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Nov 2

The X-Axis – w/c 30 October 2023

Posted on Thursday, November 2, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

This is the quietest week we’ve had in a long time.

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #111. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Lynne Yoshii, Fer Sifuentes-Sujo & Travis Lanham. This is the final part of “The Redroot Saga”, which feeds back into the opening scene of this week’s X-Men. Sunfire rescues Redroot and escapes while badly injured and… uh, yeah, that’s basically it. It looks fine, and the dialogue makes a brave stab at telling us that this is some sort of story about hope and perseverance, but… when you get down to it, Sunfire went to find Redroot, and found her, and had a fight with some bad guys, and left with her. This feels a lot like a story that was invented mainly in order to give someone a side quest they could pursue, to set up for Redroot returning and doing something or other in X-Men Red to wake up Arakko and turn the tide against Genesis. Or maybe to bring back Redroot and Cypher at the same time. But as a story in its own right, it runs up against the fact that Sunfire’s not very interesting – or at least, the things that are interesting about him have nothing to do with hunting for a twig in Otherworld.

X-MEN #28. (Annotations here.) Well, there’s quite a lot going on here. We’ve got Sunfire feeding back into the regular title from the Infinity Comics and, weirdly, being picked up by Apocalypse – which suggests that his plot is heading off to X-Men Red, and leaves me wondering what this scene is doing here. I do like Joshua Cassara’s Otherworld, though, which is pleasingly trippy.

Then we’ve got Firestar helping Juggernaut to escape – all pretty good, and the X-Men need a few hope spots where they get clear wins along the way. The idea of Dr Stasis trying to give himself Juggernaut’s powers is odd; as people have pointed out in the comments, Stasis is not the Sinister clone who’s supposed to be interested in magic, so why is he trying something like this? I’ll give Duggan the benefit of the doubt on that one, though, since I can just about see it as something to do with him trying to build bridges with the world view of Mother Righteous. We’ll see.

We’ve also got more of Cyclops in Orchis prison, and god, who thought it was a good idea to make us look at repeated panels of Scott with his eyes sewn shut for months on end? It’s extremely unpleasant and it’s just trying far, far too hard. It’s the sort of thing Mark Millar would have done. I suppose some people might think that’s a compliment.

And then… out of nowhere we’ve got a new plot thread about a group of mutants being kept by Dr Doom? That’s not a bad idea in itself – okay, Doom would want to shield his mutants from Professor X, and he probably doesn’t have any gates in Latveria anyway. It just seems odd to be introducing new plot threads at this point. Maybe it’s just because I’m reading the book in the context of “Fall of X”, most of which feels like it’s wrapping up – while this feels like a bit of a detour to fill out something longer.

MAGNETO #4. By J M DeMatteis, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg & Travis Lanham. Final issue, and I’m not sure this really reached its potential. The idea is perfectly sound: Shortly after switching sides and becoming the New Mutants’ mentor, Magneto is confronted with his past, in the form of a girl that he radicalised through his own actions as a Silver Age mutant. She tries to make him a villain again, and he’s tempted (and mind controlled, to be fair), but ultimately resists. That’s fine, but what makes it interesting is the idea of using it as a vehicle to try and reconcile the wildly different interpretations of Magneto down the years, from Silver Age villain to more-or-less paternal mentor. And I don’t think it sticks the landing there. It doesn’t help that DeMatteis has a very unusual interpretation of Silver Age Magneto – basically, that he thinks he was posing as a villain in order to give the X-Men someone to fight – which is… um, well, a very questionable interpretation of early stories where he’s conquering small countries and threatening to nuke them. Perhaps the big problem with this story is that DeMatteis tries to take that idea as a given, when it’s such an idiosyncratic reading of the character that it needs more work to sell in the first place. Some really good work from Todd Nauck on this series, though – he does a lovely New Mutants, and the half-baked cyborg henchwomen are good designs. And he can draw a really nice knitted jumper.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    If Cyclops’ eyes are sewn shut, to keep his force beams behind his eyelids, and the stitching goes through and behind the eyelids, shouldn’t the stitches simply be destroyed by his eyebeams from the inside? Grand guignol nonsense.

