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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Force in Focus: The Last Jedi Trailer


The first full Last Jedi trailer hit this week amid a bit of fanfare, after which tickets went on sale (I got mine!). Here's five things that especially caught my eye from the longest look at the movie yet

Kylo Ren in Observation


The opening shot of the trailer shows Kylo Ren from behind, looking over a busy First Order hanger bay, and it struck me for its resemblance to one of my favorite shots from the Prequels, in Attack of the Clones when Anakin is on the veranda as the sun rises on Naboo, just before he leaves for Tatooine.

Friday, October 13, 2017

X-amining Excalibur Annual #1

"Black Magic" / "Honey is Money"
 1993

In a Nutshell
Excalibur meets the extradimensional Khaos.

Writers: Evan Skolnick, Joey Cavalieri
Pencilers: Chris Marrinan & Audwynn Newman, David Boller
Inker: Mark Mckenna, Danny Bulanadi & Keith Williams, Kevin Conrad
Letterers: Janice Chiang, Richard Starkings
Colorists: Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas, Glynis Oliver
Editors: Suzanne Gaffney & Terry Kavanaugh
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cerise wakes up from a recurring dream in which she is hunted by a dark elf. Kitty believes elements of the dream reflect Excalibur,  but Cerise insists it is real, and leads Excalibur to the source of the dream, a castle containing a wizard named Ghath, who says he has been stranded on Earth from his alternate world home of Irth. Excalibur and Ghath are shortly thereafter attacked by Khaos, the figure from Cerise's dream. Excalibur captures Khaos and brings him back to Braddock Manner, where Cerise interrogates him and learns he is actually a freedom fighter on his world, opposing Ghath. Investigating his claims, Cerise returns to the castle and is captured by Ghath as he prepares to return to Irth. But Khaos, and shortly thereafter, Excalibur, arrive after her, and they follow Ghath back to Irth and help Khaos and his allies end Ghath's threat. But in his final revenge, Ghath once more strands Khaos back on Earth. Cerise offers him a place with Excalibur, but he declines, flying off instead in search of a way home.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

X-amining Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1-4

"Ducks in a Row" / "Rabbit Season, Duck Season" / "...And Quacks Like a Duck..." / "Duck Soup"
August - November 1993

In a Nutshell
Deadpool is embroiled in the hunt for Tolliver's Will, and the "ultimate weapon" prize it promises.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Mark Farmer, Harry Candelario (issues #3 & #4)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Bob Harras
Duck L'Orange: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: In Sarajevo, Deadpool meets with Weasel, looking for information on Vanessa, who is being targeted for her perceived knowledge regarding Tolliver's will, but they're interrupted by Kane. Deadpool & Kane fight until Weasel points out they're both after the same thing, Vanessa, thiugh neither knows where she is. Meanwhile, Nyko, brother of Tolliver's assistant Pico, contacts Courier to put a hit on Deadpool for his involvement in his brother's death, while Slayback breaks into Department K looking for info on Deadpool & Kane and Juggernaut breaks Black Tom out of the genetic research facility to which Tolliver sent him.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #2

"Point Blank"
1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inkers: Dan Panosian, Keith Williams, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Kellu Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A former East German solider named Adrian Eiskalt recounts to his psychiatrist an encounter with Magneto in which Magneto killed Adrian's brother. In New York, Gabrielle Haller leads a symposium on Magneto, later meeting with Adrian to discuss their respective governments' desire to eliminate the threat he poses. Adrian insists he has no desire to kill Magneto, and Haller agrees to share information, but she can see the desire for vengeance in Adrian's eyes. Meanwhile, Exodus offers Phantazia a place on Avalon, but she reluctantly turns him down when he reveals her fellow Brotherhood of Evil Mutant teammates are not invited. As Adrian studies the information on Magneto provided by Haller, Haller compares notes with Moira MacTaggert. This leads to the creation of a suit which will mask Adrian's bio-electric signature, and a taser gun made of plastic. Later, Henry Gyrich briefs the Commission on Super-Human Affairs on Magneto's return, and while the group approves of sending Adrian to engage him, they're uncertain how to draw him out. Adrian has an idea, however, and lays in wait at the site of Magneto's wife Magda's grave, the same spot where Magneto killed his brother years ago. But when Magneto arrives and Adrian has him in his sights, he finds himself unable to act, having gained a better understanding of the man from his research, and realizing that when he killed Adrian's brother, he did so only in self-defense, after Adrian's brother attacked him. As Magneto leaves, Adrian is left alone, realizing all he's ever really had was his hate.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

