RSS Feed
Oct 21

The X-Axis – w/c 16 October 2023

Posted on Saturday, October 21, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

This is a fairly quiet week, but don’t worry – next week is ludicrous. It’s got X-Men: Days of Future Past – Doomsday #4, Alpha Flight #3, Dark X-Men #3, Jean Grey #3, Uncanny Avengers #3, Realm of X #3, Ms Marvel: The New Mutants #3, Uncanny Spider-Man #2, and Predator vs Wolverine #2. And X-Men Unlimited makes ten. Is this really an optimal schedule?


X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #109. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Lynne Yoshii, Fer Sifuentes-Sujo & Travis Lanham. We’re getting to the point now. Rather than just doing a tour around Otherworld, as it first seemed, Sunfire winds up as a prisoner of Orchis so that he can learn about what happened to the mutants back on Earth, even if he’s not sure that he believes it. And with that angle, maybe there is a reason why we’re doing this story with Sunfire – it plays into the idea that he’s a semi-detached, fringe X-Man. On top of that, his mission has become pointless in his absence, except to the extent that Redroot is worth saving in her own right. At any rate, that’s the angle Moira seems to be taking with him. Naturally, Orchis have also got Redroot – this isn’t a complete deviation from the original quest – but we’re now getting to the turning point where Sunfire starts to fight back. (And, by the way, I’m glad we’re not spending multiple issues with him as a prisoner – cutting straight to the fight is the right call.)

This arc still has the problem that Sunfire’s not the most rounded character, and Redroot is… well, barely a character at all. But I think it’s heading in the right direction, and I’m certainly more interested to see Sunfire reconnecting with the main storylines than I was to see him going on a sightseeing trip around fantasy realms.

ASTONISHING ICEMAN #3. (Annotations here.) So this is episodic but it’s fun. Aaron Fischer’s a slightly odd choice of guest star, and probably calls for a bit more introduction than he actually gets here, but there’s a nice build going on here. The power of love stuff with Romeo doesn’t entirely make sense, but there’s a kind of emotional thread to it, so I’ll go with it. The basic story is very simple: Iceman keeps outwitting Orchis and outmanoeuvring their anti-Iceman tech, but Mr Clean is better than he looks, and he’s homing in on going after Romeo to remove Iceman’s anchor. I appreciate Steve Orlando going for the mutant-adjacent characters as targets for Orchis, too, when other books seem too keen to find more mutants down the back of the sofa. The lighter tone of the book – story and art – is also a good call in the context of “Fall of X”. If I’ve got an issue with this story, it’s that after Mr Clean was built up as an uncontrollable maniac that even Orchis were reluctant to put in the field, he comes across here as fairly calm and professional. But he’s quite effective in that role.

CHILDREN OF THE VAULT #3. (Annotations here.) This book has seemed semi-detached from the rest of the line up until now. But with this issue, it veers wildly closer to the centre of the plot, revealing that Orchis is somehow connected with a Dominion (which, needless to say, other books have already established as a very big deal indeed). That makes me sit up and take notice. Admittedly, if you leave that point aside, this issue is largely a big fight scene, with some cultural warfare between Orchis and the Children going on in the background. And that does read oddly – the timescale for that stuff doesn’t seem to match up with the timescale for the A-plot, and the whole thing reinforces the feeling that things are happening in Children that ought to be major news in the other books, even if you accept the rationale that the Children’s “Message” is stopping anyone else from feeling motivated to interfere. I’m not saying that every story needs to explain why characters from other books aren’t showing up – the reason why Captain America doesn’t always call the Avengers is that if he did, he wouldn’t have a solo book. But when you’ve got something presented as a line-wide event, a sense of parallel universe syndrome becomes more of an issue.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #11. By Gerry Duggan, Andrea Di Vito, Bryan Valenza & Joe Caramagna. Over in the temporary honorary X-book, Tony Stark and Emma Frost go on their honeymoon. Which is basically an excuse for Iron Man to sneak onto Krakoa and steal some mysterium. That’s mostly kind of a fight scene, and while it takes Wolverine‘s line that Orchis have been messing about on the island, it squares things with Immortal X-Men a little better by establishing that the landing parties tend not to last long. The issue rounds off with Tony going on a tour of the Marvel Universe’s other heroes to test his mysterium. It’s… fine, but more of an exercise in getting from A to B than a story. Nice art, though, and if you’re going to do a random fight with some of the Orchis guys, it might as well be one of the talking apes.