  2. Daibhid C says:

    Has anyone made the joke about Cyclops being in an anti-smoking PSA yet? Or am I the only one who remembers those?

  3. wwk5d says:


    Obviously they are ruby quartz stitches.

  4. Omar Karindu says:

    wwk5d said: Obviously they are ruby quartz stitches.

    Is that gruesome enough for this iteration of the series?

    Why not leather cord from cloned skin taken from Cyclops himself?

  5. Michael says:

    “, and leaves me wondering what this scene is doing here”
    Either Duggan or his editors seem to think that since X-Men is the flagship title, pages must be devoted to setting up plots in other titles. The Sunfire series in X-Men Unlimited was set up in X-Men 24. Young Cable was captured in X-Men 24 to set up Nicieza’s Cable series. We had an entire page in X-Men 25 devoted to Forge realizing that the Children of the Vault were free to set up the Children of the Vault series. In X-Men 22, the cliffhanger is that there are more Wolverine Sentinels but we don’t see them in X-Men; instead Domino fights one in X-Force. it’s just odd because so much space is devoted to plots that aren’t resolved in X-Men.

  6. wwk5d says:


    I was being sarcastic.

  7. Mike Loughlin says:

    Magneto 4 played out the story beats I expected, but I didn’t get the answer to the question, “was Magneto actually faking his role as a supervillain?” I still think he’s only telling himself he was, or he might have wanted to start that way but things got out of hand. The ambiguity might be intentional on DeMatteis’s part. I enjoyed the series overall, at least.

  8. Aro says:

    @wwk5d I read it as you both being sarcastic… both comments made me laugh.

    Anyway, there are plenty of less gruesome ways to incapacitate Cyclops that make more diegetic sense than sewing his eyelids together… Just put some kind of Kirby tech thing over his face! Which I think they did sometime circa Avengers vs X-Men?

  9. Si says:

    Some gauze and a secure strap of canvas would stop Cyclops from opening his eyes. A sound solution on a small budget.

    As for Magneto just pretending to be evil, he used to assault Toad out of pique, with nobody else around to see. But I suppose if you can retcon gentle mother figure Moira McTaggart into a raving psychopath, you can retcon a raving psychopath into a resourceful social engineer.

  10. K says:

    They could literally reuse use the puppy trap from Dark Web.

    Or, there was an old issue of Unlimited where a dentist made a helmet that trapped Cyclops.

    A *dentist*.

  11. Michael says:

    The Hellfire Club trapped Scott in a ruby quartz helmet in the Dark Phoenix Saga. And Orchis is working with Shaw, so they could just ask him to dig out the helmet.

  12. Chris says:

    Orchis clearly should have enlisted the Trapster to glue Scott’s hands over his eyelids.

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    According to one of Scott’s thought balloons back in the Proteus saga (1980, late #120s of Uncanny X-Men IIRC) he and Alex can survive each other’s blasts without real harm (although he clearly feels pain from Alex’s).

    I don’t remember how or when that was established. Do we know whether Scott’s body is vulnerable to his own power? #201’s resolution relied on Ororo and Scott himself both believing that it is not.

  14. Luis Dantas says:

    On the other hand, supposedly Scott’s blasts are some form of concussive energy, whatever that may be.

    So would not resistance to that power amount to some form of either energy absortion, invulnerability, or perhaps phasing or intangibility?

  15. Jon R says:

    Oh yeah, the Cyclops stuff reminds me of the other thing I forgot. What is exactly with trying to push Cyclops to go to trial? Orchis *is* aware that you don’t have to agree in order to be put on trial? Or is Stasis a sovereign citizen and is insisting that Cyclops create joinder with Orchis in order to be tried?

