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Sep 20

Wolverine #37 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #37
“Last Mutant Standing, part 1”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colour artist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine fights the Hulk, with the three Wolverine clones in the background. Not really what happens in the issue, but close enough for a cover.

PAGES 2-3. Wolverine recaps the premise of “Fall of X”.

After last month’s diversion to do a crossover with Ghost Rider, Wolverine joins “Fall of X” proper. And for the benefit of anyone reading this in trade, Logan opens the issue by recapping the plot in narration (quite effectively, actually). Since the central themes of this book over the last year have included Wolverine’s disillusionment with the Krakoan authorities, and Beast thinking he’s above the law, Wolverine actually has slightly more sympathy for anti-mutant sentiment than some of his teammates, though obviously not to the point of sympathising with Orchis themselves.

The Orchis roadblock includes a robot with adamantium claws of its own. This is one of the X-Sentinels that Orchis created in X-Men #22 using the adamantium skeletons left behind on the Orchis Forge space station after X-Force’s repeated suicide assaults on the station, as shown in Inferno #1. We also saw an X-Sentinel in X-Force #44, Percy’s other “Fall of X” series.


Sep 18

Charts – 15 September 2023

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2023 by Paul in Music

At last, stability.

1. Doja Cat – “Paint the Town Red”

After three tracks that only lasted a week at number 1, Doja Cat makes it to two. Apparently the margin is fairly comfortable.

7. Olivia Rodrigo – “Get Him Back”

This is the release week single from “Guts”, which becomes her second number one album and outsells the first. Admittedly, part of that is because she now has the sort of fanbase who buy the physical formats in week one. The She has her maximum three singles all in the top 10 – “Vampire”, one of the one-week number ones, rebounds to 2, and “Bad Idea Right” leaps back from 12 to 3 (having previously peaked at 6 a month ago).


Sep 17

The X-Axis – w/c 11 September 2023

Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2023 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #104. By Steve Foxe, Stephanie Williams, Noemi Vettori, Pete Pantazis & Travis Lanham. Continuing with the series of spotlight stories on the members of the abortive X-Men team from Hellfire Gala, this is Dazzler’s issue. She wins a “Cultural Vanguard” award for (one assumes) diversity or something. The X-Cutioner shows up to complain about mutants appropriating human culture, but everyone loves Dazzler, and she easily defeats him.

Aside from last week’s Frenzy story, these shorts aren’t working – I think there’s meant to be a bittersweet undertone knowing what happened to the characters, but the stories are far too generic to suggest that we lost very much. I don’t think you can really do a story about Dazzler as a massively popular, accepted mutant artist one week before a U-turn where apparently everyone hates mutants now and there’s no pro-mutant sympathy to be seen – well, unless the story is meant to be about the shallowness of diversity awards, but I don’t think that’s the idea. X-Cutioner isn’t the right choice of villain for this – his schtick is meant to be that he resents mutants feeling that they’re above the law, which is at least a semi-legitimate complaint. And the art doesn’t capture the sense of “the music industry’s most prestigious awards ceremony” at all – it looks way too small scale for that. Not good, I’m afraid.

X-FORCE #44. (Annotations here.) I really, really don’t like the fact that we’ve just got Orchis working in both the US and Russia without any explanation. I’m not even sure having them here adds anything to the story. Wouldn’t it have been easier to have the Russians with their own bootleg Orchis – or even to twist the knife by offering “sanctuary” to the remaining mutants? I suppose my bigger problem here is that the whole “Fall of X” set-up doesn’t feel like it’s been coherently thought through – the books keep contradicting each other; the premise is that all the mutants are gone and yet there seem to be more of them around in human society than ever; public opinion lurches to a ridiculously one-sided degree overnight, simply because That’s The Story. The exile side of the plot seems to work, but the Orchis police state rings false to me whenever it comes up.


Sep 16

Children of the Vault #2 annotations

Posted on Saturday, September 16, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

Writer: Deniz Camp
Artist: Luca Maresca
Colourist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1. The Children of the Vault – Ferro, Serafina, a guy in the background that I don’t recognise, Capitán and Átomo – hover over the public in superhero mode. Bishop and Cable are among the crowd wearing hoods.

PAGES 2-4. Bishop and Cable capture Martillo-131.

Presumably Martillo gets chosen as the target because he’s alone. But our attention is drawn to the fact that Martillo likes the current state of human culture, which the Children’s plan is going to wipe out. He’s more at the stage of regretting its loss than actually turning against the plan, but still.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits


Sep 15

Astonishing Iceman #2 annotations

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Out Cold, part two”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Vincenzo Carratù
Colour artist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Iceman in action in a city; basically just a generic Iceman cover.

PAGE 2. John Romita tribute page.

PAGES 3-4. Flashback: Teenage Bobby freezes Rocky Beasely.