X-amining Cable #4

"A Leader Among Men"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable reunites with the Six Pack.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Art Thibert; Reddington, Whylie (p16), Koblish (pg 18)
Art Assist: Rob Liefeld
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letter Man: Chris Eliopolous
Colors: Javins/Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras
Bigger Editor: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Kane makes a cup of coffee while Bridge & Cable fight, before the pair agree to a truce: Bridge will tell Cable everything he knows about X-Force's whereabouts, in exchange for Cable helping Hammer walk again. Meanwhile, Vanessa bring Domino, Grizzly & Hammer to X-Force's old base in the Adirondacks, promising she can locate X-Force's current location from inside. In the South Pacific, Sinsear is monitoring transmissions, stopping when he catches a reference to Cable. Later, Vanessa brings Domino, Hammer & Grizzly to X-Force's Camp Verde base, just as Cable, Kane & Bridge arrive. Hammer attacks Cable on sight, but Kane gets Hammer to stand down by insisting Cable can help him walk. However, Hammer refuses to become like Cable, more machine than man. Realizing Vanessa has slipped away, Domino insists on tracking her down, and the rest of the Six Pack, including Kane, agree to go with her, but Cable says he needs to stay behind to wait for X-Force, and Kane tells him to do for them what Cable tried to do for Kane, to do right by them.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Milch Studies - DEADWOOD Season Two


Deadwood was never a media darling in the same vein as The Sopranos, but its debut season did have respectable ratings, and with HBO eager to maintain its reputation as the place for literate, adult dramas, the series was able to enjoy a boost in its budget for the second season.  The money is clearly put on the screen, as the sets grow more elaborate, the thoroughfare becomes increasingly crowded with extras, and the number of featured players multiplies. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #68

"Dead Space Part One"
 August 1993

In a Nutshell
The Starjammers come to Earth looking to arrest Cerise.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Dan Slott
Pencils: Steve Buccellato
Inks: Harry Candelario
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Upon returning from the future, Excalibur mourns the loss of Captain Britain, to the dismay of Micromax, who is trying to organize a training session for the team. Only Kylun takes him up on his offer, but as they spar on the grounds outside Braddock Manor, they are attacked by the Starjammers. With the rest of the team responding to the attack, Corsair explains that they've come to arrest a Shi'ar fugitive. Excalibur, believing he means Phoenix, attack the Starjammers, and in the course of the fight it's revealed that the Starjammers are actually after Cerise, who emerges from the mansion wearing her armor and agreeing to go with the Starjammers, tearfully telling Nightcrawler that Corsair is right about her. But after the Starjammers & Cerise depart via stargate, Phoenix repowers the gate. Leaving Kitty behind to watch over Feron & Meggan, Nightcrawler leads the rest through the gate, determined to rescue Cerise.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

X-amining X-Force #25

"Back to Front"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable reunites with X-Force, then battles Magneto.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inkers: Wiacek, Green, Ryan, Palmiotti, Hanna, Conrad, Milgrom
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: George Roussos
Platoon Leader: Bob Harras
Back is Front: Tom DeFalco

Plot
X-Force returns to Camp Verde and realizes somebody has infiltrated their base. They split up to search the complex, with each pair encountering the intruder, who turns out to be Cable. After Cable comes clean with the team, Exodus arrives, extending an invitation to Cannonball & Sunspot, as former members of the New Mutants, to join him on his master's sanctuary. Cannonball agrees, but only after Exodus agrees to bring the rest of the former New Mutants, including Rusty & Skids, with him. They depart, after which Cable reveals Cannonball gave X-Force the means to track them before leaving. The former New Mutants arrive on Avalon, an orbital station created from the remnants of Graymalkin, and meet Exodus' master: a revived Magneto. Just then, the rest of X-Force arrives, and as they battles Exodus, Cannonball rejects Magneto's offer to join him on Avalon. Cable sends the rest of the team away but, determined to save Professor, stays behind. He encounters Magneto, who uses his power to destroy all the metal in Cable's body, grievously wounding him, but Cable manages to retrieve Professor and teleport away. Magneto is disappointed that he failed to sway the next generation of mutants to his side, but tells Exodus it is time to offer sanctuary to the rest of Xavier's brood, and see how they respond.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #23

