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Feb 16

The X-Axis – w/c 12 February 2024

Posted on Friday, February 16, 2024 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #126. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Phillip Sevy & Yen Nitro. Captain Britain, Rictor and Shatterstar go to break mutants out of British government custody, but the Externals have got there first. This is at least a bit more focussed than previous issues – we’re not jumping all over the place any more, and at least we’re back to the supposed plot – but it’s still hard to figure out what the hook is meant to be. Most of the Externals were bush league characters at the best of time, and nothing here is really setting out a stall for why we should be interested to see them again – and thus far, whatever Selene has planned isn’t really that different from any other “Fall of X” story about Orchis persecution. The individual issue is better, but I still don’t get what this story is trying to do.

WOLVERINE #43. (Annotations here.) The first two issues of “Sabretooth War” were fairly dire, but this is rather more like it. The gratuitous violence is kept down to one big moment, and it’s much more effective that way, while Wolverine himself is barely in this issue. Instead, we get Sabretooth thinking back to the happy days when he and Logan were killing lots of people side by side, the remaining alt-Sabretooths wondering why the hell they’ve been following this clown, and the Exiles showing up to enter the plot. Geoff Shaw’s art also brings this much closer to feeling like a continuation of Sabretooth & The Exiles. Victor LaValle’s contribution wasn’t terribly evident in the last couple of issues but it’s rather more recognisable here. That’s a relief, because I had no interest in a 12-issue arc that read like the first couple of issue. This is far more promising.

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF X #2. (Annotations here.) What a strange comic this is. The A-plot is relatively straightforward: the X-Men take down the Orchis satellite as they start to turn the corner. Fair enough, though I’m pretty sure Knowhere used to be a lot bigger than this, and there’s a weird incoherence about whether Polaris is trying to kill everyone on board or not. And if she’s part of the plan (which apparently she is), why didn’t somebody tell her that Firestar’s allowed to live? The B-plot is Rogue and Gambit deciding to wake Manifold from suspended animation because… it’s time to? They literally depart from the mission in progress because they decide for no apparent reason that it’s time to wake the guy up. The immediate aftermath of the Hellfire Gala didn’t seem like emergency enough? What about the day before the big attack, when they had some time to spare? What about… well, a plot point that prompts them to wake him? And then at the end we have Cyclops facing execution and Alia Gregor turning on Orchis in an absurdly rushed resolution. It’s so strangely paced that it surely has to be the result of a rewrite. And on top of that we’ve got dialogue spoiling the plot of an issue of Iron Man that won’t be out for a fortnight. No, it’s not running late – both books are coming out on their original schedule. This does hang together better than the first issue, and the art has its moments, but a feeling of frantic improvisation pervades it, which is not the vibe you want to project.

Bring on the comments

  1. Diana says:

    I don’t know why Paul’s struggling so much with the point of the Unlimited story: the Proudstars, Betsy, Rictor, Shatterstar, Cerebra, Somnus – these are characters who very likely won’t be turning up in FotHoX/RotPoX or any of the other comics that officially wrap the Krakoa era. So rather than just leave them in (figurative) limbo/the White Hot Room/whatever, Foxe and Orlando are giving us one last look at the B/C-listers in a large-scale, multi-part story (this is meant to run to #140) that doesn’t step on any toes event-wise.

  2. Si says:

    I’m still unconvinced that the Unlimited story is *just* revisiting the minor characters. Why not Wildchild and Greycrow and all them? For all that this is a weird kaleidoscope of people and places, there’s some major omissions if the story is purely a nostalgia ride. There must be something else to it, if only that the creators saw an empty spot on the schedule and jumped at the chance to use all their favourite leftovers in a shameless semi-canon fanfic.

  3. Diana says:

    @Si: The “all or nothing” approach seems a bit odd to me in this context – either every forgotten Krakoan character gets a page, or no one should this is “shameless semi-canon fanfic”?

    Besides, when you get down to it, Wild Child and Greycrow may be AWOL for a while but they at least had complete arcs in Hellions. The same can’t be said of Thunderbird, Cerebra or Somnus…

  4. Michael says:

    Is anyone else having trouble posting? I keep getting “Internal Server Error”.

  5. Bengt says:

    The X-books are running behind the Spider books as well. Cloak and Dagger showed up in Gang War a couple weeks before they were released in the Nightcrawler book. Typhoid Mary was hanging out with Kingpin in ASM weeks before they were reunited in X-Men.

    So even if stuff is coming out as solicited it feels like there was some scheduling mishap that they didn’t think was worth trying to fix.

  6. Adam says:

    I try to grade stories on a generous curve, but FALL OF THE HOUSE OF X is indeed a mess.

    As Diana wrote in the notes for the issue, thank goodness Gillen’s on RISE or this event would be a poor ending to the Krakoan Era indeed.

  7. Michael says:

    Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver 1 is out. It’s written by Orlando and it features Wanda and Pietro struggling against the Wizard, who’s now an actual Wizard. After this, Orlando is writing a Spider-Man limited series where Peter fights against Hammerhead, who is now an actual hammerhead shark.

  8. Michael says:

    The reason why this series is X-related is that the plot revolves around a message from Magneto, which Wanda destroys before Pietro can read it. It’s odd that this is being released now, in the middle of a crossover where Magneto returns to life. We’re basically at the point where Pietro will just be able to ask Magneto what the message was, so making a big deal out of Wanda destroying it really doesn’t work. Then again, maybe that’s how the limited series ends.

  9. Michael says:

    @Bengt- the Cloak and Dagger stuff is what usually happens when characters appear in two stories at the same time. The Kingpin stuff is just odd, though. The Spider-Man story where the Kingpin works out his anger over Mary’s “indiscretions” was published a month ago. The X-Men story where the Kingpin learns about the “indiscretions” was published last week. So the story where the Kingpin works out his anger over the “indiscretions “ was published nearly a month before the story where he learns about them! That’s crazy!

  10. Michael says:

    On his blog, Foxe explained his thinking behind the Unlimited series as follows:
    “The genesis of this large, loose cast was knowing that there wouldn’t be a New Mutants book during this time period, but it soon grew to encompass parts of Excalibur and X-Corp and S.W.O.R.D. and Marauders and other characters who made a big impact during Krakoa but just didn’t naturally fall into one of the print books right now.”

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