This is a recap of the Iceman back-up strip from X-Men #44 (1968), part of the “Origins of the X-Men” series which recounts how Cyclops, Iceman, Beast and Angel got recruited into the team. The original story is by Gary Friedrich, George Tuska and John Verpoorten. Bobby is returning home from seeing a film with his girlfriend Judy Harmon when they’re attacked by bullies led by Rocky Beasely. Obviously, in some respects Judy is inconvenient with hindsight, but by serendipity, the bullies do immediately claim that they’re there to “show Miss Harmon just who the real man around here is”, which you could now read differently.


Sep 14

X-Men Red #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN RED vol 2 #15
“Nothing and Nobody”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Yildiray Çinar
Colour artist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Storm and Genesis fight, with the Fisher King in the background, suspended in Xilo’s worms.

PAGE 2. Flashback: The young Fisher King meets Azazoth.

In a passing line in issue #6, Fisher King said that his name had been “psychically amputated in the prisons to guard against the Vile Omnipaths.” In this version, the future Fisher King seems quite keen to be rendered invisible, something which will actually give him a power of sorts.

Azazoth is a new character, though someone quite like him was among Genesis’s forces in the previous issue. He’s likely named after Azathoth, one of HP Lovecraft’s gods.


Sep 13

X-Force #44 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #44
“The Chronicles of Colossus”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colourist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino, Deadpool and Sage fight Orchis’ X-Sentinels in an alleyway. There’s what looks to be a poster of Colossus’s face on the right-hand wall. Astute readers will note that Deadpool isn’t actually in this issue. He wandered off on page 14 of the previous issue, and wasn’t with the X-Force members who followed Colossus through the portal to Mikhail’s base.

However, the solicitation for this issue refers to X-Force being captured, with “Sage, Deadpool and Domino” trying to reach them before the Sentinels do. Evidently Deadpool got cut from the plot, perhaps because it didn’t make sense for him to be in this book and Uncanny Avengers at the same time.

PAGES 2-3. Domino watches an Orchis checkpoint in Moscow.

Are we… are we seriously just going with the idea that Orchis are openly operating, with the blessing of the authorities, in both the USA and Russia, and that no further explanation is required for that? That’s…. um, well, gosh, that’s quite a choice we’ve made there, isn’t it?


Sep 12

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 16

Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 by Al in Podcast

It’s crossover time, and Marvel’s Most Wanted are going to learn to play nice with other comics whether they want to or not. The Nefaria Protocols play out across Thunderbolts #s 43 and 44 and Avengers #s 33 and 34, and nothing will ever be the same again! Except almost everything actually will, but look, at least we get the perils of invisible furniture, regional Inhumans and Christopher Robin’s arch-enemy.

The episode is here, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think in the comments, on Twitter (let’s be serious now) or Bluesky, via email or on our Facebook fan page, and if you’re not wearing one of our amazingly cool t-shirts while you’re listening then I’m afraid you’re technically in breach of the uniform code but it’s okay, we’ll cover for you with the brass while you get one.

Sep 10

Daredevil Villains #2: Electro

Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2023 by Paul in Daredevil

DAREDEVIL #2 (June 1964)
“The Evil Menace of Electro”
Writer, editor: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Orlando
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Colourist: uncredited

If you’re going to play Daredevil as a swashbuckling solo superhero who swings through the streets of Marvel’s New York, there’s an elephant in the room: Spider-Man already exists. So what makes this new guy stand out? One solution would be to give Daredevil his very own arch enemy. Instead, here’s Electro.

Now, this is only the second Electro story. He debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #9 four months earlier. He hasn’t been slotted as a C-lister yet. But even allowing for all of that, Daredevil’s not even met a supervillain of his own yet, and already he’s dealing with Spider-Man’s hand-me-downs. How was that supposed to help him?

It’s not like Electro is an especially strong concept. His back story and powers have no particular synergy with Daredevil. Max Dillon is a lineman who gets electric powers when he’s struck by lightning, and decides to become a criminal. That’s it. That’s the character. Electro stands and falls on the strength of his electricity gimmick, and there are certainly worse gimmicks. It’s a strong enough visual to have kept him around to the present day. But he’s still a gimmick villain. Going to him as early as issue #2 is not a good sign.


Sep 9

Charts – 8 September 2023

Posted on Saturday, September 9, 2023 by Paul in Music

Continuing the rapid turnover, here’s the fourth new number one in as many weeks.

1. Doja Cat – “Paint the Town Red”

The last few number ones were all tracks that had been stuck behind “Sprinter” for ages. “Paint the Town Red” isn’t exactly new – it entered at number 20 four weeks ago – but it’s newer, and might have a reasonable shot of lasting longer.  It’s Doja Cat’s first number one; her previous best was number 2 for her debut hit “Say So” in 2020. The original sample, Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By”, only got to number 9 in 1964.

For the highest new entry, we have to go down to the bottom end of the top 20.