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Jul 22

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 22, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort

COVER / PAGE 1: Well, that’s the X-Men on the left, the Avengers in the middle and the Eternals on the right. In the background, the looming Celestial that forms Avengers Mountain.

PAGE 2. An ordinary day in New York.

This is the voice of the Machine, originally presented as the Eternals’ artificial intelligence, but which presents itself in the current Eternals series as “the Great Machine that is Earth”. It serves as the narrator of Eternals.

The woman with green hair on the bottom left might be Polaris, not that it really matters.

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Jul 21

Knights of X #4 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

KNIGHTS OF X #4
“The Seat of the Self”
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colourist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. Betsy walks towards an (empty) Siege Perilous, surrounded by shards with images of the rest of the cast.

PAGE 2. Arthur’s forces continue their attack.

PAGES 3-4. Recap and credits.

PAGES 5-6. Jim Jaspers makes a portal to Mercator for the remaining Knights of X.

The sacrifice. We established last issue that Apocalypse’s grimoire predicted that a sacrifice would be required in order to get into Mercator; Rictor spent most of last issue thinking it could be him, until Gambit got killed in action instead. As Meggan reminds us, we established during “X of Swords” that mutants who die in Otherworld can’t be resurrected, except as rebooted blank slates.

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Jul 19

Charts – 14 July 2022

Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 by Paul in Music

Once again, if it wasn’t for Stranger Things, there’d be basically nothing to say about this week’s singles chart.

1. LF System – “Afraid To Feel”

That’s a second week at number one, and it’s still growing. It’s not exactly bedevilled with challengers, either. So for our highest new entry, we have to go all the way down to…

22. Metallica – “Master of Puppets”

This is here because it was used in Stranger Things, and while it doesn’t exactly have the commercial crossover appeal of Kate Bush, it’s still an unexpected presence in the top 40. As with “Running Up That Hill”, it’s being treated as equivalent to a new release for chart purposes. It’s the title track from their 1986 album, and while it was released as a single at the time, it didn’t chart in the UK. They didn’t have their first hit single until the following year, and the parent album only got to number 41. Its successor, 1988’s “And Justice For All”, got to 4.

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Jul 17

Wolverine #23 annotations

Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

WOLVERINE vol 7 #23
“Old Haunts”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Danger impales Wolverine and Deadpool on swords. It’s a callback to Adam Kubert’s own cover for Wolverine #88 (1994), which has Deadpool impaling Wolverine in the same pose.

PAGES 2-5. Deadpool and Wolverine fight their way into the X-Men Mansion.

The page layouts echo the opening pages of every issue in this arc (though I’d struggle to tell you quite what the point of that is). Apparently Danger has mocked up a Sentinel for our heroes to get past.

This is interspersed with Wolverine reminiscing about the days when the Mansion was home, with images of the X-Men teaching pupils on the lawn, and having one of their signature baseball games. Wolverine, having been around for over a century, tells us that he has an all-things-pass attitude to the Institute, remembering it fondly enough, but recognising that attempts to recapture the past are bound to fail. Wolverine claims later in the issue that Danger and Deadpool are both making this sort of doomed attempt. It’s fairly obvious why that’s the case for Danger, who’s returned home to her place of awakening, and more of a stretch for Deadpool.

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Jul 16

New Mutants #27 annotations

Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #27
“The Labors of Magik, Book Three: Begin at the Beginning…”
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artists: Rod Reis (main story) & Jan Duursema (flashbacks)
Colourists: Rod Reis (main story) & Ruth Redmond (flashbacks)
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: A rather unpleasant looking hare leads the New Mutants down a rabbit hole. I guess by a process of elimination that’s either Maddie or young Illyana in the background.

PAGES 2-3. Flashback: little Illyana reads a story to dead Colossus.

Colossus. In Uncanny X-Men #160 (1982), the story where Illyana is abducted to Limbo, the X-Men visit Limbo and, thanks to its wonky rules of time, encounter versions of themselves from an alternate future in which they have tried and failed to rescue Illyana. For the numbering enthusiasts among you, this timeline is apparently Earth-8280. Colossus appears in that story as a skeletal corpse, with serious damage to his chest, and said to have been killed by S’ym. However, since the second flashback scene tells us that Illyana “rais[ed] a shade of [him]”, this is presumably not the same Colossus corpse (and indeed, in Uncanny #160, Wolverine tells us that Colossus seems to have died as an old man). Belasco suggests on page 15 that he has met many alternate Piotrs, so it might be a completely different one, or just a slightly botched illusion.

