unlimited story as being about Sunspot, not Sunfire. It really could be anyone in the role.

  2. Mike Loughln says:

    I think the whole point of the Magneto series is that Magneto really was the monster he pretended to be, and he’s also trying to be a better person following a better path. I think DeMatteis will end the series with the character struggling with and reconciling with his tragic past and the darkness it instilled within him. I have confidence that DeMatteis & Nauck will make the ending interesting, at least.

  3. The Other Michael says:

    The problem with the Magneto mini is that it’s set very firmly in a specific point in his history, when he was all in on playing headmaster of the School and mentor to the New Mutants. Specifically, New Mutants #38, which was immediately post death-by-Beyonder and resurrection, a time when the majority of the team were severely, profoundly traumatized, right before Magneto handed them off to Emma for help.

    And yet almost none of that characterization from the specific issue is present. The kids are -scared- of the Beyonder when they see him in the Danger Room, but they’re in far better mental and emotional shape than they should be. And Magneto’s nowhere close to struggling with his inability to help them properly, which set up the next few issues.

    There’s just no point around New Mutants #38 for this mini to take place with the characters as depicted, which is a problem when going out of one’s way to say “this is when it happened.” #38 was about them being traumatized, #39-40 were them transferred to the Mass Academy and Magneto rescuing them, #41 was a Dani solo since she’d left the team previously, #42 was a Sam solo…

    #43 is the soonest this could actually take place, with everyone basically restored back to their usual personalities, everyone back from vacation – except oh wait, Rahne wasn’t with them, she was in Scotland. So… #45? (The Larry Bodine issue… a classic tragedy). It has to be around then, because #46 gets us into the Mutant Massacre and time travel shenanigans.

    Nit-picky? Yeah, perhaps, but Marvel’s the one insisting this takes place at a certain point, and the editors should have caught this kind of incongruity, even if we’re talking about continuity from … 38 … years ago.

    Oh god I feel old.

  4. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    I’ve been a fan of X-Men Red for virtually the entirety of Ewing’s run, although Fall of X has been easily his weakest stretch (Caselli’s absence really hurts the book, too). This issue gets things back on track, though. Really enjoy all of Craig Marshall’s scenes.

    Also agree with the commenters in XMR-specific thread about the uncomfortable resemblance between this fictitious Arakki War with the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict (e.g., dying children, rules of engagement). Not a criticism at all.

    Unrelated comment on NYCC news: So it looks like Fall of the House of X/Rise of the Powers of X is, indeed, going to take the team back to the mansion based on the newly released promo image:

    Things of note:
    • Outback team is back
    • X-Men slaughtered at the Gala are mostly back (Jubilee is MIA)
    • Betsy doesn’t appear to be Captain Britain, nor Rachel as Askani
    • Cypher and Destiny are MIA
    • AoA Colossus?
    • Cable and Kid Cable will be around concurrently
    • Storm’s reverting back to her Jim Lee white costume
    • Laura is regressing to X-23 again again

    One of the series will involve a 10-year time jump where Orchis wins.

    Not a fan of the choice although I’m willing to reserve judgment until these 5-issue minis are released next year.

  5. Chris V says:

    It looks like Gillen’s Rise of the Powers of X will look into the future world of Orchis victorious. Nimrod and Omega Sentinel reveal their endgame, which has been to prepare the ground to achieve Ascension.
    I’m not sure what Fall of the House of X will revolve around, but Rise looks to be exactly what I was hoping to see (and, thankfully, is being written by Gillen instead of Duggan).

  6. Diana says:

    This new strategy of pairing a good writer with a mediocre-at-best one is vexing me, both with Duggan and Gillen on Fall/Rise and being stuck with Percy during Lavalle’s Sabretooth finale

  7. Michael says:

    I’m not sure how seriously we should take the art. Remember Brooks had a baby Havok in the House of X/ Powers of X preview and nothing like that appeared in the story. Finally Foxe had a brief bit in an Annual where the X-Men fought X-Baby Havok as a joke. He also had Storm in a mohawk and she didn’t have a mohawk in the actual story.
    It’s also possible that this is a time travel story and characters will be meeting past X-Men- Rachel and Rogue are wearing their costumes circa fall of the Mutants and Betsy, oddly, is in her Lady Mandarin costume.
    I’m also not sure how much we can judge by what isn’t in the promo image or trailer. Orbis Stellaris isn’t in either and he’s obviously going to be a Chekov’s Sinister, er, Gun.

  8. Chris V says:

    I am guessing that since Rise moves into the future, Fall will involve time travel into the X-Men’s past. We know that Omega Sentinel first tampered with the timeline by sending a (flawed) Nimrod to Earth-616/Life 10’s past to split off the alternate Earth-616/Life 10:B. Omega Sentinel would then follow, merging with the body of Karima Shapandar before going on to forge Orchis.
    In order to stop Nimrod and Omega Sentinel from achieving Ascension in the future, the X-Men will probably need to travel back to stop Life 10:A’s Omega Sentinel before she can merge with this timeline’s Karima.

  9. Michael says:

    @Chris V- I think that Fall will be about the trial of Cyclops. My guess is that Powers of X will feature the Sinister Dominion against the Phalanx Dominion. (Remember, in the “Fall of the House of X” pages in Sinister Four, “Rise of the Powers of X” is listed as the title of the chapter describing the Sinister Dominion.)
    As an aside, am I the only person who’s wondering who’s writing the “Fall of the House of X” pages we keep seeing? I’m convinced that’s significant.
    In other news, Typhoid Mary is appearing in the Gang War crossover in the Spider books starting in November. So I wonder if all of the girls make it back to Earth at the end of Realm of X or just Mary?

  10. wwk5d says:

    Yeah, don’t think that’s necessarily the return of the Outback X-men, since Rogue is in her outfit circa FOTM and Storm is in the Jim Lee outfit. It does seem like the right side is more about time travel (and with the AOA Colossus, and what could be Ultimate Nightcrawler, maybe alternate timelines as well?)

    Still, interesting enough looking promo. We’ll see how things go with the actual series themselves.

  11. Midnighter says:

    ” But when Wolverine is doing a story where the premise is that Orchis have raided Krakoa and stolen people’s stuff, and Immortal X-Men is doing a story where the premise is that Professor X is single handedly keeping at bay all the forces that try to land… well, I’m surprised something like that didn’t get caught, or at least explained away somehow.”

    Well, in the pages of Iron Man we’re seeing how Tony Stark is also heading to Krakoa, during his fake honeymoon with Emma (who accompanied him all the way to Hawaii, and maybe that’s where she communicates with Xavier in Immortal X-Men?)… Perhaps we will see how the events of Immortal X-Men, Iron Man and Wolverine will fit together in sequence.

  12. Michael says:

    Steve Foxe is doing a limited series called dead X-Men:
    It features the X-Men team apparently killed at the Gala. They’re on a mission from Professor X to travel to the past. So it IS a time travel story and that’s why so many characters are in old costumes. I wonder if some of the characters pictured in the promo will be appearing in the present.

  13. Mark Coale says:

    When I saw “dead x-men” as the title, I wondered if it was going to be something about the resurrections and what that had done to people.

  14. Jerry Ray says:

    So I don’t really follow comics news outside of this podcast. Is Marvel quietly raising their cover price to $4.99? I picked up my books for the last two weeks yesterday, and out of 13 books (mainline ongoings, limited series, Star Wars stuff), 9 were $4.99 and 4 were $3.99. What gives?

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