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May 26

Daredevil Villains #24: Crime-Wave

Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2024 by Paul in Daredevil

DAREDEVIL #60 (January 1970)
“Showdown at Sea!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Gene Colan
Inker: Syd Shores
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Colourist: not credited
Editor: Stan Lee

At his core, Crime-Wave ought to work. He’s built up over three issues of sub-plot as the top criminal menace in New York. He’s talked about as an unprecedented threat to the rule of law. Intimidation of witnesses and jurors is apparently a big thing. He’s a kingpin of organised crime and a natural opponent for Foggy as DA and Matt as his assistant. He’s not just a street-level threat but a systemic one. It’s precisely the sort of thing that works for Daredevil in later years.

But Crime-Wave doesn’t work, and never returns.

Issue #60 is where Daredevil finally meets him. But his on-panel debut is in issue #59, where Willie Lincoln meets him and escapes alive. That issue rather sums up the problems with Crime-Wave. It opens with Crime-Wave’s thugs demanding protection money from a corner shop. True, the whole point is that Crime-Wave is a systemic background threat, and the shopkeeper does refuse to testify, but it’s still fairly underwhelming stuff for an archenemy.


May 25

Charts – 24 May 2024

Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2024 by Paul in Music

Well, Billie Eilish has an album out, and nobody’s going up against that. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to number one…

1. Sabrina Carpenter – “Espresso”

That’s four weeks, in the face of a major release. Her biggest British hit by a mile.

2. Billie Eilish – “Lunch”
7. Billie Eilish – “Chihiro”
9. Billie Eilish – “Birds of a Feather”

Three tracks from her album “Hit Me Hard and Soft” – officially her third album, though her 2018 EP “Don’t Smile at Me” also qualified for the album chart. All three official albums have gone to number one, so this is not a surprise in the slightest. For what it’s worth, the first album hung around a lot longer than the second, but both had very respectable chart runs.


May 23

The X-Axis – w/c 21 May 2024

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2024 by Paul in Uncategorized

This shouldn’t take long.

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #140. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Nick Roche, Yen Nitro & Travis Lanham. Well, if nothing else, we’ve reached the final boss phase. And a giant Selene made of blood is at least a strong image. But it’s pretty much just random fighting at this stage. Hey, speaking of which…

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF X #5. (Annotations here.) So there you go. We’re not quite at the end of the Krakoan era. There’s still Rise of the Powers of X #5 and one final issue of X-Men to go (oh, and a couple of stray issues of Wolverine and Ms Marvel). But this is the end of Orchis, 2019-2024.

In many ways people are right to say that this is the strongest issue of Fall of the House of X. The art feels more polished and epic than in earlier issues; the pieces that needed to be yanked into place were already there. Now, the book can go out with the X-Men defeating Orchis by restoring Omega Sentinel’s real personality, and defeating Nimrod. We can just get on with the fight scene. And Nimrod does look good here.


May 22

Fall of the House of X #5 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 by Paul in Annotations

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

“The Turn”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Lucas Werneck & Stefano Caselli
Colour artist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Nimrod fights Cyclops and Storm, with the other X-Men defeated in the foreground.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Nimrod: “We have woken up, and now wonder… how hard will you fight for your survival? Or is this finally the day that you accept your fate?”

This is from Inferno #4, where Nimrod and Omega Sentinel were fighting Professor X and Magneto, and had just revealed the existence of the AI contingent within Orchis.

PAGES 3-5. The X-Men fight Nimrod in multiple locations.

The opening two panels on page 3 are a flashback to Feilong negotiating with Dr Stasis to become a member of Orchis, after the X-Men colonised Mars. In Duggan’s X-Men #3, Henry Peter Gyrich asks Feilong to continue with his plans to travel to Mars, and Feilong reveals that he already knew about Orchis and (as here) asked for “a seat at the Orchis table”. By the next issue he’s on his way to colonise Phobos, so this must be between X-Men #3-4.


May 19

Daredevil Villains #23: The Torpedo

Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2024 by Paul in Daredevil

DAREDEVIL #59 (December 1969)
“The Torpedo Will Get You if You Don’t Watch Out!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Gene Colan
Inker: Syd Shores
Letterer: Artie Simek
Colourist: not credited
Editor: Stan Lee

Roy Thomas was determined to give Crime-Wave a big build-up before he faced off against Daredevil in person. So not only did Crime-Wave get trailed in a subplot during the Death’s-Head story, but the next two issues are devoted Daredevil fighting Crime-Wave’s underlings. Last issue, we had Stunt-Master, an gimmick character who was an odd fit for Crime-Wave. This time, Thomas plays it straight, and brings us the Torpedo.

Another Torpedo will debut in Daredevil in 1975, and go on to be a supporting player in Rom. That’s a different character entirely. This Torpedo is a one-off costumed hitman. Hence the name “torpedo”, which is just dated slang for a hitman. So at least he fits Crime-Wave’s theme.