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Jul 15

Marauders #4 annotations

Posted on Friday, July 15, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

MARAUDERS vol 2 #4
“Extinction Agenda, part 4”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Tempo checks her phone while a battle rages around her (at a different speed).

PAGE 2. Neal Adams obituary.

PAGE 3. Deathbird fights the Kin Crimson.

We’ve seen brief subplots of Deathbird fighting the Kin Crimson’s allies in previous issues. According to Delphos in the previous issue, Deathbird was “cast … halfway across the universe”. But the opening caption here indicates that she’s fought her way back to the Shi’ar capital on Chandilar.

The Crystal Claws are a group led by Erik the Red from the 1995-6 Captain Marvel series, presumably being retconned here into allies of the Kin Crimson. In the original story, they were trying to install a brainwashed Adam X as the Shi’ar Emperor.

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Jul 14

Immortal X-Men #4 annotations

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

IMMORTAL X-MEN #4
“Part Four: Diamonds Are Forever”
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Michele Bandini
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Emma in silk sheets, with one arm in the process of turning to diamond.

PAGE 2. Neal Adams obituary.

PAGES 3-5. Emma Frost at night.

Immortal X-Men is structured with a focus on a different Quiet Council member in each issue, and this is Emma’s issue.

Emma’s planned excuse for sleeping in her diamond form is that she is less vulnerable to psychic intrusion in that form. Originally, Emma’s diamond form was presented as removing (or at least reducing) her emotions and empathy and cutting off her access to her telepathic powers, but it’s been shown over the years as protecting her from telepathic attack as well. Her actual reasoning is that she doesn’t age in diamond form. This is setting up the motif that Emma won’t drop her persona in public but will admit her actual feelings to herself, and that there’s a degree of self-aware doublethink going on in her self-image.

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Jul 13

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA #1
“Time Flies When You’re a Mutant.”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli & CF Villa
Colourists: Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla & Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Associate editor: Lauren Amaro
Senior editor: Jordan D White

Although it’s billed as a one-shot, this is basically an extra issue of X-Men, with the new team roster being announced. It’s roughly equivalent to last year’s Planet-Size X-Men #1 but without the planet.

COVER / PAGE 1. Various X-Men in their Gala costumes for this year, with the picture burning up. Unusually, Scott is shown with Emma rather than Jean. Emma is holding what seems to be a dying Krakoan flower.

PAGE 2. Memorial page for Dijjo Lima (1988-2022).

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Jul 9

Charts – 8 July 2022

Posted on Saturday, July 9, 2022 by Paul in Music

I called last week’s singles chart the least interesting of the year. Little did I know.

1. LF System – “Afraid To Feel”

But first, the new number one. This is in its fifth week on top 40, and belatedly has a proper video – kind of. It’s one of the cheapest videos I can remember seeing at the top end of the singles chart in quite a few years and I assume it was a bit of a rush job.

Edinburgh’s LF System add themselves to the one-hit wonder list with what’s effectively a remix of Silk’s “I Can’t Stop (Turning You On)” – I’m still not entirely clear whether the commercial release uses a sample or a re-creation, but either way, it’s a record that makes obvious sense as the highlight of a DJ set. And the tempo changes certainly make it stand out. Presumably we can look forward to attempts to re-promote some of LF System’s other singles, such as “Dancing Cliché”.

So, for this week’s highest new entry, we go all the way down to…. [reads through list]… oh, there aren’t any. At all.

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Jul 8

House to Astonish Episode 199

Posted on Friday, July 8, 2022 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, and we’re remembering George Pérez, Neal Adams, Tim Sale, Kazuki Takahashi and Pat McCallum, as well as discussing Oni-Lion Forge and Comixology’s recent personnel shifts, the upcoming Tim Drake: Robin series from DC, Marvel’s newest Spider-Man ongoing, the return (again) of Miracleman, the just-announced Wakanda miniseries and Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Danger and Other Unknown Risks. We’ve also got reviews of Starhenge and Batman, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is very online. All this plus a photocopier and some tracing paper, the comic book version of the Magic Roundabout and a Weeping Angel but in reverse and useless.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or through our Facebook fan page, and remember, a dog is for life, but a House to Astonish t-shirt is for eternity (NB: may not be for eternity).