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Apr 21

Way of X #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

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

“Way of X”
by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn & Java Tartaglia

COVER / PAGE 1: Nightcrawler, in familiar swashbuckling mode, fighting two of the Orchis soldiers. The stained glass window behind him has the faces of his team from the opening mission: Blink, DJ, Loa and Pixie.

PAGE 2. Recap and credits. The recap sets up the general premise of Krakoa, and the vague disquiet which Kurt expressed in X-Men #7.

PAGE 3. Data page. An excerpt from a book (title redacted) evidently written by Nightcrawler in mock biblical style, but trying to set out the development of his philosophy.

A “florilegium” is a compilation of excerpts from other writings (an anthology, more or less). Literally, it means “gathering of flowers”, which seems quite appropriate for Krakoa.


Apr 18

House to Astonish Episode 191

Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2021 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, with discussion of Marvel’s distributor changes, John Romita Jr moving from DC back to Marvel, the new X-Men lineup, the upcoming launches of Amazing Fantasy and Moon Knight and Future State: Gotham, and the newly-broken record for sale price of a single comics issue. We’ve also got reviews of Batman: The DetectiveDarkhawk: Heart of the Hawk and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is sticking to its story. All this plus Roderick, Duke of Emory, zining villains and the Vantablack of superheroes.

The episode 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 on our Facebook fan page. And if you want to buy one of our fabulous shirts over at our Redbubble store, then hey, we’re certainly not going to stop you.

Apr 17

Charts – 16 April 2021

Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2021 by Paul in Music

The market for Taylor Swift doing Taylor Swift covers is a healthy one.

1. Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Three weeks, which is longer than “Old Town Road” managed – making it his biggest UK hit. Its sales are also continuing to increase, and so it could be here for a while to come. It holds “Peaches” by Justin Bieber at number 2 for a second week.

3. Polo G – “Rapstar”

This isn’t Polo G’s first UK hit, but you’d struggle to say his previous chart record qualified him as a star – he has a technical number 3 hit by guesting on KSI’s hit “Patience”, and he has co-billing with Lil Tjay and Fivio Foreign on “Headshot”, which scraped a week at number 40.


Apr 15

Children of the Atom #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Prison Break”
by Vita Ayala, Bernard Chang & Marcelo Maiolo

COVER / PAGE 1: The… let’s call them the Children of the Atom for now, even though they don’t actually use that name in the story. Anyhow, they’re fighting prisoners while the prison seems to be on fire.

PAGE 2 PANELS 1-3. Someone makes a phone call from prison.

She’s unnamed, and not immediately identifiable without her costume, but this is Vague from Hell’s Belles, the minor villain team that our heroes captured last issue. She’s phoning Briquette, the one member of the team who kept her mutant powers, and asking her to come and break them out. Briquette is evidently still loyal to her depowered teammates, which raises the question of why she wasn’t with them in the previous issue. Perhaps we’ll get to that.

PAGE 2 PANEL 4 TO PAGE 4. The Avengers visit the Krakoan Embassy to talk about the kids.

This meeting doesn’t go particularly well. What’s objectionable about the Avengers’ behaviour, really, is that the Avengers seem to have shown up unannounced (or at least uninvited) at the embassy and demanded to see Professor X, who is a foreign head of state and probably has better things to do than worry about a bunch of kids running around in costumes.


Apr 14

Wolverine #11 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #11
“A Confusion of Monsters”
by Benjamin Percy, Scot Eaton, JP Mayer & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine and Louise fighting vampires in, well, a pool of blood or something. Omega Red and Dracula loom behind. Or Omega Red’s attacking and he’s just very big. One or the other.

PAGES 2-5. Wolverine destroys a nest of vampires.

This issue returns to the Vampire Nation storyline, last seen in issue #5. Logan’s narration here is basically a summary of what the vampires were up to in that issue. We did see a group of vampires in that issue who had resisted the group control and were surviving on animal blood; however, those three didn’t ask Wolverine to kill them, and seemed really quite keen that he shouldn’t. On the whole, though, Marvel have tended to present vampires who reject their transformation as being quite keen to be put out of their misery.


Apr 11

The Incomplete Wolverine – 1986

Posted on Sunday, April 11, 2021 by Paul in Wolverine

Part 1: Origin to Origin II | Part 2: 1907 to 1914
Part 3: 1914 to 1939 | Part 4: World War II
Part 5: The postwar era | Part 6: Team X
Part 7: Post Team X | Part 8: Weapon X
Part 9: Department H | Part 10: The Silver Age
1974-1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 
1980 | 1981 | 1982
 | 1983 | 1984 1985

When we left off, Professor X had just handed the school over to Magneto and disappeared off to space. Oh, and we’re still in the middle of Secret Wars II.

