Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, January 30, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #17

"Basics!"
Late November 1989

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine is forced to rescue Roughhouse from a cybernetic Nazi. 

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Breakdowns: John Byrne
Finishes: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the past, Wolverine stalks and kills a wild boar, leading to a discussion of his animal urges with Storm. The next morning, he departs via Gateway for Madripoor. In the present, Wolverine defeats Roughhouse in a bar fight at the Princess Bar, then celebrates his victory with his friends. Outside, General Coy sells Roughhouse to a mysterious stranger. Later, at the Royal Palace, Chief Tai discusses with the Prince a shipment of cocaine Coy tried to smuggle into the country from Central America, discovered by Patch. Unwilling to unleash the plague of cocaine on Madripoor, the Prince suggests Tai not pay much attention should the shipment disappear. From out of the shadows the mysterious stranger emerges, apologizing for the shipment of cocaine, handing over a payment from his employer, and assuring the Prince that since he can now retrieve the shipment, it'll never happen again. He then leaves the Prince with a warning about Patch.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #15

"Technet: Impossible Missions!"
Mid November 1989

In a Nutshell 
Technet rescues Jamie Braddock from Doc Croc.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
"The Secretary": Tom DeFalco

Plot
Upon the arrival of Nigel Frobisher, Gatecrasher briefs Technet on their latest mission: rescuing Jamie Braddock, the brother of Captain Britain, from Doc Croc. Though most of Technet feels the mission is beneath them, Gatecrasher insists they must do it, as they're stuck on Earth until they fulfill their previous contract to capture Phoenix, and the team teleports away. Elsewhere, Excalibur, on a world where Europe is an untamed frontier, is chased back to their train by angry natives. On Earth, Technet storms Doc Croc's citadel. Gatecrasher discovers Jamie, bound and insane, but is gassed by Doc Croc. On another Earth, Shadowcat, Meggan and Nightcrawler rescue their teammates from a group of monsters. Back in Africa, Gatecrasher experiences a vision of Jamie's crimes in Africa.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #254

"All New, All Different -- Here We Go Again!"
Early December 1989

In a Nutshell 
The Reavers attack Muir Island, prompting the formation of a new team of X-Men. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Marc Silvestri & Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Greg Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Muir Island, Moira runs a series of tests on Lorna, confirming the absence of Malice. Down the coast, Banshee arrives to pickup Amanda Sefton and Brigadier Stuart, but he is shot by one of the Reavers. Diving into the water after him, Amanda magically transforms herself and Stuart into mermaids in order to breathe underwater, then grabs Banshee and teleports the three of them to Muir Island. As Moira and Sharon Friedlander work to save Banshee's life, Moira, anticipating an imminent attack on the island, orders everyone into protective X-uniforms. Meanwhile, in New York, Callisto is captured by Masque, now leading the remaining Morlocks, who wants the access codes to the X-Mansion. Back on Muir Island, the Reavers attack and seemingly kill Sunder.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

X-aminations in February 2015


Get ready for Ninja Psylocke, as the second avatar of 90s X-Men comics debuts in February, along with the beginning of Marvel's next annual linewide crossover, the Avengers-centric and more loosely structured "Acts of Vengeance".

As with the "Inferno" tie-ins, I'll be looking at "Acts of Vengeance" by on-sale date, so the first batch of titles is all the "AoV" titles on sale in September of 1989, and so on.

As always, sound off in the comments for anything I may have missed, particularly any "Acts of Vengeance" titles with either ties to the X-Men or which make a significant contribution to the overall storyline (bare bones it may be).

On Sale September 1989
February 4th: Uncanny X-Men #255
February 5th: New Mutants #83
February 6th: X-Factor #48

February 11th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 1: Avengers #311, Avengers Spotlight #26, Thor #411
February 12th: Excalibur #16
February 13th: Wolverine #18

On Sale October 1989
February 18th: Uncanny X-Men #256
February 19th: New Mutants #84
February 20th: X-Factor #49

February 25th: "Acts of Vengeance" Tie-ins Part 2: Amazing Spider-Man #327, Avengers #312, Avengers Spotlight #27, Avengers West Coast #53, Captain America #365, Mutant Misadventures of Cloak & Dagger #9, Thor #412
February 26th: Excalibur #17
February 27th: Wolverine #19

Monday, January 26, 2015

Retro Review: Bart of Darkness

Original Airdate
September 4th, 1994

Or the One Where
The Simpsons get a pool. 

The Setup
With Springfield gripped in a heat wave and the kids enticed into swimming thanks to a teasing one-day-only visit from the Pool Mobile, they pester Homer into buying a pool for the family. 

Notable Notes
As of the start of this season, Fox moved The Simpsons back to it original Sunday night timeslot, where it had debuted before airing on Thursday nights for the previous four seasons. It has remained in that timeslot ever since.

Friday, January 23, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #47

"Guardian"
Mid November 1989

In a Nutshell 
In a fill-in story, Archangel bust up a cult preying on mutant kids. 

