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Apr 28

Sabretooth #3 annotations

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

SABRETOOTH vol 4 #3
“Whisper Campaign”
Writer: Victor LaValle
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Colourist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Jordan White

COVER / PAGE 1: Sabretooth stands watch, whiel his fellow Pit inmates are entangled in Krakoan vines. Nekra seems to be miscoloured.

PAGE 2. A quote from Thomas Paine (1737-1809). It’s from The Rights of Man (1791); in the original context, it was one of Paine’s arguments against the House of Lords, but obviously the point is broader than that. In the context of Krakoa, the obvious target would be the Quiet Council.

PAGES 3-5. Melter’s flashback.

Melter kills his parents. This is a scene from Dark Reign: Young Avengers #4; the panel shown here is a direct copy of a panel from the original flashback. In the full version, young Chris’s powers manifest while he’s enthusiastically telling his loving parents about his school day, and it’s very clear that he kills them by accident. They seem like a conventional middle class family.

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Apr 27

Knights of X #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

KNIGHTS OF X #1
“Hated and Feared”
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Bob Quinn
Colourist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Ariana Maher

KNIGHTS OF X. This is the relaunch of Excalibur vol 4; to all intents and purposes, this issue is Excalibur #27. Naturally, it’s meant to be a jumping on point, and this issue puts a lot of effort into catching new readers up on the plot.

COVER / PAGE 1. The eight core members of Captain Britain’s questing party – running clockwise from the Captain herself, the others are Rictor, Shatterstar, Gambit, Shogo, Prestige, Meggan and Bei. The book in front of Betsy is the one that Roma gives her on pages 12-13.

PAGES 2-3. Furies attack the village of Jackdaw’s Nest.

The narrator is dutifully recapping the plot of Excalibur, where Merlyn had seized control of Otherworld and was trying to root out mutants. Note that while we’re in Otherworld, the narrator now has a different font and mock-parchment captions, distancing the book from the look of other X-titles. Page 20 seems to indicate that the narrator is telling the story set out the X-marked book that Roma gives to Betsy later on.

Jackdaw’s Nest. We saw this village previously in Excalibur #19, when Betsy and Kwannon passed through it. It seems to be the home town of Jackdaw, the sidekick from early 80s Captain Britain comics, but nothing really turns on that.

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Apr 24

X Deaths of Wolverine #1-5

Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE #1-5
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colourists: Dijjo Lima with Frank Martin
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Basso

If X Lives of Wolverine felt like a Wolverine arc pressed into service as an event, then its sister title X Deaths of Wolverine is more obviously conceived for the role. That’s because much of the story here involves Moira MacTaggert, and what happens to her after being banished from Krakoa at the end of Inferno. That plot thread marks the book out as continuing a major storyline for the X-books as a whole.

There’s still maybe a bit of overhyping going on here. X Deaths was never going to do anything as game changing as House of X and Powers of X, and maybe inviting those sort of comparisons so directly was unnecessary. It doesn’t really do anything to change the status quo for the line, either – Inferno did that, by getting Moira out of the picture, bringing back Destiny, and letting the whole Quiet Council know what Xavier and Magneto were up to. But what X Deaths undoubtedly does do is take Moira to her new status quo.

We’ll come back to that, though, because this is also a Wolverine comic. It doesn’t tie very directly to its sister book X Lives in plot terms, though a macguffin from Lives is dutifully used to resolve the plot of Deaths. But the thematic links are there, and on reflection, they’re maybe stronger than I thought the first time around.

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Apr 23

Charts – 22 April 2022

Posted on Saturday, April 23, 2022 by Paul in Music

Yet again, the singles chart is almost aggressively uneventful, and this week the album chart has chosen to join it. There really is a dearth of new material breaking through this spring.

1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”

Three weeks. It’s peaked, but it’s still comfortably ahead of the competition. “First Class” by Jack Harlow is stuck at number 2 (and to be fair, that is a new hit), and the rest of the top 10 consists entirely of tracks shuffling a place up or down. The only significant activity in the top 20 is the highest new entry…

18. Lauren Spencer-Smith – “Flowers”

This is the follow-up to her self-released single “Fingers Crossed”, which reached number 4 in January. Unsurprisingly, she is now signed (to Island). It’s a slightly repetitive ballad, and unrelated to any of the various earlier hits of the same name, but it might have a chance by standing out as something different.

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Apr 20

Wolverine #20 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #20
“Trigger Warning”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colourists: Frank Martin & Dijjo Lima
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mask Basso

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine stands over a bunch of destroyed robots, while Deadpool takes a selfie in the background.

PAGES 2-5. Wolverine stops a runaway truck full of explosives.

This opening action scene is here as much as anything to get Wolverine into the book, while Deadpool sets about his narration. I love the ornate page layouts, which are remarkably clear.

Note that the first of Wolverine’s teams that Deadpool mentions is X-Force, which wouldn’t be most people’s choice. But it’s the one Deadpool is preoccupied with since they were teammates on a version of X-Force before. We’ll come back to that.