DEADPOOL: BADDER BLOOD #5. By Rob Liefeld, Chad Bowers, Cory Hamscher, Chance Wolf & Jay David Ramos. Well, yes, pretty much what you’d expect. To be fair, after a lot of completely random nonsense in the middle chapters, the script does manage to drag this back to the plot that was set up in the first issue. And there are a few decent gags in there too. It’s not something to go out of your way to read unless you’re keen on Rob Liefeld’s work, but hey, it’s exactly what was promised.

Bring on the comments

  1. Mark Coale says:

    So, no DD post next week, then?

    The countdown to Stilt Man continues…

  2. Paul says:

    Not this week or next. Next up is Mr Fear, anyway.

  3. Diana says:

    I suppose “more of an exercise in getting from A to B than a story” pretty much sums up Duggan’s time on X-Men in general, don’t it

  4. Michael says:

    Note that Xavier is watching Tony and Tony says he didn’t realize how much danger he was in until much later. Another clue that Sinister Xavier might be the Sinister Dominion?
    Why is Strange surprised that his spells won’t effect Mysterium? He used Mysterium to free a man who was possessed by Dormammu just a few months ago in his own title.
    Why did Tony take the time to establish that Mysterium won’t trigger Peter’s Spider-Sense? I mean, I understand the significance- if the Mysterium won’t trigger Peter’s Spider-Sense, then the Dominion won’t be able to sense it either and Orchis loses their patron’s help. (Which might be part of how the X-Men killed Dominions in Omega Sentinels future.) But what made Tony think that he needed something that would be immune to precognition in the first place? WE know that Orchis has a patron outside of space and time but Tony doesn’t. Or if he found out, he never bothered to share it with the readers.

  5. Chris V says:

    I don’t think Tony getting Mysterium has anything to do with the Dominion. I think he’s planning to build a new Iron Man armour using Mysterium, which will be invisible to the Stark Sentinels’ scanners.


    Remember in Moira’s Life Six, the Librarian says that if post-humanity achieves Ascension, they will make the Dominion aware of Moira and that will be very bad for Moira. So, the Dominions (the machine gods, anyway) exist on a higher conceptual level where mundane matters seem to be of little consequence.
    I read Hickman’s cosmology as a Dominion simply guides machine evolution towards the inevitable point where machine intelligence becomes so complex that the level of information is so dense it collapses reality into a Singularity. Thereby, reaching the “Omega point” of the Dominion’s own creation. Left to it’s own ends, evolution will always naturally lead to machine supremacy, which means the eventual replacement of the material universe with information.

  6. Michael says:

    @Chris V- if he’s just trying to make himself invisible to the Sentinels’ scanners, then why is he testing it against Peter’s Spider-Sense? Peter’s Spider-Sense is precognitive in nature. It doesn’t work anything like a machine’s scanners. Why not test it against Machine Man or whoever?
    And the relevant issue is Serafina’s description of the Dominion, not the Librarian’s. “It wears them like a glove … a mind beyond comprehension forces their every move.”

  7. Chris V says:

    I’ve never heard Spider-Man’s spider sense referred to as a precognitive power. His spider sense detects otherwise undetectable changes in his environment which allows him to instinctively react.

  8. Michael says:

    @Chris V- Peters clone, Kaine, has an enhanced version of Peter’s Spider-Sense and it enables him to see visions of the future. That’s definitely evidence Peter’s Spider-Sense is precognitive.
    Aside from that, Peter’s Spider-Sense usually warns him of danger in ADVANCE. And in that sequence Tony describes it as ” a form of extrasensory perception that I’ve never quite been able to explain”.

  9. Si says:

    Isn’t that what all the “great web” stuff is about? Spider-Man can sense the stands of fate. Madame Web sits at the centre, and can properly see the future.

    His spider sense used to be more general, he could sense if anyone was looking when he changed, for example. Or follow it across the city to find the crook he was searching for.

  10. Si says:

    Spider-Man Spider-Man,
    Does everything a spider can.
    Spiders are well known for:
    *being super strong
    *being super flexible
    *swinging over vast distances like Tarzan
    *shooting silk strands over long distances with enormous force

    Honestly the only real spider power he has is sticking to walls.