In practice, this issue is mainly about building up Crime-Wave for the next issue. It opens with Daredevil dealing with a protection racket, only to find that the store owner is too scared to testify against Crime-Wave. But Willie Lincoln has found Crime-Wave’s secret base and escaped alive. More about that next time. For the moment, the important point is that Willie is going into protective custody to keep him safe from Crime-Wave. You’d have thought they could just raid the address and gather more evidence, but apparently Willie is a devastatingly important witness.


May 18

Charts – 17 May 2024

Posted on Saturday, May 18, 2024 by Paul in Music

This is the Eurovision chart, in an unusually controversial year for the show. But we’ll get to that.

1. Sabrina Carpenter – “Espresso”

That’s three weeks, and by a very small margin. It may not be entirely coincidental that her CD single was released on Thursday, just in time for its fan sales to boost her total.

2. Post Malone featuring Morgan Wallen – “I Had Some Help”

This is the lead single from Post Malone’s next album. He’s tacking to country – isn’t everyone? – but fans will be pleased to hear that there are still traces of annoying vocal processing. Mostly, though, it’s a perfectly fineĀ  track for country radio. It’s better than I was expecting. Morgan Wallen is a big name in country, but his only previous appearance on the UK singles chart was with “Last Night”, an American number 1 that got to 28 here.


May 16

The X-Axis – w/c 13 May 2024

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2024 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #139. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Phillip Sevy, Yen Nitro & Travis Lanham. Well, I guess at least it seems to be building to some sort of climax. But it’s still just throwing characters at the wall for no good reasons – Velocidad? El Aguila? This hasn’t worked; at least it must be over soon.

X-MEN: FOREVER #4. (Annotations here.) Since X-Men: Forever is effectively the last arc of Immortal X-Men, this is sort of the end of Kieron Gillen’s run… although it isn’t, really, because it leads into the finale of Rise of the Powers of X. I still think that labelling these four issues as a separate miniseries was an odd call – they make much more sense viewed as issues of Immortal – but the book does deliver a satisfying resolution to Mystique and Destiny’s arc, as well as paying off Hope’s messiah role. You can argue about whether the plot mechanics of Enigma’s attempt to alter history actually make sense, but that’s a standard issue with time travel stories. It works on a character level for Enigma and for Hope’s mother, and that’s what really matters.


May 15

X-Men Forever #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 by Paul in Annotations

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

“No Hope”
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Luca Maresca
Colour artist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen & Kat Gregorowicz
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1: Hope enters a glowing portal, casting the shadow of the Phoenix behind her. This is the final issue of X-Men: Forever, which in turn is an extension of Immortal X-Men – although the story continues into Rise of the Powers of X #5.

PAGES 2-3. Destiny and Mr Sinister talk.

This is the former Quiet Council meeting chamber, in somewhat dilapidated condition. Even through Krakoa (the persona) is back on the island, it hasn’t taken its established position in the room. Unusually, Destiny has removed her blank face mask – dropping both her normal role and her usual distanced persona.

As in the previous issue, Destiny is in despair: all the timelines that she can see involve Enigma winning and her beloved Mystique dying. Sinister has two counter-arguments to reassure Destiny. First, as I pointed out last time, the Phoenix plan involves altering the timeline from the outside – so Destiny wouldn’t be able to see it until it happens. Second, Sinister claims that his own exploration of the future using his “Moira Engine” shows that Destiny vastly overestimates the chances of Mystique dying. He theorises that Destiny’s concern for Mystique causes her to pay disproportionate attention to those timelines.


May 13

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 20

Posted on Monday, May 13, 2024 by Al in Podcast

And now for something… slightly different. This time round, we’re stepping beyond the bounds of the regular Thunderbolts title to look at the 2001 miniseries Citizen V and the V-Battalion, with chat about two-fisted journalist Jim Daring, HR disasters and the horniest comics in Marvel history.

The podcast is here, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments below, via email, on Bluesky or on our Facebook fan page, and if you haven’t got a House to Astonish t-shirt, why not treat yourself? You deserve it.

May 12

Charts – 10 May 2024

Posted on Sunday, May 12, 2024 by Paul in Music

Well, this is a chart with a theme, isn’t it?

1. Sabrina Carpenter – “Espresso”

Two weeks, and still doing very well. The Taylor Swift tracks are on their way down the chart, which means that Hozier returns to number 2, but the obvious challenger is Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)”, which is up to 3.

10. Kendrick Lamar – “Not Like Us”
11. Kendrick Lamar – “Euphoria”
17. Drake – “Family Matters”
28. Kendrick Lamar – “Meet The Grahams”

That’s on top of Drake’s “Push Ups” at number 30, and “Like That” by Future & Metro Boomin featuring Kendrick Lamar at number 20 (back up ten places – it doesn’t count towards his three song limit because he’s only a guest).