Deadpool is sort of correct that Wolverine never really seems to want to be on a team – at the very least he regularly affects not to, and feels ambivalent about his position on a superhero type group. Of course, with the X-Men and Alpha Flight that was balanced out by his sense that they were his family. X-Force raise slightly different issues because they were a black ops group. In the earliest stories about Wolverine’s version of X-Force, from 2008, Wolverine very definitely doesn’t want to be in the team – the idea is that he’s always seen himself as the one who does the nasty things so that his more heroic teammates don’t have to, and so bringing other characters into that orbit is something he’s quite unhappy about.

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Apr 19

X Lives of Wolverine

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #1-5
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Basso

X Lives of Wolverine seems to be a book that Marvel had a lot of faith in. Together with its sister book X Deaths of Wolverine, it was billed as a ten-week event that would replace most of the X-books during the season break. The format harks back to House of X and Powers of X, the two linked Jonathan Hickman books that kicked off the Krakoan era, and in that sense perhaps the most important X-books in years. Marvel gave X Lives a same-day release on Marvel Unlimited, and they’ve just posted both miniseries there, without waiting the normal three months. It’s all promoted in such a way as to say it’s a big deal.

This may not have been to the book’s advantage. We’ll come to X Deaths of Wolverine separately, but it follows up directly on Moira’s story from Inferno, and advances some of the Krakoan themes about posthumanity. That book feels like it has implications for the line.

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Apr 18

House to Astonish Episode 198

Posted on Monday, April 18, 2022 by Al in Podcast

We’re back, with more news and reviews and the usual nonsense. We’ve got chat about Archie Comics’ NFT shenanigans, IDW’s Originals line, DC’s Pride special’s lineup, the new Batman and Detective Comics creative teams, Superman: The Space Age, X-Terminators, All-Out Avengers, the relaunch of Shang-Chi and Grant Morrison’s debut novel Luda. We’ve also got reviews of The Wrong Earth: Fame and Fortune and Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe doesn’t have a leg to stand on. All this plus a fictional Scottish king, an unexplained vendetta against Sussex and Fleem Blomfom, the character find of 2022.

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 on our Facebook fan page.

And as always, if you want to show off your appreciation of Scotland’s longest-running comics podcast, you can do so with a fab shirt from our Redbubble store.

Apr 17

Charts – 15 April 2022

Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2022 by Paul in Music

We’ve had some dull singles charts lately, but gosh, this is a really boring one.

1. Harry Styles – “As It Was”

Second week – which is more than he managed with his only other solo number one, “Sign of the Times”, back in 2017. It was closer than expected; at the start of the week his lead over the single below was equivalent to a few hundred sales, but it wound up being in the thousands.

2. Jack Harlow – “First Class”

This is… a surprise, to be honest. Jack Harlow has had two previous top 40 hits in the UK – “Whats Poppin”, which reached number 25 in 2020, and his guest shot on Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby”, which got to number 3 last year. His previous single “Nail Tech” missed the top 40, so he’s certainly not here on the strength of fanbase. I wouldn’t have thought this was an obvious candidate for a breakthrough hit – the chorus is lifted from “Glamorous” by Fergie, which is one of her better singles, but hardly a lost classic. (It reached number 6 in 2007.) Harlow’s version is better, mind you.

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Apr 13

X-Men #10 annotations

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

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

X-MEN vol 6 #10
“Sisterhood of the Metal Bones”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Javier Pina
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan White

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine (Laura) faces off against someone clawed. Anyone who’s been reading the X-books for a while will recognise her as Lady Deathstrike without too much trouble.

PAGE 2. Flashback: Wolverine is resurrected.

This page is plugging what seems likely to be a continuity error in issue #5, where Laura was shown as having a complete metal skeleton (as opposed to just metal claws). In issue #8, she said that this changed “after returning from the Vault”, so this is apparently an expanded version of the resurrection that we saw at the end of X-Men vol 5 #19. If so, Synch and Cyclops should both be here too, but let’s assume they’re out of shot.

The dialogue seems to confirm that Proteus is the member of the Five responsible for resurrecting people complete with their biological implants – which makes sense, since he’s the only one of the group who could logically do that.

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Apr 11

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #26

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #26
Writer: Declan Shalvey
Artist: Nick Roche
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

It’s a Banshee story for St Patrick’s Day! Marvel have done quite a few holiday tie-ins with the Infinity Comics, and I wonder if this started out as one of those.

We’ve not just got an actual Irish character here, we’ve got an actual Irish creative team. Declan Shalvey’s already done two arcs on this book; Nick Roche is probably best known for his work on IDW’s Transformers books, but he’s a really good artist who brings a nicely sturdy, cartoony quality to Banshee.

The New York St Patrick’s Day celebrations inspire Banshee to actually return home to Cassidy Keep, that wonderful bastion of Oirishness where actual leprechauns live. He finds Black Tom there, and the usual fight breaks out, with Sean accusing Tom of always trying to take things from him. Of course, that’s ultimately about Tom raising Sean’s daughter Theresa.

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