  11. Chris V says:

    I didn’t follow all that “Great Web” nonsense. I miss the days of Betty Brant at the Daily Bugle. Also, the days of Flash and Sha Shan as a couple.

    Yeah. I don’t remember that part of the theme song either. “Have precog? He ain’t no dog. Watch out!”
    Spiders do sense the slightest vibrations through hairs on their bodies. I considered that was what Spider-Man’s spider sense was supposed to be based on.

    Geckos can stick to walls too. I think they should really shake up Peter Parker. The shocking reveal that he was actually bit by a radioactive gecko. The spider that bit him directly after wasn’t actually irradiated. He’s been confused all along and he’s really the Groovy Gecko Man. It gave him gecko adhesive pads which have hidden the fact that Peter Parker is….really a mutant.

  12. Mark Coale says:

    Would have the same accent as the geiko gecko?

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    Tony isn’t necessarily reacting to what he expects Orchis to have at their disposal. He is instead trying to find out the boundaries of Mysterium’s effects and properties.

    That will be information of strategic value regardless of what exactly he ends up facing, and it is wise to avoid assumptions on that front; Orchis is very wide and well connected and there is no reason to assume that it hasn’t kept a few secret resources still, or that it won’t find unsuspected last minute allies.

    Come to think of it, Tony is no stranger to double agents (he pretty much made one out of Firestar) and he may have specifically wanted to test Mysterium with Peter as a reasonable benchmark for the eventuality of having to face Ben Reilly a.k.a. Chasm, who may well be convinced to fight against the mutants by anyone with a convincing promise of restoring his memories.

    As for Doctor Strange, he may well know that Mysterium inhibits magical effects while still expecting or hoping that there will be _some_ limits to it. Frankly, it is both surprising and disappointing that there apparently are none. Absolute powers make for lazy, unexciting plots.

  14. Josie says:

    “I suppose “more of an exercise in getting from A to B than a story” pretty much sums up Duggan’s time on X-Men in general, don’t it”

    I would say it sums up his comics work in general, but then one might assume Duggan is using comics as a point A to get to a point B career. It would be a relief if he finally got there.

  15. Taibak says:

    And, to be fair, super strength IS a spider power. Spiders can lift some 50 times their own weight.

  16. ASV says:

    Iceman: I am an omega mutant and a water elemental. Basically I’m a god who can do anything with ice, so you better watch out.

    Mr. Clean: I have specially treated skin, though.

    Iceman: Ah, crap.

  17. The Other Michael says:

    Could Iceman just make expanding ice spikes from the water inside someone’s body to turn them into a pufferfish of death? Could he enter someone’s body via the form of mist and then expand and make them go kablooey?
    Or is that too icky even for him.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  18. Si says:

    Iceman could kill in dozens of ways. Suck all the liquid from their body, a small chunk of ice in the ventricle, suffocation via ice shapes, ice bullets, straightforward hypothermia. That’s why he must never be written as bloodthirsty, like when he frostbit that guy’s arm. If he doesn’t have strict morals, nothing can challenge him.

  19. Thom H. says:

    He could turn someone’s blood into a parade of tiny animated snowmen. That would be fun.

  20. Mark Coale says:

    He’s one of the characters so much more powerful than you think. Like people such as Molecule Man, Dr Alchemy/Mr Element. Look how Swamp Thing went from muck monster to earth elemental.

  21. Taibak says:

    Just for the record, I just re-watched Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends last week. That makes this conversation about Iceman quite surreal.

  22. Si says:

    Oh god, Iceman could freeze a bunch of people solid, then use his ice golem power to march them around like zombies, doing even more horrible things with them. Real nightmare stuff.

  23. David Goldfarb says:

    Spider-Man’s own books have been describing his Spider-Sense as “precognitive” for literally years.

  24. Mark Coale says:

    Bobby could be the new Night King, with an army of ice zombies, if he ever turned bad.

  25. Omar Karindu says:

    This is all making me think of AoA Iceman in the Rick Remender Uncanny X-Force series.

  26. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Iceman already went through his apocalyptic phase in Marjorie Liu’s Astonishing X-Men.

    Influenced by a Death Seed (from which new Apocalypses grow, obv), he started freezing the planet and passive-aggressively gathered all his ex-girflriends in a room because of reasons, I suppose.

Leave a Reply