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Nov 2

X-Men Red #8 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Mission to the Unknown”
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Madibek Musibekov
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Design: Tom Muller
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Cable fighting Orbis Stellaris (or rather, Orbis serving as the head of the giant body).

PAGES 2-4. Cable and Khora recruit Weaponless Zsen.

Gosnell’s Bar is a bar which appeared in several issues of Al Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy run.

Weaponless Zsen was last seen in Legion of X #5, where she left Nightcrawler a letter and signed up to work as an interstellar mercenary. As she says, she managed to leave the planet just before a massive war broke out – Legion #5 ended with Uranos showing up to attack Arakko.

This scene confirms that she’s the daughter of the Fisher King and sister of Khora, as very strongly implied by a data page in issue #6. Fisher King “returned from his shadows” in issues #6-7 when the Night Seats members of the Great Ring resurfaced in the wake of Uranos’s attack. We don’t know yet why she and Fisher King aren’t talking.


Oct 30

Charts – 28 October 2022

Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2022 by Paul in Music

The chart rules were changed a few years back to limit the number of tracks by the same artist to three, after Ed Sheeran and Drake managed to swamp the top ten. In practice, not that many acts have shown the ability to swamp the top end of the chart when they release a new album. But there are some.

1. Taylor Swift – “Anti-Hero”
3. Taylor Swift – “Lavender Haze”
4. Taylor Swift featuring Lana Del Rey – “Snow On The Beach”

The maximum three tracks from “Midnights”, which obviously enters the album chart at number 1. It’s her ninth consecutive number one album, including her re-recordings of “Fearless” and “Red”, as well as the two folk-style albums she released during the pandemic. With “Midnights”, we’re back to mainstream pop and songs about her celebrity status, which is… kind of what I was glad to see her moving away from? “Anti-Hero” is one of her better songs in that mode, but it still feels like a step backwards.


Oct 29

New Mutants #31 annotations

Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #31
“The Sublime Saga, part one: Fate & Consequences”
Writer: Charlie Jane Anders
Artists: Alberto Alburquerque with Ro Stein & Ted Brandt
Colourists: Carlos Lopez with Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

COVER / PAGE 1: Escapade as all of the New Mutants, while Emma Frost rolls her eyes.

PAGE 2. Obituary for Tom Palmer

PAGES 3-5. The New Mutants try to teach creative writing, and Emma comes to talk about Escapade.

This is continuing with the main theme of Vita Ayala’s run, with the New Mutants taking on the role of mentors for the younger generations of teen mutants. The depiction of an actual classroom is new for Krakoa; at the start of the Krakoan era, we were told that the place was running on some sort of experimental-progressive education model where everyone taught one another. That apparently didn’t go so well, leading to the New Mutants moving in to give the place a bit more structure – and now it seems we’re back to regular classrooms and English literature classes.


Oct 28

Wolverine #26 annotations

Posted on Friday, October 28, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

WOLVERINE vol 7 #26
“The Beast Agenda: The Off Days”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colourist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine, with Beast in the background, and Jeff Bannister and the Merchant in the foreground.

PAGE 2. Obituary for Tom Palmer

PAGES 3-5. Montage: Wolverine has glimpses of normalcy in the middle of fights.

The action sequences are generic and don’t represent any particular story. Page 3 is the late 1970s X-Men fighting robots; page 4 is Wolverine and Spider-Man fighting symbiotes; and page 5 is Wolverine and family (Daken, Laura and Scout) taking on Donald Pierce, Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.


Oct 27

A.X.E.: Judgment Day #6 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Valerio Schiti with Ivan Fiorelli
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort

COVER / PAGE 1: Members of the X-Men, Avengers and Eternals giving the thumbs down sign (presumably their verdict on the Progenitor).

PAGE 2. Obituary for Mike Pasciullo.

PAGES 3-4. Recap and credits.

PAGES 5-6. Captain America brings Jada to the Eternals’ city.

Jada is still sitting in the place where she was talking to Captain America last issue (and still has the Starbucks coffee that she shared with him). Seems awfully quiet for New York, but obviously the scene works better when she’s not just a face in the crowd.

PAGE 7. The civilians react.

Everyone has some degree of turning point or realisation by the end of this, with the possible exception of Komali, who is just resigned to death. Tom finally and decisively realises that he’s got it wrong, albeit too late to do anything about it. Katrina actually does something instead of just talking about it. Daniela had already turned her focus to her family, even if she remains somewhat distracted by practicalities. Jada gets to reconnect with someone (which is another reason why she couldn’t be in a crowd in the last scene) and Kenta is forced to take the situation seriously.