    Come to think of it, that would explain a lot of the random things Orchis is just going out and doing regardless of national borders…

  16. Thom H. says:

    You’d have to be very careful while sewing Scott’s eyes shut or you’d get a faceful of blast. Any solution besides stitches seems to be safer for Orchis, honestly.

    I’m reading Magneto’s “I was just pretending to be evil!” excuse as his own post-reform justification driven by guilt. At the point of this mini, he’s still insecure in his position as a good guy, so he’s trying to convince others that he was always on the side of good to make himself feel better. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise.

    It was nice to see the classic New Mutants lineup again, even if they were underutilized. The focus on Rahne near the end tightened up the emotional arc, but she (or a handful of the NM) should have been pulled forward earlier to represent the entire team. Their presence was kind of diluted by having 7-9 of them hanging around, each not doing much.

  17. Mathias X says:

    Speaking of Forge, have we heard from him since X-Men 25? He was shown on a “distant planet” that didn’t look like Mars, but did have a Krakoan gate — I’m assuming Chandillar?

  18. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Jon R: Well, in this issue they’re pushing him to plead guilty, because that would be good for their optics. And it might break the spirit of the remaining X-Men.

    I’m not sure what the resoning behind the ‘we’re moving the trial broad’ is, other than, well, Magneto was tried in Paris, so if we’re doing that again, why not make it a trip?

  19. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    ‘abroad’, of course

  20. Omar Karindu says:

    Chris said: Orchis clearly should have enlisted the Trapster to glue Scott’s hands over his eyelids.

    Or ORCHIS gets the Trapster’s ally the Wizard to reverse his anti-gravity tech, making Scott’s eyelids too heavy to open. (Come to think of it, the Wizard would fit into Orchis really well, what with his whole “deeply jealous of superpeople” motivation.)

    Failing that, perhaps they could recruit Mysterio to create a really convincing illusion that convinces Scott he can’t open his eyes.

    Or get the Absorbing Man to turn into ruby quartz and then just put his hands over Scott’s eyes for the duration. Maybe the Trapster could have helped with that, too!

  21. Jon R says:

    @Krzysiek: Ah yeah, when I reread it you’re right. It’s just a bit badly written.

    “I have another appointment to try to convince Cyclops to stand trial and plead for leniency.”

    “I think I can sell him on a plea deal.”

    “Just take the deal.”

    And later from Stasis, “We will continue to press Cyclops to accept a trial.”

    So my first read was “Convince Cyclops to stand trial, and plead for leniency” as two separate things. Backed up by Stasis just talking about accepting the trial. But Angelica was pushing the deal itself as much, and you’re right.

  22. Mike Loughlin says:

    I’m enjoying the bits, but I could have sworn Orchis removed Cyclops’s eyes before sewing the lids shit. I’m not about to look back to check, though.

  23. Allan M says:

    Scott and Alex being mostly immune to each others’ powers dates back to the Silver Age, where Alex blasts Scott to supercharge his optic blast to defeat the Z’Nox (Uncanny v1 #65). Though Iceman does also have to cool down Scott to prevent the heat from killing him.

    Claremont runs with it in Uncanny #97, where they’re mostly immune, but can hurt each other if they go all-out. Which is more or less the status quo thereafter.

  24. Michael says:

    @Luis Dantas- Scott’s body was established as invulnerable to his own power relatively early on. In Uncanny X-Men 25, Scott’s blasts strike his own hands without injury. In Uncanny X-Men 39, Scott says “My own body is immune to those beams!”
    @Kryzsiek- It was mentioned that one of the reasons they’re moving the trial abroad was security. New York City WOULD be a security nightmare- it’s the superhuman capital of the world, the Limbo Embassy is in New York and the mayor is a former superhero. I’m not sure if it’s necessary to move the trial out of the United States, however.

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