"Leaning Towards Oneself"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Mr. Sinister kicks off a decades-long mystery.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Leaning Tower of Pizza: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Alaska, Mr. Sinisters insists he only wants to warn Cyclops about Stryfe's mutant-targeting virus, but their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of the Dark Riders, come to test the two. In Japan, Lord Nyoirin tells the X-Men they need to talk to Shinobi and Matsu'o for further answers, while at the X-Mansion, Wolverine reports to Xavier about his findings in the Savage Land.. In Alaska, Mr. Sinister attacks the Dark Riders, telling them they're welcome to fight Cyclops but can't kill him, before disappearing. In Japan, Beast & Gambit visit Shinobi, while Psylocke & Revanche attack Matsu'o. In Alaska, Cyclops fights the Dark Riders long enough for them to declare that he is strong enough to fight in the coming war, leaving Cyclops to ponder what he's learned that day, and decide that the time has come to ask others for help.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

X-aminations in October 2017


Just one review next week, as I'll be busy working on our local fall comic convention (stop by and say hi if you're in the area). After that, it's Joe Madureira and Deadpool's big breakout, Excalibur finally gets a proper annual, and Magneto makes his official return as "Fatal Attractions" continues.

On Sale June 1993
October 4: Cable #4

On Sale July 1993
October 11: X-Men Unlimited #2
October 12: Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1-4
October 13: Excalibur Annual #1

October 18: Uncanny X-Men #304
October 19: X-Factor #94
October 20: Wolverine #73

October 25: X-Men (vol. 2) #24
October 26: X-Force #26
October 27: Excalibur #69

Friday, September 22, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #72

"Sleeping Giant"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Jubilee encounter a revived Sentinel in the Outback.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Dwayne Turner
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine & Jubilee explore the X-Men's old Outback base, discovering the remains of the Reavers and Fitzroy's Sentinels. As they expand their search outside, looking for Gateway, one of the Sentinels activates and uses Spiral's remaining equipment to repair itself. Outside, Wolverine & Jubilee discover Gateway missing, but a groove from his bullroarer remaining. When Jubilee touches it, she suddenly finds herself back in her parent's house, before they died, and realizes they were actually murdered by two hired goons sent to kill Jubilee's neighbors. As Wolverine pulls her back to the present, the activated Sentinel approaches them, declaring that it has overrode its prime directive to protect humans and intends to use the temporal vortex to make the world better for Sentinels by eradicating humanity. When Wolverine moves to stop him, the Sentinel grabs Jubilee, telling Wolverine that if he attacks, the Sentinel will snap her neck.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #93

"The Longest Day: Part 1"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor deals with the death of Illyana while Forge is appointed their new government liaison.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Havok & Wolfsbane arrive at the X-Mansion, and express their condolences for Illyana's death to a stone-faced Colossus before being taken to Professor X. Meanwhile, Polaris & Quicksilver try on their new X-Factor uniforms while Guido is teleported away by Lila Cheney. At the X-Mansion, Havok plays handball with his brother, while Xavier gives Wolfsbane the bad news that he can't cure her mental conditioning telepathically, without risking her ending up stuck as a mindless mutate. Someplace far away, Guido finds himself in front of an alien crowd during one of Lila's concerts, and demands that she take him him, turning down her offer to return as her bodyguard and live a life of luxury, much to her dismay. Back at X-Factor headquarters, Quicksilver reluctantly accepts his new costume after shedding it of some unnecessary accessories, while at the pentagon, Val Cooper meets with X-Factor's new government liaison: Forge.