Oct 23

New Mutants #25-30

Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #25-30
Writers: Vita Ayala (#25-28 and #30), Danny Lore (#29) & Alyssa Wong (#30, Deadpool story)
Artists: Rod Reis & Jan Duursema (#25-28), Guillermo Sanna (#29), Alex Lins, Justin Mason, Jason Loo, Emma Kubert, Roberto Poggi & Geoff Shaw (#30)
Colourists: Rod Reis & Ruth Redmond (#25-28), Dan Brown (#29), Bryan Valenza, Jason Loo, Antonio Fabela & Nolan Woodard (#30)
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

It’s past time I started making inroads on the reviews, and what better place to start than the closing stretch of Vita Ayala’s New Mutants? To be honest, I was initially going to do the “Labors of Magik” arc separately, but the queue is building up, so let’s just bring the whole series up to date. We’ve got Ayala’s final arc, a fill-in issue, and a farewell anniversary anthology.

Taking them together does bring out one point: viewed as an ongoing series, there’s not much sense of direction here. Which is odd, since the earlier parts of Ayala’s run seemed to know well enough where they were going. There’s a built-in challenge in finding a role for the New Mutants, since they were the original trainee team. Promoting them all to the X-Men kind of misses the point, but at the same time, the characters are 40 years old and they haven’t been written as rookies since 1990 or so. Ayala’s approach was to make them into the mentors for the next batch of kids, which isn’t novel – it was basically the approach taken by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir in their New Mutants series from the early 2000s, where the original team had become the teachers at Xavier’s School. But it makes sense as a way to give them a foot in both camps.


Oct 22

Charts – 21 October 2022

Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2022 by Paul in Music

Gosh, an actually busy week.

1. Sam Smith & Kim Petras – “Unholy”

Four weeks. The whole top 5 is static, so we’re waiting for something to break through as a challenger. In the meantime, Todd in the Shadows’ review of this track is worth a watch.

7. Stormzy – “Hide & Seek”

This, apparently, is the lead single from his next album. Not to be confused with “Mel Made Me Do It”, which reached number 12 just three weeks ago – but isn’t on the album. “Hide & Seek” is one of his gentler tracks, with an obvious Afrobeat influence that seems to be the trend this year; the uncredited singers include Oxlade.


Oct 20

X-Force #33 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #33
“The Hunt for X, part 4: Memento Mori”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1: Wolverine squares off against Kraven and his Shadow Room dinosaurs.

PAGE 2. Obituary for Mike Pasciulloo.

PAGES 3-5. Kraven hunts the Beast in the Shadow Room.

All fairly straightforward. It’s the good old “a villain has trapped us in the Danger Room and switched off the safety protocols” story, an X-Men standard for decades.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.

PAGES 7-9. Wolverine in the Shadow Room.

Wolverine spells out here what this story is supposed to have to do with Judgment Day: Kraven thinks it’s the end of days and he wants to go out by proving himself against Wolverine. Honestly, that’s a pretty token link to the main story, and though it’s more-or-less claimed on the recap pages of this issue and last, I wouldn’t be in the slightest surprised to learn that this was an already planned storyline that had a few Judgment Day elements worked into the background so as to justify the crossover tag. It is a crossover to the wider storyline, but nothing actually seems to turn on that fact.


Oct 19

X-Men #16 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #16
“The Mutant We Left Behind”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colourist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Forge, wearing his Caliban-based harness.

PAGE 2. Obituary for Mike Pasciullo.

PAGE 3. Data page. Quote from Mr Sinister, which I can imagine he might have said somewhere. Obviously, in this context it’s a reference to the living suit that he’s produced for Forge.

PAGES 4-6. Flashback: Forge and Mr Sinister.

Forge is asking Sinister to create a suit for him based on the powers of three mutants: Mystique, Caliban and apparently a third yet to be identified. The obvious candidate would be Tempo, given the time distortion involved in the Vault.

Port Genosha whiskey is a recurring background feature from Duggan’s Marauders run. Tempo’s powers are responsible for its 50 year maturation.


Oct 18

Charts – 14 October 2022

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 by Paul in Music

Another fairly quiet week at the top end of the chart, but it picks up when we get further down.

1. Sam Smith & Kim Petras – “Unholy”

Three weeks. It’s peaked but it doesn’t have much in the way of competition – the top three remains static for a second week. The midweeks have the whole top 4 staying static next week too. Anyway, for our first new entry, we have to go out of the top 20 and meet…

23. Mimi Webb – “Ghost of You”

This is the follow-up to “House on Fire”, which reached number 6 in the spring. I’m not wild about it; there’s something very limp about that chorus production. Mimi Webb singles tend not to be slow climbers, though her debut “Good Without” was an exception. The midweeks have it at 27.