Story & Pencils: Kieron Dwyer
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Novak
Colors: Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Boss: Oldwhatshisname

Plot
At the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a young mutant named Michael gets off a bus. After using his power to help heal a blind homeless man, he's attacked by a crowd, all of whom want him to heal them, and is rescued by a group of boys who offer him a place to stay. In the skies above, Archangel watches, recalling his own childhood as he soars after the boys. Michael is taken to a church where the telepathic Father Phillip offers him a place to love. Later, Phillip tends to Beth, a young woman who tried to run away from the group and was injured being recaptured. He then calls in Michael, asking him to use his abilities to heal her, saying she was attacked outside the church, and a smitten Michael does so.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #82

"The Road to Hel..."
Mid November 1989

In a Nutshell
Boom-Boom & Warlock discover Odin is in the midst of the Odinsleep and unable to help, while the rest of the New Mutants are captured by Hela. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Trapped in the warp separating Valhalla from Asgard, Boom-Boom and the Wolf Prince try to free Warlock, drawing the attention of Hela's forces below. One of the possessed Valkyrie, Mist, uses the distraction to surreptiously tell Sam she can save them all if he trusts her, and Sam allows the New Mutants to be captured without a fight. Outside the warp, Boom-Boom manages to blast Warlock free, and the three of them race for Asgard. Meanwhile, the rest of the New Mutants are led past Garm, the wolf who guards Hela's realm, into Hel itself. Elsewhere, Boom-Boom, Warlock and the Wolf Prince reach Asgard but discover Odin in the throes of the Odinsleep and thus unable to help them or defend Asgard against Hela, and they are promptly captured by Odin's guards.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #253

"Storm Warnings!"
Late November 1989

In a Nutshell 
A young Storm turns up in Illinois, Polaris comes to Muir Isle, and Forge begins searching for the X-Men. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Marc Silvestri & Steve Leialoha
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Boss: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In flood-ravaged Cairo, Illinois, an unconscious young African-American girl is found at a levee by Jacob Reisz, the local FBI station chief. She is taken to the hospital just as the storm breaks. In Australia, the Reavers search for Wolverine and Jubilee. Back in Cairo, Dr. Shen and her colleagues discover the young girl doesn't appear on any of their instruments, leading Shen to believe she's a mutant. On Muir Isle, Moira MacTaggert argues with Magneto, then sends Callisto to seal off the remnants of Xavier's mansion. In Australia, Pierce, having accepted that Wolverine has somehow escaped, questions Lady Deathstrike on his possible destinations. Back on Muir Isle, Banshee hears a distress call from a freighter caught in a storm in the Atlantic, and when he flies out to help, he rescues Lorna Dane from the sinking ship, where the entire crew had turned murderous fighting over her.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

X-amining Classic X-Men #41-42

"Little Boy Lost" / "When Dreams Are Dust"
December 1989/January 1990

In a Nutshell
A glimpse of Cyclops' time in Mr. Sinister's orphanage.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Collins
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Mike Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #41: At the orphanage where he lives, Scott Summers intervenes in a fight between his roommate Nate and a bully named Toby, then is treated by orphanage's new doctor, Robyn Hanover, who takes an interest in the boy. That night, Scott has another recurring nightmare of falling and flames, while Toby is accosted by Mr. Sinister. The next day, a crowd gathers after Toby climbs up onto the roof of a building, preparing to jump. Despite Nate's objections, Scott rushes up after him and tries to talk Toby down. But Toby jumps, and Scott is unable to save him. Later, Dr. Hanover tries to comfort Scott, much to Nate's apparent displeasure.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

X-aminations in January 2015...and Beyond!


After one more quiet week to give me a bit of a breather as I adjust to fatherhood, we dive right back into the regular grind with Uncanny X-Men #253, and the ensuing six months will feature some of the X-books' biggest moments, as we hit the 90s, and they hit back hard: Jim Lee fills in again on X-Men and helps transform Psylocke into a ninja warrior, Rob Liefeld becomes the new New Mutants artist and shortly thereafter introduces Cable, and just as summer comes upon us, Gambit makes his first appearance (and, maybe, just maybe, Excalibur's Cross Time Caper will come to an end).  

Also, after a series of annual and increasingly-expanding X-Men crossover storylines, culminating in the mostly-linewide "Inferno", 1990 sees the first such crossover to be spearheaded by the Avengers rather than the X-Men, "Acts of Vengeance", which we'll start examining in February. I haven't decided exactly which tie-ins I'll be looking at yet (and the story as a whole is much looser than even "Inferno", with little in the way of a central narrative to follow), but my plan is to cover only the ones with a significant connection to the X-books in some way (ie the Cosmic Spider-Man stuff, because Sebastian Shaw and Sentinels, or the Captain America/Magneto issues, because Magneto).

As always, sound off in the comments about anything I may have missed or that you'd like to see covered in future installments. Also, I still haven't decided on a title for the section discussing Liefeld's art.