UNCANNY X-MEN vol 1 #201
by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Whilce Portacio & Glynis Oliver
January 1986

On returning home from Paris, the X-Men meet the newborn Nathan Summers (the future Cable). Magneto takes up his role as the New Mutants’ mentor. And Storm beats Cyclops in a duel, to become the X-Men’s leader again. Wolverine blatantly supports Storm in that argument, arguing that Cyclops’ heart is no longer in it – presumably because of Cyclops’ conflicted feelings about his duty to his family. Wolverine thinks of Scott’s non-combatant family as a liability.

“Shadows on the Soul!”
by Chris Claremont, June Brigman, Terry Austin & Glynis Oliver
February 1987

The X-Men, Magneto and Lee Forrester are holidaying on Island M (despite everyone finding the place a bit creepy) when the statues come to life and attack. This turns out to be the work of the Chief Examiner, who wants to copy Magneto’s powers and use them to save his alien race. Magneto agrees to be scanned. As for Wolverine, he gets turned to stone for most of the issue.


Apr 9

Charts – 9 April 2021

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2021 by Paul in Music

Because of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, the BBC is in national mourning mode today, and so it didn’t air the regular chart show. But the chart itself was still published online as usual, and to be honest, it’s such an uneventful week that listeners to Radio 1 didn’t miss a great deal.

1. Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Two weeks. Which matches “Old Town Road”, for what that’s worth. Number 2 is “Peaches” by Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon, climbing one place; “Bed” by Joel Corry x RAYE x David Guetta climbs 7-6. That is the sum total of excitement in the top 10 this week. Slightly more interestingly, “Body” by Russ Millions & Tion Wayne climbs 21-12. “Astronaut in the Ocean” by Masked Wolf climbs 20-18. “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals climbs 24-21, five weeks after reaching its previous peak of 22. “Ferrari Horses” by D-Block Europe featuring RAYE climbs 28-22 – that is more notable, because it’s been climbing ever since it entered the chart three weeks ago, and D-Block Europe tracks don’t normally do that. And we finally reach the first new entry all the way down at…

27. Olivia Rodrigo – “Deja Vu”

Following up “Drivers Licence” is… a challenge. Technically Olivia Rodrigo is already off the one-hit wonder list, because her Disney song “All I Want” got to number 32 as a spillover when “Drivers Licence” took off. Still, this is the single that has the impossible task of being the actual follow-up.


Apr 8

Excalibur #20 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 8, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #20
“No Pity From Your Friends”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1: Rogue, Captain Britain and Psylocke are menaced by Malice.

PAGES 2-5: Flashback – the origin of Malice.

Teenager Alice McAllister is found by her mother in her bedroom, having apparently committed suicide as threatened. The suggestion here is that Alice doesn’t actually commit suicide, but rather that her astral form spontaneously leaves her body, and that she chooses to stay that way rather than attempt to return. Quite why she leaves her body isn’t clear here, since there’s nothing obvious to trigger it. It might just be her powers emerging, though she’s a bit old for that.

Alice is wearing the familiar Malice choker when she comes in, though the art largely keeps it obscure, presumably to avoid spoiling where the scene is going. It’s visible in page 2 panel 3, though.


Apr 7

Marauders #19 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Fire & Ice”
by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1. Kate, Callisto and Bishop, posing with the Marauders flag in a pile of junk.

Incidentally, it’s been seven weeks since issue #18 came out, which is an unusually long gap.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Wolverine, in the “Patch” identity he uses in Madripoor. This is pretty standard stuff for Madripoor, though it’s obviously an exaggeration – Madripoor also has a steady supply of victims, and several Wolverine supporting characters wouldn’t really fit into this description. It’s maybe true of the sort of people Patch hangs around with, mind you.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. One point worth clarifying: the Marauders’ instructions to stay out of Madripoor come from the Madripoor government with the backing of the United Nations, not from Krakoa.


Apr 5

X-Men Legends #1-2

Posted on Monday, April 5, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

“The Burning Blood”
by Fabian Nicieza, Brett Booth, Adelso Corona & Guru-eFX

So this is a strange little bit of counter programming. The X-books are the focus of attention at the moment in a way that they haven’t been in some years, but they’ve done it with a version of the X-Men that differs wildly from the traditional set-up. For those looking for something a bit more traditional, we now have the determinedly retro X-Men Legends – not merely a series telling stories set in the past, but a series in which past creators are invited to come back and tell stories set during their own runs.

The obvious way to kick off something like this would be to call up Chris Claremont. But then maybe not. Claremont has written tons of continuity implant stories over the years. Some of them (notably the Classic X-Men back-ups) are very good. But we’ve seen it before. Instead, X-Men Legends opens with a two-parter that seems to be targeted unapologetically at continuity geeks: Fabian Nicieza getting the chance to finish off his Adam X storyline from the mid-90s.