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Dec 1

The X-Axis – w/c 27 November 2023

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #115. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Guillermo Sanna, Java Tartaglia & Travis Lanham. Continuing the Firestar arc and, hey, some pro-mutant protestors! I mean, some of them are plants working for Judas Traveller, but still, one of my bigger problems with “Fall of X” is that it seems to want me to believe that all this is basically uncontroversial, which, um, no. All told, the Firestar story is turning out quite well here, and it’s a bit of a shame that it’s wound up in the walled garden of Marvel Unlimited. Firestar biting her tongue to play the turncoat hero works; there’s a nice little angle in how far Judas Traveller might be willing to make some kind of alliance with her against the rest of Orchis and how far he’s just manipulating her.

X-MEN BLUE: ORIGINS #1. (Annotations here.) It seems a bit odd to label this as a one-shot rather than as part of Uncanny Spider-Man – presumably someone thought it was a more marketable event this way, and I suppose they’re probably right. This is the big rewrite of Nightcrawler’s origin to explain why he’s the son of Mystique and Destiny after all. Some people will applaud this on gender grounds. Some people will applaud it because it’s closer to what Chris Claremont originally intended. Others will just be pleased to see the back of Azazel as a millstone blocking off chunks of Kurt’s back story.

In fact, Si Spurrier’s retcon is quite elegant. By keeping the changes to a minimum, and giving us a passing rationale for a genetic similarity to Azazel, he keeps the focus on Nightcrawler, Mystique and Destiny, and avoids getting sidetracked into a tedious explanation of why the plot of “The Draco” still works. (To the extent that the plot of “The Draco” ever worked.) Okay, so the story we’re treating as a false memory wasn’t actually a flashback. But treating it as one makes the problem a lot easier to solve, so I’m willing to go with that.

The elephant in the room here is just how awful Destiny is: while Mystique is exonerated of deliberately abandoning her child, the new version of history shifts that onto Irene, and presents her relationship with Raven as rather more one-sided than it normally is. Even though the story makes Destiny into Nightcrawler’s birth mother, the focus is on his relationship with Kurt. That gives us somewhere to go next. The art’s pretty good as well, and manages to get a lot of visual interest into an issue that’s largely action free.

Yes, okay, the timeline of Destiny’s age doesn’t quite make sense, and bringing out a young Charles Xavier to serve the mind-wiping role might have been a mistake, since the more you think about it, the more contrived the timeline has to be to shoehorn him in. But all told, this gets an impressive amount of mileage out of remixing some quite unpromising source material.

REALM OF X #4. (Annotations here.) Well, that was… published. This book had some vaguely interesting ideas about destiny and sacrifice in earlier issues, but none of it comes to very much. Curse finally turns on Saturnyne, whose wider agenda was never terribly clear in the first place. Magik gets her magic back and the Asgardians arrive to help, and Saturnyne is defeated. And most of the cast seem to be here for largely arbitrary reasons. I sort of get why Typhoid is here – I assume we’re setting up a story where the Kingpin has been pining for her, has a tantrum when he finds out she’s barely thought about him, and tries to throw the X-Men under a bus. Beyond that, I think it’s meant to be some sort of story about Vanaheim dying and being reborn, but I don’t get the sense that that’s happening for any particular reason to do with Vanaheim. It’s happening because Saturnyne came in and made it happen for extremely vague reasons.

MS MARVEL: THE NEW MUTANT #4. By Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Carlos Gómez, Adam Gorham, Erick Arciniega & Joe Caramagna. So the bit I liked about this series was the stuff about Ms Marvel dealing with her own fanfic mash-up creations within her own mind. Because that’s the bit that actually felt like a Ms Marvel story rather than just more of the Fall of X grind. Unfortunately, it seems we finished that thread last issue, and so the miniseries winds up with Ms Marvel fighting a Stark Sentinel while Bruno lectures some students about how, if you stop to think about it, bigotry is bad, actually. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but it certainly has a similar problem to Realm of X: the interesting ideas from earlier in the series don’t actually connect to the climax, which turns out to be a generic fight.

PREDATOR VS WOLVERINE #3. By Benjamin Percy, Ken Lashley, Hayden Sherman, Kei Zama, Juan Fernandez, Alex Guimarães & Cory Petit. This is turning out a lot better than I expected. It’s not necessary something to go out of your way to read, but it’s an enjoyable unpretentious romp through Wolverine’s past, revealing a hidden encounter with a Predator at each turn. It’s not really about anything, but who comes to Predator vs Wolverine for meaning? It’s just playing the hits, and it’s doing that in quite a satisfying way – it tells you very directly what it’s going to deliver, and then delivers it. Using different artists for each period is a nice way of keeping it visually interesting, too. I’ve said before that this is rather too close in concept to X Lives of Wolverine, and it is, but as a simple bounce through history, I’m actually finding it more fun that that book.

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    All I can imagine with regards to Wolverine vs Predator is that after the first few run-ins, they now get together, fight for a while, then go for beers or exchange fist bumps or manly nods. “See you in 5 years?” *grrargh* “Cool.”
    (I don’t know what sounds Predators make. Or if Logan’s fighting the same one or different ones each time. sooooo….)

  2. Michael says:

    The annoying thing about the Ms. Marvel series is that we never found out what her mutant power is, which everyone was expecting by the end of the series.
    And the scene where we learn Peter was holding onto Kamala’s bangle but forgot to return it until now was … awkward at best.

  3. Bengt says:

    Cloak and Dagger appeared, as their normal selves, in this week’s Luke Cage: Gang War #1. Weeks before they will (presumably) be freed from the TO infection in Uncanny Spider-Men #5. 🙂

  4. JDSM24 says:

    “Others will just be pleased to see the back of Azazel as a millstone blocking off chunks of Kurt’s back story.”

    Azazel’s not gone, in fact, this only makes him much more tied closely to Kurt, because now with this most recent retcon , apparently the only reason why Kurt was even conceived by Mystique and Destiny to begin with in the first place is just to be a living counter/neutralizer of Azazel’s ambitions to conquer everything else, which in fact Kurt did manage to do in the two major stories where Azazel appeared, in Chuck Austen’s Uncanny XMen and Jason Aaron’s Amazing X-Men

  5. SanityOrMadness says:

    Bit of a significant typo in the “Even though the story makes Destiny into Nightcrawler’s birth mother, the focus is on his relationship with Kurt.” line.

  6. Pseu42 says:

    I noticed something funny in Ms Marvel. As noted above, in #4 Kamala fights a Stark Sentinel. But if you look back at the last panel of issue #3, she and Bruno are being hunted by a regular (Mark IV?) very much non-Stark Sentinel. And there aren’t multiple Sentinels hanging around campus at this point – it’s supposed to be the same enemy, but the artist forgot which Sentinel to draw and the editors either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

  7. Mike Loughlin says:

    Speaking of the art in Ms. Marvel 4… I don’t want to accuse people of swiping, but the first panel of page 2 reminds me of a common Terry Dodson pose (see: Storm v1 #1, Cyclops 4 variant cover, Generation X v1 #62). Several other panels contained figures that looked familiar to me. The art wasn’t poorly drawn, but it took me right out of the story. It’s probably just me.

  8. Miyamoris says:

    I’m not too fazed about Irene being terrible considering she essentially enabled a thousands years of galactic destruction under eugenic eldritch horrors just so she could spend a few decades more with Raven. Her thing is all about a romantic obsession amplified by the psychologic damage caused by the despair that comes with her powers.

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